This post is a guest blog by Elise T. Ingram of HireWriters
Generation Z is the largest and most ethnically diverse generation in the world, and 95% of them say email is an essential part of their lives.
If you’re not doing it already, you should be fine tuning your nonprofit email marketing strategy for them.
You’ve probably heard that those born between 1997 and 2015 are obsessed with social media, have an almost non-existent attention span, and don’t use email, preferring instant messaging and chat instead.
Ahem. That’s a rather harsh, and not entirely deserved, assessment of a generation whose oldest members turn 23 in 2020.
If your nonprofit marketing emails are going unopened, have a low click through, or engagement rate, it’s not because Gen Z “doesn’t use email.”
It’s more than likely because you’re making common mistakes and weren’t able to attract their attention from the outset. Or you didn’t offer them relevant content in an accessible format.
Below, I’ll take a quick look at the importance of using email marketing to reach Gen Z. I’ll also give you a few tips on how to fine tune your emails for that important generation.
Pay Attention To Gen Z
Almost 2 billion people are part of Gen Z, and of those, over 67 million live in the U.S. That’s approximately 30% of the world’s population, and 20% of the American population.
No wonder more than 65% of marketers want to spend more money on marketing to them.
While Gen Z doesn’t necessarily use email for communicating with friends and family, they use it to receive marketing material from businesses, educational facilities, and, yes, nonprofits.
Also, a significant portion of them say emails can influence their spending decisions.
The trick is to get your emails to stand out from the many others that flood their inboxes.
You also need to do it in a way that lets their inbuilt content filters know that your marketing material is worth their time.
The following tips can help you do just that:
Use Engaging Subject Lines
The subject line is one of the first things your Gen Z subscribers will see in their inboxes.
So make sure it grabs their attention immediately, but don’t make it sound like clickbait.
If the text is not engaging or compelling, there’s a good chance the recipient won’t bother opening it.
Identify Your Nonprofit
Ensure your Gen Z email recipients know who you are.
Make sure your nonprofit is identified in the sender line, and at the top of the email.
If the recipient has had a prior engagement with your organization, especially if it made an impression on them, they’re likely to remember the name, branding, and/or logo.
Consider taking it a step further by including a reminder they received the email because they signed up for it on your website, or at an event.
Send Short Emails
Gen Z is used to reading text in formats designed for the web, rather than in physical books and magazines.
A great deal of copy written for online formats avoids large blocks of text and appears as brief paragraphs comprised of shorter sentences instead.
Keep your nonprofit’s marketing email short.
Include a few lines of pertinent text, as well as images and occasionally video.
If your Gen Z subscribers open an email and find big blocks of text, they probably won’t read more than a line or two before they unsubscribe and delete it.
Send Personalized Emails
Gen Z are digital natives, and most of them don’t know a world without smart technology.
They know businesses and nonprofits have access to some of their data online. Rather than being surprised by personalized communications from retailers and organizations, they’re used to receiving them.
Use the data you have access to, to send personalized emails.
Note how your readers respond to emails, content on your website, and social media channels.
If you see certain segments are interested in particular topics, include those topics in your emails and other communications.
Adopt A Casual Approach
Use a casual approach in your marketing emails, as Gen Z are put off by organizations and brands that come across as stuffy, overly formal, and outdated.
In addition to using a ‘younger’, casual tone, remember not to focus on asking for donations, or trying to sell things, even if they are for fundraising purposes.
This doesn’t mean you should never ask for donations or market your fundraising endeavors.
You can, but don’t make them the be-all and end-all of your communications.
Work With Copywriters And Designers
A good copywriter can word your emails in a way that engages the interest of your Gen Z readers, and an experienced web designer can create exciting, appealing formats.
Don’t be afraid to use their services to take your email marketing to the next level.
Include Video Content
According to the Pew Research Institute, YouTube is the most widely used online platform among Gen Z.
85% of respondents admitted to using the video site, while 32% said they used it more than other social media platforms.
You can use this to your advantage and include videos to make your nonprofit marketing emails more attractive to Gen Z.
By including video content in your emails, you can cut down on the amount of text, and your readers get to see what you’re doing, rather than merely reading about it.
Although more nonprofits and businesses are including video or links to their YouTube channels in their emails, it’s still uncommon enough to set your marketing emails apart.
Make Your Email Content Shareable
Gen Z has grown up in a world where content is shareable on various platforms.
If they like it, they’re likely to share it, so make sure your marketing emails are shareable.
Have your web designer insert buttons for sharing the content on Facebook and Twitter in your emails.
Use Mobile-Friendly Formats
According to research by Bluecore and NAPCO, 67% of Gen Z read their emails on their smartphones.
If reading your emails on their phones is nothing less than a seamless experience, your subscribers are likely to delete them.
Use mobile-friendly formats for your marketing communications and make sure that all content loads quickly too.
Fine tuning your email marketing for Gen Z may take a bit of practice, but once you get it right, you’ll open yourself up to a whole new market.
This generation is the one that nonprofits need support from, now and in the future, and engaging with them in a way that they identify with is crucial.
About the Author: Above anything else, Elise loves tinkering with words. She spends her working hours guiding writers to run a successful freelance business, while occasionally blogging over at HireWriters.
Do you need a step-by-step guide to creating digital storytelling campaigns?
You are in luck!
Sign up and get a free chapter of my new book, Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits. This book is designed to be a step-by-step how-to guide for small and mid-size nonprofits that want to learn how to set goals, measure results, and carry out amazingly successful digital storytelling campaigns!
When you sign up, you will also receive my free weekly bulletin with tips, tricks, and advice for savvy nonprofits on how to kick butt at online marketing and fundraising.