Just as marketers are starting to feel they have a handle on how to interact and engage with millennials, the once baffling Millennial generation is now being eclipsed by an even more elusive cohort: Generation Z. Born between 1996 and 2000, Gen Z already wields a buying power of nearly $44 billion, and its members come to market with a set of values and preferences that are perceptibly different than those of their predecessors. As this new group begins to infiltrate the consumer base, marketers must begin considering which platforms are best to meet this new cohort on.
Email has remained a successful legacy marketing method amidst the growth of social platforms simply because of the distinct advantages it provides in regards to personalization. While social networks tend to cast the net too wide by enabling general posts applicable to the masses, email offers an element of relevancy.
As Gen Z has already placed an emphasis on personalization and its members expect to be catered to as individuals rather than a group, email will continue to be a successful platform for communication with this audience. However, in order to appeal to this generation, email marketers must do more than simply personalize the experience. It is essential that the buying power of this colossal consumer base be harnessed, and marketers must get ahead of the shift this group will represent. Consider these tips to ensure your email marketing strategies will effectively reach this new generation.
Content Should Remain King
First things first, content is still king. Content marketing is no new concept to the digital world. As marketers prepare for Gen Z, they must rethink the "one size fits all" approach. Gen Z has grown up constantly being served vast amounts of information and is accustomed to filtering through it.
When marketing to this generation, it's important to produce authentic content that is interesting, relevant and shows a brand is actually making an effort to get to know them and understand what they want. In addition to relevancy, content needs to continuously be fresh. The fact of the matter is that if marketers are not consistently delivering new content, consumers' interest will begin to stagnate and they will eventually unsubscribe. Building on that desire for personalization, marketers should offer plenty of choices at opt-in in terms of frequency, timing and content so subscribers can customize exactly how they receive communications.
The Alphabet According to Generation Z
One critical way to pique the interest of Gen Z is to speak their language. Unlike the generations before them, this new group is not predominantly verbal. The Gen Z alphabet involves fewer letters and more images. Long-form content has officially been replaced by imagery, videos and short, impactful text.
When communicating with Gen Z, marketers should keep email messages image-heavy and text-light. Not only do images improve the overall design of the email, Gen Z will use them as a mechanism to quickly filter through messages -- scanning for visuals as they skim content. In addition to pictures, adding video to emails will make content even more scannable and shareable -- not just on email but other visual-based platforms.
Take a Cross-Channel Approach
As Gen Z continues to consume content across multiple screens, cross-device marketing is making its way into the spotlight. It's becoming increasingly less common for a consumer to make a purchasing decision that involves just one device, a trend that is expected only to be magnified with Gen Z. Therefore, it's crucial for brands to craft extensive cross-channel strategies spanning all devices and multiple platforms.
In order to reach this audience, marketers should ensure emails are crafted for optimal experiences across desktops, tablets and smartphones to create a fluid and seamless browsing and shopping experience. Using email campaigns to encourage subscribers to interact with a brand on social media is another great way to ensure the brand is visible across all touchpoints, and adding a sign-up button to a Facebook page or a link on Twitter can also aid in attracting new email subscribers. Making these small tweaks to campaigns will do wonders in terms of reaching an audience that is typically averse to traditional marketing methods.
As Gen Z matures, their attributes -- which are now still a bit vague -- will come into a clearer focus. However, as this generation will soon represent 40% of consumers, applying these tips will ensure a head-start on perfecting the messaging and learning the preferences of this impactful group.