21.5% of the population of the United States is between the ages of 20 and 34 (according to the US Census Bureau). This age group, a near-equal mixture of Gen-Z and Millennials, responds to media and marketing differently than their predecessors. They aren't reading physical magazines or looking at bus bench ads. With rampant "cancel culture" and readily available information, the best way to attract younger customers to your business is to be the most ethical you can and publicize it through social media.
"Millennials will support small businesses because they believe they're more ethical. Rather than buying from major conglomerates run by people they don't trust, younger customers will actively look for brands and businesses they feel are the most ethical and human."
You may be wondering two things: why should you care and how can you do that. We'll explore that in the rest of this article.
Why Should You Care?
50% of Millennials are willing to spend more money on small businesses (based on a 2017 survey by AT&T). Millennials will support small businesses because they believe they're more ethical. Rather than buying from major conglomerates run by people they don't trust, younger customers will actively look for brands and businesses they feel are the most ethical and human.
This age group has grown up with innumerable amounts of information at their fingertips. They've been taught that supporting ethical business practices is the best use of their time and money. This wide expanse of information has given them power. In the last few years, many cities have banned plastic straws because the younger generations became passionate about avoiding them. The younger generation is made up of informed shoppers with a platform to speak their minds. Being an ethical business gives you an advantage with younger customers.
How Can You Attract Younger Customers?
One simple way you can attract younger customers to your business is by actively being an ethical business. This means treating and paying your employees well, using sustainable supplies, and being involved in your community.
Treating Your Employees Well
The first major and important part of being an ethical business is treating and paying your employees well. Regardless of their education level, your employees deserve to be paid enough that they're willing to stay. Paying your employees a reasonable wage will inspire retention and a better work ethic. To treat them well, you don't need to do anything major. Just keep open and honest communication with each employee and foster a friendly environment.
Using Sustainable Supplies
Some restaurants have gone far enough to stop using any kind of single-use plastic. You don't need to do that. Making simple changes like using biodegradable supplies or opting for paper straws makes a big difference. Publicising your switch to more sustainable goods will attract both new business and customer loyalty, especially from younger customers.
One advantage local businesses have over chains is the connection they have with the community. Find ways to get involved with your local community. Sponsor a sports team, donate to the local homeless shelter or food bank, or get involved with other community events. Your local chamber of commerce can help you find ways to reach out. Being involved gives your customers a more human view of your business. This will very easily attract younger customers as that's what they're most concerned about, ethical business practices.
The more ethical and human your business is, the more you'll attract younger customers. Consumers ages 20-34 love to support small businesses and ethical business practices. You can easily gain traction in their eyes by becoming the most ethical business you can be. Treating your employees well, using sustainable supplies, and being involved with your community are just a few of the many ways you can become more ethical to attract younger customers to your business.
Have you made an effort to become a more ethical business? Tell us about it in the comments, we love hearing from you!