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The Effectiveness of Email Marketing with Millennials

Written by intern Rhiannon Gilbert

When I scroll through my inbox, I see emails from a variety of businesses: design companies, independent photographers, non-profit organizations and academic groups, just to name a few. Nine times out of 10, I read the content of these emails, and I never unsubscribe. In most cases, I’ve actually subscribed to these businesses intentionally so my inbox will be tailored to my interests. If it surprises you to learn that I am 21 years old, you may want to keep reading.

Millennials are referred to by many as the generation that is constantly connected, and for good reason, but a large part of that connection is our email. Over 205 billion emails are sent every day, and millennials are the recipients of a large portion of those. Marketing studies show that millennials actually prefer email to communicate with companies, so it isn’t a question of whether or not millennials are using it — it’s a question of how and why. Understanding what we want and tapping into that can attract thousands of young eyes to your business and keep them there. If your company is looking to reach younger audiences, it would be unwise to dump all your marketing resources into social media without first looking at what millennials want in their email.

Teach Us Something

We want to have some kind of personal connection with what you’re giving us. In many cases, we’re following you because we actually want to learn from you. Remember that a lot of millennials are students, recent graduates, or entrepreneurs who are struggling to stand out in the competitive job market. Be a resource for us. Share some of your career or industry tips and you’ll gain loyal young followers who will read your blogs, share your information with their friends, and be much more likely to buy your products, books, or online class sessions.

Be Authentic

Throw the stuffy, navy-blue, business communication rule book out the window. Authenticity and transparency are crucial for keeping the attention of younger audiences. Millennials like to see business owners as “regular people,” and they want to know your journey and struggles. Being authentic is a huge step in building trust with your younger followers, in both email and social media. Also, utilize mass email tools like MailChimp or Constant Contact to personalize each subject line with the recipient’s name. Most of us know it’s automated, but according to a study done by Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened than those without, so it’s definitely a simple step worth taking.

Give Us A Little Extra

If you want to make a personal connection with your customers, you can’t ask for a better tool than email marketing. On social media, we know that content is written for the masses, but your email content is tailored specifically to your subscribers. You value your email subscribers because we’ve taken the time to let you into our already phenomenally cluttered inboxes. So give us something more than you give everyone else on social media. A personal story, an exclusive online chat, or a discounted product are all good options for strengthening email relationships.

Don’t Force Your Product On Us

Those old school selling tactics are old school for a reason. No one likes feeling pressured or threatened into buying a product. That’s the quickest way to get someone to hit the “unsubscribe” button, especially millennials. Instead, just focus on fostering those relationships with your email subscribers. Save the hard selling for in-person customers. If we’re on your email list, we already know exactly who you are and what you’re marketing to us. When we need your product, you’ll be the first place we go to — unless you scare us off first thing. Having patience and building trust with your millennial audience will help you beat out your competition.

Email vs. Social Media

Millennials have a reputation for short attention spans and obsessions with Snapchat and Twitter, but the results here may surprise you. Studies conducted last year by Campaign Monitor and McKinsey show that you are six times more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet, and that email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter. Similar studies also found that a message is five times more likely to be seen in email, and visitors from an email marketing campaign are over seven times more likely to buy something than visitors from social media.

Critics may try to tell you otherwise, but the numbers show that email marketing is far from ineffective. Don’t underestimate its power when reaching out to younger audiences. It can be one of your biggest and most progressive marketing assets if you use it to build a personal relationship with your subscribers.



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