The world is focusing on new, shiny communication tools like Instagram and TikTok, but ye ol’ email is actualy still at the core of young people’s lives.
Don’t wave off the 50-something-year-old tool yet because our What Gen Z Actually Do Online report found that emails are Gen Z’s most preferred communication method with businesses (38%), beating messaging apps such as Messenger and Whatsapp (26%), phone calls (12%), website live chat (12%) and social media comments (10%).
In another report we asked year 12s how they would prefer to receive updates from education institutions like unis with the option to choose more than one answer, and email was chosen by a whopping 94%. Messaging was a distant second at 54%, followed by Facebook posts (24%), Instagram feed posts (18%) and Instagram story posts (7%).
Truthfully, we did not expect these results. And it’s why we felt the need to remind the world that the humble email isn’t on life support, far from it it’s actually still vital for connecting with young people if you’re a business, university or any other organisation.
Emails will survive
Emails might not be as ‘cool’, but it’s simple and functional (well, they can be cool, more on this in a bit). It might not have frequent, flashy updates, but our relationship with our inbox evolves according to content trends. It’s not visual-centric like other social media platforms that took off with young people, but this also means it’s not as anxiety-inducing.
Emails can be notification hell, but not if you possess inbox organisation wizardry. It’s a game of sifting through subject lines with speed, but at least tech giants don’t order them based on what they think we want to hear – don’t get ideas, Google. It’s where formal contracts are signed, business transactions are made and shopping deals are received.
Emails we can’t wait to open
Here’s the thing. Gen Zs actually enjoy engaging with brands. So consider going beyond those transactional emails, and using this opportunity to provide interesting and meaningful content. And for this visual bunch, even though the inbox interface is simple, the contents of the email can certainly have flavour with striking, mobile-friendly design too.
These days, trusted news publications, journalists and writers are curating stories from around the world to share with their readers every week. Bloggers, brands, and other content creators are sharing full pieces of content without the reader even needing to leave the inbox. Think interviews, opinion pieces, educational content or even something super simple like an inspirational quote a day. Think niche. Think quirky.
On the other side, businesses are investing more into email marketing including personalised automation like welcome emails, abandoned cart emails, and hyper-targeted content for segmented groups of subscribers based on their interests. Some emails are explicitly yet irresistibly promotional, and others hold rich, non-sales-ey content that builds brand affinity for long-term success.
Emails aren’t dead. Maybe certain email strategies are.