19 Strategies to Market to Millennials

Article first published November 2017, updated June 2019

Millennials have overtaken the baby boomers, and are now the
largest generation in the US, according to
Pew Research Center
. This audience, consisting of those born
between 1981 and 1997, is savvy. They grew up consuming media and
are skeptical of many marketing efforts.

Some companies have prospered, but many marketers continue to
struggle to connect with millennials in a meaningful way. If
revenue and growth are the goals, then
marketers need to have strategies
for marketing to this
group.

When writer Danny Dover was asked by Post Planner what he
thought about
marketing to millennials
, he said,

“For businesses that don’t market to millennials, it might
be the last mistake they make. Millennials, while certainly not
perfect, are the future.”

If millennials are the future, then marketers need to plan
accordingly. How can you do that? You can start by creating a
millennial marketing strategy.

How do you market to millennials? 19 actionable strategies for
marketing to millennials

Millennials have a lot of buying power right now. You can take
advantage of that with the right game plan. To help you get
started, here are 19 outbound marketing strategies that’ll change
the way you present your brand, products, and/or service to the
millennial generation.

1. Keep up with best practices in design.

Web design best practices can often be tricky to nail down, as
they’re always evolving, and tech-savvy millennials are at the
forefront of that evolution. Don’t fall behind them. Schedule
regular assessments and updates at least once a year.

We recommend bookmarking DesignBetter.co, a new project
from InVision.
DesignBetter.co stays up to date with podcasts, interviews, and
insights on best design practices from the world’s top design
leaders.

2. Go minimal.

Minimal is always better when you’re marketing to a
millennial. Get to the point quickly because, once their attention
is lost, they’ll close your app, exit the browser tab, or, worse,
unfollow you.

Think of a brand like Google. There’s nothing too flashy about
the Google brand or any of their products, yet people flock to them
in droves. Their focus is on a clean interface that lends itself
well to a superior user experience, and their brand messaging is
short, quick, and friendly.

Google Minimal Brand Messaging

3. Get responsive.

A 2016 Bank of America survey found that 39% of millennials

spend more time with their smartphones
than with the people in
their lives.

If you want to make a good first impression with your marketing
landing page, you better ensure it’s responsive. Whenever you
send outbound marketing messages, be sure to consider how they look
across devices.

4. Make your content scannable.

Because millennials spend so much time with multiple devices all
day long, they’re used to shortcuts. Sadly, this means they
don’t take much time to read through everything you give them. So
your content should cater to this through:

  • Shorter sentences and paragraphs
  • Bullet points, numbered lists, and other formatting
    “breaks”
  • Header tags for easy scanning
  • Less copy and more images that convey your story

WebDevStudios Scannable Content

5. Keep it casual.

Matthew Manos of VeryNice.co
summed it up well when he said, “This isn’t the Mad Men era…
you can’t put a clever line on a poster and expect my generation
to read it—instead, you need to initiate a conversation and talk
with us, not at us.”

Slack is a great example of a
company that uses a casual, approachable voice in their branding.
Their software allows teams and groups to quickly connect through
chat, and their friendly messaging is reminiscent of just
that—chatting with a team member.

Slack Casual Brand Messaging

6. Be true to yourself and your audience.

Remember when BIC decided it was a good idea to
market a pen
made specifically for women? It didn’t go so
well for them. As Scott Cowley, an Arizona State Digital Marketing
Strategy Instructor explained:

“BIC did not attempt to create a meaningful brand proposition
beyond ‘this product is for those with XX chromosomes,’’ and
the results were ugly. If you attempt to create a product or
service where the loudest selling proposition is ‘this is for
millennials,’ the market has every right to punish you.”

Remember: when it comes to marketing to millennials, don’t
focus on the tangible. Instead, focus on the experience of what
it’s like to use your product or service. They want to understand
the value you’re going to add to their life.

7. Visualize the story.

That said, millennials would much rather watch than read. With
shorter attention spans and busy lives, visual content is much
easier for them to digest than a lengthy page describing how your
service works.

  • Tell your company’s story with visuals
  • Avoid stock photos as much as possible.
  • Use real photos that reflect who you are as a company and what
    you do.
  • Play around with other content that fits your brand’s
    personality. For example, memes, GIFs, and infographics.
  • Ensure that every visual element is high quality.

Don’t forget about the design of the site too. Images and
videos are great, but your site needs to consistently tell a story,
from the colors you choose to the fonts you use.

Airbnb Visual Content Design

8. Be transparent.

Millennials are a hard group to crack, when it comes to loyalty.
However, marketers have found that user-generated content (UGC) is
one way to get around this hiccup, as they tend to trust their
peers more. So a thumbs-up vote from others will go a long way in
helping you instill trust and build loyalty.

There are some ways you can use UGC on your site:

  • Enable reviews and ratings for your products or services.
  • Include customer testimonials.
  • Add photos and videos from customers that showcase how your
    products look, feel, or can be used.

For example, Wanted
Shoes
was able to use UGC to give their site a 30% boost in
conversions.

Wanted Shoes User-Generated Content Marketing

9. Simplify site navigation.

Millennials are always in a rush to get things done, even if
they have nowhere to go. It’s that need for instant gratification
that comes with being raised around technology and automation.
Naturally, they’re going to expect it from your marketing
site.

A good place to start is with your navigation. Keep your menus
simplified and in easy-to-find locations (like a hamburger menu).
Use clear directional cues elsewhere on your site to draw their
attention directly to where they need to go.

QuickBooks Simple, Fast Site Navigation

10. Simplify conversion points.

On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll want to simplify
conversion points (like checkout, for example). Speed is a
necessity for millennials, so shorter forms, one-click purchases,
auto-fill functionality, and secure and fast payment gateways are
essential.

11. Integrate with social.

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise, as millennials are
synonymous with social media. Whether you’re sending users to a
landing page or an app, don’t forget to include:

  • Social media “follow” icons
  • Like, share, and count buttons
  • Social feed widgets
  • Click-to-Tweet text highlights
  • One-click sign-in (for customer portals, checkout, etc.)

OkCupid Social Integration & Marketing to Millennials

12. Create a seamless experience.

Use conversions as the connecting link between all contact
channels. This means that, if someone purchases a product on your
site, they’re then added to your newsletter as well as your CRM
contact list. They’ll also see a pop-up that invites them to
share their purchase on social media, inspiring others to get the
same thing. And then you can even send them an SMS when their
product ships.

Millennials are everywhere, and their interactions with you
should help you meet them wherever else they may be.

13. Add self-support options.

Millennials may want you to be everywhere, but that doesn’t
necessarily mean they want you hassling them any chance you get. In
fact, many of them appreciate the opportunity to take care of
matters on their own, when it comes to support.

By now, you likely know the most common questions and issues
that arise, so you can use that information to create a
self-support system within your millennial marketing strategy that
includes:

  • An FAQ
  • Knowledgebase
  • Video tutorials
  • Troubleshooting blog posts.

Where older customers might be accustomed to getting on the
phone with an operator to solve a problem quickly, tech-savvy
millennials can do things for themselves. With this option, users
can answer their questions quickly, which could lead them to a
conversion point faster.

Pagely Self-Support System Marketing to Millennials

14. Give them a platform for connection.

When millennials are ready to talk to you, make sure you give
them options to do so (contact forms, surveys, live chat, Facebook
messenger, social media customer service, etc.).

Creative Slice Customer Service & Support

15. Personalize.

Thanks to big data and all the cloud-based software that
streamlines the process of managing and analyzing it, we now can
personalize visitors’ on-site experiences.
Colin Newcomer
recently wrote about various ways you can do
this, including suggestions for these tools:

  • Bunting – skews towards
    e-commerce personalization.
  • Optimizely – split
    testing and web personalization wrapped into one.
  • Unbounce – personalized
    landing pages, but you need to use the Unbounce platform.
  • Monetate – like Hyver,
    targets the full customer journey, but specifically for e-commerce
    sites.

16. Use incentives.

Millennials are very open about how much
they love a good deal
and how much those money-saving offers
play into their decision to convert, so why not take advantage of
that information when marketing to them? You can use a variety of
tools on site, through email marketing, and on social media to get
those special offers and loyalty rewards out to them

Bark Box Email & Social Media Marketing Offers

17. Do good.

If your company is involved in the community and in giving back,
don’t be shy about sharing it. Forbes reported that most
millennials have a very high opinion of
companies with a strong philanthropic spirit
.

18. Maintain a blog.

A blog is an important part of your millennial marketing
strategy because it’s a great way to show off who the people are
behind your company. It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate that
you’re focused on delivering real value to your customers and
that it’s not just about the bottom line.

Many millennials rely primarily on blogs to
help them make a purchasing decision
, which means this is
something your site can’t afford to be without.

DevriX Blog Marketing to Millennials 

19. Test your site’s performance.

Even if your visitors don’t understand how everything works
behind the scenes, they have websites like Facebook and Amazon
telling them that it’s possible to process high volumes of
traffic and still provide a fast and flawless experience to
visitors.

What’s more is that Facebook
penalizes you for slow load times
. That means, if your site is
slow, fewer people will see your content in their Facebook news
feed, which could kill your social marketing efforts.

With a bar set that high, you’ll have to do everything you can
to provide a high-quality performance as well.

So, rather than set it and forget it, make sure to regularly
test your site for:

  • Speed
  • Stress
  • Alternative scenarios
  • Broken links
  • Security

Don’t worry if this sounds overwhelming and something you
aren’t equipped to do on your own, that’s why companies
like the one I work for
exist.

Bonus: Market to Gen Z.

Millennials are an important part of your outbound marketing
strategy. You need to know what kinds of experiences millennials
prefer, what percent of millennials will be interested in what you
have to offer, and how to present it to them. All of this requires
time spent doing marketing to millennials research.

However, while creating an awesome outbound marketing plan,
don’t want forget another important part of the population:
Generation Z.

Gen Z consists of anyone
born between 1995 and 2010
. This portion of our population is
steadily growing, and, now that many of them have reached
adulthood, their buying power has significantly increased as
well.

A segment of your email marketing campaign should be aimed at
each generation, including Gen Z. Like millennials, Generation Z
spends a lot of its time online, whether they’re checking emails
or engaging with friends and brands on social media.

How can you take advantage of their time spent online and

market to Generation Z
? Here are a few tips that can help.

1. Add more video into your content strategy.

Video is the
future of content marketing
. It hasn’t surpassed written
content yet, but it’s a definite close second.

Are you taking advantage of video marketing? Many businesses
plan on adding this type of content marketing into their strategy
this year, and for good reason.

Both millennials and Gen Z often prefer video content because it
delivers information to them quickly. They can take in more
information in a smaller amount of time.

How can you
add video to your marketing strategy
?

  • Add videos to your email marketing campaigns.
  • Incorporate Instagram Stories and Facebook Live videos into
    your marketing plan.
  • Create a YouTube channel and share video updates with your
    social media followers and email subscribers.

2. Grab their attention fast with creative subject lines.

Generation Z checks their email multiple times throughout the
day. They’re always up to date with all things social media, as
well as what’s in their email inbox.

This is great for email marketers. However, there’s one thing
you must watch out for: Gen Z has a very short attention span. You
only have a few seconds to make a good first impression.

How can you do this? Spend extra time on your —perfecting them
so that they grab your readers’ attention right away.

3. Try incentives.

Marketing to Gen Z is like marketing to millennials, in some
ways—one of which is that neither generation likes the hard sell.
It’s an instant turn-off for them. Any email that sounds like
you’re trying to sell them something will end up deleted, and,
even worse, it could cause them to unsubscribe completely.

As with millennials, Gen Z like incentives. Improve customer
engagement with loyalty programs, promotions, and other incentives
that’ll provide your subscribers with a feel-good experience.
Doing so will put you into the category of brands that provide
something of real value to them.

Wrap up

While some of these suggestions are quick fixes, others might
take a bit more time and effort. Get started where your team has
the capacity, and make decisions on how to keep moving forward
based on what seems to be working best for your brand.

Millennials keep marketers on our toes when it comes to design,
messaging, content management, and engagement. In essence,
marketing to millennials makes us work harder and be smarter. They
are, in a way, the perfect audience because they allow us to
continue growing and learning as marketers.

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19 Strategies to Market to Millennials
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19 Strategies to Market to Millennials