If you’re developing a strategy to target younger consumers, you’re probably being urged to reconsider the value of traditional email marketing.

Millennials – those born between the mid ‘80s and early 2000s – are the most tech-savvy generation to walk the planet, and with the rise of social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and What’s App, many marketers believe email is no longer relevant to most young consumers’ lives. With so much exciting, user-driven content out there, there’s no way Millennials are hanging out in their Gmail inboxes all day. Right?

Wrong. A recent study by marketing industry firm Adestra found that 68 percent of teens and 73 percent of Millennials actually prefer to receive business communications via email. In addition, a majority indicated that email marketing helps drive their purchasing decisions.

Here are a few key takeaways from the study.

Why do young people prefer email marketing?

One possible explanation is that social media platforms are supposed to be, well, social. While young consumers are incredibly media savvy, and online brand influencers and lifestyle bloggers continue to blur the boundaries between personal and branded content, most people don’t use social media for purely commercial reasons. Instead, they use it to connect with peers, keep on top of trends and to follow news and current affairs. In this context, automated posts and overly ‘sales-y’ messages – no matter how personalised – are likely to turn young people away.

While Facebook messages and Snapchat might have replaced email for most social communications, many Millennials still use email for professional and personal reasons – which means they’re comfortable talking to brands via this platform. As our friends over at Inc.com point out, email is also accessible from a wide range of devices, and messages can easily be flagged or filed for later action.

Millennials are online all day

Let’s face it – most of us can’t bear to even make our morning coffee without checking Facebook first. But Adestra also found that a surprising number of Millennials – almost 50 per cent – check their email messages as soon as they wake up, and continue to do so regularly throughout the day.

Millennials guard their email addresses carefully

One key finding from the research was that young respondents don’t give their email addresses out on a whim. In order to build their email lists, many brands require users to enter an email address before they can view certain content. The survey found this isn’t always an effective approach: only 43 per cent of consumers give their primary email address, while a majority give a fake address or one designed to capture only marketing messages. This suggests that Millennials want a chance to read and evaluate your content before they give up their details. In order to ensure the quality of your email list, it’s best to focus on providing interesting, relevant content that encourages your audience to subscribe.

Millennials are more likely to unsubscribe

While Millennials are more than happy to receive content via email, Adestra found they also weren’t afraid to hit the unsubscribe button. Young consumers don’t let their inboxes run wild with unwanted messages – in fact, four out of five respondents said they actively unsubscribe from campaigns they no longer want to receive. The key takeaway here is that simply gaining an email address is only the first stage in engaging Millennials. As a brand, you need to be constantly evaluating your content and offers to ensure you’re delivering the value these tech-savvy consumers demand.
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