Commentary

Message To Marketers: Emailing Millennials Works

As messaging apps proliferate, millennials have a seemingly endless number of ways to communicate with everyone in their lives on any given day.

Consider a day in the life of a millennial. She’s using Facebook Messenger to keep in touch with family, and Snapchat and Instagram’s messaging services to share quick updates with her closest friends.

At  work, she’s interacting on Slack with colleagues, and using LinkedIn Messaging to keep in touch with business connections.

At the end of the day, though, there’s one platform that millennials prefer above all to connect with brands, and it was invented decades ago. That’s email, of course.

According to eMarketer, email remained the top selection by 62% of millennial respondents, noting that “nothing else came close.”  Given emails’ popularity among younger consumers, marketers will be running email campaigns for years to come.

While the opportunities are vast, it’s clear millennials have high expectations for email marketing.

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What Millennials Want

First, make sure you’re leveraging data to create personalized messages. There’s no quicker way to turn off millennials than by sending them a generic message that's not helpful. In one survey, 34% of millennials said they were most annoyed by brand emails when the messages are irrelevant to them.  

Elevate your creative design with simple messaging, eye-catching imagery and a clear call to action.

Also, remember that subject lines are one of the most important determinants of open rates. Try asking questions or using emojis. Keep your subject lines short -- ideally less than 50 characters -- and communicate value and urgency.

Since more than half of emails were opened on mobile devices, optimize accordingly to ensure that everything from the subject line to the creative design will display well on a wide variety of mobile screen sizes.  

Before pressing send, review the health of your email list. To be certain that your emails are reaching a list of engaged recipients, make it a practice to regularly remove any inactive addresses from your database.

We find that brands need to replace 25-30% of the names on their email lists each year.

Also, be judicious with frequency. Nearly 60% of smartphone owners reported they unsubscribed from a brand because they were receiving too many messages.   

Finally, timing matters. MailChimp investigated the optimal times to send emails, and found the peak time is 10 a.m. in the recipient's own time zone, but noted, “There’s no one time during the day when everyone (or even half of everyone) drops what they’re doing and says, ‘Now is the time, and this is the place, to engage with email.’”  

Use testing to personalize and optimize ideal frequency and time of day.

The bottom line: Marketers who exceed millennials’ email expectations will score big dividends now and in the future.

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