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5 Strategies to Optimize Email Marketing Targeting Millennials Pay attention because chances are those kids are checking their smartphones a lot more than you are.

By Eric Krattenstein

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Think fast: What's the first thing you do when you wake up? Stretch and yawn? Hit the snooze button? Go to the bathroom? Brush your teeth?

Related: 6 Ways to Build a Rabid Following on Social Media

If you're a millennial, the answer is most likely "check my smartphone." According to a recent report from IDC Research, 80 percent of smartphone users check their mobile devices within 15 minutes of waking up each morning, and 79 percent of adult smartphone users have their devices with them for 22 hours a day. What does that tell marketers? Smartphones and tablets can't be ignored.

So, when it comes to the millennial generation, also known as Generation Y, it's important to know that this demographic views technology very differently than other age groups; and understanding the way they approach email is key to ensuring outbound marketing success. Here are five strategies to keep top of mind before you press "send."

1. Utilize social content.

Technological change and generational change go hand in hand. The Generation Y consumers of today tend to intertwine social media and email usage. According to a recent study by Pew Research, 90 percent of millennials use the web to send and receive emails. However, they also like to tweet, update their online profiles and send text messages multiple times throughout the day.

It's therefore important to incorporate social media into your email marketing by allowing subscribers to easily share information with their friends and followers via their social media accounts. If you can get just a few millennials to open and read your email, they are more likely than any other age group to share it on social networks and expand your brand's outreach.

2. Stay relevant.

Millennials are more than willing to opt into email campaigns as long as the information you're providing them is relevant to what they want to receive. But since they have an endless supply of information available to them online, there has to be a compelling offer to induce them to share their email addresses or cell phone numbers to begin with.

It's important, then, to make sure you content is not only relatable and relevant, but also short, with embedded social sharing icons included with the content to raise your engagement metrics.

Related: 5 Tools to Help Your Online Business Realize Its Full Potential

3. Contact and control.

Test to find out your opt-in users' preferred form of contact (such as email or text), and use that information to correspond with them in the manner they desire. According to a study from Pace University, millennials welcome direct brand interactions through email, but want more ability to control, organize and manage the interactions. With about 80 percent of millennials sleeping with their smartphones by their bedside, all email marketing campaigns have to be responsive across every screen size to encourage millennials to interact with your brand.

If you can get your call-to-action across quickly and clearly, you can then collect data and better understand how to interact with this "always connected" generation.

4. Mobile matters.

Smartphones have changed the way we interact with email and one other. Millennials are more likely than all other age groups to have a cell phone. According to BlueHornet's 2014 Consumer Views of Email Marketing report, 47.5 percent of consumers have used their mobile devices to sort through their email before reading them elsewhere. As such, you need to optimize your email for use on smartphones. Make sure your email campaigns have responsive design, where the design responds to the screen size used to display the message.

5. Conversation counts.

Millennials outpace older generations in virtually all types of Internet and cell phone usage. Sending messaging and content doesn't have to be a challenge when it comes to millennials. Adept at recognizing and blocking spam and valuing conversation, millenials prefer to do the research on their own to make decisions rather than being "sold." By segmenting your contacts into lists based on demographics, desires and behavior, you can more effectively target your emails to the right audience and experience greater returns as a result.

This year, more than ever, marketers are starting to see the importance of mobile email. Whether it's checking their email first thing in the morning, getting an endless stream of updates on social media throughout the day or having access to limitless amounts of information through mobile search: millennials' online habits are evolving. So should yours!

Related: 9 Simple Email Hacks to Increase Open Rates

Eric Krattenstein

CMO of Mailify

Eric Krattenstein is the U.S. CMO for Mailify. 

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