Selling to a millennial audience and feeling out of the loop?

I was having an accountability call recently and we got onto the discussion of millennials and how to sell to them when you, yourself, aren’t a millennial. It inspired me to write this post because I think this could be a conversation that quite a few of you are having.

So… you’ve launched your business and your target audience is young and you’re sat there trying to remember what it felt like to be a young and carefree eighteen year old. Selling to those younger than yourself can feel daunting, you can feel out of the loop and unsure how to approach these young creatures. I got you.

Firstly I want to actually define the ages of a millennial. A millennial is someone born between 1980 and 1994 so in actual fact whilst we presume millennials are these super young things, you can be 37 and be a millennial, who knew??? The young ones are actually Gen Z, anyone born between 1995 and 2015.

A common mistake

Now a common mistake I see from brands trying to sell to a younger audience is using the wrong language. A motto I like to remind myself is that if you have to tell people you and your product are cool then chances are your younger audience won’t think you are. You shouldn’t have to say it.

You do not have to try and throw lots of ‘hip’ language into the mix in order to relate to a younger audience, this actually tends to turn them off because they feel like when your dad tries to convince you he’s still down with the kids but you can clearly see that he isn’t and who even uses the word hip anymore? That’s so not lit.

Your best bet is to aim for informal language. It doesn’t need to be current, it just needs to be relaxed and relatable. These young people aren’t aliens and they aren’t a whole world away from you.

What do you do next?

You research your target audience and this goes for any audience of any age. With social media at our fingertips there is no reason why you can’t really get to you know your audience on a very intimate level. It might feel a little weird to be looking at 18 year olds on Instagram or Snapchat but it can in fact give you a brilliant insight into your their lives, what they are interested in, how they talk, what they care about. The new generation are overall a very switched on bunch, more so than a lot of our elders about social situations and the environment and I am very excited to see how they improve this world of ours.

Doing your research can make you feel empowered and take away that feeling of not having a clue what young people are doing these days.

Make sure you’re on the right platform

Different social media platforms have different age groups using them. Facebook has a predominantly older audience, so if you’re trying to sell your brand to a younger audience then Facebook isn’t the right place for that.

Instagram has a mixed age range for its users whilst it was for a long time used by an older age range, it is becoming more and more popular with a younger audience.

Snapchat and Whatsapp have a huge proportion of young people using them. Snapchat has a bit of bad rep but if used correctly it can be a great platform to get your brand in front of a younger group.

Again, do you research and find out which platforms best suit a young audience and don’t be put off by social platforms that don’t seem like an obvious one for business. Remember Instagram when it started, it had many faults and lots of people never even considered it would turn into what it is now. It’s the same with Snapchat, people wrote it off as a platform people use for sending nudes left right and centre but actually it’s really growing and many brands have been able to ride the wave and get great growth for their business. Whatsapp are also currently developing and I think this is going to grow into a great platform for businesses to sell to consumers. It’s all still being developed but you can currently upload a business profile to Whatsapp that gives us a hint of whats to come. Expect the unexpected folks.

Their spending habits

If you’re targeting a younger audience, you need to really drill down on the specifics of their spending habits because it is likely that it will be very different from yours.

The liklihood is they have a lot less disposable income on average than someone older than them or potenially you could argue they although they earn less they have less outgoings and so their disposable income is actually higher than someone with kids to feed, dogs, a mortgage, two cars to run (the list is endless isn’t it) however their spending habits will still be different.

Trying to think back to when I was eighteen, I felt constantly like I was lacking in money and when I did have some money to spend it mainly went on alcohol and clothes… I very rarely splurged on anything big because I just wanted to have a good time with my friends.

So we need to take this into consideration for our marketing. You need to make it clear to your audience what problem you are solving for them and why they need your product. Why is it worth them spending money on? Is your audience young enough to need their parents to buy your product/service for them because if so you’ll need to be relating to the parents as well in your marketing message. Selling quite often has a whole lot more to do with how you sell it to someone rather than what it is you’re selling. It’s why you often end up with a bunch of stuff that you never used/clothes you didn’t even take the tags off because you just felt you needed it or excitedly brought something convincing yourself this product was a LIFE SAVER and you were going to use it every day (spoiler, there are just some very clever marketing people out there).

So those are my top tips to selling to a younger audience.. I’m by no means an expert, there is definitely more to learn, but these are some useful pointers to get you started.

Got something to add? Leave a comment below and join the discussion.

Love, Sapphire x

Sapphire BatesComment