Reaching the Elusive Millennial Market

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Written by Laurie Holt, Marketing & Client Relations

Millennials… they seem to be a hot topic in all areas of business. Why? Right now, there are about 82 million millennials in the United States. With Baby Boomers getting closer to the age of retirement, in the next 10-15 years, the window of opportunity for millennials to step into leadership roles is wide open.

Who makes up this group of millennials that everyone is talking about? Individuals that were born between 1980 and 2000. This means the oldest millennial is 36 years old and is probably on his or her way to the C-suite, if not already there. If you are not already selling to these individuals, you soon will be. To be successful, you need to understand how millennials operate so you can adjust your sales tactics accordingly.

One important thing to note about millennials is that they are very entrepreneurial minded. They strive for success and do not think it is necessary to follow someone else’s path to get there. Whether it’s a result of a Baby Boomer’s retirement or through their own entrepreneurial ambition, millennials will be the decision makers before you even notice.

The following are four things to remember when trying to reach your millennial prospects:

1) Let’s Get Social

Millennials are the most tech-savvy generation in the workplace to date, and their love for technology does not replace the need for face-to-face interaction; it enhances how they get to know you and your people.

LinkedIn is one of the easiest ways to connect with the millennial audience. After all, they make up 38 percent of the total user base, and there are more than 11 million millennial global decision makers on LinkedIn. Think of it as your online chamber of commerce. It is an easy way to connect to the prospects you are building relationships with and a way to stay connected and in front of them.

When it comes to selling accounting-related services, relationships have always been and always will be the driving force behind decision making. You had better believe that if millennials are browsing Yelp, Zomato and Trip Advisor to decide where to grab tacos with friends on a Tuesday night, they will be checking out your firm’s LinkedIn page as well as your profile and that of your partners before making a formal decision about becoming a client.

2) Think Outside the Standard 8-5

Whether they are night owls, checking Twitter while waiting to meet friends for a late dinner or perusing social media to make sure they did not miss anything important before heading to bed, millennials are engaging well after the typical work day. Common “best practices” when it comes to posting content on social media includes taking action sometime between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., depending on the platform. When it comes to millennials, studies have shown that 35 percent of this audience tends to consume content between 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

The good news is you do not need to be a night owl to hit that sweet spot of engaging this particular audience. You can utilize marketing automation platforms such as Buffer, Hubspot and Sprout Social to schedule your social media posts in advance. With tools like these available, there is no reason you should have to work around the clock in order to engage with your prospects on their schedule.

3) Brevity Needs to Be Your Gift

Millennials want things to be short and simple. They are looking for a different type of content. They tend to favor infographics, gifs, videos and memes, which is more easily digestible than the SlideShares, charts, graphs and trend analyses that the Baby Boomers gravitate toward. When it comes to writing, 300 words or less is the optimal length of an article for millennials—200 words less than for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

You can blame millennials’ short attention span on microwave meals or how they communicated with friends on AOL Instant Messenger via shorthand like brb, gtg and lol during their middle school days. Either way, remember to hit the high notes and capture their attention with the most important information as quickly as possible. This applies to virtually all forms of communication, too.

4) Info On the Go

Millennials grew up eating dinner on the road via happy meals in the car, on the way to church or after soccer practice. Is it any wonder why this generation likes to receive content while they can be participating in an entirely different activity as well?

According to a 2015 Constant Contact study, when it comes to consuming content, all generations ranked blog posts, images, comments and eBooks as four of the top five ways they prefer to consume content. What different medium rounded out the top five for millennials? Audiobooks.

What does that mean for CPA firms? It is time to think about having thought leaders at your firm share their knowledge in a recorded podcast. Thought Leadership is not just about the written article or blogpost anymore; millennials want to hear about your expertise as well. Audiobooks or podcasts also humanize the voice of your people, literally. If you share portable content with a millennial prospect, they will be more likely to listen to it.

Change the Way You Establish Credibility and Communicate

Chances are you’ve been in a business development role for many years. You’ve built skills and sales methodologies that you rely on to be successful. With millennials finding their way into the decision making seat, now is the time to craft a sales methodology that will win them over.

Those proven sales skills like building relationships, focusing on needs and putting the buyer first will not change. However, to be taken seriously, you need to have a social media presence, if you don’t already have one. You also need to be active on social media; sharing information in a format they are looking for and when they are looking for it.

If you step outside your comfort zone, you will see success. Remember to keep it simple, communicate in new ways (e.g., a LinkedIn message and not a phone call) and meet millennial prospects when they are available, and you can turn this elusive buyer into a new client.

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