According to Realtor.com, the housing market will consist of 33% Millennials in 2017. What is the importance of this generation and its continued impact on the housing market? The following will help explain this group and how to market to them.
Reaching and Attracting Millennials
Though Millennials have their own unique qualities, it is difficult to define specific aspects of the generation in general. When attempting to define the Millennials as a group, they have no definitive consumer characteristics and that makes it difficult to pinpoint a marketing effort directly to this consumer group. They are a diverse and intricate generation having grown up during a time period of considerably rapid change giving them a set of priorities and expectations sharply different from previous generations. With an average student debt of over $30,000, they have endured an era of underemployment and subpar wage growth. But having been through this has made them smart with their money, especially doing research before they make a large purchase. They can also be very stingy with their spending. Making your case to the Millennials is imperative more so than with any other generation.
Digitally, the Millennial generation can be considered experts in digital communications. They’re everywhere on the web, scouring the internet for content, sharing it with their friends, and following their favorite brands. Most of them grew up never knowing what the world was like without the internet. They have a different view of the world and how they interact with each other. To them, the world is more open and transparent which has created a consumer environment of more strategic and educated shoppers.
From 2017 National Association of REALTORS® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends
As a business, it’s vital that you adapt to their needs and take a more open and digital approach. Marketing strategies that worked as little as ten years ago are not effective to reach this generation. They grew up amidst a dynamic online world that allowed them to view companies in social circles where they can interact with brands and fellow consumers. In order to connect with Millennials, priorities need to entail the values that matter most to them such as authenticity, individualism and brand experience.
What specific strategies should be utilized to engage Millennials?
Have a great website
The most important tool is to have an excellent website that is easily found online through typical “searches” on Google or other Search Engines. It is almost always the first impression of you a prospect has. Having a great website is of no use if prospective buyers can’t find it, so make sure to have it optimized for the search engines by utilizing the best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) white-hat practices. PTC Computer Solutions ensures this for every website we complete. The quality of the website is then of utmost importance. If a prospect doesn’t like what they find then it will be hard to convince the prospect of the quality of your product.
In a recent NAR report on Home Buyers for 2017, a number of data points were of importance. Millennials are more inclined to look for a home in a different way than previous generations. They aren’t aware of how to go about purchasing a home, so their first step was either to go online for information about the home buying process or just to look online for properties for sale. Alternatively, they were far more likely to ask a friend than any of the previous generations. 12 percent of respondents talked with a friend first as opposed to the GenX Generation at 4 percent with all other previous generations being in that lesser range.
This kind of data illuminates the power of Social Networking since Millennials often consider talking to a friend as something they do through the use of Social Media. Combined, Millennials utilized either the web or social media in 70 percent of the cases as a first step when looking into buying a new home.
Get to the point
The Millennial generation rightfully has a notorious reputation for shortened attention spans. They grew up in a world where they could get any answer to any question in a matter of seconds from Google or some other source online. Don’t tell them you are the best, show them by providing information on all the ways your homes and communities will add to their lives.
Be straightforward – earn their trust
Part of the purchasing experience that will resonate with them most comes down to giving them the resources they need so they’ll see you as their partner. A great example of a strategy to accomplish this is by creating a new home handbook. At PTC Computer Solutions, we create new home handbooks for many of our builders, with the goal of complete transparency to a buyer. A new home handbook is a sales tool that allows you to educate a buyer on what makes you different and complements your sales strategy message. It’s your way of providing them with your strengths and telling them that after they do their research, you feel confident they’ll be back.
Keep up on Social Media Networks
Millennials are the most digitally connected generation ever, and they consume content across multiple online channels. This is why you need to have a Social Media Networking approach that crosses many platforms. The best way to access this group is build their trust and establish credibility through your social media platforms. But, don’t get involved with Social Media if you’re not going to keep up on it. Millennials will be more turned off if you have Social Media but aren’t keeping it up to date. Recent AND Relevant posts are necessary.
Create a seamless omni-channel buying experience
Winning over the Millennial generation is all about becoming their partner in the home buying process. Another way to do this is by providing them with an omni-channel buying experience. The idea behind this is that for every channel you own, whether it’s online, mobile or in-store, there should be a consistent message. So, whether your customer receives an email, looks at your social page, or walks into your model home, they should be able to tell that they’re communicating with your brand.
The main thing that Millennials care most about is the experience. The path to purchase needs to be made easy for them. They have high standards for their purchasing experience, and when you understand how to connect with them you will win the sale.
Educate and offer expert guidance
Given that the majority of Millennials are first time homebuyers, make sure to give them as much information on the homebuying process as possible. Be a partner to them by giving them educational tools to help them with the process to earn their trust. This includes content on your website, as well as collateral that demonstrates your expertise while further building a relationship with them.
Emphasize investment and attainability. If your communities offer special loan programs like USDA or FHSA loan programs then highlight that, and show them why investing in their future is a valuable opportunity right now. This will help them decide that now is the time to stop throwing away their money.
What about Social Media?
At minimum, every business should have a Facebook presence. Millennials are on Facebook, among other Social Media tools. If utilized to its full extent, Facebook has the ability to become a large driver of both online and on-site traffic. The best way to attract and grow your online Facebook presence to utilize the following ideas:
- Optimize the page for Search Engines utilizing the best white-hat practices of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
- Post engaging content tailored to your audience. Follow the 80/20 rule where 80% of content is informative and resourceful, and 20% is promotional.
- Advertise to your targeted audience to ensure maximum reach and frequency of your message.
- Sponsor your posts. The average Facebook organic post may only reach 2-4% of your audience. Ensure delivery by “boosting” your content to reach all of your audience.
- Keep it fresh. Give users a reason to come back by consistently adding new features, updating cover photos and providing new inspirational content.
- Recent and Relevant information. News and Information is moving at an unbelievable rate these days. People don’t want to read old news and they especially don’t want to bother with something that isn’t relevant to what they are looking for. Make sure to engage them with interesting content.
- Provide exclusive social media offers.
- Take advantage of Facebook LIVE. This free tool is reaching an average of 3.2x amount of users than a typical Facebook post.
- Capitalize on trending topics to help push immediate engagement.
- Give fans a look behind the scenes at your team and operation.
How many posts on Facebook are best?
Effective advertising is all about reach and frequency. Social media is no different. Your goal with social media is to connect with followers without driving them away. You should aim for the perfect balance of sharing and listening. It really depends on your audience as to how often you should post, but at PTC Computer Solutions, we find that posting once per day is an ideal balance in connecting with our audience and not crossing the line into annoying them. The key is not just to post for the sake of posting but to make sure you have relevant and timely information to share with your followers.
How much of your budget should be dedicated to social media advertising?
The best approach in answering this question is first finding out what percentage of your marketing budget you’re currently spending on social media. In recent years, most builders have spent an average of 8-12% of their budget on social media. However, with the overall impact of social media advertising, we are seeing this figure increase. In 2017, we recommend boosting this number to between 13-18%. These figures are, of course, relative to your results. If you are tracking your ROI and seeing an effective return, then logic tells us to increase this percentage to drive more qualified traffic that end up as sales!