Millennials are a hot topic for small businesses around the world. While it’s tempting to lump them in with preceding generations, the fact that they grew up in an era of unprecedented personal technology means that their expectations and behavior are fundamentally different.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind if you want to get their attention:
Millennials are all about collaboration and sharing
Millennials grew up with social media. Every event, positive or negative, is shared on those networks. That has made them a generation of collaborators. This, combined with their resistance to direct selling, means your marketing team has to take a different approach. You must join them on social media to have a chance. Use influencers to get them to notice your brand. Hold campaigns that reward them sharing how they use your product.
Millennials trust word of mouth and friends
Reviews remain an important part of building trust in your brand, but traditional review sites are viewed with suspicion. Whatever you think of the stigma, the fact is many millennials are loath to trust professional reviewers. Many think the risk of paid reviews is worth the distrust, so they turn to social media for their reviews.
To build trust in your small business, you must approach them from social media. That means having a social network presence, as well as a greater focus on developing customer loyalty. Once you have someone, you must do everything you can to keep them. The more loyal they are, the more likely they are to sing your praises on their accounts.
Millennials are more internet savvy
Desktop computers still have a function, but most millennials are more connected to their phones or mobile devices. Over 85 percent of this demographic has a smartphone. This is why the vast majority of them distrust most forms of advertising. They grew up knowing the dangers of advertising and the problems of clickbait.
The problem you face is approaching them on social media successfully. They must be approached with subtlety. Advertisements must be native or seem like part of whatever content they’re consuming at the moment. Alternatively, you frontload your advertisements to either catch their attention immediately or to deliver your message before they realize it’s an ad and their bias kicks in.
Millennials love deals
The economy is unstable, and no one knows that like millennials. They’re expected to perform at the same or greater level than the previous generation, despite the fact that the vast majority of wealth in the world has been earned by said generation. This has pressured them to get the most out of every dollar. They’re willing to like Facebook pages just for the chance to win something or because they’ll get a coupon or discount out of it.
While this stingy behavior might be scary at the surface, it represents an opportunity. They’re willing to interact with you if you give them enough value for the interaction. Focus on using that fact in your marketing campaigns and you should do better.
Millennials are loyal
Once you have a millennial’s loyalty, you’re likely never going to lose it. Just look at any product forums; there’s always someone defending any and all of the parent company’s decisions. While there is a line that cause provoke them to move on to another provider, most companies know not to cross that line.
The problem you face is getting that loyalty. Having a family of products that interact with each other can create that loyalty, as with each purchase they become more inclined to stay with your small business. You should also put greater emphasis on the consumer experience through improved customer service and by actively seeking their feedback.
Bottom line, Millennials wield over $2 billion worth of buying power annually, and that number is set to grow into the trillions over the next decade. This is not a market many small businesses can afford to ignore, but you can’t just wade into the thick of it and expect your company to succeed. They’re a unique generation, one that grew side-by-side with technology. The moment you understand and embrace that fact is the moment your small business truly has a fighting chance.