Millennials have been saddled with a lot of monikers and not all of them are exactly complimentary, unless you think that being called Lazy, Indecisive, Narcissistic, and Entitled is in any way a reflection of a positive compliment. Even though those opinions are little more than nasty stereotyping, there is no escaping the fact that Millennials are a very different generation than the one which preceded them, and given their massive economic power, they merit not only the attention but the respect of marketers everywhere. Millennials want to be approached in extremely specific ways, and an online marketer who adheres to these top five ways to engage this generation is well on the way to achieving success in a very difficult market.

1. Conduct a conversation – Millennials are far more interested in what their peers have to say about your brand than anything that you as the online marketer is ever going to tell them, so you have to approach this generation on its own terms, through social media conversation. They are an age group that is in constant communication through every imaginable online medium and have grown up in an environment where information spreads through the group at the speed of light. In order to get your products or services endorsed by this generation you have to apply pull promotional techniques instead of push, and get them thoroughly engaged and entertained before you can even begin to address the actual purchase of your brand’s offerings.

2. Create a new media approach – Digital media is what Millennials react to best and although your entire marketing strategy to this generation should not strictly shun conventional broadcast and print campaigns, the key to their overall engagement is and will continue to be online, so match their highly fragmented attention span and their nearly infinite mobility by catering to their needs through mobile enabled websites, massive utilization of social networks, and, of course, email marketing. Millennials check their smartphones an average of 45 times a day, and each time is an opportunity for your brand to make an impact on their Millennial mind.

3. Get tuneful – Millennials adore music of all types and will consume humongous amounts of it both live and recorded. If you can associate your brand with a specific tune which hits all the right chords with Millennials you will automatically be tracks ahead of your competition. The way you marry your brand to Millennial music is limited only by your imagination, but you could sponsor a concert, festival, or even an online musical performance event, create a particular set of lyrics which is attuned to the Millennial psyche, or even go retro. You’d be surprised how many Millennials relate to 60s and 70s music!

4. Reward the loyal – An astounding 77% of all Millennials are members of a brand loyalty/reward program, but keep in mind that coherent with their identifying characteristics as a generation, they want the reward programs to be easy to administer, provide considerable value, be quick to reward, and most of all be completely free. If your brand loyalty/reward program can hit all of these critical buttons for the Millennials they will reward the brand right back, as 44% of them will actively promote your brand throughout their social media circles.

5. Tell a story – No, it’s not enough to say that your brand makes a great product and offers it at a very competitive price. That’s a marketing approach that went out of style with the last generation. The Millennials want to hear the story behind your entire company and want to learn what is unique in the background that makes your brand worthy of their attention and loyalty. They will engage to a far greater degree with the brand which discusses how it was formed (preferably by someone in a garage) than the one which focuses on the billion dollar investment it has made in implementing the world’s most roboticized assembly line.

If you want to sell to Millennials you have to converse with them one-on-one about the topics they care about. Do that successfully and this generation will amply reward your brand.