Ah Millennials, we’re a tough bunch to market to, and few brands do it well. It’s easy to look at this generation as kids. You see your niece, nephew, son or daughter, but the fact of the matter is Millennials are no longer living at home (well, most of them) and they are working real jobs, making real money.

We’re an audience you cannot avoid, no matter what industry you are in. We have money and there are a lot of us. You may have built your marketing plans targeting baby boomers. Unfortunately, they are slowing down in many purchase categories, so Millennials are next in line when it comes to consumers with very different attitudes from their parents and grandparents.

So how do you market to consumers who no longer have the same values as your original audience? First remember we hate being referred to as “Millennials”. Next follow these steps to create your Millennial marketing plan.

Think Bigger than Just a Facebook Page

Yes, you have to tweak your advertising messages and start using social media. But don’t just show up. Use social media to give us things we need and want. Let’s use Randall Beans as an example of how a company adjusted their marketing to reach out to a younger audience.

Randall Beans took the necessary steps to incorporate social media into their marketing, but they don’t rely solely on social media to gain brand awareness. They went a step further. They started blogging. They hired young, talented food bloggers to create original recipes for their blog which in return Randall Beans could post on social media and in email newsletters. They could also incorporate those recipes into free downloadable cookbooks. See where I’m going with this? The mileage they receive from these recipes is endless.

Millennials aren’t pulling out their rolodex of recipes like their parents and grandparents when it comes to making dinner, they’re going to Pinterest, blogs and companies’ websites. Those beautiful photos of bean dip and bean brownies are what get Millennials attention and interest in purchasing Randall Beans products.

Millennials Do Their Research

Millennials, like other generations, research before they buy. The difference? Instead of sifting through a phone book or calling a friend for recommendations, they are reading reviews online, visiting blogs or watching YouTube videos for honest opinions about a company’s product or services.

This is where your company needs to focus some time and attention. Review sites give potential new customers insight into your business. Ask your loyal customers to provide reviews on Google+. Don’t forget to add testimonials to your website. Take some time to shoot videos of customer testimonials or testimonials from your employees and host them on your website and YouTube channel.

It’s all About the Tone

Messaging is also key. To get a younger audience engaged, start talking to them in a way that makes sense for their age group. I’m not saying you need to start using popular slang terms or phrases that Millennials use (please don’t say “bae”), because that can make you look desperate. But put yourself in their shoes. Where are Millennials living? What is important to them? What are they willing to spend money on, and what areas do they save their money? Check out this interesting article by Forbes which better explains the difference between Millennials and baby boomers.

Don’t be afraid to keep it casual. Millennials like to be treated like adults, but at the end of the day your message doesn’t have to be as formal when marketing to them. For example, Randall Beans might promote their beans to baby boomers by saying, “We have a great variety of beans, there’s a flavor for everyone in your family!” But when marketing towards a younger audience, they might say “If your morning coffee just isn’t giving you the boost energy you need, start cooking with Randall Beans.” There’s no mention of family, but an emphasis on things Millennials lack, a.k.a sleep.

Millennials Like a Sale Just as Much as the Next Person

Sure, Millennials are interested in the latest tech gadgets and pop culture, but they are also turning into adults (scary, I know). They are renting apartments, buying homes and leasing cars, which means they need your products and services.

The extra income they were once blowing on nights out at bars, shoes and video games is now being saved to pay for new furniture and planning vacations. Their priorities have shifted. I actually care about where I buy my produce from (something I never thought would happen)!

The discounts you provide on your products and services are important to Millennials. They don’t have loads of money to spend on expensive services so promoting your coupons or discounts will definitely peak their interest. But here’s the catch. To keep them coming back you need to make your discounts feel special. Millennials do a lot of shopping online so use these tips to make sure your coupons are effective.

Be True to You

At the end of the day Millennials are only part of your market. Your total plan needs to accommodate all of your customers, but making small adjustments will help you transition your business focus as the spending power of this segment grows.

Millennial marketing is just one piece of your strategic plan