Millennials, defined as people born between 1981 and 2000, represent the largest demographic in the U.S. While they embrace all things digital, technology has also provided them with an endless source of information. The good news for marketers is that millennials (also known as “Generation Y”) still very much use email throughout their daily lives.
But marketers also need to know that this demographic makes use of technology differently than other age groups. That’s why it’s important to understand their email preferences. Knowing how to best engage with this audience via what remains the number one marketing channel today will ensure better results from outbound marketing efforts. Here are five things to keep in mind:
- Make it Social: According to a study by Pew Research (“Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next”), millennials’ use of email was essentially similar to Gen Xers and even Baby Boomers in the 24 hours prior to the survey. Millennials, however, were more likely to have tweeted, updated their online profile, or sent a text message in that same time period. As such, it’s important to incorporate social media into your email marketing, such as by allowing subscribers to easily share a deal by posting it to their Facebook page or tweeting it out to their followers. If you can get just a few millennials to open and read your email, they are more likely than any other age group to share it on social networks and expand your brand’s outreach.
- Entice Them with Relevant Content: Millennials are more than willing to sign up for email campaigns – they are less concerned than older generations about spam or privacy. But since they have an endless supply of information available to them online, there has to be a compelling offer to induce them to share their email address or cell phone number to begin with. Early engagement campaigns can provide your newest subscribers with enticing deals or valuable information. If your emails are irrelevant and untimely, your special offers will be lost in a sea of emails, status updates, and tweets.
- Contact Them in the Manner They Want: Ask your prospects their preferred contact mediums (e.g. email or text), and use that information to correspond with them in the manner they desire. According to a study from Pace University, millennials welcome direct brand interactions through email, but want more ability to control, organize and manage the interactions. Encouraging millennials to interact with your brand across multiple platforms will allow you to collect data and better understand how to interact with this “always connected” generation.
- Go Mobile: Millennials are more likely than all other age groups to have a cell phone: 94% have one and 88% of them use them to send and/or receive text. As such, you need to optimize your email for use on smartphones. Include links in your messaging only if the website has been optimized for mobile devices. Make it simple for users to subscribe to your mobile/email list using their phone.
- Focus Your List and Messaging: Sending generic content will provide little return to any target audience; particularly millennials. After all, they grew up with caller ID, and they’re extremely adept at recognizing and blocking spam. By segmenting your contacts into lists based on demographics, desires and behavior, you can more effectively target your emails to the right audience and experience greater returns as a result. The need for engaging and resourceful content has never been greater thanks to the buying behavior of millennials and their thirst for information. But they’re adverse to sales pitches. Rather than being sold to, they prefer doing the research on their own in order to make decisions. They value conversation. Think smart phone over megaphone.
One final point to remember: Millennials have spent their entire lives blocking out unwanted marketing messages, which is why they seek out brands that provide the substance and engagement they’re looking for. Earning their trust is essential, so it’s critical that you adjust your tone in order to engage with them more effectively — no matter what marketing channel you choose to use.
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