Learn How to Market to Millennials From a Millenial

Hi, I’m Ashley and I’m classified as a “millennial”. I’m also one of the hardest generations to market to digitally. I come equipped with a digital and marketing-focused mindset. I’m tech-heavy, can type faster than most, and can see spam from a mile away. Marketers are having to compete for my attention among all of the other digital activity I partake in on a daily basis.

What defines me, and the other 79.8 million others as millennials? Glad you asked! The millennial generation represents a 20-year period of babies born from 1981 to the 2000’s. Chances are, a portion of millennials represent your demographic and they’re the audience you’re having the most difficult time trying to reach.

Thanks to the advanced tech-world, digital marketing to millennials isn’t as easy as it has been to market to Baby Boomers. Offline marketing worked great for the Baby Boomer generation, but isn’t as effective to the millennial demographic.

Millennials are using more channels, on more devices, and engaging themselves digitally regularly, while they throw out paper, don’t subscribe to print, and do subscribe to paperless accounts.

They’re so consumed with the digital world that they’re spending around 7.5 hours a day on the internet. Gen Xers only spend 6.5 hours, baby boomers spend about 5.3 hours and seniors spend as little as 4 hours a day.

From a handful of different social media websites, to online shopping, searching, and more, millennials lean more towards the digital world because it speaks to them. Therefore, marketers need to redefine their digital tactics to not just target millennials, but connect with them.

How? Great question! Let’s look at a few of the many ways you can better connect your business with the young adult generation.

Think Outside of the Social Media Box

Unlike what most business owners think, most millennials aren’t spending that 7.5 hours a day on just social media. They’re buying outfits, checking emails, searching the internet, watching online videos, messaging, interacting with apps, and a whole lot more.

Putting all of your eggs in a social media basket isn’t going to get you the biggest bang for your buck when targeting millennials. You need to also optimize for search. Do proceed with caution as you prepare to develop a SEO strategy focused on attracting millennials, though. This tech-forward generation knows how to spot keyword stuffed content, spammy tactics, and boring stock photos.

Millennials are only clicking on search results that speak to them and if you don’t provide the landing page, offer, or description that is authentic, your webpage will be exited faster than a pop-up ad.

Here’s a few tips to optimize successfully to millennials:

  1. Have an interactive mobile website. If your website isn’t mobile responsive, you’ve already lost to the millennial demographic. If it is mobile responsive, then the design and usability of the website needs to be incredibly simple and straightforward.Avoid extremely long articles that take up too much scroll time. Optimize to add video content that millennials can watch to absorb, without having to hold their phones for an hour plus. Provide call to actions that can be made directly from their cell phones and make it easy for users to share content from your website to their friends, followers, and family.
  2. Create scannable content. Sure, we (millennials) like to spend an hour and a half scrolling through our Instagram feeds, but we don’t want to actually read more than we have to.Create content that is easy to digest and looks attractive. Use bullet points, bold important information, provide external links, and create a 30- to 60-second videos that we can watch instead of reading. Provide the option without eliminating necessary content. Afterall, we are looking for information, we just want to digest it as quick as possible so we can move onto the next piece of content.
  3. Publish content that deserves to be shared. If you can’t keep the readers attention by crafting captivating content, than creating scannable content won’t matter. Publish content millennials will want to tell their friends about or give them the opportunity to create content themselves. This is something they’ll want to show off, increasing your brand exposure at the same time.

Don’t Focus on Advertisements

Millennials know better than to click on your PPC ad. They want an authentic user experience and can tell the difference between an advertisement and a real offer. They will even pay the monthly-fee to avoid listening to your ad, skip the commercial after 30 seconds, and will leave a webpage once a video ad starts playing.

I’m not necessarily saying to stop your social media advertising, as that does successfully reach millennials because it speaks their language. What millennials are more against are direct webpage advertisements like pop-up ads, video ads, Adwords, etc.

Instead of investing money towards these types of ads, invest the money into creating a better brand and defining the company. Make it easy for a millennial to fall in love with who your company is, not why they need to opt-in to your newsletter. This leads me to my next point.

Show Who Your Company Really Is

I’m going to retype that so you can read it one more time: Let us fall in love with who your company really is. What do you stand for? What are your values?

Millennials want to feel a part of something big, a community that represents passion, innovation, and greatness. Which is why they’ll chose to buy new shoes from the company that donates a pair with each purchase over a “cool” skateboarding company that’s half the price.

If you want to really attract a millennial’s attention, then spend more time and dollars on building the company’s role as a community, then on pay-per-click ads and opt-in banners.

Give Their Voice a Presence

Sixty-four percent of millennials say companies should offer more ways to share their opinions online. Even at young ages, millennials had access to technology and were able to let their voices be heard. Think back to AOL’s Instant Messenger. Millennials would chat among each other, sharing their voices, opinions, and much more. As technology grew, they were able to share that same voice more commonly.

Open up the opportunity for their voice to be shared on your platforms through social media contests, polls, reviews, and user-generated content. Eighty-four percent of millennials report that user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy.

UGC is a modern way to review a brand or product. Users get to speak for the brand through the content they’ve created, instead of the brand speaking for itself. This showcases an honesty to the brand and it’s products when real users are able to display and voice their opinions.


Do you have a method that has helped you target millennials? Share your favorite tips in the comments below!

About Ashley Ward

Ashley is the CEO & Founder of Madhouse Matters, an online-marketing company specializing in helping businesses develop their brand and presence online. In her spare time you'll find her researching the next big update, indulging in several different IPAs, and planning her next adventure.

Filed under: Internet Marketing