Here’s a scary stat that I included in a story the other day: Nearly half of all people under 35 consider Facebook and Twitter to be their most important source for news.
Come on, people, Facebook and Twitter for news? My friend’s mom just shared her condolences on Facebook over Brad Pitt’s untimely death after the breakup with Angelina (never happened, of course). You have to vet what you’re reading before you share it – or at least check it on Snopes first.
But what this trend does point to is something that every marketer should take note of.
People, and especially millennials, want to be able to consume and share information fast, both on social networks and at work. Despite rumors of its untimely death (much like Brad Pitt’s), email is still a preferred communication channel because it supports this trend – it’s a no-frills, quick way to get information you need.
According to a recent Adobe survey, time spent checking email increased by 17 percent over the last year among white-collar workers in the United States. When it comes to marketing, half of consumers prefer to be contacted by brands via email (followed by direct mail at 22 percent and social media at nine percent).
This is great news for content marketers who are pushing hard to grow their subscriber lists – meaning they’re making a concerted effort to collect email addresses, and tracking their email list growth is one of their top performance metrics.
It’s all about the speed of email for users: Almost half of the people surveyed expect email responses at work in less than an hour (even faster among millennials, who expect and answer within a few minutes). Everyone agrees that emails should be light and streamlined: they’re intolerant of waiting for images to load on their smartphone.
Email is also becoming less formal and shorter, most likely driven by how ubiquitous texting is. Forty-two percent of people have included an emoji in a work email; the thumbs-up icon is the most popular.
The Takeaway for Marketers
First, take a moment to rejoice over something old becoming new again. The email channel you’ve spent years fine-tuning is still a viable marketing tool. However, you have to make some changes in the way that you do it.
It’s time to ditch the fancy HTML-formatted marketing emails in favor of straight-up text versions. We’ve experimented with this ourselves and usually see a 5x to 10x bump in click-through rates for text-only emails (much to the design team’s disappointment; they really were lovely emails). Keep it as simple as possible and make sure it’s mobile responsive. Save the intricate design for your website, whitepapers and infographics.
It’s also time be a little less formal and more conversational in those marketing emails. Knowing how to do this requires walking a fine line between stodgy and insulting; you’ll be the best judge of what works for your brand and your customers. But loosen up a bit and write your next email like you’re speaking with your customer at a face-to-face meeting.
Using emojis in marketing messages has been shown to work, too. According to a GoDaddy survey that sampled 1.5 billion emails from 2015-2016, emojis in subject lines increase open rates by 20 percent and click-through rates by 50 percent. Make sure you test them first since some email clients like Outlook won’t render them correctly.
So keep writing and sending those emails to your customers – just shake off some of the rust so that you’re able to share and respond as quickly as possible.