As Millennials are coming of age, some businesses are struggling to make their marketing strategy appeal to them – or worse, don’t see a need to market to them at all. Like it or not, the Millennial generation, or Generation Y, now makes up a huge portion of consumers with purchasing power, and as such, you should be taking them into account as you develop your marketing strategy. Although the exact years that Millennials were born vary between sources, these consumers are generally between the ages of 18-35. Since Millennials make up such a large and important part of our society, there’s a huge chance you’ll have to market to them at one point or another. But how can you do this? What do Millennials want and how can you switch up your marketing strategy to reach them? Read on to learn about the most effective marketing techniques for this generation.

Why are so many businesses overlooking Millennials? Oftentimes, these companies are falling into the pitfall of taking common stereotypes at face value. Millennials are often described as lazy, self-entitled, and unemployed, with no money to spend. Although this stereotype is pervasive, it’s not the whole truth. While it is true that the economy has made it difficult for some Millennials to find full-time jobs, they actually make up a massive portion of the current work force, and many do have solid careers underway and have significant purchasing power. Many of them are getting married, buying homes, and starting families of their own. They are spending, and they are in need of products and services—and most businesses would be foolish not to capitalize on this. Stereotyping this generation will only prevent you from understanding how to reach them and will undoubtedly hurt your overall marketing strategy.

Since Millennials have grown up in a digital world, you might need to revamp your digital marketing strategy in order to reach them. With Millennials constantly attached to their computers, tablets, and smart phones, developing online relationships should be front and center in your marketing strategy. Having a well-developed digital strategy and developing online relationships with your customers is truly important in this day and age.

So, how do you plan your marketing strategy accordingly? Here are a few ways to keep your marketing strategy up-to-date:

Online Review Sites

Clearly, forming a relationship online is important when it comes to Millennials. More than ever, people are doing their own online research about products and services that interest them, and they have constant access to review sites; positive online reviews will do wonders in bolstering your reputation. However, while review sites can drive business, remember that they can also detract from it. If a Millennial has a poor experience with your business, they are much more likely to air their complaints on these review sites. This isn’t something you can simply opt out of; these discussions will take place with or without you.  You can’t control what people say about your company on the internet, but you can control how you deal with customer service. Make sure your customer service is always top-notch and do everything you can to provide a positive experience.

Inbound Marketing and Word-of-Mouth

Millennials are much more likely to interact with brands through word-of-mouth from people they trust. They don’t like being told what to do, what to like, and what to buy through advertising. Rather than pushing your products on them, utilize inbound marketing techniques and let them find you on their own. Inbound marketing works so well with Millennials because it’s a way of pulling your customers to you through thoughtful content, instead of trying to push your product on them. This is where engaging Millennials online comes into play. Social media helps Milliennials discover your business on their own and helps you form a relationship with them. They are also likely to share their discoveries with their friends through their social media sites.

Online Purchases

Since Millennials can easily connect to the internet and access your sites online, make it easy to purchase online as well. Making the option available to pay on-the go will allow Millennials to purchase right away no matter where they are, instead of waiting and possibly forgetting, or purchasing from another company. If you streamline this process and make it easy, you’ll drive in more business. Many people will abandon their purchases if they find the buying process too difficult or complex.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is an important aspect of any marketing strategy targeting Millennials because they usually always have a quick way to access their emails. This is a great way to get your message across and facilitate brand recognition. Email marketing campaigns that include coupons and discounts that pair with a simple online purchasing process will make Millennials more likely to take advantage of your offers.

Trial and Error

There is no such thing as a fail-proof, one-size-fits-all marketing strategy, so don’t be afraid to try new things out as you experiment with marketing to Millennials. Since this generation is so engaged in online activities, utilize those online avenues to solicit feedback from them. This will help you figure out what’s working and what needs to change. Field questions on your social media sites or offer a couple of different promotions to see what Millennials are most responsive to. Trial and error will help you figure out the best ways to sell your products and services and how you can restructure your marketing strategy in the future.

If you haven’t already focused your marketing strategies on relating to Millennials, you should strongly consider doing so. Gone are the days when you could simply proclaim “We’re the Best!” to the world and see new business flood in. Nowadays, you have to have an online presence that supports your marketing messages. Listen to Millennials and follow the trends, and your marketing strategy will become stronger and more effective.