Email is one of the most effective ways for brands to engage millennials. In fact, email influences the purchase decisions of 50.7% of millennial customers. Yet many marketers are starting to think email isn’t as effective at reaching this younger generation. Here’s what the numbers say:
- 1 in 3 millennials check their email as soon as they wake up.
- 73% of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email.
- Millennials spend 6.4 hours per day scrolling through their email inbox (that’s more than any other generation).
Based on the available evidence, the question then isn’t whether or not you should market to millennials using email, but how and when you should execute your campaigns. Here are some suggestions on how to engage millennials through email marketing.
1. Optimize for mobile browsing
59% of millennials use their smartphone to check email which means optimizing email for mobile browsing is critical (especially when 42.3% of email recipients delete messages that aren’t mobile optimized). To make sure your emails look as sharp as possible on a smartphone, partner with an email service provider that offers customizable mobile-friendly templates across all devices.
2. Create witty subject lines
Millennials are a content-driven generation. They’re constantly browsing websites, blogs, social media, and more to discover new content and products. With this desire for newness, however, comes a short attention span of only 12 seconds.
To capture their attention (and increase open rates), it’s important for marketers to include pithy and to-the-point copy in email subject lines. Millennial’s inboxes are often overcrowded and if your opener doesn’t pique their interest in those first crucial seconds, then your email will go straight to the trash. Consider including language that speaks directly to the reader and emphasizes the value being provided.
Bottom line: Don’t use vague, misleading, or overly clever subject lines just to get millennials to open the email. Instead, insure subject lines and preview text are creative but actionable.
3. Highlight brand values and corporate responsibility
Here’s something that just can’t be ignored: younger generations are passionate about purchasing from purpose-driven brands. They’re often willing to spend more money with these brands as they know their dollars are going towards something bigger than themselves.
For millennials, 81% want the companies they buy from to implement sustainable and ethical practices. This could be as simple as donating a portion of sales to a charity chosen by your brand. Whatever the action may be, it’s important to highlight such initiatives—and email is a great place to do so. Send a quick note highlighting your brand’s sustainability goals at the beginning of the year, and follow-up often with your progress often.
4. Reward loyalty
While millennials make up a large portion of the workforce, money is a huge concern for this generation due to low salaries, high debt, and other financially pressing factors. This means they’re looking for ways to save whenever they can. 70% of millennials say they’ll re-purchase from brands that have loyalty and rewards programs featuring discounts and exclusive offers.
Let millennials know you appreciate their business by sending an email with special messages, coupons, VIP access to sales, or other creative tactics. An easy way to do this is by offering a birthday gift, such as Chipotle’s free chips & guac during a customer’s birthday month.
5. Play with 1:1 personalization
This goes without saying. Sending generic emails should be avoided when reaching out to millennials. Collect as much data as possible from all channels, create segments based on this data and their online behavior to send customized emails that are much more than just “Hello .”
Take note of key data signals such as what website pages they’ve viewed, what products they’ve purchased, and what time of day they usually open their emails. Remember that millennials expect you to speak to them personally and give them information that can be used. In fact, 70% of millennials say they’re okay with retailers tracking their purchasing and browsing behaviors in exchange for better-targeted messaging.
6. Create visually stunning email templates
Visual content forms an integral part of information consumption by millennials. Be sure to include images, videos, and other interactive content forms like polls that create an immersive experience. This will make millennials feel more connected with your brand and engage with messages more frequently.
7. Remain Relevant
Millennials don’t have the luxury of quiet inboxes. From work emails to brand offers and everything in between–there’s a constant flow of information coming in. This in turn means they have a low tolerance for spam-y messages. 74% of millennials get easily annoyed by too many marketing emails, so it’s important to be mindful of the relevancy of your message. Be sure to limit the number of email communications taking place per day and per week as you don’t want to overcrowd their inbox.
More so, tap into data such as recently viewed products or abandoned cart information to send relevant messages based on their known interests.
Final thoughts on how to engage millennials with email
As of 2019, millennials have surpassed baby boomers as the largest living adult generation in the U.S. This generation also makes up a large portion of the working population in almost all of the world’s major economies. With an estimated collective annual income of $4 trillion worldwide by 2030, this is a generation that marketers can’t afford to ignore. But only those who understand the dos and don’ts of engaging with millennials through email marketing will break through the clutter.