How to Successfully Target Email Marketing to Gen Z: The Do’s and Don’ts

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How to email marketing to Gen Z? The dos and don’ts. Hustler Marketing.

Are you a store owner with a significant percentage of people between the ages of 16 and 25 in their audience? If your answer was yes, then you are going to want to read all about how you can target Gen Z, build loyalty and boost your sales; all with just one tool (that is also pocket friendly): EMAIL. In this article, we will answer the question: how to successfully target email marketing to Gen Z?

But first, is it worth it? Should you invest in targeting Generation Z? Well, it all depends on what you’re selling. But, keep in mind that Gen Z represents an estimated $143 billion in annual spending power (without including the $127 billion spent on their behalf each year). They may not be the biggest portion of your audience right now, but they have the potential to become one in time. And, if you think about it, targeting Gen Z is quite an interesting (although challenging) idea. Why? Because boomers and Gen Xers have been in this world for a while, most of them already know which brands they like and which they don’t, and probably won’t turn around to buy from a brand new store. Meanwhile, Gen Z is still trying to figure out what they like, searching for new brands, trying new products, etc. So, this is the perfect moment to target them, raise brand awareness, and gain their loyalty. 

Now that you know how valuable this generation can be for your eCommerce business, then let us walk you through how to email marketing to Gen Z. Let’s start with the basics, what do we already know about Gen Z in relation to email marketing and their online behavior?

1. Gen Z and email marketing

Let’s go through some interesting ciphers about Gen Z’s relationship with email. 

According to a survey performed by Campaign Monitor

  • 58% of Gen Z check their email multiple times a day and 23% at least once a day.
  • 66.9% receive 20 emails or less a day (less than the number of emails Gen X or millennials receive)
  • 31.8% of Gen Zers like to hear from brands a couple of times a week and 27.5% once a day.
  • 82.3% of respondents claim they prefer to receive promos and special discounts through their email while 44.3% want product recommendations, 26.6% want company updates, and only 20.3% want links to blogs or resources.

As you can see, this generation is interested in email marketing and their inboxes are less crowded than others. So, don’t waste any time and start creating content for them too. Make sure you are tailoring content for them and not just repurposing the same emails you send to millennials or Gen X-ers. Read our “Email Marketing for Gen Z” guide and discover what you should and shouldn’t do –we have great insights from some of our own talented hustlers who work on targeting Gen Zers on a daily basis. 

2. The dos and don’ts of email marketing for Gen Z

2. a. Do grab their attention quickly

You may have heard the younger generation has an 8 seconds attention span, add to that they probably have their eyes on multiple screens, so you need to grab their attention quickly. 

The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that your emails need to be short and straightforward. Here’s some advice from Rozelle Wentzel, a talented copywriter and a Gen Zer herself: “The shorter, the better. Don’t try to have more than one focus in an email. We thrive on fast quick info. Quick and punchy updates work well”.

Gen Z Attention Span - Email Marketing

You need to make every image and word count. Don’t waste space on boring or value-deficient content. On the contrary, make sure your copy and your graphics are attention-grabbing (and relatable) from beginning to end. Dylan Arslanian, one of our own experienced hustlers says: “you need to meet them where they are (to an extent) by being conversant with memes, contemporary slang, etc”.

To be more relatable to the Genz, and not come across as their Aunt May screaming instructions, talk like they do. Be “lit”, “be shook”, and “Spill the tea”! But don’t overdo it. This generation can sniff trying too hard off from a mile away.
Gen Z and Email Marketing. Talk to the in their language (meme)

Communicating with graphics is a must for this generation, but make sure you’ve got a good image to text ratio on your emails. And double-test your emails are optimized for both desktop and mobile (and in multiple inbox service providers). There’s no point in having a super awesome email if it’s not gonna look as you intended it to. On this note, optimizing for dark mode is also something you need to add to your to-do list. 

2.b. Do double-check your facts

This generation was born with phones and Google in the palm of their hands. They are great at doing research on any topic and you can be sure that at least one of them will go on the internet to make sure what you are saying is true. So, before you get called out by the experts in cancel culture, double-check your facts. This way you’ll make sure they trust you and you can be seen as a brand that provides value, educates, and build expertise on their product and what the brand stands for.

Gen Z Fact Check - Email Marketing

2.c. Do be authentic

Diana Hawkins, one of our more experienced copywriters shared with us some thoughts about what Gen Zers are looking for in brands: “Gen Z wants positivity and thoughtful humor injected into their email marketing. Personality is a must! A pretty brand isn’t going to cut it any longer. You must be REAL, with a strong voice and personality. Make some waves and allow some accent into your messaging. (We’re at the beginning of a “content movement” where it’s okay to not have stiff, perfect English in every message. Don’t try to get into this too much though. Just be REAL and honest in your messaging.)”.

So, when writing for the younger generation:

  • Make sure you avoid being too salesy every single time.
  • Entertain the audience with content that is educational or valuable in some way.
  • Say it like it is, Gen Z is proud of living life in a real way.
  • Let your brand’s personality shine through your copy.

Best email templates for Gen Z - Main character vibe

2.d. Be on top of pop culture

Make sure you are living in the present and you know what’s going on in the pop culture. Check Rozelle’s experience: “Generation Z loves it when you reference pop culture well. I saw an SL this week: Dobby has heard of your greatness to do a quiz on Harry Potter. It made me giggle cause it was on point, and I did the quiz and bought some merch”.

You can mold whatever topic or trend into your email marketing to grab your young audience’s attention and make them excited to receive emails from you. Check this email template an apparel eCommerce store sent out to its mostly Gen Z audience:

Best email templates for Gen Z - Euphoria- Pop Culture and Email Marketing

If a Generation Zer hasn’t heard about Euphoria, then they have been living under a rock, and this brand knows that. The Euphoria style is trending in social media, so what better opportunity than giving their audience the supplies to achieve it (and make some revenue in the process). If you read it closely, you’ll see the references to the show that the fans will appreciate, and maybe will even share on their social media.

2.e. Be ethical and transparent

Be transparent about what your values are and what you stand for. Our copywriter, Diana Hawkins, explains that “Gen Z believes a company plays a role in forming and improving communities and society. Buyers are voting with their dollars more than ever. Be accountable for how your company has done wrong and how you’re making sure it doesn’t happen again. Gen Z is listening more closely, so make sure the standards you show through your messaging are consistent throughout”.

As we can see, Gen Zers are do-gooders that want to support brands that share their values. You don’t have to be involved in every cause, but you do need to be clear about what is it that you’re company is doing right. Your young audience wants to know where you stand on inclusivity, diversity, and ethical practices. But be aware, don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk.

Best email templates for Gen Z - Values Causes

2.f. Build a community

After talking to our hustlers, we also noticed the relevance of “community” for Gen Zers. These communities may not be driven by blood or geographical closeness, but driven by likes, dislikes, and social causes. Big companies know this and they use their marketing channels to build online communities. So take the chance to integrate your various marketing channels to gather together your audience and involve them with your brand, products, or values.

Best email templates for Gen Z - Social media community

2.g. Be aware of the connotations of certain words or topics

This is the generation of accountability. So you need to be sure about what you’re sending to their inboxes. Make sure you’re wording won’t be considered sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, toxic (e.g. toxic positivity -yes, it’s a thing), or insensitive. You may not know some terms that have those connotations now, but doing your research and being aware of them will help you in the long run. This list is a great place to start, but don’t forget social media is your best friend to being up to date on everything that’s going on with Gen Zers, especially Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

2.h. Refer to social media to prompt content

If you want to know what kind of content Gen Z likes, then do your research on the content they are actually posting, sharing, and making viral. Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest can give you great ideas not only for angles to create your campaigns around but also on how to format your emails in a way that’s more interesting to Gen Zers.

Best email templates for Gen Z - Social Media TikTok

Gen Zers are people that appreciate authentic and valuable brands that have something to offer besides products. With these insights, now you’re prepared to create your email marketing strategy for Gen Zers to fall in love with your brand. If you need help, book a free call with us, and listen to our experienced hustlers’ insights yourself. 

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