Marketing to young adults has always been important.
Yet with the rise of millennials, it’s more important than ever before. These young adults spend more time online than any other age group. According to Crowdtap, the average millennial consumes almost 18 hours of online media per day.
Millennials are also the largest living generation in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau now states that there are over 75 million millennials in the country (if the definition is taken as those between the ages of 18 and 34 in 2015).
So what does all this mean for you as a small business owner or online marketer? It means you better make targeting millennials a key part of your overall online marketing strategy.
The difficult part is that millennials consume online media (especially advertising) a lot differently than previous generations. The same old marketing techniques simply don’t cut it with this young, tech-savvy audience.
Here is what you need to know about online marketing to millennials, including the top ways to put what you learn into practice.
Millennials and Money
Millennials have an interesting relationship with money.
Unlike other generations that mimic baby boomer spending habits, millennials spend their money in a wholly unique way.
They’re much more cost-conscious and budget-conscious. They put off large purchases until later rather than buying them at the first opportunity.
The recent economic recession is largely to blame for many of these penny-pinching spending habits. Millennials experienced the brunt of the recession and have adapted their views of money around it.
Millennials also view brands much more differently than previous generations. They’re not as worried about brand names and will switch brands at a moment’s notice.
The exception is brands that they trust. Millennials will often stick with a brand through hard times if that brand has developed an authentic relationship with them.
With that said, if you take one thing away today, let it be that trust is of utmost importance to the millennial generation.
Millennials and Technology
Just as they have a unique relationship with money, millennials also have a unique relationship with technology.
The biggest difference between millennials and other generations when it comes to technology is that millennials were the first group to grow up with the Internet. In that sense, this makes them the first digital natives.
Being the first generation to grow up with the Internet also means that millennials spend a heck of a lot of time online. As mentioned above, the average millennial spends up to 18 hours per day taking in online media of various forms.
Campus Technology goes on to state that the average millennial is online on their mobile phone for roughly 3 hours per day. A good deal of that time is spent on various social networking platforms.
TNS market research group backs up this claim with a study that shows that 71% of millennials are active on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
This intimate familiarity with the web means that millennials know how to do in-depth research into products, services, and brands.
Rather than going with the company with the best advertisements, millennials check out what others (particularly friends and social influencers) have to say before making a final decision.
Once again, the key takeaway is that millennials highly value trust, engagement, and authenticity within a brand.
Tips for Marketing to Millennials
According to Rackspace, millennials have a combined direct spending power of $200 billion and a combined total spending power of $1.78 trillion.
If those figures don’t drill in why you need to focus a sizeable portion of your online marketing efforts towards this demographic, then nothing will.
Here are a few of the top tips to get you started at online marketing to a millennial audience.
- Mobile Marketing
Millennials use mobile devices like nobody’s business. Neilson reports that 85% of young adults own a smartphone.
Start your mobile marketing efforts by optimizing your website. Be sure to utilize responsive web design for a mobile-friendly site. Websites that are unwieldly won’t be frequented by mobile users for long.
- Go Beyond Traditional Advertising
Traditional advertising is all but useless when aimed at millennials.
Remember us expounding the importance of trust above? That’s right – traditional advertising doesn’t build brand trust in the eyes of millennials.
The top way to do this is to be completely honest. Don’t make untrue or exaggerated claims in your marketing materials. Millennials are expert fact-checkers. Stretch the truth and you’ll quickly lose their business.
- Be Authentic and Passionate
Millennials prize authenticity. Create an engaging brand image and hire passionate employees.
Don’t create the image that you’re just in business for the money. Show your young customers that you’re in business because you love what you do.
- Engage Your Audience
No longer can you just throw advertising in the faces of your audience. Millennials don’t want you yelling your message at them.
Instead, they value brands that actually engage them as people. So start a two-way conversation with your audience. Social media marketing is a key way to do this as it lets you interact directly with your customer base.
- Incorporate Video
Video is the future of content marketing. If you want to stay relevant in the coming years, you must make video content part of your overall marketing strategy.
This is especially true when marketing to millennials. These young adults consume up to 48% more video content than other age groups.
Video is much more engaging than text/image content and helps create that authenticity/trust that millennial Internet users so crave.
It’s easy to see why online marketing to millennials is so important when you have the facts in front of you.
Millennials are the most active Internet users and consume an insane amount of online content each day. They’re also quickly becoming the dominant generation in the work force, meaning they have more money to spend than ever before.
The information above provides a basic picture of what millennials want and how you can give it to them (while building your brand and making more money in the process).