Are You Missing Out On Big Business Because of Poor Data Mining?

You may know your customers pretty well. Maybe your kids go to school with their kids, maybe you live next door to some of them, or maybe they’re on your synchronized skydiving team. You probably feel like you have a pretty good bead on what they’re looking for, in your store and elsewhere.

…or do you?

*dramatic sting*

The thing is, your customers may be giving you tons of important information every day that you aren’t utilizing. Every person who walks into your store or buys something from your site is telling you things that you need to know about keeping your business thriving. It’s just a matter of figuring out what information you’re looking for, and how to get it, and that “what and how” is through data mining.

No canaries needed!

Basket Analysis

The place to start your mining is through basket analysis. This does exactly what it says on the box; meaning, you take a look at what your customers are buying and draw conclusions from it. This may seem pretty obvious, but there are a lot of things that basket analysis can tell you that you may not have thought about.

Sometimes there are patterns emerging that you may not have noticed – for instance, are your customers buying certain products together? Are they buying a certain item more at different times of day or seasons of the year? What are customers coming back to buy consistently, and how can you use that information to track what kinds of complimentary items that they might want to buy as well? There could be an untapped market niche there that you haven’t thought about filling. Basket analysis can also show you when customers seem to be cooling on your wares, and that information can lead you to figuring out what you need to do to retain flagging shoppers.

So how might you find this information? Through reports! PayGo’s Reports feature contains an almost dizzying array of information about sales in your store, where you can search by any kind of parameters your heart may desire.


Shopper Demographics

This is a pretty basic one, but there may be more information there than you know. People love to talk about themselves, so something as basic as a customer survey could end up being a goldmine for your business. It’s always important to know things like your clientele’s general age, interests and so forth, but don’t be afraid to be direct. Your customers want you to succeed, and they may have some great ideas about inventory, as well as any directions your shop can go in. You could do an in-store survey as well as a survey on your social media sites or via e-mail campaigns.

There’s more than just surveys, though. Your customers give you and your employees lots of important information about themselves and their shopping habits while they’re in your store. PayGo’s Customer Entry System (CRM) was built so you have a place to record all of that information, along with your customer’s email address, phone numbers and any other information that might be important for marketing, inventory or customer outreach purposes.

Case Studies

Case studies may seem like the sort of thing that only big businesses use, but they’re important for businesses of all sizes. Simply put, a case study takes a typical shopper/user/demographic and asks them detailed questions pertaining to your store. For instance, if you wanted to expand into a new product line, you could do a case study on a few typical customers and ask about what kinds of things they would like to see in any store, where they typically do their shopping, what kind of price points they would like to see, and so on.

PayGo is a solution provider for independent retailers based in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary focus is on point of sale / retail management software. We also offer a Merchant Account integration, a WooCommerce integration, Digital Marketing Services, and more.

PayGo Independence Sale Ends Friday, July 7th

We’re celebrating Independence at PayGo through Friday, July 7th!

That’s right! The fireworks are still happening at PayGo. Well, to be honest, the sale is.
In honor of 7/4, pay only 74% of list price* to get started with PayGo Software (including the super popular PayGoCart) &
PayGo Projects (including our Marketing Services).

Contact our team by e-mailing to save 26%. Offer expires on July 7th. *Does not apply to monthly fees.

PayGo is a solution provider for independent retailers based in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary focus is on point of sale / retail management software. We also offer a Merchant Account integration, a WooCommerce integration, Digital Marketing Services, and more.

How WooCommerce Will Help You Win Shoppers on the World Wide Web

Way back in April, we teamed up with WooCommerce for our online shopping cart solution.

It seems like only a few short months ago… we’ve all grown so much since then.

We all know that WooCommerce is super popular, extremely flexible and entirely open-source. Which is great for you and for us. What about your customers?

Great news! It Woos Them!

Many of them are loving it! After all, online shopping isn’t going away. In fact, 51% of Americans prefer to do their shopping online and 96% of all Americans have bought something online (80% of which have done so in the past month). The Youths – Millennials, Gen Xers and so on – make up the most of it (and if you want to get in on that cash, here’s how to market to them). Retail trends are indicating that these shoppers are looking for high-quality, small and independent retailers to buy from.

The average online shopper cares more about shipping time and cost than the interface of your shopping cart. Yet, online shoppers value simple. If your online shopping experience is difficult, it can discourage them from shopping with you. Enter WooCommerce to Woo them into staying with the shopping experience you provide. WooCommerce works hard behind the scenes to make things easier for you and your customers. How? We’re so glad you asked…

The How of Woo


WooCommerce provides shopping cart solutions for about 28% of all online stores, so they’ve got a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t (and they’re a small business, which PayGo loves!). They have a slew of plugins and extensions created specifically for you to keep your customers happy and coming back, and to make your job easier. You can get a plugin for anything from marketing to customer tracking to event scheduling. And while your shoppers probably aren’t going to pay attention to what shopping cart your store uses, they will appreciate its simple, no-fuss checkout process, because people love when things are easy.

PayGoCart with WooCommerce is the solution you need to get your shop online and into the future. What do you do if you don’t know where to start setting up your cart? Luckily, PayGo can set up your WooCommerce site for you so you don’t have to take time out of your busy day to tinker with a computer. Just ask!

PayGo is a solution provider for independent retailers based in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary focus is on point of sale / retail management software. We also offer a Merchant Account integration, a WooCommerce integration, Digital Marketing Services, and more.

Marketing Monday – SEO Part 4 – Tools

Marketing Monday is a weekly-ish feature that is both about marketing and on Mondays, because we’re clever like that.

Welcome back to our SEO series! Today is part four: SEO Tools. If you wanna catch up on all of the gripping, compelling and edge-of-your-seat SEO analysis, you can check out Part 1: Keywords, Part 2: Search Engines, and Part 3: Ethics . Now that you’re all caught up, lets get this finale rolling!

So did you know you don’t have to dive into this whole SEO pool without any water-wings or floaties or even a lone dollar store pool noodle?

…probably should have mentioned that sooner.

SEO is big business due to the unexpected popularity of the internet and how it allows people to call upon all of the known information in the universe as well as any adorable cat picture their heart may desire in under three seconds while waiting for their bus or using the restroom (who would have guessed people would like that?!), so naturally, there are hundreds of companies looking to cash in on it.

Here are a few of the more popular tools you can use to make your SEO work a bit easier.

Google: It goes without saying that the best search engine has the best SEO analytics (but we said it anyways). Google Analytics will show you everything you didn’t know you wanted to know about your website’s performance. It’ll tell you what pages on your site perform best and how to fix up the ones that aren’t making the grade. It’ll also tell you about who is visiting your site, where they visited from, and how they ended up there, along with loads more in-depth information that there isn’t enough space to go into here.

Moz: This is a big one. They do both marketing analytics and inbound marketing (which is an unnecessarily jargon-y way to say that they tell you what you’re doing wrong and then help you to do it right). Their business model is based mainly on inbound marketing, which means they focus on cultivating a company-consumer relationship. Use this one to show your customers how much you love them.

And it’s far healthier and less creepy than conventional methods.

SearchMetrics: this is an organization that likes to focus more on automating the SEO process, which means less time spent on working on your search engine visibility and more time spent on the actual reason you got into business. It also focuses more on hard data, which seems to be working as they’ve won several awards for their software.

Yoast SEO: Yoast is a WordPress plugin that will tell you what your content needs to improve SEO with a simple checklist. And while it is the bane of my professional life and the source of more obscene exclamations out of me than during my years working in a factory, every World Cup since 2002, and that one time I tried to learn how to knit, it’s an invaluable tool for getting the most out of your content. It focuses on both keyword saturation and readability, and shows areas for improvement with a simple red-yellow-green color code and corresponding explanations. And it’s also available as an extension for WooCommerce!

Like this, but it makes you want to throw your computer into a pit of fire. In a good way.

Wanna know more more about SEO and spend hours on Pinterest? Check out our SEO board!

Want to see more Marketing Monday posts? Click here!

Did you know that PayGo has an integration with WooCommerce? You can learn all about it by visiting PayGoCart. We are also able to help you reach your potential and existing customers with our Marketing Services. Email for a marketing consultation.

PayGo is a solution provider for independent retailers based in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary focus is on point of sale / retail management software. We also offer a Merchant Account integration, a WooCommerce integration, Digital Marketing Services, and more.

This One is for All of You Superheroes

Here at PayGo, we like to talk about what we’re doing. And even though we’ve been busy with our Knowledgebase gremlins, our WooCommerce integration, and all of our other updates, and assorted magic and technological witchery (that’s what happens in those tech meetings, right? The programmers keep telling me no and to stop burning sage outside of their offices, but I know what I saw, Ethan), we want to take a moment to talk about you.

Yes you, dear reader and amazing independent retailer!

While other people were content to join up and follow someone else’s vision, you knew you had something great in your brain that the world needed. And even though it was tough, and the hours were long, and things didn’t always work out as planned, you achieved your dream!

But we know that independent work is a hard and often thankless job. We started out small too, after all. We’ve walked that road and we’re proud that you’ve entrusted us to walk along with you. Since you don’t hear it enough, we want you to know how important you are.

Let us count the ways!

1. You’ve given your community a place of their own.

I spent several memorable years working at an art gallery/gift shop here in small-town Minnesota. For every new exhibit, event and shipment, we would see a parade of regulars walk through to see what we were up to. When asked, our regulars would talk about how they loved to come in and see the new art, to catch up with the employees and each other, and to buy gifts for their friends and family that were more “personal” and special than getting something anyone could pick up at a chain store. Our artists were all local, and we had a personal relationship with all of them. They loved being able to sell their art, something that was so important to them, to the people that they lived and worked with. We would have gallery receptions and events where our artists would meet our customers, so they could forge new relationships with each other. That one small store gave far more back to the community than any giant blocky building full of impersonal goods ever could.

I’m sure this is a familiar story, though, because you see the same thing every day in your stores. You’ve created something that you love, and much like pet hair or the flu, the love that you put into your work spreads to everyone you come near.

You’re providing a personal touch to your shoppers.

Way too many years ago, I used to work near a small, locally-owned teriyaki joint. The food was pretty similar to other teriyaki places, but I kept coming back for the people. It was owned by a sweet old lady and staffed by a bunch of employees who would run out of the kitchen to greet me every day, and they all knew exactly how I liked my chicken bowl. They knew what all of their locals liked, and for that reason, their dining room was always packed full.

When you love what you sell and what you do, your employees do too. They care about your success, and they care about the customers that come into your store. They know your products and where they came from, and they love giving that information to your shoppers. And without the impersonal rules and regulations and rigid structures that big national chains hang over their heads, employees feel a bit freer to really connect with their customers. And your customers will remember that.

Sweet, delicious customer service.

Independent and local business owners are basically superheroes.

We’ve all seen the movies every summer for the past (refuses to admit age) years where some spectacularly Spandexed superhero spends their time and trust funds saving and protecting the city and the people that they love. Everyone wants to be super, but you’ve already put in the work. According to a study done in Chicago, $68 for every $100 spent at a local business stays in the community, compared to a paltry $43 for a chain. And even better, every $100 spent at a local or independent business generates $45 of secondary spending within the community, as compared to $14 with chains. So you may not be defeating nefarious villains named after multi-appendaged deep sea creatures or abrasive carpet cleaners (unless that’s one of your hobbies), but you’re doing a lot of good for your community. And with far less collateral damage!


So cheers to you, visionaries! Cheers to your tireless work and your sleepless nights! Cheers to your love, your accomplishments and your accolades! Cheers to your wonderful work for your community, for your employees and for the world! Cheers to every moment of chaos, every quirk of fate, and every little amazing moment that reminds you why you do what you do!

And thank you from the bottom of our hearts that you’ve made us part of your journey.

PayGo is a solution provider for independent retailers based in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary focus is on point of sale / retail management software. We also offer a Merchant Account integration, a WooCommerce integration, Digital Marketing Services, and more.

This Is How PayGo Can Help You With Your Store’s Marketing Efforts

Does the ever-faster evolving retail marketplace make you feel as if you’re a passenger on Willy Wonka’s boat at that moment when he starts singing?

There’s no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going. There’s no knowing where we’re rowing or which way the river’s flowing. Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is a hurricane a-blowing?

We sent out a survey earlier this year. Our customers responded overwhelmingly that marketing is one of their biggest challenges. We’re pretty passionate about helping independent retailers. After all, our business is based off providing solutions to meet the needs of retailers. So, we pulled our marketing, sales, and development teams together to create solutions to help our customers adapt and overcome their marketing challenges.

Make Marketing and Sales Wins in 3 Great Ways with a Little Help from PayGo:

  • PayGoCart with WooCommerce! You can now let potential customers know what’s available in your store live using the most popular e-commerce platform. Using PayGo’s Long Description to your advantage, you can improve your SEO without a lot of extra steps too.
  • Marketing tips and tricks. Have you seen our super helpful SEO & Social Media posts? We’re doing our best to post them every Monday. Video tutorials will be coming soon.
  • Digital Marketing Services! Let us know what your current challenges are and we will help you devise a plan to overcome them.

Our view: We’re all in this Wonka, er…Wonky retail world together. The more we row together, the better off we’ll all be in this constantly evolving economy. Well, so long as we’re rowing in the right direction. The right direction is where data and research becomes everybody’s trusted marketplace friend.

3 Marketing Ideas

These ideas were inspired, in part, by reading, Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday.

1. Figure out what products and experiences will make your customers happy.

How? Ask them. We did via the survey. At first, there was concern that customers would not respond. We pushed forward and sent the survey out anyway. We received a 10% response rate. While the response amount wasn’t mind-blowing, respondents did offer us a glimpse of what we could do to make and keep our customers happy. To everyone who has filled out the survey so far, Thank You! If you’re a customer who hasn’t had the chance to fill out our survey yet, please take a moment to by clicking here. We do heart data around here.

2. Generate content and get press coverage.

Write blog posts about popular topics that relate to the products in your store and then post about them on social media. Doing so may lead to press coverage. Reach out to local reporters.  Before starting at PayGo, I wrote the weekly What’s in Store column for the Post Bulletin. The stores who received the most coverage in my column were the ones that posted on social media and/or those who contacted me. I didn’t have time to call those not making my job easy.

3. Host in-store and/or online events.

You could invite your e-mail to a special pre-sale event. Do you need help building your e-mail marketing campaign? We can help with that.

There is much to learn about marketing and only so much time in each day. Do you have questions about how to better market your retail business? Feel free to send questions to or give a call to our sales team at 866.545.7047 ext. 1.

PayGo is a solution provider for independent retailers based in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary focus is on point of sale / retail management software. We also offer a Merchant Account integration, a WooCommerce integration, Digital Marketing Services, and more.

Marketing Monday – SEO Part 3 – Ethics and Hats

Marketing Monday is our weekly-ish feature on how to become a marketing ninja warrior. Sword not included.

Welcome back to the exciting and fast-paced world of Search Engine Optimization strategies! We have arrived at part three of our four-part series on SEO (it’s almost over, I promise!), and if you need to play catch up, you can see Part 1 on keywords here, and Part 2 on search engines over here.

If you’ve done any SEO research on your own, you’ve probably noticed a weird amount of hat talk. And with the exception of olde-timey haberdashers, you probably have no idea why hats would play into SEO. Luckily for us (and unluckily for aforementioned haberdashers), it has less to do with headwear and more to do with ethics.

Fancy and well-dressed ethics, but ethics nonetheless.

There are two generally recognized approaches you can take to ethical search engine optimization: White Hat and Black Hat SEO.

White Hat SEO

White hat SEO is the softer, gentler, and almost downright cuddly angle to take when working on your content and SEO efforts.


The focus of white hat SEO is to provide real quality content for your readers, viewers and clients. This tactic focuses more on the people who are looking at your sites, and less on the algorithms that got them there. Some marks of white hat SEO are relevant backlinks (links that other sites use to direct to yours) and long-form, high-quality content. Good white hat SEO can also be spotted by a well-organized and cohesive site. But most importantly, it has relevant keywords and phrases that occur naturally and aren’t shoehorned into the content.

Black Hat SEO

Black hat SEO is the SEO equivalent of that one friend you had in college who liked to argue about rules to the professor in order to get a higher grade on the midterm. The focus of black hat SEO is to bump itself to the top of search results by any means necessary. Instead of focusing on the end user, black hat SEO focuses on the “machine” side of search engines to drive page clicks. It relies heavily on spam, tons of automated and low-quality backlinks, and “scraping,” or stealing, content from other sites, some of which may not be relevant to the site in question. Black hat SEO can also use dirty tricks like posting hidden text that the reader can’t see but search engines can, spamming comment sections with backlinks, or “parasite hosting,” which is when a spammer hosts their website on someone else’s server without permission.

There are consequences for black hat SEO-ers, naturally. Search engines don’t like to be played like that, so they’ve developed tools to track down and ban sites that abuse their algorithms and break their rules.

How can I be sure that I’m not accidentally doing anything that a search engine would ban?

It can be easy to accidentally break the rules sometimes, and no one wants to be caught and penalized for something they didn’t know they were doing wrong. Which is why there are lots of tools and tips out there that will help you be sure that you’re abiding by rules and optimizing your searches as thoroughly as possible. We’ll be covering some of the most popular tools next week in SEO Part 4: Wait, You Mean I Could Have Had Help This Whole Time?!

Still kind of confused about SEO? Want some tips and tricks? Check out our SEO board on Pinterest!

Want to see more Marketing Monday posts? Click here!

PayGo is a solution provider for independent retailers based in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary focus is on point of sale / retail management software. We also offer a Merchant Account integration, a WooCommerce integration, Digital Marketing Services, and more.

Marketing Monday – SEO Part 2 – Search Engines, a.k.a the Googling

Marketing Monday is a weekly-ish feature where we navigate the deep, dark and most likely leech-filled jungle that is marketing strategy. 

Welcome back to our SEO extravaganza!

Yes, that’s what we’re going with.

If you remember last week, we went over the importance of keywords and phrases for SEO (and if you don’t remember or somehow managed to block it from your mind, click here and reopen those wounds). This week, we’ll be discussing what you do with that treasure trove of keywords you came up with.

We all know that websites have gaggles, oodles and scads (someone bought a thesaurus!) of content, from multimedia stuff like podcasts and videos, to blog posts and content, to shopping carts, and those are easy enough to sprinkle with your keywords. But, a website also has lots of other stuff happening that you may not think of immediately. There are meta tags, meta descriptions, anchor text (also known as link text), titles, and headings, all of which desperately need your keywords. And while that may sound a bit dramatic, keep in mind that search engines prefer to pull their keywords and phrases from these more “summarizing” areas of your website, and especially from title tags (the summary of your website that is on most webpages, also known as the tagline).

But that’s not to say that you should neglect your content (besides, you know, content is the reason one has a website in the first place). Search engines also pull their results from the first 200 words of page content, so much like a conversation with your local law enforcement, you want to get your main point out of the way first and then go on to specifics a bit further down.

Simple, right?

What if I’m more of a social media user? Do these keywords work there too?

Sure thing! Here’s how you want to go about that:

Twitter: put your keywords in your bio in your biography section.

Facebook: Use most liberally in your “About” tab, and you can also put your keywords in your page’s “Category,” “Short Description” and “Long Description” sections.

Pinterest: Add keywords to your “About You” section.

Instagram: Use your keywords in your bio section.

LinkedIn: Stick in keywords anywhere you can, from your current job title to professional headline to any other sections you might use. If you’re working on your company page, be sure your keywords are in your company description, company specialties and company industry.

Google+: as we covered in our social media post, Google+ is huge for Google SEO. So even if you don’t use it much, be sure you at least have a profile. You’ll be adding your keywords pretty much anywhere. Start out with your tagline, intro, and category, and then add to your occupation and skills sections.

What If I just smash together, like, 50 keywords and stick them on a page? I hacked the system!

That would make you spam, my friend; and, not even the kind that’s delicious in fried rice. Search engines see things like that and assume you’re a spambot, and will ignore you accordingly. Subtlety is important. It also delves into the murky waters of Black Hat SEO, which is something we’ll be getting into more next week in Part Three: Ethics and Hats. Why the hats? Stay tuned!

Want to see more Marketing Monday posts? Click here!

PayGo is a solution provider for independent retailers based in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary focus is on point of sale / retail management software. We also offer a Merchant Account integration, a WooCommerce integration, Digital Marketing Services, and more.

Marketing Monday – SEO Part One: Keywords and You!

Marketing Monday is a weekly-ish feature about how to grow your business by learning how to use all the best words to sell stuff. It’ll be yuge!

Happy Monday, dear readers! It’s a beautiful morning, we’d all like to hit snooze just one more time, so let’s rise and shine and do some learning!

I’ll try to be quiet.

Today we’re going to be tackling the white whale that is Search Engine Optimization (or SEO if you’re nasty). SEO is one of those buzzwords that has popped up with the encroachment of Internet culture. Everyone knows that it’s important, but far fewer people know what it actually means, or how to go about gettin’ some.

Luckily for you, PayGo is here to guide you through the weird, confusing and unexpectedly humid world of SEO.

Okay, so what is SEO?

Simply put, SEO is a way to get your website to be found more easily in search engine results, through organic means. In this context, “organic” means “in a way that doesn’t involve you shelling out your hard-earned cash.”

I am already a fan of this. So how do I use it?

Through words! Keywords, to be precise. Keywords and key phrases are the lifeblood of the weird digital unicorn that is the internet, and the first rule of SEO is to use the keywords that are best for your business.

So how do I go about doing figuring out what keywords to use?

Well, first off, you need to think about your customers. What were they looking for when they found your store? What are some of the phrases or words they would use in a google search for the items and services you provide?

That’s awfully vague.

I know. Here’s an example: Let’s say I’m in the market for a beanbag chair for my dog.

As one does.

When I go online to find the best place to buy one, I’m going to be using search terms like “durable beanbag,” “dog furniture,” or “beanbag made from ballistics fabric.” Luckily for me, Janet’s House o’ Superfluous Animal Furniture anticipated this very situation and used all of those phrases in their SEO work, along with “beanbag,” “dog,” “destructive dog chairs” and “furniture for small tornado animals.” Their website pops up towards the top of my search results and I like what I see, so I end up buying my Kevlar beanbag directly from Janet herself. I’m happy, my dog is happy, I won’t be cleaning up beanbag shrapnel any more, and Janet’s reputation for doing a brisk and high-quality business lands her a juicy contract with the city zoo for large-scale chaise lounges for all of the bear exhibits.

Yay professional success!

…That shouldn’t make as much sense as it does.

I know, right? I even surprised myself.

So how thorough do I want to be in my keyword choices?

As thorough as possible. For keywords and key phrases, you need to really anticipate all of your customer’s queries. It can help to break up everything you do into categories and then work from there. If we go back to Janet…

Please don’t.

Too late! When she started her SEO journey, she broke up her services into categories. She categorized what kinds of furniture she carried, what specialized fabrics she used, and what her Customer Large Animal Crushing and/or Maiming Insurance included. From the categories she came up with, she came up with as many words and three-to-four-word phrases as she could that described them.

That sounds both incredibly detailed and extremely time-consuming.

It is, but it’s worth putting the time in. Good SEO can make or break a business in the internet age, so the time you spend here could determine the success of your business. But if you don’t have the time, that’s alright too, because PayGo’s Marketing Services can take care of all that stuff for you.

Okay, so what do I do with all of these keywords and key phrases?

Tune in next week and find out, when we go over SEO Part Deux: the Googling!

Want to see more Marketing Monday posts? Click here!

PayGo is a solution provider for independent retailers based in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary focus is on point of sale / retail management software. We also offer a Merchant Account integration, a WooCommerce integration, Digital Marketing Services, and more.

Marketing Monday – Marketing to Millennials

Marketing Monday is a weekly-ish feature about how to grow your business through the delicate and subtle science of telling people to buy your stuff.

One day around 400 BC, Socrates was hanging out in Athens, getting a tan while being fed grapes by mythical creatures and watching lions eat soldiers (or so Saturday morning cartoons and my fine arts education would lead me to believe) when he decided that he needed to declare his opinion of the younger generation. “The children now love luxury,” he lamented, probably while shaking his fists and yelling at kids to get out of his yard. “They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

And then his culture became the basis for all the most debauched parties you ever attended in college.

Ephebiphobia (roughly translated as “the fear of youth,” because everything sounds cooler in Latin) has been around for millennia, but as we can see, the world is still more or less turning and we’re all mostly alive. And with a spending pattern of around $200 billion yearly, marketing to millennials is quickly becoming a vital part of any business strategy.

But old marketing strategies aren’t working for these kids any more. They’re extremely smart, they know when they’re being targeted in advertising, and they’re changing the face of marketing forever.

So how do you get through to this brave new market? By remembering this:

They shouldn’t be underestimated.

Millennials, like every other young generation in history, are often shown in an unflattering light. Unfortunately, as the first internet generation, they get exposed to a lot of that criticism almost constantly, as opposed to just hearing it occasionally from angry older people or on the news. These kids are solving world problems, championing causes, and shaping the future, and they’re getting pretty tired of being told that they’re entitled and stupid. An effective marketing strategy needs to keep in mind that this generation wants to be spoken to, and not yelled at. Which brings me to my next point:

They’re looking for authentic content.

Kids these days (I just aged ten years writing that) grew up knowing that they have access to all the information in the entire known universe available at their beck and call. They practically bleed online content, and they’ve seen enough of it to tell when they’re being condescended towards or lied to, or when they’re seen as nothing more than a wallet with a wifi connection. Your genuine personality has to show through in all of your marketing efforts.

It’s a good strategy to consult one or two millennials on what they want to hear and what sounds authentic to them when coming up with a marketing campaign. If you don’t know one personally, just stand in the middle of a skate park or shopping mall (that’s where kids hang out now, right?) or log on to any internet comment section and yell about dank memes (I actually have no idea what that means) and snacks. That should bring them running.

And on a related note, it’s wise to learn to speak their language. I admit, I don’t  know what a “fleek” is (I assume it’s some kind of trendy antelope) or why memes are suddenly becoming so dank. But if I’m working on a campaign for millennials, I know that I have to make a sincere effort to learn that stuff in order to effectively communicate with them.

And from now on, you will hear “fleek” and see this. You’re welcome.

They’re consulting each other on everything.

Millennials know how to mine a crowd for resources. They’re looking for advice from their friends and network of friendly internet strangers on nearly everything, from things as small as makeup brands or dinner suggestions, to whether or not they should go into certain careers or move to different states. You aren’t just marketing to one small group of Generation Y-ers; you’re marketing to all of them.

They want an interactive experience.

The thing about growing up with the entire world available to them is that now the youths (I’m going to be 90 years old by the end of this blog) know that their words and experiences and opinions matter. They want to be a part of the experience. They want to see tutorials and testimonials from other shoppers. And most importantly, they want the opportunity to talk about themselves. The more involved they are in their own marketing, the better.

They prefer to share.

The increasing popularity of sites like Spotify, Airbnb and Uber is an indication that the younger generation would rather share than buy. They have no problem paying to access a service temporarily, as opposed to buying and owning something that they won’t always need.

They aren’t reading newspapers or opening mailers, so stop using them.

The key to marketing to millennials is to use the same platforms that they are. They’re reading e-books and blog posts, and spending time on social media. Any money spent on millennial campaigns that use “traditional” methods will probably end up being a waste of money.

We have seen the future, and it looks… kinda silly, to be honest.

They know what they’re looking for.

When a millennial goes looking for something online, they probably already have a pretty good idea of what they’re trying to find. Distracting things like pop-ups are just going to irritate this generation, and put them off of whatever it is you’re selling. They want, and will only tolerate, suggestions, not proclamations. This is why content marketing is so effective with this generation. Content marketing, to put it simply, presents an idea and concept through platforms like videos, blog posts and articles. The idea is discussed, and most importantly, it doesn’t try to sell anything outright. Millennials want to come to conclusions on their own, they don’t need their hands held.

Does this all seem a bit complicated? No worries! PayGo’s Marketing Services will speak to the millennials for you (toga parties optional).

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PayGo is a solution provider for independent retailers based in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary focus is on point of sale / retail management software. We also offer a Merchant Account integration, a WooCommerce integration, Digital Marketing Services, and more.