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While the early turn of the millennium saw kids flocking to texting, today’s teens and tweens are returning to email, says 2013’s Email Marketing Insider Summit. The shift is primarily due to the rising ubiquity of smartphones; concurrently, virtually all popular social marketing outlets — Facebook and Twitter — are precipitously falling in popularity among this group.
Teens are not allergic to writing, as text-speak seemed to suggest. Rather, they like the on-the-go ability of communicating without speaking on the phone that texting allowed. Now that smartphones offer email, they are happy to communicate in paragraphs (or at least sentences).
Email Marketing to Teens
Teens and tweens sign up for email direct mail for the same reasons that adults do: coupons and deals, insider brand information, tips and tricks, and especially infographics.
Kids expect their information to be tailored to themselves, personalized, and to be brief and easily consumed in one bite. For this age group especially, it’s best to offer different types of email lists — some kids will want to sign up for just the calendar of events or the news, but will take personal offense that you’re offering game tips (there might be ‘spoilers’).
Teens Expect Brands to Listen to Them
Always offer methods of feedback, since teens are accustomed to the two-way communication style of Twitter, where celebrities communicate personally with fans. Have a real name in the “From:” field and assign a staff member to answer the emails.
Include links to social networking and your blog, and pay attention to the conversation.
Creating a ‘teen’ section on your website will alienate kids, who want to feel grown-up, but you could research your analytics to figure out what issues or topics are most interesting to that age group, and create a page or blog forum dedicated to teens’ most pressing interests.
Content-Specific Emails for Teens
Teens are passionate about social issues such as diversity acceptance, and many hold liberal views about social and economic issues. However, their political views do not easily correlate to their popular interests or buying habits, certainly not the way adult political demographics predict buying habits.
Be sensitive to topics teens feel are important — especially if your teen customers bring an issue to your attention. You may wish to simply avoid hot-button topics that aren’t related to your brand.
Remember to segment your email list by age:
- Under 13: It’s illegal to collect marketing data on children under 13, so you’re limited in the degree that tweens can interact with your marketing and social media pages (indeed, 13-and unders are banned from joining most websites including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr).
- 13-15: This age group is just beginning adolescence and is in the thick of junior high. These can be the toughest years regarding self-esteem and getting along with peer groups and adults.
- 15-17: These kids are freshman and sophomores in high school, learning to drive, may hold part-time jobs, and have a bit more independence with their spending habits.
- 18-19: This group is applying to and just starting college; some may live with parents, some in dorms, and a small percentage may be independent or living with partners.