Throughout their time on this planet, millennials have fascinated, mystified, enraged, disobeyed, and amused older generations — and that’s just scratching the surface.
No matter how you feel about them, millennials are a generation you should get to know. They’re the largest generation in U.S. history and they throw their weight around with $200 billion in annual buying power. If you know how to talk and market to them, your brand could be riding high.
What’s more, millennials have specific ways they like interacting with brands. (Hint: If you’re thinking the phone is dying and social media is the next big thing, you’re onto something.) Read on to see what really resonates with millennials.
Email is still relevant
It’s crazy how email marketing suddenly seems like old news with the advent of social media. That might lead some people to think millennials don’t use email, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Among millennials, 90% use the internet to send or receive email. You may have to tweak your strategy to reach this young generation, but rest assured they haven’t abandoned email yet!
To succeed with email marketing to millennials, consider taking this advice from Steve Dille:
Make your email mobile-friendly. Yup, smartphones are a big deal — 39% of millennials say they interact more with their smartphones than other people. Your young audience will often check their emails on their smartphones, so make sure your messages are optimized accordingly.
Offer goodies. Millennials respond enthusiastically to special offers, sneak peeks and discounts. Deals add a veneer of exclusivity to your products. Show your millennial audience they’re special, and they’ll show you some love.
Offer your content in chunks. Like Generation Z, millennials aren’t too fond of long-form. Ditch that format and replace it with quick, snackable content that’s fun and adds value to your audience’s busy lives.
Social media works and millennials love it
Millennials are some of the most well-connected individuals on the planet, and they know their way around social media. They’re so adept at social media, in fact, that they expect you to know your way around it too.
According to Desk.com, four in five millennials are open to using social media for customer service. Furthermore, one in four of them want a response within 10 minutes of asking for help. That said, it’s definitely time to start pumping up your social media presence — it could give your customer service a big boost and create many loyal fans for your brand.
For a great role model who crushes it on social media, look for none other than electronics behemoth Samsung, which has won awards for stellar online service. Look at how Samsung preempts service problems by letting a customer know exactly who to ask about any issues.
2nd brand new washer purchased today… In the last 2 months. Hopefully Samsung trumps Whirlpool.
— David Meeker (@dmeeks_SF) June 21, 2016
It’s also very responsive to commenters on its Facebook posts:
Most impressively, Samsung is incredibly friendly. In terms of social media support, Samsung is the gold standard. Be like Samsung.
Avoid the telephone
Millennials dislike being contacted by phone. In Dimension Data’s 2015 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, telephone was the least-preferred contact method, at a mere 12.3%.
Avoid contacting your millennial customers by phone. Millennials often find phone calls distracting — they don’t want to put their lives on hold to take a call. They live in the digital world, and many find it more comfortable to speak online whenever they have the time.
Furthermore, if calling millennials is anathema, you especially don’t want to make them call you! According to CIO Magazine, 26% of millennials say they never look forward to calling customer service. Many of them know how frustrating it is to wait on hold. Instead they prefer to have their issues resolved through social media or online chat. You can expect this aversion to the phone to accelerate with future generations. If millennials don’t like the phone, Generation Z may like it even less. Prepare accordingly!
Trick out your website help pages
39% of millennials will check a website FAQ first for any issues they have. It’s a trend you can expect to grow stronger; already, 40% of consumers prefer self-service over contact with company representatives.
That’s a lot, and it means consumers don’t necessarily need a bunch of hand-holding. At the same time, their appetite for self-service demands they have the resources to solve their own problems. You’ll definitely want to round out your website help pages with everything you’ve got (like Warby Parker does at their Reference Desk).
Done right, a help or FAQ section will be a lifesaver — it’ll satiate your customers’ hunger for self-service and save your customer support from loads of inquiries. Add answers to any questions you receive repeatedly, and be detailed with your responses. (There are few things more frustrating than reading an online help page that doesn’t answer your question.)
Let web chat be a reliable fallback
If your millennial customer can’t find an answer on your help pages, have web chat support ready to pick up the slack.
As we discussed previously, talking on the phone isn’t millennials’ cup of tea. Web chat, meanwhile, is a much better alternative. It keeps support in the digital realm and lets your millennial customers talk in a medium in which they’re comfortable.
You don’t have to give up a treasure trove to get started with live chat software. Zopim (by Zendesk) offers free plans, and Desk with chat integrations starts at $20/mo. — and that’s just a few of the chat solutions out there.
Oh, and millennials love to text, don’t they?
Many millennials love seeing older folks freak out over their constant texting and how they don’t get enough face-to-face communication. We won’t get into all of that here; instead, we’ll just remind ourselves how much millennials enjoy texting.
Texting your millennial customers will work wonders. According to Capterra, 41% of millennials say they’re “truly satisfied” when they can talk with brands over text. And according to Salesforce, 90% of the time customers will read texts within three minutes of receiving them. You can send welcome messages, discounts, promotions, and other marketing communications through text, and your customers will think you’re awesome for sending them valuable stuff.
So as you’re phasing out the phone as the primary mode of customer communication, pick up a medium that speaks your millennial customers’ language. Check out services like TextUs, TextMagic, and Ez Texting to get started.
It’s time to learn how to communicate with millennials. Check out our guide Marketing to Millennials: Engaging a Generation of Visual Buyers today!
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