You are probably sick of hearing about “millennial.” Chances are, if you are reading this, you may even be a millennial yourself (someone born between the years 1980 and 2000).
One of the most frustrating things about Millennial Talk is how broad a category this demographic really is. How can everyone born in a twenty year span possibly be grouped together or fit into any one generational narrative? The truth is, they can’t.
However, it is true in general that people born between the ages of 20 and 40 in the United States are more technologically literate than older generations. It’s also true that millennials are currently the largest living generation in the United States, making up more than one quarter of the population.
So, although we don’t subscribe to the “Millennials are all …” or “Millennials don’t …” trend, we do believe it’s necessary to create a marketing strategy that utilizes digital media, popular technologies, and brand-building trends to create a successful business.
Getting to Know Your Millennial Audience
As a target-audience, it’s difficult to come up with characteristics for an enormous group of people (over 83 million, according to the Census Bureau). Among millennials, there are infinite subgroups of interests, affiliations, hobbies, passions, and preferences. It seems impossible to market to such a wide and diverse group as one demographic. However, there are a few commonalities that may influence your marketing strategy:
- Familiar with digital media and online communication
- Mistrust of traditional advertising
- Common to have significant student loan debt
- Common to have higher education
- Common to change jobs throughout career
- Common to get married, have children, and buy homes later in life
- More socially conscious
- Take these generalizations about millenials into account as you craft your marketing strategy.
Attracting Millennials to Your Law Practice
As the largest generation now living in the US population, millennials are the next frontier for estate planning and business law. However, millennials are still relatively young and they are not necessarily thinking about estate planning and protecting growing wealth. If you are just waiting around for millennials to decide that it’s time to draft a will, create a trust, or establish a business estate plan, you could be waiting a long time. Instead, it will be up to your marketing strategy to educate millennials about why they need an attorney.
The old marketing models won’t work. A lot of estate planning marketing in the past has been fear-based: focusing on what could happen if the worst case scenario becomes reality. Millennials don’t respond as well to fear-based marketing. Instead, keep the messaging upbeat and focused on empowerment.
Tailoring the way you present your legal services to a millennial audience will change the message from one of “what if” to “what is possible?” Think about what millennials need to feel secure, empowered, and prepared for future growth.
Approximately forty percent of millennials are parents. This generation may be choosing to have children a little later, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t having children at all. As older parents, millennials may be more open to creating a comprehensive family plan that protects their children and helps their family thrive.
National student debt currently stands at $1.4 trillion, and the average student in the US owes over $37,000. Many of these student loans (unlike mortgages or credit card debt) are held by the federal government and follow different rules than other debts. This is an opportunity to educate millennials on how wills and trusts deal with debt so that it won’t be passed on to a spouse or family member.
Millennials are about to come into a lot of money. Over the next few decades, approximately $30 trillion is going to pass from older generations, with millennials as the beneficiaries. As this younger generation inherits the wealth of their parents and grandparents, there is going to be a surge in need for estate management guidance. Again, focus on empowerment rather than fear. How can working with an estate planning attorney empower heirs and beneficiaries?
Pet ownership is incredibly common among millennials, and they tend to invest a lot of time and money into their furry friends. Estate planning can play an important role in caring for beloved pets, including providing for a pet’s care in the event of incapacity or death, setting aside resources to care for the pet during probate, choosing a caretaker who has the resources needed to provide for the pet, and leaving funds in a pet trust.
Business Growth Planning
There has been a lot of reporting in recent years about the way millennials are approaching their careers. There is a trend away from the traditional 9-5 and sticking with one job over a whole career. Instead, fifty-four percent of millennials own their own business or say they want to start a business in the future. Because millennials are more likely to work for themselves or to change jobs throughout their careers, benefits such as retirement plans and life insurance may not be readily available to them. For small business owners, business planning with an attorney can be essential.
Changing the Way You Communicate With Clients
Beyond marketing, your service provision will also need to adapt to accommodate modern-day communication techniques. Millennials are digital natives, and they possess a level of tech literacy that is new to the legal field. Marketing campaigns like Facebook ads, TV and print ads, and radio spots aren’t really working with Millennials. They are more impressed with content-based marketing that provides informative and valuable content they can share with friends and colleagues.
This means that it is not enough to have a web presence. Your firm is going to need more than ads and a static webpage. Your online brand needs to be more dynamic, and your communications need to be engaging. Your site needs to be mobile-friendly, and content should be optimized for easy sharing. Attorneys need to become comfortable with tech communication such as emails, text messaging, website, blog, online chat, YouTube, Facebook Live, etc.
Don’t underestimate word of mouth. If a millennial hears a recommendation from a friend or colleague (online or in person), he or she is more likely to try it. Eighty-four percent of consumers research online, and 70% read online reviews before making a purchasing decision. That means that your online presence needs to be accessible, informative, and trust-building.
Another way to build trust is to offer free trials. Give potential clients a chance to try your firm out and get to know what you are about before putting down any money. This can include blog posts, video content, free events, downloadable worksheets, and free initial counseling sessions. Millennials are very used to signing up or liking on Facebook in exchange for a coupon, discount, or free access to content, so this can be a great way to build your audience.
Millenials are good at detecting nonsense, so make sure that your communications come across as authentic and honest.
Social and Environmental Consciousness May Seal the Deal
As a group, millennials tend to include their social, moral, and ethical preferences in their purchasing decisions. Because of the proliferation of choice and availability of information about many companies that provide the same goods or services, millennials have the opportunity to invite other factors into a purchasing decision beyond “does this product/service meet my need?” Consumers are seeking out companies that serve a greater purpose beyond profit so that they can feel good about their consumption. As a result, marketing becomes easier if your product is aligned with a particular social issue. For example, your law firm may emphasize its environmental sustainability goals (paperless, reduced energy consumption, donations to environmental organizations) or show its philanthropic side by highlighting pro bono work and collaborations with charitable organizations.