Marketing

Marketing to millennials: What agents need to know

The expectations have changed with this generation
  • The millennials generation is the largest in U.S. history.
  • 93 percent of renters aged 18-34 intend to own a home someday, a huge portion of the generation.
  • Given their online presence, it’s important to be where millennials are searching for homes -- and to highlight the features that are important to them.

Millennials make up the largest generation in U.S. history, roughly 20 percent larger than the baby boomer generation and 30 percent larger than Generation X. As a real estate professional, this should be music to your ears.

Marketing to this generation of future homebuyers is essential, and this article will walk you through the best practices. First, let’s go over who millennials are, how they shop and what sparks their interest.

Who they are

Millennials encompass those born between the years 1980 and 2000. They are the largest generation in U.S. history, including over 92 million people. To compare that to prior generations, the baby boomers encompass 72 million people, and Generation X makes up 61 million people. They use social media, watch video online and read blog content more than any other generation.

Millennials also have significant differences financially from the other generations. They have more student debt and less income, which inevitably has led to a different set of priorities. Making large purchases such as property are still important to millennials, but many are putting off such purchases given their financial situation.

The good news for real estate professionals is that owning property is still very much a priority for millennials; 93 percent of renters aged 18-34 intend to own a home someday, a huge portion of the generation.

Their habits

In 1968, 56 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds were married and living in their own home. In 2012, that number had dropped to 23 percent. Although marriage and parenthood are still a priority, the median age of marriage has risen to 30 years old. Millennials are still getting married, just at a later age.

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Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Along with their relationship habits, millennials’ shopping habits have also changed. They are twice as likely to trust a brand that is present on social media than the baby boomer generation and are much more likely to search for brands using social platforms.

They’re also much more receptive to blog content and text messages. This is important to keep in mind when structuring your marketing plans. The generation is the first to grow up online, and they have a need to access the best search information, compare pricing and read reviews on any services they need — including real estate.

Best marketing practices

Given their online presence, it’s important to be where millennials are searching for homes — and to highlight the features that are important to them. Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter and blogging strategies are important to capture their attention.

Assume that you will be searched extensively online before a prospect becomes a client, and fill out all review sites and social profiles accordingly. You want to give a great first impression when millennials are doing their research.

It’s important to highlight what is most important to millennials when featuring a property. Millennials are exercising more, eating better and smoking less than any prior generation. When marketing a property, always feature the distance to local parks and gyms and exercise facilities nearby — this can be a key selling feature.

This is a generation that saw many struggle through the market crash of 2008, and building trust with them is key. Feature properties they can afford with amenities that they desire and in places where they frequent online. This is the first step to building a relationship with the largest homebuying segment in U.S. history.

Justin Kerby is the co-founder of CAVE Social.

Email Justin Kerby.