Tips on Marketing to Millennials

 

With graduations happening all over the country, another group of millennials are entering the workforce – which is already the largest portion of today’s working class. With over 80 million millennials (born between 1982 and 2004), they make up nearly a quarter of the population and spend over $200 billion every year.

If you haven’t already started, this is a group you want to target.

When searching online, you will find multiple surveys and articles written about this group. Elite Daily surveyed 1,300 millennials, looking at their buying habits and brand loyalty. Deloitte surveyed nearly 8,000 millennials to provide their outlook on society and their attitude toward their work.

What to take away?

Millennials are an incredibly important audience and there are several key factors to consider for your next targeted campaign.

Segment vs Demographic

As most marketers know, the key to successful ROI is segmenting your audience and not treating your entire target audience exactly the same. The same can be said for millennials. This is less a demographic you can sum up easily and more a diverse collection of individuals that range from young professionals to move-back-homes, and from partying singles to single parents. It is important to understand your specific audience before launching any marketing campaign.

That said, the following are common traits found in this generation you may want to consider when developing your strategy.

Multiple Channels. Gone are the days of “offline versus online” strategies. With the mobile revolution, millennials have grown up with the idea they are always connected wherever they are. Many use multiple devices simultaneously to stay connected, with 87% of millennials using two to three devices at least once every day. If you want to get their attention, you need to move quickly and use multiple channels to reach them. Constant communication will be key.

Hard Sell vs Content Marketing. When asked if a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more, only 1% of millennials surveyed said yes. Advertising is seen as promotional (and dated) and millennials would rather review content when considering purchases. Blogs and articles make a big impact in buying decisions.

While Content is Important, Authenticity More So. Content marketing is very important with this generation, however 43% of millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news. If they do not trust the source, they will not even bother reading the content they produce. In fact, they often would trust peers over companies. Influencer marketing holds a lot of weight.

More Social than Informational. While Baby Boomers and Gen Xers may have preferred traditional news sources, millennials prefer to get their information through social media channels. While fewer than 3% of millennials rely on TV news, magazines and books to make a purchase, an impressive one-third rely mostly on blogs before they buy.

They Want to be Engaged. A whopping 62% of millennials say they are more likely to become a loyal customer if a brand engages with them on their preferred social networks. It is not enough to just be on the social network – millennials expect companies to engage with them.

Yes, Millennials Are Loyal. There is a common misconception that millennials don’t have brand loyalty and are easily swayed, suggesting they are wishy-washy. This may be because they are more likely to be loyal to ideals rather than a company logo and, if a company appears to lose those ideals, will move on. The fact is, they can be very brand loyal – 60% of millennials surveyed said they are often or always loyal to brands they currently purchase. It just may be harder to maintain that loyalty.

With millennials currently ranging between 13 – 35 years in age, your marketing campaigns are going to be keenly targeted on this group for decades to come. Like any marketing strategy, the key will be to communicate to your target audience with the content they want, in the style they understand, in the places they prefer. For millennials, remembering engaging, authentic content on multiple social channels will be instrumental in helping your brand get noticed and build brand loyalty.

Rick Verbanas has brought his passion for marketing to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and not-for-profits. He strives to stay current in the latest marketing best practices, and provides a weekly roundup for your news and enjoyment. To subscribe to future blogs, please enter your email address on the left hand side of the page.

Mother’s Day Marketing Tips

This Sunday is Mother’s Day (Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!). “Celebrating Mom” has become big business for many small businesses. While there are many stores and services hoping to bring in shoppers (and I’ll share some of my ideas below), there are some sharp guerrilla marketers looking to “ride the wave” and cash in on all the sentiment.

Build Traffic
You may wonder how you, who may not offer products or services normally associated with Mother’s Day gifts, can benefit from the holiday. The real question is, could your website benefit from more exposure, more traffic? If the answer is “Yes,” start considering ways to chat, blog or share about Mother’s Day.

Perhaps the easiest thing to do is post a question on your site, or in your e-newsletter – wherever you track customer responses. Buzz Accelerator suggests 50 Mother’s Day Status Updates for Your Business.They offer some phrases and questions you can post on your Facebook business page (which may also work well with your home website, twitter, LinkedIn Q&A, etc.) such as:

  • Like this if you grew up to be just like your mother.
  • Moms: Yay or Nay on breakfast in bed?
  • What makes your mom better than all the others? Tag her in a comment so she’ll see what you say.

The point is, you want to engage your readers. Give them something to respond to, or vote on, or “like,” or forward, etc.

Another way to drive traffic is to offer Mother’s Day content. Some companies encourage their employees to post heart-warming stories about their own mothers in an effort to give their company a more approachable face. You can blog about famous mothers (the more popular, the better) or, present real-life moms who make sacrifices every day for their children. The NY Daily News provides a look at the ten worst TV moms.

Whatever you do, make it about the mothers and not you. Unless you are a company that offers products or services their moms would like, readers will not take kindly to companies looking to make a profit by exploiting an institution revered as highly as motherhood.

Marketing Ideas
For those who do offer a product or service, here are some ideas to consider in addition to the above:

Continue reading

Social Media Crisis Management Plan: Tips on How to Prepare and Execute

With United Airlines’ social media disaster going viral last week, many top executives are questioning what is the plan to avoid such an embarrassing public relations nightmare for their own company. Who is monitoring what people are saying about you and your business? And, what do you do when it is negative? What is your crisis management plan?

I spoke with Mike Moran, Senior Strategist at Converseon and author of “Do it Wrong Quickly,” who says it is essential to keep track of the chatter on the world wide web. “The first thing you need is awareness,” he said. “There are people out there who have something to say and they have many different ways to be heard.”

Blogs, Message Boards, Product Ratings… should all be tracked for any negative comments. “That can be challenging,” Moran admitted. “Once you understand the importance of listening to your audience, you need to develop a process to help you hear them.”

How to Be Aware of Potential Problems

To keep track of what is being said about your organization, I recommend implementing a Social Medial Monitoring (SMM) tool, also known as a listening platform. This allows you to monitor and track mentions of your brand, products and competitors. SMM tools provide many different ways to analyze, measure, display and report findings.

Some of the more popular SMMs: Continue reading

LinkedIn Posting 101 – You Are Being Judged

While on LinkedIn, you may have seen battles surrounding what is considered appropriate content. You have likely seen the “Solve if you are a genius” posts, or posts about politics, or religion, or pictures of attractive women, followed by sporadic comments from people saying “This is Not Facebook,” and admonishing them for doing so.

I am not the LinkedIn Police, nor am I here to judge you.

But, rest assured, you ARE being judged.

As a marketing guy, I’m here to point out perception is reality. So, if you are on LinkedIn to network, keep your personal brand active, seek new employment opportunities, find new clients… you may want to keep the following tips in mind.

Be mindful of what you say and “Like”
Whenever you post a comment or like a post, your actions show in all of your connections homepage feed. Before you comment or like, consider… is this something you want everyone to see? Likewise, if you have a public profile, anyone can go to your profile page and see your recent activity. Current and potential employers and clients will be able to learn a lot more about you in an instant.

Personally, I know connections who tend to make strong comments about politics and religion. I know who “likes” every attractive woman’s posts. I know who spends time solving math problems and captioning photos. Do you think employers and clients will make their own conclusions on your personality or your work ethic? Right or wrong, they will.

Demonstrate your thought leadership
Since your potential employers and clients are seeing your activities, LinkedIn is the perfect place to Continue reading

Monday Morning Marketing Minute: Study On Ads Showcasing Diversity, When PR Spokespeople Become the News

Your weekly roundup of marketing news, tips and mistakes! 

Could Vimeo Business Be Your New Video Marketing Service?
The global video-sharing website Vimeo recently unveiled a business-focused subscription plan aimed at startups, small businesses and agencies. You can not only share videos with calls to action buttons and an email subscription service, but also track your viewers’ engagement in targeted email campaigns…

Study: Ads Showcasing Diversity Connect More with Young Consumers
In the past, industry wisdom has suggested that the best business practice is to separate politics from marketing entirely. That may become less prevalent, however, as young consumers become receptive to or even demanding of more nontraditional representation in their ads…

Marketing Mistakes  
Learning from mistakes is critical. Who said they had to be your own?

When PR Spokespeople Become the News
While no one can argue Sean Spicer has his hands full as the White House press secretary and communications director, it became worse when he committed a PR no-no and allowed himself to become the topic of news (and ridicule)…

Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 6 Listen and Respond

You are rocking the social media world. You’re getting liked on Facebook, re-tweeted on Twitter and your inbound links are multiplying. And these are translating into sales. You think everything is going great. But, who is monitoring what people are saying about you and your business?

Continuing a series of blogs on Social Media Networking for Small Business! Recently, I presented a webinar for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. You can watch it here. In case you’d rather read than watch the webinar, I’ve broken it down into a series of blogs:

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.
For Part 2 – Target Your Audience, click here.
For Part 3 – Find Your Promoters, click here.
For Part 4 – Develop Your Strategy, click here.
For Part 5 – Engage Your Audience, click here.
For Part 5B – Bringing it Back to Your Site, click here
For Part 5C – Why Your Company Needs a Blog, click here.
For Part 5D – Pay-Per-Click (PPC), click here.   

Listen and Respond 

Blogs, Message Boards, Product Ratings… should all be tracked for any negative comments. For small businesses, I suggest you use a Social Media Monitoring (SMM) tool, also known as a listening platform. This allows you to monitor and track mentions of your brand, products and competitors. SMM tools provide many different ways to analyze, measure, display and report findings.

Some of the more popular SMMs: Continue reading

Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 5D Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Since I mentioned search engine rankings in my last blog, I feel I should mention pay-per-click advertising. While not social media, it can be part of your overall digital marketing strategy. Here are tips on conducting a successful (and inexpensive) PPC campaign.

Continuing a series of blogs on Social Media Networking for Small Business! Recently, I presented a webinar for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. You can watch it here. In case you’d rather read than watch the webinar, I’ve broken it down into a series of blogs:

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.
For Part 2 – Target Your Audience, click here.
For Part 3 – Find Your Promoters, click here.
For Part 4 – Develop Your Strategy, click here.
For Part 5 – Engage Your Audience, click here.
For Part 5B – Bringing it Back to Your Site, click here

For Part 5C – Why Your Company Needs a Blog, click here.  

Engage Your Audience Part D – Pay-Per-Click (PPC) 

PPC refers to advertising that appears on the top and to the right of organic search results. Google, for example, offers Google AdWords. It is designed to display your advertisement based on targeted keywords or phrases.

So, if you owned a luggage store, you might have an ad that displays whenever your specialty – lets say computer bags – is entered into Google’s search engine. You then pay Google every time someone clicks on your ad.

The beauty of this method of web marketing is that it drives targeted traffic to your website much quicker than normal listings, and that you only pay Google when someone clicks on your ad and visits your website. You determine how much you will pay by placing a bid. Of course, the more popular the keyword, the more competition you have on having your ad at the top of the results. However, you set limits on what you are willing to pay daily.

Your Google AdWords will show up on Google’s search results almost instantly after being submitted, so they are an ideal strategy if your web site is:

  • waiting to be indexed on Google
  • launching new products
  • short term campaign
  • targeting a specific market

If you go this route, understand it doesn’t always offer the results you may be hoping for.

They refer to this heatmap as “banner blindness.” It is a great example of why organic or natural search results are much more effective than banner ads. People barely even look at them.

Another interesting heatmap they displayed was how eyes look at typical search results. As you can see on this google example, the top five listings on the page get the majority of eyeballs. The red lines are referred to as the “fold” —which is a term associated with the front page of newspapers.  In the digital age, it is the point at which you’d have to scroll down. So, not only is getting on the first page of search results important, getting in the top five is golden.

Here are some tips when conducting a PPC campaign:

  • Be specific when choosing keywords and phrases. Again, it is quality over quantity. You may get a ton more clicks by being broad, but what are you selling? Be specific, so you get the right type of click.
  • Send them to landing pages, not your home page. Lets say you see an ad for a particular product and when you click on it, it takes you to their home page and you are left having to search for the exact item you were originally looking for. Most likely, your visitor will hit the back button and go for an easier route. Providing exact landing pages will provide you better odds the customer will stay on your site.
  • Lose the ego when bidding. I suggest you have a budget what you are willing to spend before you start looking at keywords. Maybe it is $25 a day, which is roughly $750 a month and over $9000 a year. If a certain keyword is too expensive, find a Long-Tail keyword, a type of keyword phrase that has at least three, and some times as many as five words in the phrase, which will give you better qualified visitors at a cheaper rate.

Google Adwords offers a very detailed way to track the results of your campaigns. Here, you can see how each one of your keywords or phrases are performing and can decide whether to eliminate or change your tactics.

This finally brings us to Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 6 Listen and Respond. Here, we will cover how to figure out if all your efforts are paying off and what to do if they need help.

 

Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 5C Why Your Company Needs a Blog

Here are 4 reasons why your company needs a Blog…

If you don’t know what a Blog is, you are currently on one. Many consider blogs as part of social media and I don’t disagree. However, blogs can be an extremely valuable tool in both push and pull marketing, and your site may be incomplete without one.

Continuing a series of blogs on Social Media Networking for Small Business! Recently, I presented a webinar for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. You can watch it here. In case you’d rather read than watch the webinar, I’ve broken it down into a series of blogs:

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.
For Part 2 – Target Your Audience, click here.
For Part 3 – Find Your Promoters, click here.
For Part 4 – Develop Your Strategy, click here.
For Part 5 – Engage Your Audience, click here.
For Part 5B – Bringing it Back to Your Site, click here.

Engage Your Audience Part C – Why Your Company Needs a Blog

The number one thing I would add to your website is a company blog. A blog can be a lot of different things, but it is usually an article or editorial by a person familiar with a topic. This is a great example of a “pull” medium.

When a customer is seeking information on a subject, a blog is a very useful tool as it normally informs in a very succinct format. Likewise, the impression the reader usually has is the blogger is an expert in this subject matter. Many companies list their blogs at the top of their website, as it is typically updated regularly and provides fresh content.

                              ↓

1.) Engage Your Audience. The number one reason to blog is to engage your customer. Provide them with something entertaining or informative where they will want to:

  • Come back to your site
  • Forward your information
  • Leave a comment, thereby opening a dialogue between you and them

Continue reading

Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 5B Your Website

You’ve set your goals and have targeted, found and engaged your audience on their social media platforms of choice. You’ve directed them back to your own website to really promote your business.

Are you ready?

Here are some tips to engage visitors once they are on your website.

Continuing a series of blogs on Social Media Networking for Small Business! Recently, I presented a webinar for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. You can watch it here. In case you’d rather read than watch the webinar, I’ve broken it down into a series of blogs:

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.
For Part 2 – Target Your Audience, click here.
For Part 3 – Find Your Promoters, click here.
For Part 4 – Develop Your Strategy, click here.
For Part 5 – Engage Your Audience, click here.

Engage Your Audience Part B – Bringing it Back to Your Site

One of the main objectives for small businesses in social media is to direct your audience back to your home site. While your social networks are for informing and interacting, your website is where you can really promote.

Here’s a news flash: Businesses today need to have a website. The very basic would be considered a “brochure site,” which provides important information: About the company and/or product, location, hours, contact information, etc.

Some businesses do their business online, which is known as e-commerce. These sites offer shopping carts that allow a customer to purchase something online. Whether you have a brochure site or an e-commerce business, engaging your customers on your own website is essential.

The people already on your site have expressed interest in either you or your product. Right now, they may be considered a “passive” customer. If you want to turn them into a promoter, you need to engage them.

When I had my e-commerce business, I made sure the site offered all the important elements found on a typical brochure site; we had an “about Us” page, we listed our location with a google map link, we listed our hours and contact info. We also had a shopping cart that featured over 10,000 different products at any given time. While we had people visiting weekly to purchase – we had about 100 new products weekly – I wanted to give them a reason to visit the site when it wasn’t new product day.

So, I had areas to engage the customer: Continue reading

Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 5 Engage Your Audience

Once you’ve determined where they are, how do you engage your audience? Here are some DO’s and DONT’s for the “Big Three,” Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Continuing a series of blogs on Social Media Networking for Small Business! Recently, I presented a webinar for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. You can watch it here. In case you’d rather read than watch the webinar, I’ve broken it down into a series of blogs:

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.
For Part 2 – Target Your Audience, click here.
For Part 3 – Find Your Promoters, click here.
For Part 4 – Develop Your Strategy, click here.

Engage Your Audience

In social media, marketers often forget Rule #1 – It’s social. In traditional advertising, it is a “Push” medium. Meaning, commercials on television or the radio interrupt what you are doing to send you a message. In social media, it is a “Pull” medium. People seek out the info they want or need and often rely upon trusted or respected sources to help make their consumer choice. That could mean asking a friend, posting a question on a message board, reviewing comments on a blog or reading an article from a trusted source.

So, how do you provide them the information they are seeking?

 

FACEBOOK DO’S & DON’T’S

DO:

 

  • Inform – This is where you can talk about fun or interesting things going on with you or your business. Or, give tips or helpful advice related to your industry.
  • Post Regularly – Fans will periodically check in to see what you are up to. If they get the same info as before and you have neglected to update, they will neglect to come back.
  • Upload photos! Business Insider published an article on 16 Heatmaps That Reveal Exactly Where People Look. As you can see here in this facebook heatmap, photos get the most eyeballs.

DON’T: Continue reading