4 Ways Your Business Can Attract the Millennial Consumer
April 13, 2021
The millennial generation, i.e. those born between 1981 and 1996, has officially overtaken Baby Boomers as America’s largest living adult generation, according to Pew Research.
For HVAC business owners, this statistic is something to seriously consider as you find ways to attract and retain new customers. With millennials landing between the ages of 25 to 40 years old, it’s safe to assume that they are, or will soon be, a large portion of your homeowner customer base.
Research about millennials continues to emerge, but we do know that this generation’s expectations and actions are different from those of previous generations, and businesses, including your HVAC business, should be shifting tactics accordingly to appeal to the millennial consumer. If you haven’t started doing this already, consider these four tactics:
1. Be a Mobile-Friendly Business
One thing we know for certain: Millennials have fully embraced technology and a digital way of life. 93% of millennials own smartphones—more than any other generation—and a majority of them are using their mobile devices to conduct their everyday searches. As a HVAC service provider, having a mobile-friendly presence is key to attracting these smartphone-using, millennials looking for service providers in their area.
For starters, make sure that your business is utilizing business listing features with major websites like Yelp, Google, Bing, Facebook and more. By listing your business in these online directories, you’re maximizing the reach and visibility of your business and service offerings.
It’s also important to ensure potential customers are able to seamlessly navigate your business’ website via their mobile device, because the second they run into issues—like the load time taking too long or inability to easily find important information—they’ll move on to the next HVAC provider they see listed.
Google offers a variety of tools to help optimize your business’ website for mobile:
- Mobile-Friendly Test: If you’re unsure if your website is mobile-friendly, test a webpage (like your homepage) with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, which allows you to see a screenshot of how the webpage looks on a mobile device, as well as a list of any usability problems that it finds, like incompatible plugins, content that’s wider than the screen, too small of text, clickable elements too close together and more.
- Mobile-Usability Report: For a review of the entire website, Google also offers a Mobile Usability report, which requires verifying ownership of your website. After doing this, the tool generates a report of the entire website which includes any mobile usability issues and details about how to fix them.
- CMS Guides: Most content management systems (CMS) or website software providers, like Squarespace, Google Sites, WordPress, Wix or something else, offer guides for creating and fixing a mobile-friendly website. If the website software you use doesn’t offer a mobile-friendly guide, Google shares general guidelines for how to do it yourself.
2. Have an Engaging Social Media Presence
With millennials leading the pack in smartphone usage, it won’t come as a surprise that they’re also the biggest adopter of social media. According to eMarketer, 90.4% of millennials are active on social media, compared to only 77.5% of Generation X and 48.2% of Baby Boomers.
For a business looking to attract and retain millennial customers who are entering the next phase of their lives—homeownership—being present and active on social media is key. Our recent blog, Social Media Expert Weights in on Best Practices for HVAC Businesses, offers advice for how HVAC businesses can strengthen their social media presence. Key takeaways include:
- Explore top social media platforms—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn—through your audiences’ eyes. This will influence your social media plans and strategy.
- Once you’ve landed on which social media platforms to be on, build your social media goals around your business objectives. For example, if you want to work on retaining customers, make sure your channels are set up to serve as an extension of your customer service. Have updated contact information, responsive “messenger” platforms to help answer questions in real-time with curious customers, updated imagery and vibrant graphics that show you are an active business in the community you serve.
- Think about the story you are telling on social, especially Instagram which is the leading platform within the millennial target. Use compelling visuals when offering value to your customers, leverage the platform as a way to “show and tell” how you help homeowners with their home comfort needs.
3. Provide Instant Customer Support
Eight in 10 customers say they’d switch to a competitor due to poor service. And as a generation that embraces technology, smartphones and social media, millennials’ customer service expectations have evolved. These days, customers are accustomed to instant gratification and real-time responses, and businesses have to adapt in order to keep them happy and loyal to your business.
To provide your millennial customers with the support they expect, your business should be offering multiple customer service touchpoints. These touchpoints can be in-person, over the phone, on your website and via social media. But beyond just offering these touchpoints, you should also make high-quality service a priority:
- Ensure each customer service touchpoint is being monitored and that someone is tasked with handling support for the channel.
- No matter which touchpoint they’re reaching out to your business on, respond to all questions and complaints in a timely manner. Make sure your responses are friendly and personalized.
- Self-service is becoming more and more desired. In addition to offering your services, consider offering tips for how your customers can tackle minor issues themselves.
- Work to integrate all of your touchpoints together for a more seamless experience for your customers.
4. Be a Socially Responsible Business
73% of global millennials are willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings and more than 80% expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship.
“More likely to embrace brands making a difference, Millennials want to align themselves with organizations doing good in the world and use their purchasing power to support companies that have similar values,” said Julie Turner, VP of marketing for a pet care franchise, to Inc. magazine in their roundup on tips for marketing to millennials.
No matter what type of business you are, millennials’ incentive to engage with you significantly increases when you’ve shown a commitment to a social responsibility. For an HVAC business, you can show your commitment through the following:
- Support your local community. Involve your business with service activities, support or sponsor fundraisers or even partner with other organizations in the area that align with your values.
- Use sustainable practices and products. For example, Rheem offers ENERGY STAR®-certified products, helping businesses and homeowners use less energy and save more money.
- Support a meaningful cause on behalf of your business. The more authentic, the better.
Become a Rheem Pro Partner and you’ll have access to resources and support for attracting and retaining new customers.