November 09, 2015

The Realtor's Guide to Marketing to Millennials


Ah, millennials; the bane of marketers' existence. These fickle consumers are now approaching the stage in life where they're considering purchasing homes, and marketing to millennials as a realtor is a whole new ball game. If you're unsure where to even start with the process of selling to this up-and-coming generation of home buyers, we've got a quick guide to get you started.

If you're feeling a little confused here, millennials are considered the generation born from the early 1980's into the early 2000's and range in age from 18-36. The definition tends to vary across sources, but one thing everyone can agree on is that they're a tough demographic to market to.

They're a generation who spends much of their time online, grew up in the digital age, and are not easily swayed by the more traditional advertisements. According to Google, they're finally emerging from their parents' basements and very ready to buy their own homes. First time homebuyers make up about 33% of the market each year nationwide, and the majority of that percentage? They're now millennials.

Top Marketing Tips for Focusing on Millennials:

1. Social Media

Millennials will look to your social media platforms for content and thought leadership to determine whether or not you're the best option for them. If you're not on social media, then it's time to put yourself out there.

Start with Twitter and throw out some daily real estate tips, advice, and tricks to establish yourself as a trusted realtor. It's a quick way to get your name out there and make yourself available to the millennial market as a trusted source.

Throw away your traditional advertisements, flyers and stale pitches, and instead consider the types of content that will bring in millennial customers to your site and social media platforms.

How-to videos, whitepapers, and dynamic blog posts that display your expertise and thought leadership amongst the vast sea of other realtors out there is what millennials want. Take the time to create thoughtful and helpful content and gain the respect and even trust of this new generation of first time home buyers. About 60% of millennials today are engaged with and creating their own blog posts and videos. Meeting them on a platform that they're accustomed to is sure to garner their attention.

2. Personal Referrals

This is huge. When millennials are looking for advice or information, they go to their friends and peers first. For example, 98% of millennials are more likely to engage with a friend's post over a brand's post on social media. How does this help you then?

Work your network and grab those referrals! While more traditional brands may take the route of hiring a brand advocate to engage with their peers, millennial to millennial, it may require a slightly different approach as a realtor or a broker.

Reach out to those past clients and even family members that may fit that broad definition of a millennial and see if they would be willing to help you out with networking opportunities. Make sure to spread the word that you are reachable in new ways. Did you open your Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and/or Instagram accounts? Let your network know because if they start engaging with your social media content, that could extend your reach to gain more referrals from millennials.

3. Mobile

85% of millennials own a smartphone and since this generation has grown up in the age of technology, near instantaneous access to the Internet and all the information they could want...they do A LOT of online research. Beyond that, 36% of millennials doing real estate research in July of 2014 were accessing that information from a mobile device, and that percentage only continues to increase.

This means a couple of things, and first of course, is mobile optimization. Is your website optimized for viewing on a smartphone? Take a look at it yourself from your phone and scroll through to make sure it's a seamless experience. More often than not, a millennial will disregard a brand pretty quickly if their site doesn't look professional, and/or can't be easily accessed from their phone.

4. Online Research & SEO

This goes hand-in-hand with your mobile optimization. We've been in the age of Google for quite some time now, especially since that googling is a verb. Now, 83% of millennials say they will spend up to 6 months or more on researching their potential home purchase before moving forward.

If you want to tap into that market, you need to be...Google-able, and that means working on SEO (search engine optimization). Organic search is key and if you don't find yourself on the first page of that Google search, it's time to make some changes to your website and if you have one, your blog!

Remember that simplicity and specificity is key here. Think about the types of important questions that may come up in someone's online search, ie: how do I buy my first home? Or where can I get a mortgage?

From there, create tailored content that can answer those questions. Utilize tools such as Google Keywords Planner to understand what keywords frequently pop up in people's searches and let that guide you on how you create your content. Keep your content focused and don't stray too far from the question you set out to answer. You'll find that you and your content will be much easier to find for those researching their real estate options online.

Things to Takeaway

Understanding the millennial demographic is key to moving forward in successfully marketing to them for a big life decision like buying a home. Millennials are known for being very open to change and self-expression, and are quickly growing to becoming the most over-educated generation.

They are inclined to turn to their friends for advice and referrals, which means that tapping into the millennial base of consumers is key to networking amongst more and more of the demographic. This can easily be done if you focus more on your own social media presence.

Get out there; optimize your site for organic search AND mobile viewing then start creating helpful and dynamic content. You'll bring in more millennials directly to you as they look for the expert advice for getting into the market to buy their first home.