Business Advice Blog

How to Market to Millennials

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If your target audience includes men and women of the millennial generation and you’re selling to them the same way you sell to everyone else, there may be a reason your sales figures are slumping. Perhaps more than other generations, millennials “react differently to trigger points,” says social media consultant Christina Baldassarre, adding that they “connect dots in different ways, because some things are intuitive to them that are not intuitive to anyone else.”

As should be clear by now, millennial consumers live and breathe online. They rely on mobile devices to stay connected with each other and to conduct business. For this reason, marketing to this key demographic should start with optimizing your website for mobile use.

If not, your website “can be difficult to view and navigate” on a mobile device, which can frustrate prospective customers and squash their impulse to buy. “If so, chances are you’re losing out on a lot of business.”

Equally important from a business perspective is maintaining a strong presence on social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.). If you still need convincing, take a look at what ten veteran entrepreneurs have to say about social media and sales in general. The following tips presume that your business has an active social media presence and regularly interacts with your audience.

Here are other tips to keep in mind:

Cultivate relationships with millennial influencers. Millennials don’t care much for traditional advertising but instead rely upon the opinions of their peers and certain key social media influencers—that is, bloggers and other content-generators who’ve amassed a sizable online following. As we’ve noted previously, cultivating relationships with influencers in your industry can pay off in a big way. These action steps can help build a beneficial relationship:

  • Research influencers to ensure that you’ll connect with likely prospective customers.
  • Be clear about your goals (generating sales leads, boosting website traffic, etc.).
  • Incorporate the influencer relationship into a broader marketing strategy.

Attract millennials with mobile-alert sales discounts. Millennials are often willing to disclose their location on their mobile devices if in return, businesses send them news of upcoming sales discounts. If they happen to be in the area and receive word of a special sale, it increases the likelihood they’ll respond favorably and check out what you’re offering.

Offer content that’s informative and timely. Conventional hard-sell tactics won’t work with this demographic. What millennials are looking for is content that’s timely, informative, entertaining and easy to read on the run. Your social media feed should be pumping out links to valuable content on a steady basis, but it’s also important to stay attuned to what’s going on in the moment.

“If a company waits even a couple of hours too long to react to an event, they missed an opportunity to be noticed by a massive number of consumers,” says Business 2 Community, “and instead are brushed off for being late to the game.”

Invite followers and customers to share content with your business. Millennials like the idea of being part of a community. You can foster that connection by inviting customers and social media followers to contribute user-generated content and post it on your various social media platforms.

One effective strategy is sponsoring a lively contest focusing on the most creative (and favorable) ways someone can portray your product or service in photos or very brief videos. Get things rolling on Twitter and then get out of the way. You’ll be surprised by how creative and enthusiastic millennials can be, when they’re excited about something.

Want to learn more about marketing to niche demographics like millennials? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

 

What is a ‘Buyer Persona’ and How Can It Boost Your Sales?

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These days, it’s virtually impossible to lump all customers together and try to market to them the same way. Thanks to ecommerce and other consumer-empowering changes in the marketplace, the audiences you aim to serve have moved from one large, undifferentiated mass to many subsets with individual tastes and preferences, needs and challenges.

If you’re not careful, your sales team can waste valuable time and resources chasing after unqualified prospects who don’t really want or need your products. That’s what happens when a business relies upon a one-size-fits-all approach to customer acquisition.

So how can you adjust your sales and marketing efforts to identify qualified prospects and best serve your company’s various niche markets? One key strategy involves building a “buyer persona.”

You already have broad-based demographic information about your customer base. But creating buyer personas “takes that a step further to include psychographic information based on actual current client and target prospect research to focus on why your target customer makes a purchase decision.”

Here are tips to help construct buyer personas that fit your business and industry:

Organize your search for relevant data. A thorough profile of your customer emerges from numerous sources. Start by asking your current customers why they buy your products or services (as opposed to those of your competitors). What specific problems do your offerings solve? How do these products improve their own businesses and/or lives? Also, reach out to former customers and ask for candid assessments of what you did right (and wrong) when they were buying from you.

Look at trends and solicit online information. Most sales leads follow a certain pattern or trend; the key is analyzing the data to see what those patterns indicate. Have your sales team look closely at which customer appeals are most effective, and with which group of customers. Compile information relating to customer age, gender, location, job title, education level, etc. Make sure the team understands why customers make the decision to purchase your products—and, conversely, why other prospects choose not to buy.

Focus on solving problems. One or more buyer personas will emerge from all this data. You’ll have a fairly sophisticated profile of what your customers are like. The key from there is looking beyond who these people are and concentrating instead on what it is they require from you and your business. What problems do they face that you may not have considered before? Are there ways to upgrade your products to better solve these problems?

Create an ideal customer experience. By understanding a buyer persona, you can alter your messaging and the content you share on your website and social media. This will inform every stage of the marketing process, including product packaging and advertising, and customer follow-up after a purchase is made. You know the people you’re selling to, so you can reframe your message in ways that genuinely resonate with them.

Often, crafting a buyer persona will narrow the scope of your sales leads—since you’re not trying to attract everyone with one generic message across the board. There’s always a concern when your team is reaching out to fewer prospects. But by leveraging buyer personas and other pertinent data, the result will likely be a higher percentage of qualified leads, ready to move through the sales funnel, with less time and money spent on the qualification process.

Want more advice on improved marketing strategies for your business? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

To learn more about buyer personas and to help streamline your marketing pipeline, be sure to check out our September Business Owner Success Series webinar on that topic!