Millennial driven businesses may find themselves in a tricky situation when trying to target sales through email marketing. The common misconception is that Millennials are no longer on emails; instead, they’re using social media as a prime means of communication.

This is true … and this is also not true.

Socially, Millennials are driven to social media. However, marketing to them on social media is tougher than it looks. Millennials hop-scotch platforms based on popularity. It was Facebook, then Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and Vine. Now it’s an amorphous mix of few – and even that is guaranteed to change as platforms and user trends shift.

The one thing that remains constant is email marketing. Millennials are still on email – some more than others. Millennials with job and purchase power are definitely on email and they’re paying attention to the campaigns you’re sending. Those who were still lack email as a core means of communication aren’t the type of long-term clientele you need or want anyway. You want powerful Millennials who have influence, are looking to stand out, and can buy.

You also want their attention in a one-on-one capacity, and you’re going to secure that through visually driven email marketing campaigns. There’s another strain of thought along this these lines and that’s that Millennials only use email for business – even the influential savvy type with money to invest. On that theory, here are 2 facts:

  1. Millennials tend to keep email for business, but they’re still interested in inviting businesses into their inboxes to take advantage of promotion.
  2. Email is for serious business, while social media is still for socializing.

On that note, Millennials aren’t moving away from email so much as they’re utilizing more channels to communicate. They might use Pinterest for browsing; Instagram for keeping up with their friends; Facebook for banter; and Twitter for rapid fire information gathering. In fact, the average Millennial isn’t so average in how they engage social media. Usage tends to always vary based on the individual, the goals, and the access to free time and resources to really engage in these mediums. For example, Instagram is where aspiring stylists and creative are. They’ll browse through Instagram and see what everyone else is doing, and they’ll be on there to share their own creations. However, serious retail players should be present on Instagram in a ‘street’ capacity, but they still need to elevate their communication strategy by also sending out email campaigns. This is how it’s done.

A good rule of thumb is to send your current email list a survey with a 20% off coupon at the end of the survey, and really see what digital traffic patterns are like for your consumer group. It’s also worthwhile to invest in some competitive analysis, starting with signing up for the email campaigns of your top five competitors and cross reference those marketing campaigns with their social media initiatives. In order to understand Millennials, you have to speak to them and you also have to see what’s been working for others in the same industry. But above all, stay ahead of the curve: know what’s coming around the bend. The best way to do that is to hire a team of Millennials.