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7 Tips to attract Millennials to your small business

small business pro tips Mar 13, 2020

Do I ever love Millennials and what they stand for!

Right now, they are between 18 and 37, and represent an important demographic for many industries and small businesses. I personally hover the boarder of Generation X and Millennials and the majority of my clients and many of my friends fall within this generation.

And though, you’ll never find me making a purchase from my smartphone while I’m in a store like you will 41% of Millennials, I will pay more for sustainability, I do see my purchases as a reflection of my personality, and I will read reviews before making a big purchase, most of the time.

What about you? Do you have any of these seven habits/values? And more importantly, how will you use these tips to attract Millennials to your small business?


1- Make mobile a priority sales channel for your biz.

It’s no surprise that Millennials are online shoppers. But what’s more is that they are MOBILE SHOPPERS.  If you are targeting Millennials making it easy for them to purchase on a mobile device should be your highest priority. Only 11% of Millennials will make their next purchase in a physical retail store. 32% will be on a laptop or desktop and 49% will use a smartphone or tablet.

Everything you do must be mobile-friendly!

Interestingly, 41% of Millennials claim to have been in-store and still used their mobile device to make the actual purchase.


2- Actively seek product reviews because they just don’t care about your ads!

Millennials just aren’t that interested in your ads. In fact, according to Anatomy Media,  63% of Millennials in the United States use ad blockers while online. They are putting their trust in user-generated reviews with 40% of them referring to online reviews and testimonials before purchasing. Focusing on creating raving fans who are willing to share their experience of your product or service online should be a priority for any business today.

This is especially important if you are in launch phase since more than one-third of millennials prefer to wait until someone they trust has tried something before purchasing themselves. Hand picking some influencers, local or online, who will try and than share their experiences with others is a great strategy to consider in for start-ups and launches. This is one of the reasons we are hearing so much about Influencer Marketing today.


3- Give Millennials a voice at the table.

Millennials have a voice and they want to use it.

Sixty-seven percent of them believe they have a responsibility to share feedback with the brand about their experiences. This is good news for brands that have a continual improvement mindset and place value on customer feedback. It’s always better to get the feedback and have an opportunity to address it than to have unhappy customers going online and speaking negatively about your brand.

But, they do that too.

Millennials are 13% more likely than Gen Xers (the generation right before them) to share their purchases on social media. So whether their feedback is good or bad, they want to be heard. It is so important to keep an eye on social media so you can address feedback immediately before it gets out of hand.

From a product launch perspective, giving Millennials an active voice in the development of your products or services is a great strategy to build trust, engagement and loyalty given that 42% of them are interested in helping companies develop future products.   Think about customer advisory boards as well as online opportunities for Millennials to weigh in on your future products.


4- Focus on sustainability to help animals, people and the planet while also helping your brand.

Many Millennials are in debt. 63% of them have more than $10,000 in student debt.  52% of Millennials are concerned about defaulting on a loan in the next 12 months.  41% are delaying owning a home because of debt.

But that doesn’t stop them from paying more for sustainability!

The depth of care and concern for the humane treatment of animals, people and the planet has a big impact on their buying decisions. In a 2015 study by Nelson aimed at identifying what influences how people feel about brands, and how those feelings impact buying behavior, they found across the board, consumers are willing to pay extra for sustainability. And leading the pack were Millennials with a for 73% of them stating they are willing to pay more for sustainable goods. 


5- Give Millennials that “feel good” vibe they crave.

Unlike the previous generations who consume based on quantity, Millennials are looking for an emotional fix over quantity.  According to Forbes, “60% of Millennials gravitates towards purchases that are an expression of their personality — the brand must speak to them at this level and make them feel good.” And, brands that give back or stand for something meaningful meet this “feel good” criteria.

I’ve worked in brand management for almost two decades and over the years, very few talked about brand purpose. It wasn’t taught in university and was not part of the many brand strategies that I’ve worked with. Now, if your brand doesn’t stand for more, you are seriously missing the mark. If you need some help in this area, check out Purpose-Fuel My Biz.

” Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the type of world you want to live in.”  -Anna Lappe

Even though I don’t think companies always need to attach a charitable cause to their brands it certainly doesn’t hurt. 81% of Millennials expect companies to make a public commitment to charitable causes and citizenship.  And 70% of Millennials say they are likely to switch brands for one that supports a cause they care about.


6- Build connections and sales by creating experiences your customers will love.

There seems to be a generational shift in valuing experiences over products that may stem from watching their parents “buy things they don’t need, with money they didn’t have to impress people they didn’t like” to quote Dave Ramsey, Author of The 5am Club. Then watching them lose it to downsizing and financial crises. Ugh. It’s no wonder, half of Millennials prefer to spend on experiences over material things. And will pay extra to do so!

What does this mean for small business owners like you? You will need to actively focus on creating meaningful experiences online and off. Think about the experience you get on Porter Airlines, Starbucks and the personal touch you get at your local pub. It’s about ensuring your marketing and your products or service pass the “this was a really good experience” test. And, above all, give them exceptional service… otherwise, you’ll hear about it and so will everyone else online.


7- Focus on your ideal client, not just their generation!

Though you may find that your ideal client falls within a certain generation, like Generation Y (Millennials), it is not enough to simply look at the general research or follow the advice of this blog. In order to create a brand that will matter your ideal clients, you must do primary research, by way of interviews, with your ideal clients.

After all, what if your ideal customers are part of the 11% who never buy online? What if they are part of the other 50% who value material items over experiences or of the 30% who wouldn’t switch brands to support one with a charitable cause?

Your ideal customers are unique. Treat them that way and your marketing will be so much more effective.








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