How to Better Attract and Engage Millennial Members

Would you like to attract more millennials to join your association?

By the numbers, millennials eclipse previous generations. For every one person born in Generation X, there were two born in Generation Y. Millennials are quite literally everywhere, but they are also rather elusive when it comes to traditional marketing.

However, because millennials have considerable buying power (which will continue to grow over the next few decades), it’s important for your organization to attract and engage this generation.

Why now? After the age of 40, research shows that most consumers get locked into a routine. They don’t stray from the brands or organizations that they trust. If you want to forge a lifelong membership with millennials, they time to start is right now.

So, what can you do to grab a millennial? To better answer that question, let’s look at what defines the millennial generation.

What is a Millennial?

Depending on who you ask, Generation Y encompasses anyone born from the early ‘80s to the late ‘90s. At this point in history, millennials are between the ages of 21 to 35. Millennials are not just the future, they’re the present. They’ve come of age, they’re full-fledged adults, and they’re career-minded.

Understand the Millennial Mindset

Many millennials cannot remember a time before the Internet. As a result, millennials are digital natives and globally minded. They live their lives “out loud” via social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

Millennials are documentarians that spend their entire lives in front of screens. They don’t use paper, they use apps. They like to keep up with their social groups digitally as well as in person. To them, technology is not an intrusion into daily life, it’s a tool for experiencing life.

Here’s a list of best practices for marketing to millennials.

Focus on What’s In It For Them

Here’s the number one question that every prospective millennial member wants to ask you: What will I gain by becoming a member of your association?

The answer to this question is two-part.

Part one: Start by explaining who you are as an association. What are your values? What guides your organization? Millennials are drawn to ideals, and want to join up with associations that share their same ideals.

It’s important to note that millennials are not monolithic in their social values. There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” answer here. What may attract one millennial may not attract another– but it is essential that you’re transparent with your values.

There's no such thing as a 'one size fits all' when marketing to millennials. Click To Tweet

Part two: Explain why membership is beneficial. You can focus on the educational advantage of becoming a member, or how your association can help build their reputation so they can advance in their careers.

Prospective members should have at least two compelling reasons to join your association. They must approve of and agree with your values, and they must see a clear benefit for their own self-improvement.

Appeal to Their Social Values

In addition to your brand values, which are often inward facing, focus on what good you do for the community at large. How do you, as an association, give back? Are you linked up with charitable organizations? Do you donate time and resources to schools or community outreach programs?

Your association’s charitable engagement is important to millennials.

Although millennials are very “me”-focused, they’re also attracted to the concept of the greater good. They want to do good. They want to support companies and organizations that do good. This is a big reason why companies like TOMS, a shoe brand that donates one pair of shoes for each new purchase, are so popular amongst millennials.

A whooping 84% of millennials consider what the brand stands for before they make a purchase with that brand. Armed with the power of Internet search, they will also verify whether or not a brand is actually doing socially what it says. And, if not, millennials will take their business elsewhere.

Find the Job Angle

One of the biggest selling features for joining your association is the promise of ongoing education. Millennials are compelled by the opportunity to grow.

Millennials seek out opportunities to develop their careers. Just like the Gen Xers before them, millennials won’t be tied to one job for the rest of their lives. They aren’t motivated by the carrot dangling promise of a gold watch after 40 years of service.

Show how your association will help the prospective millennial member become better at their current job. Or show how you can equip them for their next job. If your association is more network-based vs. course-based, you can also discuss how networking has improved the lives and careers of your members.

Promise Growth and Constant Improvement

As mentioned above, millennials are motivated by the promise of growth and rewarding experiences. A study from Pew Research Center found that millennials will be the most educated generation in US history.

Because they love ongoing education, it’s important that you promise and provide constant enrichment. It’s the best way to motivate a millennial to join and stay engaged with your association. If you’re not enriching their lives, they won’t continue their membership.

Instead of offering a one-and-done type of arrangement, consider updating your certification with new material on an annual basis. This way, you’ll give your members a valid reason to stay connected to your association while providing ever-increasing value.

Get Mobile

Millennials live with quick access to their phones. Phones are always on, and millennials are always on them.

Be sure that your website and emails are mobile-friendly. If a millennial member visits your website, or reads an email off of their smartphone, they shouldn’t need to pinch-to-zoom. Your content should be easy to read, from even the smallest screens.

Also, do you have a strategy to reach your members through an app or SMS? If not, now’s the time to consider updating your outreach.

Offer Short-Term Subscriptions

The thought of a long-term, annual subscription will make the average millennial itch. They much prefer the idea of a month-to-month subscription plan.

If you only offer annual subscriptions, you could be alienating would-be millennials members. Give them the choice. Offer a monthly option, too. You can still offer an annual subscription at your regular rate, and increase the monthly subscription to a slightly higher rate.

Hire Millennials

If you truly want to attract millennials, hire millennials. Otherwise, in attempt to reach millennials will appear hollow and inauthentic. Why have millennial members if you don’t also have millennials in your staff? They will help you bridge the gap and create content and experiences that speak directly to millennials.

Also, hire a diverse group of individuals. Millennials are the most ethnically diverse generation in US history, with up to 43% identified as non-white. For this reason, millennials prefer associating with organizations that reflect ethnic diversity.

Welcome Feedback

Millennials believe in a feedback culture, and if they’re not telling you directly, they’re sharing it with their social circles on social media. To avoid finding potentially negative reviews of your association online, make it a priority to encourage direct feedback. This way, you can attempt to resolve conflicts or negative opinions before they go public.

Actively solicit comments and ways to improve your service. Ask through surveys on your website, emails, and social media. Above all, don’t simply listen, also act.

Over to You

What’s do you believe is the most important thing to consider when attracting millennials? Let us know in the comments below.

Don’t forget to download this list of best practices for marketing to millennials.

Mark is a tech entrepreneur passionate about solving problems through software, and is currently the Marketing Lead at Accredible. If he's not working he's probably running or enjoying craft beer.

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