There is a lot being said about millennials, or Generation Y, nowadays. The group usually set to be born between 1980 and early 2000s are now between 18 to 35 years old – meaning they are an interesting target audience for most of the industries nowadays.
According to a White House report, millennials are shaped to technology, as they were born when it already was a reality. They also value community, family, and creativity in their work, but tend to get married and have children much later than previous generations.
But, you might need to have as a target audience a much broader group than just millennials. Your product or service might attract an older or a younger audience as well. Or it might be that you also want to reach their influences: parents or mentors.
And if you are wondering how to make both worlds happy, here is how you do it:
1 – Narrow your target audience down
For starters, you will want to make sure that you know who is your target audience. Of course, it is possible that your product or service suits a broad range, but you still should be able to narrow it down. It will help you understand who you should consider as a primary group and who and to whom you should save less immediate efforts.
For instance, Coca-Cola sells its most famous soft drink to almost everybody. But they market it to a much younger audience in their advertising campaigns. So you must do some research and figure out who your buyer persona is: if a millennial, a baby boomer, or maybe the Generation Z.
2 – Balance text and images
Millennials love visuals. They will be delighted to see a website that appeals to their eyes. On the other hand, baby boomers like to read and spend some time going through each piece of written information that you can provide.
So what you will have to do is to balance both resources in your website. You will need to make it more visual, but also add as much text to it in a way that makes sense to your marketing goals.
If you feel like you are going to ruin your design with it, you can always create pages with different purposes, or add links to downloadable files. And if you need support with your texts, look for a list of the best writing services available to help you out.
3 - Fine tune the need to be tech savvy
As you know, millennials are tech-savvy by nature. But baby boomers, the previous generations aren’t as much. Some of them are still puzzled by how fast it changes and feel threatened and intimidated by some of the latest features.
So you need to find the sweet spot here, where you won't offend the millennials' intelligence, either make things too complicated for your older audience. Refrain your eager to create something far too innovative that they might not know how to use.
4 – Make it mobile (to all cell phones)
I am sure that you are aware that your website must be optimized for mobile use – and that it is not exactly as being responsive. And both millennials and baby boomers are very keen on the mobile phones and tablets nowadays.
But here is where you must be careful. The model of gadgets used by your target audience might be very different from each other. Some baby boomers might still be struggling with touchscreen features, for instance, so you should make your buttons very easy to see and click with clumsy and fat fingers.
To make sure that you are on the right path, do some research and check if mobile phones are the favorites for your users. You might find out that maybe many of them aren’t using the touchscreen at all, but keypad mobile phones.
5 – Create space for optional reviews
It is understandable that you think that you should prepare your design in a way that you would put people comfortable so they can speak their minds. It means adding a review and rating tools.
Millennials will love that, not only because they want interactivity, but also because they are interested in what is called social proof: validation from their peers in the form of previous customers.
But baby boomers might feel intimidated by constant reminders to leave a review, as they aren’t as happy with online exposure. So ensure that your review and rating tool will be optional and not an annoying and highly frequent pop-up at their faces.
6 – Be careful when using algorithms to predict preferences
When you use algorithms to predict preferences and behaviors, you are making a millennial very happy. They will know that you care about their opinion, something very valuable to someone considered as a bit of a narcissist.
And, in part, you will make a baby boomer happy because they are always so busy and overwhelmed. You will save them time and money, and they will thank you for that. On the other hand, they don’t like to feel like they are being stalked, so don’t overdo it.
7 – Highlight testimonials
Again on the social proof side of the story, you will want to highlight your testimonials from reliable sources. They will provide the millennials with the dialogue they need and will provide the baby boomers with the answers they might have about your product or service.
Baby boomers are skeptical and do a lot of mind work before deciding anything. They might be struggling with bills and a family to support, yes, but the big problem here is that they don’t trust in online services as much as younger generations do.
So if you want to use the web to convince baby boomers to buy or endorse your portfolio, you will need to give them evidence. And the word of an expert, a famous company, or anyone with a similar level of credibility is something that you should highlight on your website.
8 – Consider colors and font styles for readiness
No matter how cute your design idea is, you will need to consider readiness above beauty. And, the fact is that baby boomers might be already suffering from poor vision due to a natural aging process. That is to say that you need to be extra careful regarding the colors and font styles that you will choose to your website.
According to website experts, you should prefer a san serif typeface, not condensed. Your body text should be at 12 or 14-point size. For your paragraphs, use left justified text and double space.
And for the colors, avoid those that can cause dissonance (such as yellow and blue together) – actually, the best way to go here is using black and white all together and leaving colors just to highlighting.
9 - Reconsider the themes of your images
The images that will appeal to a millennial might not have the same effect on a baby boomer. They are at different life stages, and you will need to be aware of it. So you will need to go on step further on your research before choosing which images you will add to your website.
In other words, it will be much more important for you to know which values they share, and which topics have a meaning to both groups. Of course, as mentioned in tip one, you will have to pick one group to be your priority in the end.
But you still should try to find something that might be appealing to either baby boomers and millennials – or that will make your primary group happy without leaving your secondary group completely disappointed.
10 – Provide very simple navigation
Millennials won’t get upset if you offer simple navigation to them. Even though they are ready for much more, most of them are already trying to juggle between work or study and personal life. And baby boomers just don’t want to spend the energy trying to understand how to buy from your website.
So make it simple. Put your menu where they can easily find it, and don’t be too creative when you name them to avoid guess work. Use infographics and its resources, such as arrows and hands, to tell them what to do next. And keep the help and support icon very visible.
11 – Avoid cluttering
Last but not least, make sure to avoid cluttering. It will only make baby boomers feel overwhelmed, something that they already feel in their daily lives and don’t want to deal again on the web.
And don’t assume that it is a better choice for those dealing with millennials only. Yes, they are prepared to manage multiple choices much easier, but they are also bombarding by many distractions at same time – they might be in your online shop as they watch TV and play a game. And it makes much harder to you to grab their attention if you are offering too much.
So make sure that you only add widgets and icons that are really relevant to your goals.
Final thought: test it and test it
If you want to ensure that your website is going to work to a broad range audience, you will have to test it. Look for people that have the main characteristics of your persona from different age groups and ask them to navigate your website and buy your product.
When possible, and they agree with it, record their entire procedure, so you can know if they are doing it as expected. Then ask them how easy it was for them to use your website, and if they have any improvement suggestions.
This way, you can make your users entirely satisfied with the customer experience that you provide. And it will certainly increase your traffic and sales.