With $200 billion in annual buying power by 2017, Millennials have become every brand’s coveted customer. But what’s the best way to reach them?
The answer is email.
For all the talk of email being dead — Too much noise! Too much spam! Too many distractions! Snapchat! — email remains the standard for digital communication. In fact, Millennials check email more than any other age group, and nearly half can’t even use the bathroom without checking it, according to a recentAdobe study.
That same study found nearly 98% of Millennials check their personal email at least every few hours at work, while almost 87% of Millennials check their work email outside of work.
Email is not only relevant for Millennials, it also happens to remain the channel where direct marketers get the highest ROI ($39 for every dollar spent, according to the Direct Marketing Association). But that doesn’t mean the same old email marketing will work on Millennials. Instead, marketers need to adjust, or run the risk of that dreaded swipe to the trash bin. Consider these ideas the next time you’re planning an email campaign and Millennials are a key part of the audience:
- Mobile is a must. Millennials are more likely than any other age group to check email on smartphones, with 88% reporting that they regularly using a smartphone to check email. If you’re not mobile first, you’re not putting your Millennial customers first. Responsive design has been a mantra for some time, but if you’re not employing it, you’re alienating an important generation of consumers who live, breathe, and sleep with their mobile devices.
- Timing is everything. Looking at opens and clicks won’t get you anywhere without analyzing the day of week and time of day those emails are opened and clicked. For example, we found that Millennials are more likely than any other age group to check email while in bed (45.2%). Why not experiment with sending emails first thing in the morning or late in the evening with content relevant to that time of day?
- Pictures are worth a thousand words. They’re also an important mechanism for Millennials to filter messages. Why send an email survey asking for written feedback when all you need to do is provide a choice between a smiley face and a frown? Images are an integral part of Millennial language, even in the workplace. A third of Millennials believe it is appropriate to use an emoji when communicating with a direct manager or senior executive, so it’s a safe bet they’re even more comfortable when it comes to emoji from brands. Millennials are thinking and communicating in images, so marketers need to optimize emails for images and allow for quick feedback through emoji.
- Less is more. Email marketing to Millennials isn’t about sending more of the same. Many Millennials want to see fewer emails (39%) and fewer repetitive emails from brands (32%). Marketers take note — stop spamming your lists and start marketing to individuals by understanding who they are first.
Not every Millennial communicates the same way, of course. And digital communication is constantly evolving. Nonetheless, for now it seems safe to say that email is here to stay and will remain a critical channel even for reaching mobile customers. Just don’t expect the same old email tactics to work.
By Kristin Naragon