If you haven’t made connecting with millennials a prime focus of your business strategy, it’s time to start. Millennials, those people born between 1982 and 2000, currently account for 83.1 million of the U.S. population, officially outnumbering Boomers.
The idea that they are a bunch of listless 20-somethings is mostly wrong, too. A large swath of this group is in their 30s. They have great jobs, own homes — and have tremendous buying power. In fact, millennials are projected to spend $1.4 trillion shopping each year by 2020.
If you aren’t targeting them, you could fall behind competitors who are giving them the marketing experience that want. But what is that exactly?
We’re generalizing millions of diverse of people, ranging in ages from their late teens to late 30s, so there will be exceptions to the rule. However, studies are pointing to these best practices for how to attract and engage this cohort — and keep them loyal.
Don’t be phony
The good news: 60% of millennials remain loyal to brands they purchase. The challenge is proving that your brand is worthy of their support.
For them to continue doing business with you, you better be providing them plenty of value for their money and exceeding when it comes to customer service. However, to get them in the door, so to speak, you can’t be phony. A whopping 90 percent of millennials want authenticity when deciding which brands to choose.
Figure out the purpose of your business, what your company stands for, and then offer a consistent, positive brand message across all your content and marketing channels.
Make your content valuable
Millennials don’t want to be sold to, and they are prone to use ad blockers and unfollow companies or unsubscribe to emails from businesses who share too many promotions. If your content is highly promotion, they won’t pay much attention to it.
Especially when it comes to the content you create, make sure you are offering something they can actually use in the real world. Provide tips and advice in everything you share. The more you do, the more they’ll grow to trust you, and the more likely they are to engage with your brand. The key is to build relationships, not push product.
Rethink your view of content
Most millennials—83%—find online content useful in making purchasing decisions, but they increasingly prefer visual content that enables them to grasp information in a very short time. Think: seconds instead of minutes.
Content can range from home-grown videos, like super short Q&As with the company president to highly produced animations. Microblog posts and infographics are also effective.
That’s not saying you should do away with longer form content, like whitepapers, ebooks and blog posts. That type of content is critical to helping millennial buyers feel fully informed before they make a buying decision. Strike a balance, however, and use the short visual content to draw people in and then introduce them to the longer pieces.
Also, opt for interactive content when it makes sense. Millennials are especially receptive to quizzes, polls, calculators, clickable videos and infographics, and sliders.
Recruit consumers to create content
Millennials are big fans of user-generated content—images, videos, text and audio, that they create and share online to support a brand. It’s a highly successful marketing tactic, from a business perspective, too.
You deepen relationships with your loyal customers, who love seeing their content shared. Because testimonials from real people are more powerful than any marketing message you could write, they help you find new customers.
Plus, it’s low cost and adds to the authenticity that millennials covet. It doesn’t have to be elaborate either. Simply ask your followers to send in their favorite pictures of them using your product, for example, and let the audience pick their favorite. The winner receives a prize.