In 2017, Facebook reported that 70% of millennials are influenced in their holiday buying by Facebook and/or Instagram. Is it a good reason to start marketing to millennials?
You won’t be alone out there. Many businesses want to get a piece of the $200 billion that millennials have at their disposal.
In order for your business to stand out and get a piece of the pie, your ads have to speak to the specific characteristics and needs of millennials.
Here, we’ll debunk myths that plague millennials, look at five central characteristics that define them, and highlight ways to market to millennials.
Known as the “me generation,” Millennials have been incorrectly labeled as lazy, temperamental, and lacking loyalty and satisfaction at work.
But for all the grief they get, there’s no denying the power they wield.
Their numbers have swelled to well over 76 million in the US alone. They’re the largest and most influential generation to date and have the most buying power compared to any other generation.
As a result, millennials are constantly bombarded with ads and content.
1. Millennials are focused on saving
Despite their buying power — a mixture of income and mounting debt — millennials earn 20% less than their parents did at this point in their lives. The average salary of someone between the ages of 25-34 is approximately $40,000 compared to what their parents made at the same age.
In addition to making less money, millennials also own less property compared to their parents. Renting is more common than buying a home and car services are more popular than buying a car.
To combat their lower income, more millennials are focused on building up their savings. In fact, “one in six millennials have already saved $100,000.” Millennials still have work to do to establish a comfortable savings cushion, but this is an indication that saving and spending wisely is important to them.
As a marketer, you’re more likely to find success and convert more leads when your ads speak to millennials’ desire to save. Ads that evoke feelings of financial security, responsibility, and self-reliance are much likely to do better with millennials since more of them aren’t as interested in accumulating stuff for the sake of doing so. They have a long-term goal in mind and spend wisely to ensure they reach that goal.
How to market to millennials
Acorns is an investment app that rounds up spare change and extra cash and automatically invests it for users. Considering 66% of people between the ages of 18-29 and 65% of people between the ages of 30-39 find investing intimidating, an app like Acorns takes the guesswork out of investing and simplifies the process.
This post on Instagram encourages users to stick with their investment efforts. Much like saving, investments require long-term commitment to see long-term gain. This type of message speaks to the needs of millennial customers who are proactive and want to properly plan for the future.
Just like Acorns, speak to the specific pain points and frustrations of your customers to get their attention and then show them how you solve the issue better than anyone else.
2. Millennials read blogs before they buy
With access to information more available than ever before, people have more ways to research and educate themselves on the products they’re interested in before they buy. In fact, 23% of millennials say they like to research before they buy something. Part of the reason millennials spend time researching is because of the amount of time they spend online. Almost 80 percent of millennials use their phones to research prices while 68.9% use their phones to read reviews.
On top of this, 33% of millennials prefer to read blog posts before they buy vs. less than 3% who prefer traditional forms of advertising — like TV and magazines.
“Millennials, on the whole, are not impulse-shoppers. They like to research, they like to feel confident that the retailer and brand align to their values, and they want to make sure they’re getting the best price for an item, so they leverage a lot of channels in order to find this information.”
To attract more people to your website so they can learn more about your product and to get more in-depth insights, get creative with the landing pages you use to market to millennials. The highest converting landing pages have lots of images, are informative, and engaging. Blog posts have the potential to act as landing pages as long as the information is relevant and relates to the ad content.
How to market to millennials
Sixty-seven percent of employed millennials want to leave their job to become self-employed — not because they lack loyalty but because they want to grow their wealth. 17hats is a tool designed to help small businesses run their operation more efficiently. From lead generation to project management, 17hats has a range of features available to users.
This Facebook post quickly outlines some of the features available to users. Interested leads will want to learn more about each feature to determine whether or not the platform will meet their needs. Linking content like this to specific blog content will help millennial customers research the platform thoroughly before signing up.
Use a CTA like “Learn More” to link to content on your blog. This acknowledges that your audience is in the consideration stage of the customer journey and needs to learn more about what you have to offer before they buy. It’s less pressure than a “Buy Now” CTA because if leads aren’t ready to buy, they may choose not to click the button.
3. Millennials look to their network for recommendations
A staggering 91% of millennials buy based on recommendations from friends. While scrolling through their Facebook News Feed, people are bombarded with ads and promotional content. Most people scroll right past and don’t read — let alone click on — the content. What gets millennials to stop scrolling is the sight of interesting content from their network of friends and family. For example, if someone sees a friend using a new gadget or trying a new restaurant, they’re more likely to stop scrolling to find out more.
Get users to stop and read your content by incorporating referral marketing into your social media content. Millennials are more likely to be receptive to this than standard Facebook ads.
Start by figuring out who your customer advocates are. These are customers who’ve used your product and based on their positive experience are most likely to refer your product to other people. You can even use referral marketing that targets influencers who are willing to share special offers with their network of friends and family.
How to market to millennials
Life Fitness Gym is a gym equipment supplier for licensed facilities and home gyms. Their focus is on providing innovative, state-of-the-art equipment to help customers lead active and healthy lives.
This Facebook ad offers customer advocates a $50 gift card to Karma Athletics — a fitness activewear company — when they refer a friend. This ad does a few things well:
- It offers a reward that customers will find useful. Chances are, if they’re working out, they need work-out clothes.
- Life Fitness Gym partners with another fitness company.
- It uses the “chance to win” as an incentive to boost customer acquisition. It doesn’t offer a referral incentive for every advocate, but rather creates a sense of urgency that naturally gets people to refer and new customers to come on board.
Use tactics like these to market to your millennial customers. Find out what other brands your audience follows and partner with different brands to increase interest in your offer. Consider offering a referral that rewards both the advocate and the referred customer. This way, both sides have something to gain by doing business with you.
Research shows that referrals are 4X more likely to generate sales, so carefully consider what type of offer is most relevant to your audience. For example, will a discount, points system, gift card or something else have the most impact and convert more millennial customers?
4. Millennials are concerned about health and environmental issues
Organic food sales are on the rise with “the health and wellness food market expected to grow to approximately $1.1 trillion by 2019.” With an increased push by consumers to know more about what’s going into their foods, companies are responding by offering healthier solutions.
Remember millennials like to research, so they’re spending more time online researching the benefits of natural, organic foods and the impact of production and delivery on the environment before they purchase.
To have your content appear at the top of search engine results pages, use Google ads that focus on keywords millennials are searching for.
How to market to millennials
Whole Foods Market is a national supermarket chain that offers customers a wide selection of natural and organic products. They use Google ads that cater to the types of information that’s most important to health-conscious millennials.
For example, phrases like “organic foods,” “vegan products,” and “paleo” are each searched thousands of times a month.
To research your audience and the types of keywords they search for, create a Google Ads account. Once on the dashboard, click on “Keyword Planner” in the tools menu at the top of the page:
From here, you have two options. You can either find new keywords based on what you think your audience is searching for, or you can compare different keywords and get the monthly volumes and forecasts for each one.
If you’d like to research keywords first, then click on “Find new keywords” and enter your list to get started:
Use the resulting report to see how the keywords you chose — and related ones — perform each month. Consider this data as you think about the copy and CTAs you’ll use to target your millennial audience.
5. Marketing value experiences over physical products
Unlike their parents before them, 49% of millennials see shopping more as a social activity than an errand. Millennials who shop online are interested in the user experience more than buying products, and millennials who shop in stores enjoy browsing through stores, grabbing lunch, and spending time with friends.
The social and engaging aspects of shopping mean that “78% of millennials would rather spend their money on experiences than coveted goods.” To cater to this preference, you can position your ads and social media content to focus more on the experience of using your products vs. the products themselves.
How to market to millennials
Fitbit is a popular brand of wearable tech. With it, users can track their steps per day, heart rate, weight, and even sleep patterns. Their product line has expanded from fitness trackers to also include smartwatches, a fitness app, and more. Rather than only trying to sell new customers on the benefits of using their products, Fitbit runs social media campaigns that focus on fitness. You’ll recall that millennials are health conscious, so this type of content will catch their eye.
Use Fitbit’s approach to create campaigns — like the Goal Day campaign — that customers can join in on. The goal here is to:
- Create experiences millennials will want to take part in.
- Also create a sense of FOMO (the fear of missing out).
- Incorporate social proof.
This approach works for you in two ways:
- You create experiences that are so relevant to your audience that they feel compelled to take part.
- You show that other people in the campaign are having a positive experience.
For this last part, Fitbit includes user-generated content in its experiential campaigns:
Notice how Fitbit’s branding is clear and consistent throughout their different campaigns? Do the same thing so that customers get familiar with you and your products. This way, when they’re ready to buy something, they’ll come to you first because they remember you and the experience they had during your campaigns.
Start Marketing to Millennials, Now!
The first step in marketing to millennials is to get to know your specific target audience.
There are millions of millennials to market to so choose which segment you want to focus on and get to know their needs and expectations.
Once you have more insights, you can tailor your ads and content.
Pick the top two or three characteristics of your chosen segment and start creating content engaging enough to convince millennials they can trust you.
Create a diverse Ads strategy possibly using more than one platform.
Just like anything else in marketing, experiment until you find the best combination of tactics, campaigns, content, and ads that your millennial customers respond to.