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At a time when businesses are reaching their consumers through more channels than ever before, it can be easy to assume your average Millennial is more likely to engage with an Instagram post or a Facebook ad than the humble email.

However, email marketing, when it's done correctly, still holds sway for brands looking to maintain customer relationships, engage audiences, and make sales. Despite the rise of social media and search engine marketing, email is still a highly effective and popular marketing tool with Millennials.

In fact, 61% of consumers overall enjoy receiving promotional emails weekly, but how can businesses use emails effectively to market to the most tech-savvy group out there—Millennials?

This socially conscious and fast-paced generation requires a set of rules different from those of Generation X and Z. And brands need to take into account that fact if they want their email marketing strategy to engage this important demographic.

Use Google's recent email feature: AMP

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), initially meant to be a framework to make mobile pages load faster, has now become an opportunity to make email experiences more interactive and actionable than ever before.

By introducing AMP to Gmail, Google now enables its email users to complete tasks directly without needing to leave their inbox: Users are able to RSVP to events, schedule appointments, and fill out questionnaires right from the email message.

Companies like Pinterest and Booking.com have already caught wind of this revolutionary feature, and many more will likely follow. Because the less time Millennials have to spend following links and switching apps to make a purchase from you or just check out what your brand has to offer, the better for you.

Nearly one-third of marketers who know what AMP is say they're very likely to use it, according to a Litmus study. Companies that don't want to miss this strategic boat should integrate AMP into their marketing emails, making Millennials' digital lives easier—and so increasing brand interaction and improving marketing effectiveness.

Personalize their content

Millennials respond best to personalized content in their quest for a more authentic customer experience. Using a personalized approach in email marketing can determine whether the targeted person opens the email, or sees it as a standard mass-mailed message and sends it to trash. Putting the recipient's first name in the subject line and providing "just for you" recommendations that have been algorithmically chosen can grab attention and translate to more hard sales.

Moreover, creating a relevant experience can make consumers feel connected to a brand and increase loyalty. If Millennials feel they are being communicated to with relevant messages, their brand loyalty increases 7% on average, a study found. The same study also found that 70% of Millennials don't mind brands' tracking their browsing and purchasing behaviors so that they can receive more individualized communications. A personalized marketing strategy is a great bet for companies with Millennial target audiences.

Even better is when companies are able to use consumers' behavioral data to deliver real-time triggered email marketing. Pay attention to previously carted items; these are essentially "wish lists" saved for another time, and spending-conscious Millennials will appreciate finding out when these products are on sale or low in stock. This approach can also apply to previously browsed items or to similar products based on customer interests.

Millennials much prefer receiving fewer, tailored messages that relate to their browsing data than they do "batch and blast" emails sent to a huge list. Less is more, in this case; and combining this approach with personalized email increases the likelihood of brand loyalty and meaningful shopping experiences even further.

Let the brand tell a story

In contrast to older generations, which are more swayed by product price and quality, much of the allure for younger consumers comes from the reputation of the seller and their perception of the brand as a responsible and socially conscious business.

Millennials are more likely to look for the story that the brand is telling and the values it upholds. Personalizing your brand accordingly in marketing emails will go a long way toward engaging younger potential customers.

For example, a study by the Boston Consulting Group found that Millennials, rather than making one-off donations, prefer to actively integrate causes they wish to support into daily life by buying products that engage in sustainable farming or "fair trade" principles.

In their marketing emails, brands should make clear their ethical business conduct and any social impact that they have. Doing so will make them more relevant to an increasingly socially conscious generation of Millennials. Making sure to promote that the company is taking care to remain environmentally friendly and treating workers ethically is an effective way to engage Millennials.

Personalizing the brand's story is another great way to get Millennials to engage more with marketing emails. Mentioning the founder or CEO in the email and signing off with a name will go down well with Millennials looking for an authentic contact that feels like it has come from a humanized business, rather than a faceless corporation.

Use an omnichannel approach

Millennials are tech-savvy and extremely quick to adapt to new channels that can be used for brand marketing. In today's market, where adults in the US access the internet across an average of four devices, businesses looking to email-market effectively need to make sure that consumers have a seamless experience while using different channels.

From the in-store experience to social media to emails direct to their inbox, Millennials in particular like businesses that keep their brand image and message consistent, to deliver a sense of familiarity and relationship with the company. Disconnected experiences are a huge turn-off for this demographic, so making emails a place to jump-start the seamless customer experience through your website, Instagram, Facebook, and in person encounters can work in your favor and maintain their attention.

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An email address can be considered a consumer's digital ID, and when they give it away to marketers that's a sign of brand loyalty that goes further than a "like" or "follow" on social media. A business can leverage that access to its customers' online universe to enhance their experience of the brand.

Optimizing email marketing strategy by using Google's AMP, sending relevant and personalized content, promoting the company's own story and values, and enabling customers to move smoothly across different online channel are key components of a successful strategy to keep Millennials engaged and interested in what your brand has to offer.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Florian Bersier

Florian Bersier is founder and CEO of Gmelius, provider of a plug-and-play communication solution for Gmail/G Suite. He is an Oxford grad with a PhD in complex systems.

LinkedIn: Florian Bersier

Twitter: @xpressyoo