Market to millennials in language they understand

Columnist Dean Swanson says texting is the preferred method of communication.

Ask SCORE column sig

My last column highlighted the use of text messaging in your marketing strategies, and I quoted a survey from EZ Texting that said most of us are very attached to our mobile phones.

In fact, their research shows that Americans feel “conflicted (anxious, disconnected, out of touch and stressed) but also present (relaxed, free and relieved) — when they don’t have their phones”— especially millennials.

Do you want to market your small business to millennial customers? You better get comfortable with texting. Millennials love texting so much that if they had to give up either talking or texting on their mobile phones, three-fourths would rather give up using the phone to talk, according to a recent survey by OpenMarket.

Rieva Lesonsky, one of SCORE’s content partners and President and CEO of GrowBiz Media, shared some thoughts on the SCORE website.

Why do millennials like texting so much?


  • 76 percent say texting is more convenient and allows them to communicate on their own schedule.
  • 63 percent say texting is less disruptive than voice calls.
  • 53 percent say that they'd rather text than call.
  • 19 percent say they never check their voicemails.

What does this mean to your business?

There's an opportunity to market to millennial customers via text. For instance, according to the survey, three-fourths of millennials say text reminders are helpful, but only 30 percent get them from the businesses they patronize.

Text-based marketing uses SMS text messages to reach out to customers with information and offers. While text-based marketing may sound intimidating, there are lots of different services out there that make it easy for small business to create and send text messages to their customers. (Some to check out include EZ Texting, Mozeo and SlickText.)

Here are some practical ways you can use text messaging, not only for marketing purposes, but also for customer satisfaction and even for getting paid.

  • Send product offers, discount codes or coupons. This is the type of text message that most millennials in the survey want to receive.
  • Send account activity reminders. You can remind customers when a payment is due or alert them when a payment has been processed. This not only helps you get paid faster, but also keeps your business top-of-mind with customers.
  • Send order status updates. Some 56 percent of millennials receive text messages with order alerts or delivery notifications. You can ease customers’ minds by letting them know that an order placed is in process, due for delivery or ready to pick up at your store.
  • Send appointment reminders. Slightly more than half (51 percent) of those surveyed get this type of text message from businesses. Sending reminders by text saves you time and manpower, helps prevent excessive wait time at your business because of late customers, and ensures that you're always operating at full capacity without any wasted downtime.
  • Send surveys.. You can either send a link to a longer survey, or do a really simple survey where the customer just texts back a response to one question. The former option is probably preferable to older customers, while younger ones will likely prefer the brevity of the text-based survey response.

Text messaging is already the means of communication among millennials and Gen Z, the generation right after the millennials. Put your business ahead of the competition by learning to market to these customers in their own language.
Dean Swanson is a volunteer Certified SCORE Mentor and former SCORE chapter chairman, district director and regional vice president for the North West Region.

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