Marketing to millennials is an entirely different game, where old advertising strategies simply don’t work. Millennials want fresh, relatable, sharable content with an impactful message, and they are willing to do their research to find it.
This generation of change-makers can be a loyal customer for your SaaS solutions if you know how to win its trust.
How Millennials Are Changing Your SaaS Marketing
Millennials, or Generation Y, are the people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. While the youngest among them are still in college, older millennials might have 15 or more years of work experience.
As the largest generation in the US workforce, millennials are now the people making most of the decisions, whether from the perspective of a customer, a team lead, or a CEO. They are also spending the most, with projections of closing off 2020 with a $1,4 trillion tab.
Despite its diversity, this generation is tied together by their open access to information. Which is why marketing to millennials presents its unique challenges and opportunities.
How to Engage Millennials With Your SaaS Marketing?
There are approximately 2.8 million apps in the Google Play Store and 2.2 million in the Apple App Store, not to mention all of the web platforms providing software-as-a-service. It seems almost impossible to make an impression in such a crowded market. But it doesn’t have to – if you understand your users.
Millennials are making informed, well-researched decisions, based not just on advertisements or a quick search in Google, but also on what others have experienced and shared. A holistic approach to life and consumption is what defines this generation of digital natives and the values they stand behind.
So, marketing SaaS to millennials means stepping into their shoes. Brands are trying to do this by implementing omnichannel marketing strategies (learn how to attribute ROI across channels), use cognitive biases to influence purchase decisions, and rely on other well-tested approaches.
Here are 5 strategies to put to use when marketing to millennials:
- Design for digital natives
- Speak their language
- Meet them on their territory
- Cultivate relationships
- Engage in meaningful interactions
Let’s have a walkthrough of each.
1. Design Your SaaS Product for Millennials
Generation Y grew up with the expansion of the internet and the digitization of services. They feel comfortable and confident online. This is their natural environment, and they navigate it with skill and efficiency. To engage them, you need to stand out from the crowd.
Even if your product functions well, millennials will be turned off by a mobile-unfriendly, a dated look, or non-intuitive design. Their design requirements apply not just to how your digital platform or app looks, but also how various components, such as content, features, navigation, responsiveness, band communication, and even community-building work together.
To pass their stress-test, your software should, quite simply, provide them something valuable for their time, attention, and loyalty.
What separates successful apps and web platforms from unsuccessful ones is a seamless mobile user experience, including in-app UX and a mobile-first website design.
Millennials spend 211 minutes accessing apps or the internet via smartphone per day, compared to only 31 minutes of daily desktop internet usage. The same analysis of smartphone users in the US found that millennials unlocked their devices an average of 63 times per day. As you can see, building a mobile-first design is simply a must for your SaaS product’s success.
The elements of a good mobile UX Design are shown in this honeycomb by Peter Morville:
You can’t use the same design principles for both mobile and desktop. Take the size of the screens, for example – on a desktop, you can put a lot of content, and it can still look organized and easy to use. Now imagine shrinking all this content to the standard size of a mobile device without changing anything. The user might not even get to your call-to-action button – scrolling fatigue is a thing.
You should also consider the mobile device’s orientation – predominantly vertical – when you organize your content. Other things to keep in mind are how people use their mobile devices – mostly with just one thumb – and the fact that people use their phones everywhere, so you have to make your content easy to see and navigate through.
To create a great SaaS user experience, first of all, you should know your users. Which features are most important to them, what problem does your product solve for them, what differentiates your product from the competition? Define your ideal customers and answer these questions for each of them.
For user-centered design, apply surveys and interviews, usability tests, and iterations to establish a deep understanding of the user’s needs. Start with defining the context in which your product will be used, specifying your users’ requirements next, design solutions to meet them, evaluate and change them over and over again. This visual framework can help you with designing your product:
Source: Interaction Design Foundation, User Centered Design
A common mistake is trying to put in too many features and content. Such an overload can make the solution feel complicated, so you have to prioritize what is actually valuable to the user.
2. Personalize Your SaaS Product’s Communication for Millennials
If we want to be understood, it helps to speak the other person’s language. Unlike previous generations who were accustomed to generic advertisements and outbound shotgun approach, millennials have come to expect more personalized advertisement messaging.
Marketing to millennials means introducing solutions. They want to know how your product fits in with their story. You can show them that by creating high-quality, engaging ads and content. Keep it focused on their needs, not on your software features.
When you plan your marketing strategy, know that millennial software buyers will have thoroughly researched their needs and potential solutions and come to the table with a deep understanding of what they require.
As people willing to challenge the status quo, millennials want bold products and ideas, wrapped in a meaningful and inclusive message. They value freedom of expression, sustainability, and social justice. Businesses that understand and support one’s personal values have the attention of Generation Y.
And one more thing – be authentic and truthful. No one can hide from a millennial on their smartphone.
To create meaningful ads for your SaaS product, you should focus not only on users’ search intent but also on their deeper needs and motivations.
A consumer’s last web or app activity is always transactional. Standing alone, it lacks meaning. To understand what triggered the purchase decision, you should zoom out and see the connection between all of the touchpoints users had with your brand.
Millennials demand authentic content that delivers value – even in marketing and ads. They’re also more likely to trust your brand if you show a genuine interest in helping them.
Focus on how to help your millennial audience achieve what they want, not on how to sell your product right away. Do they want to be a better friend, spouse, or parent? Do they want to accomplish something special? What motivates them to do the research and find you and your competitors?
For example, suppose your product is music software. In that case, you should dig into WHY a user wants to create music. Perhaps they are professionals working on a film score, or maybe they are trying to create a piece of music for a specific occasion to surprise a loved one. Their user journeys would be wildly different in each case. Context is everything. So forget about generic messaging in your ads.
Buyer Persona Focused Landing Pages
The same goes for your website: cookie-cutter landing pages won’t get you the results you want. A landing page should look fresh, human, relatable but also project a sense of experience and authority in your sector.
However, even the most appealing landing page needs to be backed by a complete user journey. Make your website content easy to navigate, actionable, sharable, and calls to action.
Another aspect of your marketing strategy is choosing your target audience carefully. Many teams have the budget and autonomy to decide on the SaaS solutions they need. Instead of trying to reach a company CEO, it might be more effective to focus on a team lead. Get to know their needs, and adopt a personalized approach by helping them achieve more.
3. Promote Your SaaS Product Across Channels Millennials Love
Millennials love learning and making informed decisions based on other users’ experiences, as well as scientific facts. Besides, digital has always been a part of their lives and almost every decision, work-related or otherwise, begins with an online search.
When the results that come up are interactive content, friendly human faces, and authentic emotions, that’s more appealing than corporate marketing content. So what are the top channels for your SaaS millennial marketing strategy?
Social Media and Social Proof
Millennials adapt quickly to new platforms, so apart from Facebook, they fell in love with visual platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. Strong, bold visuals are the first step in your millennial social media marketing journey. From pictures to memes and gifs – visual content is a must.
Using social media ads, posts, and creative stories is an effective tool to create engagement. Building a strong social media presence is more likely to result in user-generated reviews, as well. Social proof is key for marketing to millennials, so harvest these carefully – they pay off.
Encourage your audience to engage with the brand by creating interactive content. For example, try social media posts that ask a question or prompt your audience to share their experience. 84% of millennials report that user-generated content on company websites influences what they buy.
Influencer marketing is another effective strategy to appeal to your target audience through social media. If you find the right influencer in your field, and inspire them to create authentic content with your product, you are one step closer to the smooth millennial marketing journey.
Video platforms such as YouTube and TikTok often turn out to be top-performing marketing channels for millennials.
Video engages your millennial audience through speech, sound, and visuals and packs so much impact. Visual content is much quicker to absorb and leaves a lasting impression. Plus, it can later be repurposed into other content formats.
A video-first marketing approach for SaaS also allows you to show exactly how your software works. It is a simple and effective way to show specific features and use cases.
Millennials are always online, so you also need to be on top of their search results and satisfy their search intent.
Inbound marketing is a good strategy when marketing SaaS to millennials because it solves a problem your customer has already identified. You simply need to create content that answers every question they have.
Some of the things you could do are building a FAQ page, including testimonials on your website, and creating a resources page to support users in making informed decisions.
4. Cultivate the Relationship Between Millennial Users and Your SaaS Brand
All we’ve discussed so far – channels, messages, and design – will be fruitless unless you manage to build a bond with your millennial audience.
Marketing to millennials means cultivating a relationship based on authenticity, trust, and shared values.
The members of Generation Y tend to distrust people in sales. Instead, they base their purchasing decisions on their own research and independent reviews. Content that rings true, free trials, and reviews from relatable peers shape up their buyer’s journey.
You could help by sharing user-generated content, making reviews visible, and encouraging your clients to share their opinions about your SaaS product. Make sure to be honest about what you do and never make users expect something you can’t provide.
Authenticity is key when you market your software to millennials. With this audience segment, it is better to be upfront about your challenges and failures, than to project a perfect image when you’re telling your brand story.
5. Marketing Software to Millennials: It’s All About Meaningful Interactions
There are exciting opportunities in marketing SaaS to millennials. You can deliver content that solves real problems, forge bonds with your customers, and share values.
Although reaching and winning over Generation Y requires a different approach from what appealed to previous generations, there are also bigger rewards.
Millennials are constantly connected and willing to share products they love and even create their own content around them. This, in turn, motivates their peers to get acquainted with your software. That’s why investing resources in a personalized and meaningful user journey can be the key to a successful SaaS marketing strategy.
To help millennials discover you, start with SEO for ranking and visibility. If you want to learn more, we’ve prepared a SaaS SEO roadmap for you.