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At this point, it’s safe to say that the younger generations — including millennials and Gen Z — are quite different than those that came before.
In fact, they can be so different at times, that many organizations, businesses and parties have trouble understanding what they want and what they might resonate with. That’s why it’s incredibly important that we’re able to garner a supply of feedback from younger audiences.
Of course, the concern then becomes, how do you ensure suitable levels of engagement? How can you be absolutely sure you’re acquiring the right amount of data from these audiences? Millennials especially have been known not to participate in anything they deem motiveless.
Here are some of the best ways to motivate and encourage the younger generations to take your surveys, participate in your polls and offer useful feedback.
1. Incentivize participation
Honestly, this is true for all generations. No one likes to work for free. Responding to surveys and questionnaires takes time — valuable time that could be spent doing anything else. So, if you really want to get optimal participation levels, it’s a great idea to incentivize the process.
This could be done in many ways, and it doesn’t necessarily require monetary compensation. You might provide participants with an exclusive offer or coupon code, for example. You could hand out free stuff like water bottles or promotional items such as pins or badges. Another way to garner engagement is to host a giveaway or raffle in exchange for information.
If you have a customer rewards program, you can always offer free points or credit for those platforms as well.
Giving something back to your audience will certainly ensure they participate, and readily, too, which can result in accurate, more helpful insights. You might even be surprised to know that 70 percent of millennials rely on YouTube to gather new information or learn how to do something. You could capitalize on this by incorporating content within your survey that teaches them or passes on knowledge. It’s yet another way to give back, without expending funds.
2. Keep it short
A lengthy survey or poll isn’t going to do you any good if most of your participants are quitting halfway through. Millennials and younger generations are known for their short attention spans, and you can’t blame them. In today’s world, they can get all the information they need, instantly, no matter where they are or what they’re doing. They can also communicate instantly with others via mobile and social media.
You have to get them in and out as quickly as possible, but in a way that’s still lucrative for you. Short quizzes work great for this, especially when they’re presented in a quirky or fun tone. Real-time user polls that show results are also great. Interactive elements scattered throughout a survey help keep things interesting. Most importantly, keep the entire experience succinct, gathering only what you absolutely need and nothing more.
Think about the last time you used Uber or Lyft to travel. After each ride, riders receive a short and simple driver feedback survey to capture a quick screenshot of how their ride went. Think of ways in which your company can quickly ask about the experience while it’s still fresh in the participants’ mind and without much time having passed.
3. If it must be long, save progress
The shorter the better, always — but sometimes, you don’t have a choice, and your survey or campaign will end up being longer than you’d like.
That’s okay, as long as you allow your users the option to save their progress and return later. Some may be in the middle of the experience and have to leave, regardless of whether they want to or not. For those who do, they’re not going to want to come back and start from the beginning, especially if the required responses are longer and call for extended thought.
Always provide a system that allows for logins, so users can save progress and come back later. It should be seamless and cross-platform, too, so they can start on a desktop and then finish on mobile.
4. Honour lifestyle diversity
Millennials form one of the largest and most diverse lifestyle generations we’ve ever seen. Baby boomers, for example, all come from the same relative decade, and so they are all doing similar things in regards to their living, lifestyles and entertainment.
Millennials and Generation Z, on the other hand, are so spread out that there’s no way you could ever classify the group on a broad scale. Some of them are just out of high school and getting ready for college. Others are already in college, and some are even entering or already enrolled in graduate programs. Then there are millennials who are already part of the workforce, building their American dream whether that includes a home, family or something else. You have first-time parents and long-time parents of multiple children. There are also well-established workers and professionals along with wet-behind-the-ears professionals — and the list goes on and on.
Furthermore, some millennials don’t even identify as their proper generation. Only 40 per cent of 18 to 34 years olds consider themselves millennials.
You must account for all of these elements in your survey and feedback campaigns. Don’t make the mistake of assuming everyone within this very large generation is identical, because they most certainly are not. Don’t be afraid to break up millennials into more similar age groups.
5. Going beyond mobile
Mobile this, mobile that. You must be on mobile, or you are going to implode!
These are often the kind of marketing and modern business claims we hear in the media. But while mobile is a large part of millennials’ lives, it’s not the only platform or channel they use. Just like everyone else, younger generations prefer to use traditional computing solutions when typing out extensive text. They’re not going to be writing long emails, survey responses or reviews on mobile devices.
What this means for the business world is that, yes, mobile should be highly prioritized, even first at times, but it should not be the sole focus. Millennials, believe it or not, love to share their opinions and experiences — they’re just not going to do it on a more restrictive platform like mobile. Try to incorporate other channels in your campaign. Give them additional ways to respond, provide feedback and participate.
6. Use strong visuals and interactivity
If you’re taking part in a ten to twenty-minute survey and all you see is blank text boxes presented on a white background, well, it’s enough to drive anyone mad. In most cases, the only thing that’s going to power someone through such an experience is the promise of an incentive or reward at the end.
But if you take that same setup and add strong, attractive visuals, as well as forms of interactivity, you’ll surely see a lot of happy participants — and there will likely be many who will follow all the way through with a session. Visuals and themes matter. It’s why you see so many graphics-based ads and content on social media networks.
Interactive elements can include: animations, drag and drop elements, images as answers, sliders, star ratings, heat maps and more!
Even doing something as incredibly simple as changing the background colour from a solid white to a bright green or blue can have a difference. Of course, just make sure the fonts and elements can still be read.
7. Be exactly where they are
Because the millennial generation is so diverse, it means your target audience or demographic will be spending their time in different places. Do the research and then be exactly where they are. If your primary age group spends a lot of time on social media, then host the survey there or promote it there. If they spend most of their time browsing email newsletters you send, then throw a survey or poll there.
Millennials account for more than seven out of every 10 Snapchat users. Worse yet, that’s a social platform you probably never even considered for sharing or promoting survey campaigns. It just goes to show that your audience might be somewhere you’re not, meaning you’re missing out.
People lead busy lives, even younger audiences, whether you want to acknowledge it or not. Positioning yourself and your campaigns where they are provides convenience to them and will make them more likely to participate. It also provides them with a suitable experience, one that matches their needs or demands.
Twitter is one place where millennials love to interact with brands and content online. Twitter also allows users to conduct short and easy polls that offer brands a quick way to see more engagement with millennial consumers. Once they’ve already taken a Twitter poll for you, they’re more likely to take your more in-depth surveys.
8. Create a personalized experience
Can you remember the last survey or questionnaire you took? Most likely, it was the same deadpan and programmed questions over and over. Everyone from a doctor to a taxi driver could be delivered the same survey.
This is no good, especially not in the modern world. You must personalize the experience for the specific person you are talking to. If they indicate that “no” they are not involved or interested in something, don’t continue asking them about that same topic. Move on to something else instead. Subsequent questions in the campaign should relate to the responses that came earlier. With today’s technology, it’s remarkably easy to make this happen.
Don’t serve the same boring, repetitive survey to everyone who comes along. Tailor it for each audience member, and you’ll be able to gather some truly unique insights. Little things, like taking the time to acknowledge who is actually taking your survey, help to create a great user experience.
9. Always share results
Unless the survey, poll or questionnaire involves something confidential, make a habit of sharing the results with your community. You could display them on an official website, via social media or even within an email newsletter. People love to see the progress or insights that are collected from such experiences.
Many people love to see how they stack up against others, like whether or not their opinion is popular or rare. It helps even more if you present the information in visual, engaging ways such as through an infographic or video.
Engagement matters, but not more than actionable insights
In pursuit of higher levels of engagement and participation, it’s easy to forget about what really matters: insights you can actually use for future campaigns and decisions. That’s exactly why you’re hosting the surveys and polls in the first place, right?
So, while you should absolutely follow the tips discussed here to boost engagement, remember that the main purpose of surveys is to collect valuable information for your business. Don’t go so far off the rails chasing engagement that you forget to incorporate the one question or series of interactions that will tell you the most about your topic. That rings true for any demographic or generation — millennials and Gen Z included.
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