Millennials, generally defined as the generation born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, are the newest consumer demographic entering the marketplace. At 80 million strong, this group is bigger than the baby boomer generation. And now, thanks to an improving economy, the eldest portion of the Millennial demographic is in a perfect position to make a big impact on the home buying marketplace.
You can see why marketing to this important demographic makes perfect sense; however, doing so in a way that builds credibility, trust and ultimately sales is a task even seasoned marketing experts are finding difficult to master. That said, there are established marketing best-practices that REALTORS® can follow to effectively grow your business with Millennial homebuyers.
The best way to start is by understanding general principals about how Millennials think. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’s “Field Guide to Millennial Home Buyers” brings a library of references about Millennials to your fingertips. A Huffington Post article entitled “5 Tips for Marketing to Millennials From a Millennial” is included in the Field Guide and will give you some sense about whom you will be working with in this demographic. Paraphrased to speak to the real estate market, these tips include:
1. Don’t Insult Their Intelligence—this is a generation that can barely remember a world without the Internet and Google. As a result, they are possibly the most informed consumer generation to face marketing professionals. They are used to conducting research before making major purchasing decisions, which includes consulting friends through social media channels and valuing online reviews from peers. “Lackluster, rushed special offers and overpriced products won’t work like they used to.”
2. Don’t Disguise Your Ad—Millennials understand that you are trying to retain their business and they are OK with that. They may even share your advertising messaging with a large number of their friends through social networking. But they will never give you a dime’s worth of business unless you show how your services are actually necessary to their “already full, multi-tasking lives.
3.Make it Easy to Purchase Online—true enough, no one is going to put down their credit card or open a PayPal account to purchase a house online, but they certainly are going to find the one they want to buy there. Not only that, this generation will also likely find the REALTOR® who is going to show it to them in the first place online as well. “If your business has been lucky enough to capture our short attention spans, then you should make purchasing online as easy as possible, or we will move on to a company that does.” Translation? Make sure your real estate brokerage services and expertise are easy to find online and make sense to Millennial buyers.
4. Be Socially Conversational, Rather than “Viral”—give Millennials something to talk about with your communications. This generation communicates with its peers more than any other that came before it, not just through phones, but through social networking. So create communications that contribute new information that can be discussed or it will die “on the social wall of the first millennial in a circle of friends to share it.” Create a conversation around your service. For REALTORS® this means providing insights educating on what young buyers will likely face in the marketplace, as well as solutions you can offer to best provide successful results. Do so graphically or through videos that quickly explain your message.
5.Quality and Service Matter Again—keep in mind this generation’s access to technology and how easily they can find your competitors online. To Millennials, the service and quality you provide will be essential. Consumers in this demographic notice companies that take the time to provide great, Millennial-friendly services and quality products. It will also provide rewards by recommending them to their friends, as well as spread bad experiences and reviews if needed. Word-of-mouth marketing is very much alive, bigger than ever with this generation, and it’s all online.