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How is it that the biggest marketing opportunities are often the biggest marketing challenges? Take the millennial generation, for example. It’s the biggest generation so far in the U.S. and thus the biggest opportunity—yet we are still struggling to reach them.

Millennials are eschewing the old way of doing things: they don’t click on banner ads, buy print magazines, read snail mail, or watch traditional network television. It begs the question: Is going viral on Snapchat the only way to reach millennials?

The answer is no. According to the Harvard Business Review, millennial marketing is not about social media or publicity stunts but about using email right. The year 2016 might have been the Snapchat and Instagram story year, but millennials are not even half as dependent on these social networks as they are on email. In fact, this generation is on the verge of being addicted to its inbox. A recent Adobe Study showed that many millennials can’t even use the bathroom without checking their email. But wait, isn’t email in decline?

Studies show the opposite: as millennials become the biggest chunk of the consumer and workforce cohort out there, email is coming back as the main way to communicate. The reason behind this resurgence might be the way email is seen: Aweber found that while social networks are perceived as “for fun,” email is “for serious business.” An in-depth research by Near Bridge found that millennials aren’t the entitled, lazy, and distracted beings we have stereotyped them to be. On the contrary, they’re ambitious, responsible, and very competitive. Marketers love millennials (maybe because of the $200 billion disposable income they’ll have in 2017), and millennials love email.

But how do we hit the target with email marketing to millennials? This short guide gives you the six most important factors that will help you get it right.

Millennials are looking for edge

They know where to read your blog post. They know where to listen to your podcast. And they definitely know how to use Google to find your website and social channels.

Millennials are savvy researchers and information seekers. So how do you stand out?

To win with millennial email marketing, be sure you’re providing value that they can’t get anywhere else. Make them feel special by sharing exclusive tips, tricks, tools, discounts, or information only via email. Give them an opportunity to ask a question to your CEO directly via email. Give them edge others won’t have.

And, of course, don’t forget to mention the exclusivity in your call to action when you ask them to sign up. Email marketing to millennials can’t be just an invitation to read your new blog post—it needs to give them something they can only get through your emails.

Millennials are looking for engagement

Email is still one of the most efficient ways of online communication because it provides a conversation platform: Action and reaction. Question and answer. To be successful at email marketing with millennials, you need to use this feature to its maximum capacity. Millennials don’t want to be lectured or told what to like (baby boomers have done this to them for way too long). The most successful millennial marketing campaigns are similar in that they engage Millennials and make them the hero of the campaign. In your emails to millennials, always think about engagement. If an email has no call to action, question, or follow-up, it won’t be efficient with this generation. Send every email with an idea in mind for what the next step is for the Millennial who reads it. Don’t make email one-sided conversation; use it to invite them to become co-creators.

Millennials are mobile

There’s no doubt in the power of the smartphone. A millennial usually checks his or her phone more than 150 times a day. Unsurprisingly, according to IDC & Facebook research, checking email is the biggest reason for looking at mobile devices. So, why not meet Millennials where they are all day long? Make sure your emails look as good on an iPhone as on desktop. Create emails that can be consumed quickly, on any device, and make it easy for them to take action wherever they are (yes, this means big call to action buttons in email).

Millennials check email in bed

One of the struggles many businesses and marketers face is that content (and email) overwhelm what we experience every day. In an avalanche of marketing emails, how is yours going to stand out and keep the 8-second millennial attention span? A study from Adobe found that as a group, millennials are more likely to check email outside of work hours; in fact, 70% of millennials check their email from bed (vs. 52% of the general survey population). This means that late nights and early mornings might be the best times to email Millennials to avoid having to fight for their attention. Once they’re at work, there are hundreds of thousands of marketing messages that are trying to get to them. Swim in the blue ocean and tell them a bedtime story.

Ultimately, millennials want useful emails that work on the device of their choice, appeal to their interests and passions, and help answer all of their questions so they can avoid speaking with customer care. But that’s not all. The next two tips are millennial+ because they can apply to any generation. And while they’re crucial for millennials, if you use them you’ll earn a special place in your email recipients’ hearts, no matter their age.

Avoid bulk emails

The time of purchased email lists and impersonal email blasts is over. According to Brian Clark, the founder of Copyblogger, 2017 will be the year of authentic personalities and genuine writers. Technology has allowed us to send personalized communication, tailored to the behavior, stage of the buyer’s journey and context of each recipient. Use this technology! Don’t send the same email to someone who clicked on your coupon code that you’d send someone who didn’t. Use advanced CRM tools to send customized emails that feel like they’ve been written and designed just for the recipient.

Show, don’t tell

Visual content has taken over the space and we can all feel (or rather see) that. The trend for less text and more visuals was further strengthened by Facebook and Instagram’s live video features that launched in 2016. According to the Harvard Business Review, millennials are thinking and communicating in images, so marketers need to optimize emails for images and allow for quick feedback through emoji. To make email marketing to millennials even more efficient use video messages, thumbnails, images and photos to express ideas when possible.

The best and easiest way to reach an audience is to meet them where they are. And millennials are in their inbox. So, it makes perfect sense to start planning a millennial email marketing campaign right this moment, doesn’t it? Well, unless, you (as many others do) believe that email marketing isn’t viable for your company or product. While that might be the case for you, if millennials are in your target market, you should definitely find a way to fit email marketing into your overall strategy.

For the skeptics among you, I want to share one example of successful email marketing to millennials. The example comes from Urban Outfitters, whose main target customer is the millennial. Look specifically at their unsubscribe form.

unsubscribe form for Urban Outfittes

While you don’t need to go that far to be relevant to millennials, you might want to take Urban Outfitters’ lead and start brainstorming ways to reach millennials in their inbox, because this $200-billion generation spend a lot of time there. And they’ll even email you back—73% of Millennials would use email to contact a brand.

How are you going to catch up?

Would you like help creating an email marketing campaign that targets Millenials? Join Upwork or learn how to write an awesome job post to find the right freelancer for your next project.