Millennials – the digital savvy generation that doesn’t call customer reps anymore, instead prefer efficient self-service.

With a population reaching 73 million, millennials (aka Generation Y) are now poised to become the largest generation in the U.S. This makes millennials one of, if not the most important audiences for many marketers. As people who were born in the early 80s to the mid-90s, millennials grew up on traditional forms of marketing. They watched TV commercials, saw ads in newspapers and magazines, and browsed through product catalogs.

While millennials are by no means averse to new technologies, they tend to be more suspicious of today’s digital marketing practices than their younger, Generation Z counterparts.

If millennial customers are a crucial audience for marketers but are cautious of digital marketing, how do you successfully market to them? Here are four effective ways.

Make your products social media-worthy

This is a simple yet highly effective millennial marketing tactic.

Why? Because whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, millennial customers love to be on social media. More than 88% of millennials use social media, spending more than 6 hours a week just browsing social media platforms.

Don’t worry if your product isn’t all that unique. You can still make it stand out and encourage your customers to talk about it on social media.

For example, say you’re doing marketing for a restaurant. The restaurant industry is over-saturated, but there are still ways to get an audience for your product.

In addition to serving high-quality food, make sure your brand and products are visually-appealing. Make sure the plating is clean and attractive, as this will entice customers to take pictures and share for their followers to see.

This kind of promotion will allow you to achieve two things at the same time. You get to tell your brand story through your customers, and you get free advertising.

Be authentic

Traditional ads are costly, and in some cases, they may not be as effective as you think. Millennials, for instance, largely tune out ads. In fact, a survey conducted by Forbes stated that only 1% of millennials were influenced by advertising. A major reason for this is due to the fact that millennial customers don’t find traditional advertising genuine.

When engaging with brands, millennials look for the “real appeal.” In fact, 43% of millennial customers say that a brand’s authenticity is more important than their content. When consuming content like video ads, millennials avoid those that are overly promotional.

This isn’t to say ads can’t be authentic—they can. When properly executed, ads can convey a powerful message that your audience will actually care about. If you want to know how to create a meaningful ad, you can take notes from Nike’s recently released “Dream Crazier” commercial.

 

Featuring a voice-over by tennis superstar Serena Williams, the entire ad is a one-minute and 30-second montage of various female athletes in their respective sports. The ad doesn’t promote any specific product. Instead, it shows the power of women who have overcome the barriers of a male-dominated sports industry. More than that, it shows how they can inspire others.

Being authentic applies to any kind of content, not just video ads. The key here is to stop selling your products or services, whether it be on your blog posts, email offers, or ads.

What you should do is focus on helping your audience.

Don’t have the marketing budget for Nike-level ads? No problem. You can release blog content on your website instead. Publish blogs that provide your audience with either actionable insights or information they couldn’t gather by themselves. They may not make a quick purchase from you, but you’ll gain something far more important: trust.

Support a good cause

In the world of marketing, simply having a great product or service isn’t always enough. Customers literally have thousands upon thousands of high-quality products and services to choose from, so you need to find another way to set your brand apart.

Give potential customers the perfect reason to buy what you’re offering.

Research shows that 84% of millennials give to charity. In addition to that, almost 40% of millennials say they are more likely to make a purchase if their purchase supports a cause.

It’s clear that millennial customers are one of the most generous demographics today. Supporting a good cause and appealing to that sense of generosity enables you to give back to your community, while also doing wonders for your marketing and PR efforts.

That’s a win-win situation.

Thinking of ways your brand can support a good cause? Allow Toms to give you inspiration.

Be mobile-responsive

As a marketer, you need to meet millennials where they are. This means optimizing your campaigns for mobile because millennial customers are a mobile-savvy generation. More than 85% of them own smartphones, and they check their phones an average of 150 times a day.

This is why all your media and communications—from your website to your ads to your email newsletters—need to be easily viewable across a variety of mobile devices.

Since millennials generally visit websites using their smartphones, you need to have a well-designed and mobile-responsive website. Otherwise, there’s a strong possibility that your millennial audience will just bounce away from your website.

Millennials also prefer to check their emails on mobile rather than desktop, so your emails must be optimized for mobile as well.

The most ideal way to go about this is to look for an email service that offers responsive email templates. Since these email templates are already mobile-responsive, you no longer need to do any sort of coding. You can start sending emails right way, which makes your job a whole lot easier.

Wrap up

From content to design to functionality, these tips cover almost every facet of digital marketing.

You can do the more simple ones first or you can do them all, depending on your budget and the bandwidth of your team. Start as soon as possible, then ramp up your efforts when you start seeing success.


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About the Author

Lane Harbin is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Campaign Monitor, an easy-to-use email marketing platform that empowers marketers to send targeted campaigns that grow their business. She enjoys binge-listening to podcasts, catching up on the latest tech news, and constantly rearranging her living room.

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