Millennials are now the largest generation in America. The approximately 80,000,000 millennials in America make up a quarter of the population and account for over $2 billion in buying power. That economic impact will continue to grow as the parents and grandparents of millennials leave inheritances to this generation.

Born between 1980 and 2000, millennials are considered the first digital generation. They grew up using technology and are accustomed to the digital world.  Because of their background with technology, traditional methods of advertising to millennials have not been effective. If your business is looking to attract members of this huge generation, you’re going to have to change things up a bit.

Millennials are frequently stereotyped as lazy and unmotivated. But the opposite is true. Millennials are highly educated, career driven, and politically progressive. They spend a lot of time online, adapt quickly to new devices, and multitask while using technology. They are traditionally underemployed and carry the heavy burden of high student loan debt. Because of the monetary struggles faced by many in this generation, millennials are looking for choices that make good economic sense and appeal to their need for instant gratification.

As a business owner, that you need to understand how to advertise in ways that work with the millennial customer mindset. They are savvy shoppers looking for deals, but they also want to know that their money is being put to good use by trustworthy companies. Let’s take a look at what you need to know to bring in millennials, get them to make a purchase, and keep them coming back.

 

Attracting Millennials

Skip traditional advertising. Millennials have grown up being able to fast-forward through or skip commercials. They use ad blocking software on social media. Millennials are not looking to be “sold” on your product or business. Instead, they want to engage with your brand online.

 

They want to trust you

Build your online marketing presence around the concept of trust. Your product or business needs to do what it says it’s going to do. If you use gimmicks or make deals only available if you’ve read the fine print, you will not be popular with the millennial clients. For example, if you run a gym or fitness center or yoga studio and you’re offering a certain monthly rate deal, make sure the deal is available to anyone who walks into the studio and doesn’t require additional contracts or purchases. If a millennial client finds that your advertising is misleading, they will not hesitate to call you out on social media. This will let other millennial clients know that your business can’t be trusted.

 

They want platform flexibility

In addition to being honest, your business needs to be available to follow on multiple platforms. Millennials work on laptops, cell phones, and wearable devices, sometimes all at once. They want their experience with your brand to be seamless from one device to the next. If that is difficult, they will not waste time engaging with your content or visiting your business. This is especially important for businesses like restaurants and cafés. Millennials want to know what’s on your menu and the pricing before they come in. They want to be able to check your menu while they’re at work on their computers or using their cell phones while they’re commuting.

 

They want an experience

Millennials are all about the experience of a brand.  How they feel when engaging with your business online and how they will feel after purchasing your products or visiting your location are important to highlight when advertising. The millennial generation prefers experiences to things. You can use testimonials and stories of previous customer experiences to help millennials understand what they’ll get from your brand.

 

Getting Millennials to Make a Purchase

Millennials want to have genuine conversations with your employees. They want to feel respected, listened to, and understood. Most millennials review products and services online. They want authenticity and will call out brands that don’t follow through.

 

They’ll check out your rep

Millennials value what their friends have to say about your business. They ask around online for recommendations of where to eat, shop, and work out. Make it easy for millennials to share their experiences with your brand. When they visit your business, encourage them to post public reviews. And remind your employees that this type of feedback is not only welcome but can make or break a business.

 

They’ll shop around

Millennials are known to shop online. In fact, 41% say they go online while in stores to check out prices and sales in other locations before committing to a purchase. Remember, this generation is saddled with high debt, so much so that many of them are still living with parents well into their 20s and 30s. Affordability and economy are important to millennials. Make sure your prices are fair and comparable. Because millennials can be penny pinchers, add-on deals can make your business especially attractive over competitors. Offer discounts to social media followers or people who write reviews. Consider having special sneak peek deals for new customers.

 

They’ll appreciate payment flexibility

One part of dealing with heavy debt is living on a fixed budget. If you make it easy for millennials to use flexible payment structures and tools, such as Affirm, which lets users pay for purchases over time, they’ll be more likely to give you a chance. Millennials also use payment services like PayPal. Accepting these different types of payments makes your business more in line with millennials habits.

 

In addition to payment flexibility, make sure you move toward mobile couponing. Millennials are not cutting coupons from the Sunday paper like previous generations. They want to pull up a coupon on their phone, tablet, or smart watch, swipe, and get their discount.

 

They’ll expect fast service

Millennials don’t like to wait. They’ve grown up with the instant gratification of knowledge thanks to the Internet. In the last few years, they’ve also come to expect instant gratification of goods and services with on-demand streaming of movies and music and one-touch ordering of grocery delivery. If you’re going to offer a deal, don’t make it something they have to come back to get. For example, if you run a salon and offer a free mani-pedi with purchase of a haircut, don’t make the customer come back next month for the nail services.

 

They’ll respond to access, not ownership

Millennials have grown up in an era of music sharing and ride sharing. They don’t think it’s necessary to own cars and homes when those things can be shared or rented. Use this mindset to offer new products and services. If you run a gym, what about implementing a membership share between two or three friends? If you own a restaurant consider letting the whole table’s purchases go onto one customer’s reward or frequent diner card. Do you have a product that customers can rent or borrow rather than own? If so, consider how to make it accessible to millennials who are looking to use things rather than possess them.

 

They’ll shop to give back

Millennials are civic minded and politically engaged. They enjoy using products that give back to society in some way. Charity and fundraising are important to them and they are 37% more likely to purchase something when it’s cause related. Your business’s interest in doing good is something millennials want to know more about. Have fundraisers, donate a percentage of memberships or purchases to an important organization, or offer products that give back in some way.

 

Gaining Millennial Loyalty

 

They’ll come back for high quality

Like all savvy shoppers, once millennials have decided on a brand, they remain loyal. And even though they’re sometimes strapped for cash, millennials prefer quality goods to cheap ones. This can be seen in the failing fast food market. Millennials will go out of their way, and spend more money, on brands that source quality materials and ingredients.

 

They’ll continue to purchase products they help create

Millennials want their voices heard. They enjoy writing reviews of businesses and offering their opinions on what can be made better. They want to be included in the process of creating and customizing products. Oreo did this successfully by asking for suggestions about new flavor options. Coca-Cola did this by sponsoring a short-film showcase and showing the videos online.

 

They’ll use social media for deals

If millennials are following your business on social media, it’s likely they’re looking for a deal. Keep your deals fresh, current, and related to what the market is looking for. For example, if your café offered a free coffee when users comment on an Instagram post and that was a wildly popular promotion, do it with some regularity.

 

They’ll stick around if you respond online

Millennials don’t like to make phone calls. They are a generation of texters, tweeters, and posters. If you require your millennial clientele to reach you by phone or even by email, you’ll lose them. Millennials want to reach you by text, tweet, or post comment, and they want a quick response. If you want to keep this young generation spending at your business, you’ll make sure to monitor social media for messages.

 

Take Aways

Millennial clients can bring a lot to your business. They not only have some money to spend now but will have more in the future as they continue to fill jobs vacated by Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. Millennials share their knowledge of businesses, goods, and services with friends, families, and strangers all over the Internet. Your business can thrive once you understand how to attract millennials customers, how to make them customers, and how to keep them happy.

Lisa Andersen
Lisa Andersen Content Editor
Part of Planday’s content team in Copenhagen, Lisa is into yoga and loves good writing. Her experience includes working with communication and PR for international grassroots organizations in Argentina and Bolivia.