If you are a a doula or midwife today, the bulk of your client base is currently in the age bracket known as Millennials, new parents between the age of 18-34. also known as Generation Y or the Net Generation. They grew up with technology and the internet and are considered to be “digital natives”, and tend to be both highly dependent and extra savvy in the realm of technology.
Today’s blog post will explore how birth & postpartum practice websites can adapt to the expectations of this new generation of families. Also be sure to download my checklist on web design for Millenials below to help your evaluate your website strategy.
Please note that I am NOT a millenial.
As the mother of teens approaching fifty years of age, my engagement in technology and social media has been by choice rather than circumstance. Still, I think a lot of what we see below is experienced by those of us in the previous generation(s) as well – after all, core principles such as simplicity, speed, and value are universally attractive. I have found researching the characteristics of the Millenials generation in the context of web design to be both intriguing and very very valuable.
Note: Like all the generations before them, Millenials is a blanket term used to understand the core characteristics of this particular generation and there are of course 1,000,000 variations on how this actually plays out when we meet an actual person in this age group. Still, I think all of us can agree that the times we grow up in do shape who we are and how we function in this world. So… take all of this with a grain of salt, but also listen closely and ask yourself what makes sense for Your business?
Web Design Tips for Millenial Families
Millenials are known as strong brand marketers and are quick to write reviews and share their experiences with services & products on social media. This creates a culture of looking to their friends for advice on which companies to trust. You need to create opportunities to build that trust.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU:
- Offer easy ways to leave reviews online. Check out my blog post on creating reviews for your Google+ business page, and of course how to create your page in the first place! Yelp is also a good option to consider, along with facebook reviews.
- When sharing reviews on your website make them highly visible, and ideally include photos & full names with client permission.
You could call Millenials fickle, or highly flexible… If their needs are not easily & smoothly met by your website they are quick to leave & seek out a competitor website. Simple, easy to navigate web design helps keep visitors on your site learning more.
- One indicator of this phenomenon is your bounce rate in Google Analytics (although this number is affected by many factors – learn how to reduce your bounce rate.)
- Keep your navigation simple without massive dropdowns. This is especially an issue on mobile devices. If you have a bajillion services, one option to consider is content navigation creating links through to subservices within your content instead of in the menu.
- Consider ways you can help streamline their ability to contact you and get the information they need. Highly visible & simple contact forms, FAQ pages, and even tutorial videos are all highly attractive to this population.
- Avoid clutter on your website. Consider your content carefully and keep it as clear & easy to follow as possible.
- Consider ways you can share content in visual formats. Even adding colored boxes with text rather than just another paragraph can help keep visual interest. Memes, videos & gifts are also options to consider.
- Make it super easy for potential clients to find out how contact you – and offer multiple means by which they can reach out. Phone, email, social media, contact form…
It goes without saying that millenials are big on social media. It builds trust in your services if you have an active social media presence where they can check you out and get a better sense of your practice style & values. Often a visit to your social media profiles will be considered a “step” in assessing whether or not your practice is a good fit for them.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU:
- Yes, it is worth investing in your social media presence, and staying active on your various profiles.
- Less social media accounts with more activity is better than accounts that sit abandoned for months at a time.
- Integrate client reviews into your social media profiles.
- Use a social sharing plugin to facilitate visitors sharing your content on social media.
- Carefully curate the content you share on social media ensuring that it matches your brand identity and helps potential clients better understand your approach & value as a care provider.
STAY CURRENT & FAST
How do you feel when you land on a website and the upcoming workshop dates are from 3 months ago? How about when a page takes forever to load? Millenials visiting your website want your business to feel current and fast – really, who doesn’t feel this way?
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU:
- Keep your information current, from your availability calendar to upcoming events and offerings. Set a time each week to take those extra five minutes to update. Be sure to also check out your about page and make sure your kid’s ages are up to date, and your number of years of experience.
- Pay attention to your site speed. Here are some positive steps you can take to enhance your page loading times.
- You can also think of speed in terms of how quickly site visitors are able to find the information they need. Are your doula fees hidden? Can they automatically register & pay for your next workshop?
Lots of the research on the Millenials shows that they are drawn to services and products that offer some kind of special value or savings. This does not mean you need to lower your prices or always offer 25% off, but you might want to consider occasional sales, or find creative ways to add value to your services without any cost to you. An example of this might be a coupon book for other local businesses that you create as an exclusive benefit for your client base. In a different application of the term “value”, they also are more drawn to companies that are attached to a particular social benefit such as a non-profit.
- Consider occasional sales or special bonus offers and make sure they are highly visible on your home page.
- Look for ways to enhance what they are receiving for their investment in your services.
- If you feel called, an innovative way to help your company stand apart in the market is a strong affiliation and percentage of your profits going to a local or international nonprofit that is in some way aligned with your work. Looking for inspiration? Check out Shanti Uganda!
I could go on and on about the importance of mobile responsive design, and find it hard to believe there are still websites out there that are Not mobile friendly! The majority of search is now done on mobile devices, which means their first impression of your business is going to be on a little tiny screen – so your website HAS to function beautifully in the mobile realm.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU:
- Consider using a WordPress site as this allows your designer the flexibility to adapt aspects of your site to smaller screens. >> Learn more about my mobile responsive web design options.
- Check to see if your site is ranked as “mobile-friendly” using this guide.
Gone are the days when a website was simply an online display of relevant information about your practice. Marketing research has shown Millenials to prefer content that is warm and engaging, even with a sense of humor.
- Don’t be afraid to be personal in your website writing style, using first and second person tenses.
- Take another look at your about page and consider it can feel less like facts and more like a story. (here’s my guide to rocking your about page).
- Don’t be afraid to weave in some humor into your website, especially if you often use humor in your care with clients.
Be sure to download my checklist on web design for Millenials below to help your evaluate your website strategy.