By Jeffrey Arnold
How do you get more people in your door to buy your stuff? That’s the $100,000 question.
The simple answer to the question is “marketing” – as getting your business name out in front of as many people who may be interested in your products is key.
However, in today’s world – especially in the online world – knowing when and where to advertise your brand is becoming increasingly critical to your success. If you are trying to market to ‘Millennials’ – those born between 1981-1997, is it better to use Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter? What about Baby Boomers? Where do they spend their time and what is the best method to reach them online?
I just read a great white paper that was put together by Fractl and BuzzStream (and an accompanying article on Moz.com) that analyzed data from over 1200 individuals across three different generational groups and outlined when, where, and how to market to these different groups (info on where to download the white paper is below). Here are some great insights that I gained while reading this white paper, and how this information can help you with your marketing efforts.
Before delving into the numbers, let’s first look at who makes up the target groups that are represented.
Millennials – Born between 1981-1997 (under 35 years old)
Generation X – Born between 1965-1980 (35 – 50 years old)
Baby Boomers – Born between 1946-1964 (50+ years old)
One item to note – and something that may makes some of us feel really old – this year, Millennials are expected to surpass Baby Boomers as the largest living generation. That means that although many of us think of Millennials as ‘kids’, we need to realize that they are now the most dominant age demographic and are driving the economy. We must not trivialize this groups buying power.
When is Content Consumed?
In marketing terms, “Content Consumption” simply refers to when and how someone reads, watches, or listens to information that is presented to them, across myriad avenues. Knowing when and how the different groups consume content can help you map out your marketing plan.
I was surprised to find that Baby Boomers consume the most content. However, it didn’t surprise me that they consume it in the early morning (between 5am and noon) and they like to consume it throughout the week.
In contrast, both Millennials and Generation Xers like to consume their content late in the evening (between 8pm and midnight) and on the weekends.
How to apply this knowledge.
The takeaway on this is that you need to schedule your information to go out at different times for the different groups. If you are targeting Baby Boomers, you should have your content go out very early in the morning Monday through Friday, whereas content that is intended for the other two groups should be posted later in the evenings and on weekends.
When you are delivering your content, you need to be aware of the devices upon which your target audience is viewing your information. If you are targeting Baby Boomers, laptop and desktops reign supreme as their primary viewing devices, with tablets coming in a distant third and mobile even further behind.
Millennials, unsurprisingly, are dominated in the mobile world. Over 25% of Millennials indicate that mobile devices are their primary source of content, with laptops second and desktops third. Generation Xers are strong in the mobile space, but laptops and desktops are still at the top of their list. Surprisingly, tablets were last on the list for both groups.
How to apply this knowledge.
First and foremost, you must be sure that your website is responsive (mobile-friendly) or you are not only going to lose favor with Google, but you are going to alienate over half of your visitors who are looking for information. You must be sure that the content you are serving to your target groups is formatted to fit the type of scree that they are going to use. If you are targeting Millennials, don’t use images that are text-heavy, as lots of text is hard to read on a smaller/mobile device.
What type of content do these groups prefer – and what is their attention span for consuming the information. Based on an informal analysis (by evaluating my teenage son), the next up and coming demographic has an attention span slightly longer than a flea and they want the information served to them on YouTube. But I digress …
The one result that surprised me more than any other results from this survey is that all three demographic groups prefer blog articles as their number one source of information. I would have assumed that other sources would have broken through (at least with the Millennials – see my YouTube comment above).
In all three groups, the top four items are:
1. Blog Articles
The fifth item varies by group, with Audiobooks being Millennial’s choice, Case Studies took the #5 spot for Generation X, and Reviews were the fifth most popular with Baby Boomers.
As far as the length of content, all groups prefer content that is about 300 words long, but Generation X seems more willing than others to read your long copy (500+ words) text. Baby Boomers and Millennials seem to drop of precipitously once you get over 300 words.
How to apply this knowledge.
Blog, blog, blog – and keep it short. The best way to reach your target audience – regardless of age – is to post content to your website’s blog page. Not only does that serve as the most preferred method of content consumption for all three groups, but it is something that Google loves when determining who to put at the top of the search results. These are the two key features of why we create all of our websites on the WordPress blogging platform (and why WordPress now powers over 20% of all websites on the Internet).
You should also look at the type of content being consumed: images, comments and eBooks. You can create attractive graphics that you can share across the Internet. Create funny Memes that somehow tie back to your company. Comment on popular local blogs or news sites where your target audience may see your comment and choose you as the ‘expert’ in your field. Create eBooks. You have knowledge about your industry that others (especially consumers) don’t have. Create an eBook that helps them navigate through, or gain a better understanding about, your products and services. The benefit here is that if your eBook has enough value, it could become a freestanding revenue source.
Where should you share your content for maximum exposure? The Millennials hate Facebook and love Instagram, right? Twitter rules the roost for Gen Xers. If these are your thoughts, you are dead wrong. I believe that once there is a survey that studies the Generation Z crowd (those born in 1997 on), you will see a huge trend away from Facebook (with Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter gaining a lot of ground), but for the groups that have the buying power today, Facebook still dominates with all groups indicating that roughly 60% of all sharing takes place through Facebook. YouTube and Twitter are in second and third place, respectively for all three groups.
How to apply this knowledge
Make sure that your content is easily shared on Facebook and the other major social sites. Add ‘share’ buttons to all of your website content, and be sure that all of the content on your website is automatically shared to your various social sites. This allows your customers to easily view and share your content on the social site of their choosing. (NOTE: If you have a WordPress website you can use the ‘Publicize’ feature in the Jetpack plugin to automatically share your content to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Tumblr)
So what do I hope you take away from this article? I hope that you are able to have a greater understanding about the consumption habits of your target market. One-size-fits-all no longer applies to your marketing efforts. You must create different content for different target markets, and make sure that your content is being presented to them at different times in order to have maximum effectiveness. I’ve presented this information in a way to avoid strings of mind-numbing numbers regarding exact percentages of content usage, etc. so that you could have more of a conceptual understanding of how you should be doing your marketing. If you would like to dig far deeper into the actual numbers that were presented in the white paper and the accompanying article, I invite you to visit these pages via the redirect links I’ve set up below.
You can download a copy of the white paper here (http://4spotmarketing.org/content-by-generation/) and read the accompanying article on Moz.com here (http://4spotmarketing.org/moz-article/). SVBS
Jeffrey Arnold is the President of 4Spot Marketing, and has been involved with Internet marketing for the past ten years. He combines 25+ years of business management experience with his expert knowledge of search engine optimization and Internet marketing techniques to provide companies with comprehensive Internet marketing services. His success is evidenced by his clients’ top Google rankings time and time again. Mr. Arnold can be reached at (702) 721-9763, via email at [email protected], or via his website at www.4SpotMarketing.com.