Here’s the most common answer: make your product Instagram-worthy and Millennials will follow. That’s pretty much how most brands are approaching their marketing-to-millennials today. But, is that what Millennials are all about? While social media is where they are known to spend a lot of their time, it may not be the only motivation for the evasive Millennials to engage with a brand on any level.

Who’s a Millennial, after all?

Recently, Pew Research Center defined that anyone born between 1981 and 1996 is a Millennial. That’s a wide bracket and what appeals to a 22 year old of today would not, for sure, entice a fellow Millennial on the other end of the spectrum. Therefore,  attracting the attention of Millennials and then converting them into repeat customers is a challenging task.

In this post, we will look at some unique strategies that will empower your eCommerce business to influence the buying decision of Millennials.

#1. Bring in innovation in every aspect of your brand

Here’s a fantastic example of marketing-to-millennials: Charmin, the brand of toilet paper, created an amazing app called Sit or Squat that promises to tell you the closest ‘clean public toilet’ based on your current location. This app is a saviour for always-on-the-go Millennials who seek a clean-toilet experience when they need to use one.

The brand also has two more apps: one for bathroom games and another for fun toilet-humor digital stickers. This is a brilliant idea that has created a top of the mind recall for Charmin. Here are some ways in which you can bring in innovation into your eCommerce business:

#Create innovative marketing campaigns

Consider what is important to Millennials - fitness, ambition, innovation, travel, financial security,  social impact and leading a life of purpose. These facets give you ample room to weave your brand story around them. Innovate with your brand story and make your product and your Millennial customer a significant part of that story.

To up your game, you can incorporate new technology into your marketing campaigns. For example, let customers ‘try on’ an outfit through an Artificial Reality app, or take them through the product creating process through Virtual Reality.

#Choose an innovative domain name

Millenials are incredibly tech savvy. By default they are more receptive to new technology and are quick to chuck the old and outdated. Think about it - which one of these domain names is more likely to seem more promising to Millennials:

  • thatmerch.store
  • brandmerchandising4u.com

Also, invest in an SSL certificate for your website. It’s very crucial for Millennials to trust your business for any transaction.

#2. Engage with micro-influencers for a macro impact

Did you know these stats about Instagram influencers?

  • Instagram profiles with less than 1,000 followers generally receive likes on their posts 8% of the time. Users with 10 million+ followers only receive likes 1.6% of the time.
  • Users with less than 1,000 followers generate comments about 0.5% of the time, compared to 0.04% for those with 10M+ followers – a difference of nearly 13X. (Source: Markerly).

What this means is that the engagement on Instagram profiles peak as the number of followers reach a 1000.  However, as the number of followers grow, the follower-to-engagement ratio stagnates.

Another study found that while the reach of macro-influencers is much higher, the engagement rate of micro-influencers is as much as 2.2X that of macro-influencers. Therefore, it’s more cost-efficient to work with micro-influencers when your objective is to drive more engagement and influence buying decision.

The easiest way to find micro-influencers is to look at your existing set of customers and make them your brand advocates. They can create real influence among their friends and followers. And, by becoming a brand advocate, they will inspire their friends to do the same. Thus, it can snowball into creating more brand advocates for you. Overtime, you can build a community of your customers who are your loyal to your brand.

The biggest benefit of engaging with micro-influencers is the credibility that only they can bring to the table, something that macro-influencers are rapidly losing. At the same time, micro-influencers are less expensive to work with.

#3. Sneak into their conversations and inner groups

The Millennials are constantly in touch with different sets of friends through dedicated groups on almost all social networks - right from closed Facebook groups of the entire batch of school friends to WhatsApp groups with as less as 3 closest friends or work colleagues. The dynamics of each group is different - larger groups are all about entertainment and banter with many silent members whereas the smaller groups are more intimate and personal with intense participation from each member.

As a Millennials-focused brand, aim for your product photos or links or content to sneak into these groups as a point of conversation. The reason is simple -  if they like it enough to share among their closed groups, they are likely to develop a higher affinity for your brand. Here are a few ways to enter these private conversations:

  • Partner with an event or create an event that Millennials and post-Millennials might be interested in. It could be a music show or a stand up act that they would want to show up at with their friends.
  • Create exciting referral schemes which compel them to ask their closest friends to ‘use their code’ in order to get benefits that they find irresistible.
  • Make your brand stories around your existing Millennial customers and promote them on social media. This will get them to share the post link with their groups and create an aspiration among their friends to connect with your brand.

Each of these activities can be actioned at various scales basis the size of your eCommerce business. The more creative you can get with this, the more viral it can go.

While these tips will can help you gain sales momentum, be ready to consistently evolve your customer engagement strategies. Soon, you will need to shift your focus from Millennials and cater to the quirks of post-Millennials, the generation that comprises of people born after 1996. Can an e-commerce operation ignore consumers who are now 21 years old?