Sophia Skinbjerg
Sophia Skinbjerg 24 August 2016

7 Best Practices for Marketing to Millennials

Based on an infographic published by Marketingprofs, we look at the 7 best practices for marketing to millennials and how to use them in email marketing.

In this infographic the “typical millennial” is outlined for us, including his or her persona, media usage, spending habits, and best practices. It’s the best practices that I think are most useful to you and are things you’ll be able to adopt into your email, survey and text message strategies right away.

Firstly, check out the infographic below. The post continues after the infographic so keep scrolling!

7 Best practices for marketing to millennials

So let’s walk through the 7 best practices for marketing to millennials.

1. Optimize for mobile

Early in the infographic you can see that mobile ownership is highest amongst millennials compared to any other generation. Around 85% of millennials hold a smartphone while only 27% of their grandparents have a smartphone. You’ve undoubtedly heard this before but millennials are mobile natives; they watch less TV than their parents and grandparents but are instead spending their time online. And you guessed it, their portal to the internet is mobile devices.

How to optimize for mobile in your email campaigns: 

To put it quite bluntly, if your marketing to millennials isn’t optimized for the mobile experience then you’re going to struggle connecting with them in first place. Now don’t let the panic take over just yet, provided you’re using the right marketing platforms, your content should already be optimized for the mobile experience. Ungapped users, you’re all set. Our emails and surveys are 100% responsive.

If you’ve not yet optimized for mobile and are seeking to connect with millennials then it absolutely needs to be at the top of your to do list. Being a millennials myself, I can ensure you that whenever I see a webpage, a checkout page or an email that doesn’t look great on my smartphone, I simply close whatever I am looking at.

2. Publish across platforms

Millennials consume content across multiple platforms and devices. That means it’s your job as a marketer to be present wherever they are looking. Let’s walk through a hypothetical example from the perspective of a millennial (that’s me, Sophia).

Perhaps you count your presence on Facebook as critical. You’re not alone, 42% of marketers agree with you. But do you give the same critical status to other socials like Instagram? With 50% of Instagrammers following brands, engagement on Instagram is 58 times higher than Facebook and 150 times that of Twitter. I’ll let that soak in for just a second.

Now I’m not saying that you should abandon your Facebook strategy. What I am saying is that if you are looking to connect with millennials then you need to look at the broader scope of how you’re trying to reach them in the first place.

How to promote cross-channel efforts in your email campaigns: 

See point below under ‘Social media presence’.

3. Make it personal

The statistic in this infographic states that around 85% of millennials are more likely to purchase a product if it is personalized to their interests, both online and in-store. Let’s focus on online, specifically for email.

Now, there are different levels of personalization. Everything from using custom fields (@FIRSTNAME, @COMPANY, @CITY) in emails right through to hyper-personalized web experiences that alter a webpage based on your previous interaction with the site. But if you’ve inhaled a little sharply after Personalization doesn’t have to be an in-depth psycho-analysis of your customers. It just has to be a thought process that’s genuine and based on the thought “What can I offer you that fits what you’re looking for?”.

How to use personalization in your email campaigns: 

For email marketing to millennials, try going beyond just using custom fields. Within your millennial contacts, try and segment your lists based on criteria like their purchasing history with your brand. Sorting people based on what or how much (or little) they have purchased from you instantly helps to shape your email content.

For a millennial customer that has made 3 purchases in the past month, it’s no good including them in a list that’s going to send them an email with 2 of the products they already have. However, if you send them an email with a related product or something that enhances their use of their already purchased items, they are much more likely to purchase this new recommended item.

4. Build a social media presence

According to the infographic 62% of millennials report that brand engagement on social media is more likely to make them a loyal customer. Let me share with you a story that really exemplifies this idea.

A few weeks ago, I was having some technical issues with my Spotify account. I tweeted to them asking what was going on and they were very good at getting back to me in a timely and helpful manner. After a couple of tweets back and forth I was super happy and let them know how much I loved using their service. To thank me they created a playlist. Check out the original tweet below.


Because I loved this entire experience, I wanted to share it across different socials. So I jumped onto LinkedIn to share it there. Turns out a lot of other people loved it too. Over 23 000 likes, 700+ shares and over 500 comments proves people love this just as much as I do.

** Since time of writing the post has now received over 30000 likes, 900 shares and 600 comments.

7 Best practices for marketing to millennials

Source: Sophia Skinbjerg / LinkedIn

Now if this wasn’t validation enough that Spotify is a fantastic service, Spotify were again there ready to engage not only with me but other people in the thread. Take a look:

7 Best practices for marketing to millennials7 Best practices for marketing to millennials

Showing how human they are by engaging across different socials has given them a very loyal customer(s) who won’t be swapping to Apple Music or Tidal any time soon. (Sorry, Tim and Jay Z).

I wrote a whole blog post on this experience, read it over here. 

How to use social media in your email campaigns: 

It can be as simple as adding social icons to the footer of your emails to let millennials know you are on social media. Or you could go further and send out an email specifically dedicated to letting people know you’re on social media, with previews of posts from that channel. Both are good ideas and I would actually recommend using a combination of the two.

5. Be authentic

My experience with Spotify is a great example of this because it showed that authenticity always wins over genericness. For millennials, this is an even stronger sentiment. People within this generational cohort are also happy to share good advertising which should be something that spikes you’re interest – their word of mouth is what will bring you new customers within this demographic.

How to be authentic in your email campaigns: 

Applying authenticity to your email campaigns is pretty easy to do. Just write your copy in a way that mimics a conversation between you and a customer. Don’t try to write an essay and don’t try to SELL! SELL! SELL! everything you have. There’s some great advice on copywriting for newsletters over here. 

6. Blog, blog, blog

One in three millennials will turn to blogs before they make a purchase. If you’re thinking “Yeah but there is still print and TV”, think again. Millennials watch less TV and listen to less radio than both there parents and grandparents. Their time is spent online, browsing, discovering and shopping from new brands they’ve only recently stumbled across.

Related: Common blogging mistakes you should avoid

How to use blogs in your email campaigns: 

If you attract millennials to your website through blogs, you’re giving yourself the chance to capture them as newsletter subscribers which you can target to later on. If you’ve already got a substantial list then blogs give you content that you can include in email campaigns that further add to the customer experience (and possibly upset a product or service). Refer to the point on authenticity above that will reiterate how you can write genuine copy.

Keep the discussion going

Tweet to me/us @ungapped and share your thoughts on marketing to millennials.

This awesome infographic was found on Marketingprofs thanks to Dornsife.

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