Small Business Marketing 101: How to Engage with Generation Y

Image source: Unsplash

Image source: Unsplash

Commonly referred to as ‘Millennials’, Generation Y consists of those born between the years 1980 to the mid 1990s - differentiating themselves from their Generation Z successors by their early encounters with dial-up computers, floppy disks and chunky mobile phones.

Generation Y are all grown up now: graduating universities, joining the job market and quickly progressing up the career ladder - earning and spending a steady amount of disposable income as a result. As some of the world’s most influential consumers, it’s no wonder marketing professionals everywhere are formulating strategies to target such a lucrative generation.

But this isn’t easy. Digitally savvy, with shorter attention spans and an acute awareness when it comes to advertising, Generation Y are a force to be reckoned with. However, if a potent marketing plan is implemented, they can quickly become a business's most powerful audience. In today’s post, courtesy of the experiential marketing experts at The Events Structure, we provide small business owners with the essential dos and don’ts of creating an effective and appealing marketing strategy for Gen Y-ers.

Make the most of mobile

Mobile-first indexing is one of Google’s latest and most important algorithm updates to hit 2018’s online marketing strategies. With Generation Y spending more time on their phones than traditional desktop alternatives, making sure your website is optimised for Gen Y’s most popular medium is crucial to getting your small business noticed online.

Another thing to consider when targeting a Gen Y audience is their interest in news articles regarding particular social and ethical issues they’re concerned with - all of which are easily and quickly accessed and downloaded from their mobile devices.

Therefore, your business’s knowledge of, and quick reactions to, such news stories is crucial for engaging with your target audience. Whether you choose to do that by posting reactive blog content, amending your policies, or simply sharing articles you know might interest your Gen Y audience on social media, taking an active interest in what they care about lets them know you care about their personal concerns - making you stand out against your larger industry competitors.

Tell people where you are

With social platforms, search engines and mobile devices increasingly adopting local, geo-marketing techniques, never has there been a more important time than right now to ensure your business is discoverable online. As Generation Y are generally more aware of advertisement strategies than their predecessors, they are more likely to trust and, therefore, buy into your products and services through natural recommendations by friends and followers, online.

For that reason, encouraging Gen Y social users to tag your business on their social channels through competitions and hashtags will direct their online friends to your products and services organically. As a generation who often respond better to recommendations than direct advertising, making sure that all of the customers leaving your site or physical store are in high spirits is vital if you want them to pass on a good word to those around them.

However, if this is a strategy you’re going to focus on, then making sure your business’s location and description are up to date is crucial if you want to actually convert those that are looking for you online. Updating your Google My Business listing with accurate opening times, images and contact details will ensure no potential customer slips through the net - making it as simple as possible for searchers to engage with your brand.

Make your marketing efforts both digestible and relatable

Social media platforms are widely recognised by marketers as some of the most effective channels to promote your business to Generation Y’s smartphone-wielding population. And, with 72% of those asked in a recent study saying they’d prefer to watch a video to learn about a product or service, video is the latest and strongest tool in a 21st-century business’s marketing arsenal.

With the rising popularity of live video streams on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Gen Y are made to feel increasingly involved and familiar with businesses who grant behind the scenes access to their products and services. Creating a humorous and accessible voice for your brand on social media can, therefore, motivate consumers to find out more about the commercial aspects of your brand - which means more relatable forms of content, like video, are extremely valuable for those aiming for long-term success with this generation. 

Harness interactive events for a reactive response

While interacting with Generation Y online offers a tried and tested way to develop and build relationships, an experiential campaign that invites potential and existing customers to meet your brand in person, and see your products and services in action, provides your business with an unmissable opportunity to secure loyal long-term customers.

By setting yourself up in central city locations, your events are likely to be picked up by both passers-by and an online audience, if you encourage attendees to tag the location on their preferred social platforms. From branded photo booths to product giveaways and interactive games, experiential events that provide your customer with a positive memory can go a long way to securing their long-term interest in your brand.

Image source: Unsplash

Image source: Unsplash

Ensuring your business’s strategy uses both online and offline methods in a seemingly natural way is crucial in getting your voice heard by most in a Gen Y audience. Fighting off the big names in your industry can seem daunting, but, with a selection of smart tactics like the ones shared today, you can create a formidable marketing strategy that will see your brand blossom in front of this distinct generation.

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