If you already feel old, I have bad news for you: kids born in 2000 will be turning 18 next year. The ones born in 1995 are already over 21.
Millennials––the cohort born between 1981 and 2000––are a huge consumer demographic. Recent population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau show that there are 75.4 million millennials, at at least half a million more than Baby Boomers.
Granted, the millennial generation has a reputation for being stingy, self-absorbed, and high-strung. But to be fair, they’re faced with considerable obstacles, especially when it comes to housing and employment.
Why Millennials have it hard
Did you know that 40% of the total unemployed workers are millennials? According to PEW Research, “Millennials are also the first in the modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than their two immediate predecessor generations (Gen Xers and Boomers) had at the same stage of their life cycles.”
It’s because of these challenges that Millennials have to be very selective about what they invest their money in––and that extends to property.
Here’s the billion-dollar question: How can you be their favorite real estate company? Let’s take a look at ways to invest in mid-tier apartments that appeal to this cash-strapped demographic:
1. Embrace their sense of independence
Millennials are used to doing things on their own. Thanks to the internet, they insist on figuring things out on their own. From life-changing decisions like choosing a career path to buying clothes to daily tasks such as shopping for groceries, Millennials are nearly all digital natives.
They don’t expect any handholding, and many don’t expect you to hold their hand as they are buying a house. So, embrace and capitalize on their independent decision-making by showing up where they spend most of their time: online.
When it comes to mobile usage, the average millennial engages with their smartphone more than they do their loved ones (parents, lovers, friends, and co-workers included). According to research by comScore, Millennials spend at least 90 hours per month on smartphone apps. Mobile usage accounts for 65% of total platform usage.
So if you want to reach the Millennial market, start by being present on mobile, especially with a mobile app or even a better, more user-friendly website. For example, when it comes to rental applications, it may be better to whip something up that they can fill out 100% online rather than hand them pen and paper.
2. Gear up on personalization
Millennials have a lot of things going on at the same time. As such, they get bored (read: distracted) easily. In fact, the average human attention span is lower than that of a goldfish.
The key to gaining their attention is to use personalized content every time you get a chance. Send them content that speaks to their interests, aspirations and budget. Created a detailed buyer persona.
With that kind of detailed information at hand, you can tell them all about the neighborhoods they might be interested in, for instance. Send them listings in their price range that they’ll actually look at. By sending valuable personalized information and advice, you can ensure that you stay top of mind, even when they aren’t ready to buy.
To do this more easily and consistently, invest in a great customer relationship management (CRM) system for note-taking and email-exchange tracking, as well as an email automation software of some kind, like MailChimp. This helps you segment your leads and customer lists basing on their interests, budget and buyer stages.
3. Support causes they care about
More than any other generation before them, Millennials understand and care about the importance of giving back and doing good in general. In fact, instead of making random donations, Millennials have a habit of contributing frequently to causes they care about.
Because of this, they value and welcome cause-marketing more than previous generations and are more willing to buy products associated with a cause. They will reward a company with loyalty if it supports a cause they care about. According to Cone Communications, over 90% of millennials are willing to switch brands to those associated with a cause.
Corporate social responsibility has become a significant priority to brands looking to appeal to this demographic. To increase your chances of winning in this market, consider supporting social causes in education, healthcare, the environment, or even housing.
Finally, make sure your tech works
Since most of these strategies to appeal to Millennials depend heavily on the internet, you want to make sure that your tech is working well, and that you test it yourself. Tweak the smallest details, and optimize your website and marketing campaigns over time. A small blunder in the system could send your current and potential clients straight to your competition.
But think like a Millennial, respect their budget and their needs, spend your time on the same channels where they spend their time (e.g., social media, Millennial news sites, etc.) and you will be rewarded more than you could possibly imagine. In fact, you just might have a customer for life.