This article was brought to you by guest editor Susan Ranford.
Have you been ignoring marketing to millennials? Perhaps if you are in your forties and fifties, you look at this younger generation with disdain. You may think of them as just being kids, and you may not understand their music, fashion, and culture. You may ignore them because you don’t particularly like them. If you are a business owner, you need to get over this negative attitude, now. Millennials make up 27% of the population. That means there are 83 million millennials in the U.S. currently, and most of them have jobs. They make up 25% of the U.S. workforce. You need to reach out to this age group for the sake of your business.
It comes to no surprise that people in this age group spend a lot of time on their phones. Some studies show that millennials spend almost 19 hours staring at their phone screens each week. Before you start judging them for the abundance of screen time, look at how little time millennials spend in front of a television. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to understand that if you want to reach millennials, you need to have an attractive easily-found website that is mobile friendly or tablet friendly. Fifty-four percent of millennials own a tablet. Don’t feel like purchasing pop-up ads will help you reach out to millennials during their time online. Most of them use ad blockers, and they have been ignoring pop-up ads most of their lives.
In fact, 77 percent of Millennials participate in loyalty programs. It doesn’t matter how small your business is. There are plenty of apps available that make running a rewards program for your business easier than ever. Even though you may think that millennials spend their money irresponsibly, that is not true. They want to save money. Make every tenth coffee free. Give your customers rewards dollars to get them back in the store. Send out coupons through your social media accounts. Studies have shown that one-third of millennials report buying something they don’t need to increase their membership status.
Millennials self-report that they have a fear of missing out on the latest trend, the best deal, or an event that all of their friends are attending. This fear of missing out even has its own acronym (FOMO). Use this knowledge to help you market your product or service. Create promotion events for your business that encourages your customers to use social media. Nearly half of millennials are willing to promote a product or service through their social media accounts in exchange for some reward. This leads us to one of the most important things to understand about millennials.
Millennials are more likely to trust experts, even if they are strangers than traditional advertisers. They are 247 percent more likely to be influenced by blogs or social media sites than conventional ads. Armed with this knowledge, you need to work on your online presence. Create a website full of helpful, interesting, share-worthy content. Don’t ignore the importance of video and images. Encourage others to blog about your product or service. Respond to online reviews from your customers. If someone reports a negative experience from interacting with your business, make sure you reach out to that customer to make it right.
If you are a business owner and want to enjoy a portion of the millennial market, you need to push aside your prejudices and hang-ups you have with this generation. Even if you don’t remember it, the older generation had the same hang-ups with our work ethic, music, and approaches to life as we do with the new generation. And we turned out all right, didn’t we?