Digital marketing has truly come full circle over the past ten years.
As Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter surged in popularity and new advertising opportunities erupted, marketers ditched email for targeted social media advertising.
Then, if you wanted to reach young people, social media, the new hip hangout on the block, seemed like the only logical place to be.
But has email marketing really gone out of style with popped collars and trucker hats? Do millennials and the following generations consider it their grandparents’ form of communication?
No and no.
The numbers don’t lie: young generations value high-quality communication with brands in their inbox. The keyword here is “high-quality.” This is good news for brands who invest a lot of time into their email marketing plans, but for those that aren't, young people can spot an irrelevant ad from a mile away.
With the right strategy and a keen understanding of your audience, you can successfully use email marketing for younger demographics.
Younger generations aren’t avoiding email—they're just using it differently than Generation X or Baby Boomers do.
The truth is, millennials have had access to the internet and smartphones for most of their adult lives, while Generation Z will have used a smartphone for most of their lives by the time they reach adulthood.
Looking at the statistics below, you can see that young people don’t consider email an afterthought. Far from it: Email is very much a major factor in their lives from the second they wake up in the morning until they go to bed.
According to a recent study from YouGov, a quarter of people ages 18 to 34 check their email first thing in the morning, often before even getting out of bed. That puts email in the third place just behind Facebook and text messages. Email is an important part of young people’s lives and it’s only going up from there.
A 2018 consumer study from Adobe surveyed 1,000 white-collar workers ages 18 and older. Surprisingly, Adobe found that young people prefer to use email communication over text and chat.
Younger generations tend to value a positive work-life balance so the non-urgent nature of emails provides an excellent medium for maintaining that balance. However, this doesn’t stop 87% of millennials from checking their work emails outside of working hours.
Marketers need to pick and choose their resources wisely. Facebook recently launched advertisements for their messenger platform, for example. These statistics show that email marketing for younger demographics is a profitable solution now more than ever.
The same study from YouGov found that 44% of millennials started using email between the ages of 10 and 14. YouGov expects that Generation Z started using email at an even younger age.
Social media platforms might fall in and out of style, but email has stood the test of time. It’s a crucial method of communication for young people and their reliance on it for work and pleasure will likely only grow in the coming years.
There’s a good reason Adobe's Kristin Naragon says email is the best method for reaching young people: they spend a lot of time scrolling through their inbox.
Adobe’s recent study found that millennials spend 6.4 hours a day checking their email with 98% peeking into their personal inbox every few hours while eating a meal, watching TV, working out, or even using the bathroom.
Email marketing for younger demographics is crucial because it’s such an integrated part of young people’s lives and it gives you a direct line of communication with your audience. With targeted campaigns, you can reach the right audience at exactly the right time.
That mythological zero-inbox is something most of us can only dream of. However, 16% of young people say they have exactly zero unopened emails in their inbox, according to YouGov. Meanwhile, 23% have less than five unread emails in their inbox.
What does this mean for marketing? Well, young people are actually opening the emails they receive—or at least interacting with them. If they don’t open an email immediately, it’s common for young people to take advantage of platform tools by flagging emails to check later, moving them into different categories, or swiping them into the dreaded trash can.
So even if your email doesn’t get opened as soon as it enters a young person’s inbox, there’s still a good chance they’ll look into it when they’re ready (as long as it’s relevant, of course).
Millennials and young people value relevant email communication with their favorite brands. A study found that millennials are 63% more likely to agree that promotional emails impact their final purchasing decisions either most or all of the time compared to Generation X or Boomers.
At the same time, 70% say that irrelevant or redundant emails are extremely frustrating. When it comes to email marketing for younger demographics, it’s important to develop a balance and have a thorough understanding of your audience segments.
77% of people from all age groups value email marketing over promotions other platforms like Facebook or YouTube.
That’s probably why email marketing boasts a much better ROI than social media advertising: $39.40 for every dollar spent on email compared to $12.90 for every dollar spent on social media.
With millennials over $65 billion and Generation Z yielding a staggering $143 billion each year, according to Neilson surveys, it would be foolish for restaurants, retailers, and other B2C organizations to ignore email marketing for younger demographics.
But how can you reach these audiences without driving them away?
Interactive content with videos and photos is crucial for establishing and maintaining your reader’s interest. Young people are busy so email marketing for younger demographics needs to catch their eye right away.
This email blast from Wendy's gets straight to the point by providing interactive content where readers can browse Wendy's salad options with high-quality graphics.
Image: Really Good Emails
When it comes to email marketing for younger demographics, your subscribers need to know they’re appreciated. No one wants to feel like just another number to boost a company’s bottom line. Consider creating subscriber segments with unique loyalty programs to target these segments.
Starbucks knows that their customers have plenty of coffee shops to choose from. This email campaign is specifically tailored based on the reader’s previous purchases. It also lets them know that a free reward is already waiting for them. To top it off, the email explains how to redeem the reward with interactive clickable content.
Source: Really Good Emails
Relevancy is key to email marketing for younger demographics. Promotions in their inbox for products and services they’ll never use will send them running for that unsubscribe button.
This email campaign from Pizza Hut got it right by remembering their subscriber’s previous order and offering special deals with a personal touch. Plus, Pizza Hut included the order all ready to go with interactive buttons: the reader just had to click “order now.”
Image: Campaign Monitor
Young people want to know that their hard-earned money is going to a good cause. The upcoming holidays are a perfect time to let your subscribers know that you’re giving back to the community with an email promotion. Consider sending out a campaign informing readers that you’ll give back a certain percentage of sales to a specific cause during the holiday season.
Toms has built their entire marketing strategy around giving back to the global good. Not only is this email below interactive, but it reminds readers that for every pair of shoes purchased, Toms will provide a pair to a person in need.
Source: Really Good Emails
No one is saying you should ignore social media to focus all of your efforts on email marketing for younger demographics. However, it’s important to remember that young generations spend a lot of time sifting through their email boxes. Like, multiple hours every day.
The key is to provide relevant emails that your subscribers look forward to opening. Analyze their habits and develop different audience segments to create email campaigns specifically tailored to meet their needs.
Email offers a personal touch that social media advertising just doesn’t provide: it gives you a direct line of communication with your audience where you can build long-term relationships. In the case of young people, you can use this to earn their lifelong trust.
Emma’s email marketing platform gives you all the tools you need to connect with your subscribers. If you’re interested in email marketing for younger demographics, let us know.