Millennials. The world is fascinated by them; evident by news coverage, political campaigns, the number of times you hear that word each day, and of course marketers trying to crack the code for how to reach them.  Yet despite how much attention millennials are getting, the rest of the world is still having trouble trying to understand what makes them click, and how to sell to them. Best tips for digital marketing to millennials.

Millennials are ambitious, but broke. They are diverse, and always on the move. They think everything is free, so they don’t buy anything. And they are so unlike any other generation, making it extremely difficult to target them when marketing. So why should companies even bother wasting their time marketing to millennials?

Turns out, the notion that millennials don’t buy things is wrong. Millennials do buy things, they just buy things differently. You may find it surprising that they annually represent $1.3 trillion in buying power.  Thus far, few companies have been successful at reaching out to millennials, but that is not to say it can’t be done.

Top Tips for Digital Marketing to Millennials

A major reason companies are failing at marketing to millennials is because a lot of the tips they’re reading about how to do it are wrong. In doing research for this blog, I saw this on a first-hand basis.  But luckily, as a millennial, and as a marketer, I am here to set things straight for you. I have explored all the tips out there on the world-wide web to create a list of 5, simple and accurate tips for you. We made our decisions based off of my perspective of being a millennial consumer. I combined this with my experience as a marketer. So here’s what I came up with the top tips for digital marketing to millennials.

1) Digital Content: Make It Authentic and Organic

Some say the word “authentic” became a buzzword with the millennial generation. It is understandable why; we grew up in the start of the digital revolution, a time when content became easily and widely accessible. Because of this, we have had to sift through all of the content to find the authentic, good stuff. Along the way, we have run into many advertisements, and poor quality content, that have become rather obnoxious. Ads have actually gotten to the point where they turn us off of a sale.

According to a study by the McCarthy group, 84% of millennials don’t like traditional advertising, nor do they trust it . Therefore it is important that when you create your content, it is actually relevant, interesting, well-done, and is not associated as an ad. Your content should show customers that you are interested in bettering their lives. The marketing blog, Hubspot described this perfectly, “Millennials want to feel like your content was created with their interest (not their wallet) in mind.”  If you can win millennial’s hearts, you can win their dollars. You can achieve this by creating tutorials, or how-to videos that your millennials customer will find very helpful. It is an important tip for tips for digital marketing to millennials.

You can also send a message through your content. A great example is Hostelworld’s campaign, “Meet the World”  which you can find here. This is an advertisement, but one that says “live” and “explore” but it does not scream “buy.” This campaign was successful, going viral and attracting the attention of many new customers.

2) Social Media

Creating content simply is not enough…you must promote it too. This is done via social media. Social media accomplishes 2 things: it builds followers and gets people talking about you.

Most social media platforms are great tools for people to use as discovery sources. Millennials spend hours scrolling through online feeds daily in search of new, interesting things. If you post and promote authentic content, people will want to see more and will follow you. It also is a great way to get millennial followers to engage with you. They may be less likely to fill out a survey, but they will tag you in a post they write about your product or service. This is important because millennials trust the word of their friends, and other people in general. Therefore, if people are saying good things about you on social media, they are more likely to believe it.

When building a social media strategy, ensure that you do no leave out some of the key “millennial” platforms. Most people immediately think that Facebook is the most important. While it remains a part of any social media strategy, it is often not number one in a millennial’s mind. As other generations began using Facebook more and more, many millennials transitioned to using other platforms, like Instagram and Pinterest. Snapchat is also on the rise and quickly becoming a useful tool for connecting with the millennial crowd.

3) Digital Content: Make it Visual

As mentioned in the previous “Digital Content” section, millennials are accustomed to seeing a lot of content. We sift through the bad stuff, and often times we are not even conscious of this. At this point, our brains require something very stimulating in order to get our attention.This is why visual content can be a great tool for capturing the attention of millennials. But visual content does more than just capture our attention. By providing us with something entertaining and enjoyable, it shows that you are interested in providing us with something. In this case you are providing an experience. This is exactly why Etsy became so popular so quickly. Digital content is important for tips for digital marketing to millennials.

Therefore if you don’t already have one, I suggest you open an Instagram account. Another great service to engage with is Pinterest. Although it is still considered to be social media, it is rapidly becoming a visual search engine.  They have over 100 million active users, and the number searches done on Pinterest has increased by 81% in the last year.

This is another indication that millennials love visual content. They are replacing traditional search engines with those that offer visuals as results.

4) Mobile-Friendly Marketing

A great way to connect with millennials is through the tool we use the most; roughly 85% of millennials own a smartphone. We have smartphones, not to send texts (a flip-phone works fine for that), but to browse the internet. Therefore, it is vital to have a mobile-friendly site. You can use this link to check if your site is mobile-friendly.

Also ensure that your site does not include any intense graphics or videos that are not optimized for mobile. This will slow down the loading process, and millennials are too “efficient” to wait 80 years for a page to load, and you’ll quickly lose their attention.

Make sure you are visible on product and discovery apps, such as on Yelp. You can also create your own app that is relevant to your product. For example, if you sell fitness equipment, start a tabata or fitness app. Make it solely about fitness, but offer reward points after each workout is complete. The reward points can be traded in for discounts for your products.

Finally, I would like to note that two of the popular and on-the-rise social media sites are apps. As of now, both Instagram and Snapchat remain apps where you cannot post without the app. This indicates the importance of mobile marketing.

5) Market to Values, Not Life Stages

Companies seem to be waiting for millennials to “grow up.” To get married, buy houses and have kids. But what they’re forgetting is that we are grown up. Millennials are now between the ages of 20 to 36. We just didn’t grow up like previous generations, so our purchasing habits do not revolve around these life stages.

We grew up in a time of economic hardship and recession, limiting our ability to follow this typical path. But, we also grew up in a world of choice; we know we have options. Options about our life, and options about our purchases.

So, while others continue to wait for us to grow up, you can start marketing to us now. Instead of marketing to the life stages, connect with us through our values: happiness, diversity, efficiency, social identities, travel and discovery.

This takes us back to the Hostelworld example. They saw that millennials value exploration, fun, and living life to the fullest. They marketed that message, and that value- and we loved it.

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