THE BLOG
07/26/2016 04:31 pm ET | Updated Jul 26, 2016

Email Marketing to Millennials: 3 Ways to Reach the Largest Consumer Generation

With over 80 million people in the generational cohort, millennials compose the largest demographic of consumers in the United States. The sheer size and spending power of millennials -- which Accenture estimates to be about $600 billion each year -- makes this generation the main target of many consumer businesses. E-commerce brands that can capture the hearts, minds and wallets of millennials are poised to see incredible success. Conversely, those that fail to do so will quickly fall behind.

There are many ways marketers can connect with millennials, and email marketing should be a key anchor of their outreach strategy. According to a survey from Adobe, 58 percent of of millennials say that email is their preferred way to be contacted by a brand. With this in mind, there are several tactics email marketers can implement to build a strong connection and foster customer loyalty with the millennial generation. Read on for tips to help reach the largest group of consumers and turn them into your brand's biggest fans.

Meet Them on Mobile
The millennial wave of consumers is the on-the-go generation fueling the explosive growth of the on-demand economy. They're shifting content consumption away from desktop and onto tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices. In fact, Adobe's study found that 88 percent of millennials use a smartphone to check email.

Email marketers need to optimize their content and campaigns for mobile devices to effectively convey their messages. They should leverage responsive design to ensure their messages automatically adjust to meet the constraints of a much smaller screen. Emails should be visual-based, light on text and quick to load otherwise millennials will be quick to dismiss content and move messages to the trash.

A successful mobile marketing strategy should also take into consideration the nomadic nature of millennials. Marketers can leverage geolocation data and timely triggers to send personalized emails to consumers based on where they are and what they're doing. The more relevant the email to the consumer's current frame of mind, the more likely that individual will be to purchase a product.

Make it Visual and Interactive
The millennial generation is not only increasingly mobile, but also more influenced by visuals than words. Blogs have long been a medium for self-expression via written content, but they have been supplanted by platforms that enable visual self-expression, including YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. A Forrester report on consumer interactions with branded social platforms revealed that Instagram -- which is completely image-based -- far surpassed other social networks for user interactions with its 4 percent engagement rate.

Keeping pace with this trend, marketers should cut down on text in their marketing messages to keep the attention of their readers. Instead, they should use images, videos or other forms of interactive content like polls to creative a more immersive, engaging experience for their millennial subscriber base. The visual content will help consumers feel more connected to the brand, fostering a deep relationship that can transition into long-term loyalty.

Sync Up with Social Media
Another differentiator of the millennial generation is the propensity to use social media to find information, communicate with brands and share thoughts. A Pew report about millennials found that 75 percent have created at least one social media account. As millennial consumers use social media to seek out products and brands on their own, marketers should prepare dedicated social media platforms that drive traffic to their site and newsletters as well as encourage email subscriptions.

Email marketers should also factor millennials' social media content consumption into their design and content layout for email campaigns. If image-based sites like Instagram or Pinterest are the referral source for new subscribers, these subscribers should receive email messages with more images than text -- reflecting the end user's demonstrated preferences. If new subscribers are referred via a brand's YouTube page, they likely have a preference for video content and should be targeted accordingly.

Marketers should make it easy for these consumers to continue the conversation with their brand by including links to their social media platforms in each message. Embedding social sharing buttons into the body of emails allows readers to easily share a brand's content with their own network of followers.

With an increased focus on mobile, visuals and social media, email marketers will be on a straight path to millennial marketing success.

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