How to Connect With Military Members as a Business Owner
Like any other market demographic, connecting with military members as a business owner requires a tailored approach. Any time you’re targeting a specific audience, it’s important to think about the steps you’ll take to attract that audience. If you’ve been a member of the military, then you have the upperhand: you know what it takes to attract a customer like you. But with no knowledge of the military, you have to put in a little more effort.
There are many reasons why you’d want to target members of the military. Perhaps you’re developing holiday promotions and want to create a military offer for Veteran’s Day. Or perhaps you own a business that offers services or products that military members would find attractive. Whatever the case, knowing how to move forward will improve your chances for success. Here are a few tips:
Understand Consumption Patterns of Military Members
Before you start creating a strategy of your own, it helps to understand what drives military purchases and what the purchasing patterns for this group looks like. The veteran community alone generates $19 billion in annual revenue, spread across 20 million veterans. Active military members earn over $32,000 annually on average. Accummatively, active members, veterans, and their spouses have $1 trillian in buying power annually. With this level of potential in mind, it’s clear that marketing to this group in tailored way can be beneficial to both your business and the members you serve.
Creating a Gated Offer
You may have heard of gated offers before and simply don’t know there’s a terminology for it. Gated offers are accessible to only qualified buyers, typically through a verification process. Military members enjoy a myriad of gated offers; by showing their ID, they can receive exclusive discounts and deals at restaurants and retailers, for example.
Studies have shown that gated offers evoke positive feelings among consumers, and drive purchase behavior. Eighty-two percent of customers that were introduced to a brand via a gated offer were more likely to return, and 68% of consumers believe that gated offers are more appealing than discounts intended for anyone. As a business owner, you can create your own gated offer to boost awareness, build buzz, and attract military members to your offering.
No one wants to be a simple transaction, and this especially applies to military members who have put their lives on the line so that all Americans—including business owners—can lead safe lives in their homes and country. Therefore, the messaging you use is important. Always thank a military member for their service; this token of appreciation goes a long way, time and time again. When possible, take your efforts a step further. For example, why not spearhead a direct mail marketing campaign, using personalized envelope printing and handwritten cards? This level of authenticity is rarely found in business, and will help you stand out from your competition.
Promote During Relevant Holidays
If you’re spearheading a military-based campaign, it’s best to align it with a holiday relevant to military members. For instance, May is Military Appreciation Month, but you also have Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veteran’s Day. Each of these would be a great time to launch your program. However, no matter when you choose to promote it, your promotion tactics are equally important. Create targeted social media campaigns, and design marketing materials with strong patriotic imagery.
Engage With the Military Audience
You can combine your targeting efforts with genuine connection by turning to social media to engage with the military audience. By engaging in dialogue, it shows that you’re interested in learning more about the people you intend to target. Ask for their advice, offer kind words, and be transparent. You should also get involved with your military community, too. Head over to Meetup.com and search for military-minded events in the area. You may even be able to sponsor an event for military members, which further builds awareness around your brand and allows you to have more of a face-to-face connection with your audience.