Millennials. It’s a word on everyone’s tongue and a demographic that many brands are trying to reach. This finicky group of 20-35 year olds is the ideal customer for many reasons; millennials grew up in the digital age, typically have disposable income, and are in their prime years for making some of the biggest purchases of their lives.
For the real estate industry, this generation of young clientele is equally important. Many millennials are now entering the homebuying market and they represent a large segment of the business. In fact, they represent 32% of all buyers, according to a March 2015 report from the National Association of Realtors. It’s no number to sneeze at and one that’s on the rise in the next few years.
But in a world of changing digital communications, the question remains: how do you effectively communicate with this generation? For real estate agents who may be used to working with this group’s baby boomer parents, the means of communication need to be adjusted to best serve this tech-savvy and relatively young group of buyers.
Here are a few tips and best practices for communicating and working with millennials.
1. Take your interactions online
Realtors used to be found primarily through word-of-mouth referrals. But now, a plethora of local real estate agents and businesses are available with just the click of an online search. What this means for your business is that you and your brand must exist online as much as in the real world. Here are a few things your business can do to reach the millennial eye:
- Have updated social profiles with your company information and bio. This means having a Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn page, and even an Instagram or Youtube account at the very minimum. If you aren’t active online, you seem outdated and strange to millennial buyers who are used to these forms of brand representation.
- Have past customers or clients endorse you online. Whether this is through a LinkedIn review, Facebook rating, or a tweet, having positive and open online interactions with your customers can confirm to young homebuyers that you’re a good fit for them.
2. Don’t be afraid to text your clients
Many young people prefer text communication over phone calls since it is more convenient and less intrusive. While this does not mean that in-person interactions are obsolete (they are still very important!), this does mean that as a realtor you should think twice before resorting to a phone call. When meeting up for a showing, updating a client, or asking simple queries, try texting instead of calling for non-urgent communications with millennial buyers. Texting is more their language.
3. Optimize your mobile experience
This demographic is more on-the-go than you might think. Most clients in this age bracket own a smartphone and are using their devices to communicate, interact and discover new businesses. What this means for your company is to ensure that your website and all online assets are perfected for mobile as well as desktop. Make sure contact information is clear and that there is some quick content that is available to browse. If your mobile experience isn’t smooth, some young customers will be encouraged to go elsewhere.
4. Keep correspondence creative
Begone are the days of fridge magnets or calendar mailers sent to your real estate client’s house. Unless you’re sending them something ironic, vintage or hip, the millennial customer prefers something digital, and this holds true for your correspondence with them as well. Some alternatives that will appeal to younger homebuyers include:
- Instead of a physical card, go for e-cards or digital holiday greetings.
- Instead of flyers, send email newsletter updates with photos and links.
- Use digital correspondence on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to keep millennials updated.
Another point to remember would be that millennials tend to mainly gather information online (whether in the form of reviews, testimonials, or market data) before making decisions to purchase. Because of this, it's important to add value to your online presence, and to become a good source of relevant information. One way to do this would be to provide quick, downloadable local market reports via your website that millennials could use as reference as they try to decide on their home purchase.