Millennials are the latest generation to emerge onto the real estate scene. The millennial group can be roughly defined as those who were born between 1981 and 1996. Marketing to Millennials is much different than other generations given the values they hold, unique experiences they have had with technology and the behaviors they share.
Some of the defining attributes of this group include coming of age during the Great Recession, being less materialistic than older generations due to the variance in most financial markets, and possessing an understanding and reliance on technology and social connectivity. If you are looking to target this group in your marketing efforts for the new year, the following areas are good to keep in mind:
The real estate professional must first understand what is important to millennials and how to appropriately get ‘synced’ with this group. Not all Baby Boomers attended Woodstock and not all Millennials spend their day’s texting on every mobile device possible. Therefore, real estate marketers must determine their level of connectivity with the group by reviewing three basic themes that set Millennials apart from other generations:
1) Slower life transitions – Millennials stay in school longer and get married later in life than their parents and grandparents.
2) Embrace technology – Millennials grew up surrounded by evolving technology such as using the Internet, having cell phones, and being introduced to new technologies in both the home and work environments.
3) Great Recession influence – Millennials’ finances have been significantly influenced by the Great Recession so they are fiscally cautious with some not wanting to take on the commitment of homeownership.
Given millennials’ love of technology, a variety of strategies can be employed to spark their attention to the housing market.
First, it is important to understand that a phone call or email will be their last choice when reaching out to select an agent. Real estate marketers can reach their clients through engaging website content, social media accounts, and online reviews from present and former customers. Relying on a charming phone demeanor will help but not seal the deal with this age group. They will no doubt do their homework before making an informed decision.
Second, marketers must put themselves in the shoes of a Millennial who searches for homes on the Internet to gauge the available inventory. It is important for agents to make their website and online resources as user friendly as possible and ask yourself the following questions about your online presence:
1) Is the site optimized for mobile viewing?
2) Is the site’s design attractive and attention getting?
3) Does the site have useful information as a blog or forum?
4) Does the site have relevant information to help interested buyers?
5) Are there links to reviews, social media sites or other user-generated content?
Third, social media is a major player in millennial purchasing. According to Inkhouse.net, ages 18-34 comprise over half of Facebook’s 500 million users and 30 percent of Twitter’s 106 million users. Also, 18-34 year olds are the largest YouTube audience with 67 percent of view each month.
Finally, Millennials are educated and aware of the environment and creating a “greener” future for their children. Therefore, having a strong platform around sustainability and walkable neighborhoods is a good idea. Millennials can be attracted to the 24-7 atmosphere so once you have met your client, take time to see what really matters to them in the way of their home search and its criteria. As with any generation, being able to walk or take mass transit to the grocery store, library, schools or other amenities can be important.