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Email Marketing and Mobile – What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

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Email Marketing and Mobile – What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger image 5164120052 fb123ec3df 300x199If you are a marketer with a keen eye on the future, you’ve probably been giving some thought to how you are going to invest your marketing dollars in the coming years?

A good guess would be with an increased focus on mobile. But that’s a decision that raises several other questions.

If you know that an increasing number of your customers are connecting with your brand via a mobile device, does it make sense to increase your marketing spend on tried and tested techniques like paid search and display advertising? Or would it make more sense to look for a new and exciting method of engaging with your mobile customer base?

The answer to both questions is pretty simple. No and No.

The main problem with “traditional” online advertising models such as Paid Search (PPC) or display advertising, is that they are not as engaging in the mobile environment as they are on larger screens. This is forcing big name technology companies to re-evaluate their business strategies and focus more aggressively on mobile. This could be one reason why Google has ended its free Google Product Search service in favor of a paid model that could help the company find similar success to eBay’s and Amazon’s recent endeavors into mobile, bridging the gap between search and eCommerce. Facebook is facing similar problems of monetizing its platform as more of its users access the site via a mobile device.  The problem is so acute that some commentators have even suggested that Google and Facebook might not be at the forefront of the web in as little as five years.

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As for new and exciting, its biggest problem is that it is largely untested and therefore hard to justify any real investment in time or money.

So if paid search, social media or the next big thing is not the future for your business, what is?

Well there is online marketing solution that has actually been strengthened by the shift from big screen to mobile and it’s not a new one. In fact, it has been around for almost as long as the Internet itself. Email marketing is so suited to the mobile environment it actually breathes new life into the medium.

Thanks to mobile technology, email is no longer tethered to your desktop/laptop.  That means your email marketing campaigns have the potential to be checked and engaged with anytime, anywhere. This means, depending on your target audience, that there may never be a bad time to send an marketing email campaign.

Think about it:

-          A fashion retailer could hit their customers while they are out shopping (failing to find something that fits) on a Saturday afternoon.

-          A restaurant could promote its home delivery service prior to a big television event.

-          A fishing tackle retailer could target their customers as they lose old tackle on the riverbank.

-          A sports retailer could promote team uniforms and associated equipment during a big game.

-          A DVD seller could deliver message to coincide with big award ceremonies or move premiers.

-          The list is endless.

As an added bonus, the fact that your prospects now carry their emails around with them also means they are more likely to be re-visited and shared with friends and colleagues.

The real beauty of mobile email is that as a marketer there is very little to change.

You should already be writing compelling subject lines (these are even more important in the mobile environment as your body text will almost certainly be hidden from view until the email is opened). Your email lists should already be nicely segmented and your templates primed for conversion (in the mobile environment this means bigger “Buy Now” buttons). Now all you need is to make sure your website is optimized for use on a mobile – and with many eCommerce and content this comes included in the package.

Finally, mobile optimized email campaigns which are short, sweet and easy to interact with work just as well in the big screen environment as they do on mobile devices. Talk about a win-win situation.

Check out this blog post and video from iContact about optimizing your email campaigns for email.

photo credit:  Ed Yourdon

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  1. Virginia says:

    Great points. Mobile is definitely where everything is going. It will be interesting to see how marketers come up with ways to modify email campaigns to even better optimize for mobile screens and users.

    • Thanks Virginia – I would suggest a great starting point would be to ensure that all post-Christmas emails are mobile/tablet friendly to take advantage of all the new iPads, iPhones, Kindle Fires, etc. etc. that find their way under the tree this year.

  2. I totally agree that email marketers need to pay attention to their mobile recipients and plan/update their campaigns accordingly. They need to understand how much of their audience is using mobile devices and make sure that their email messages render correctly and provide a positive user experience on mobile platforms.

    I would disagree with the statement that “The real beauty of mobile email is that as a marketer there is very little to change.”

    From what I’ve found, many clients need to overhaul their email template design and programming to optimize it for mobile recipients, and likely change or update their web site landing pages as well. Savvy marketers will employ responsive design techniques to make sure their email is formatted correctly for mobile users (see http://masstransmit.com/broadcast_blog/responsive-email-design/).

    Although this might not be as big a job as a web site overhaul, its important that marketers plan for mobile and take the necessary steps to ensure their messages work on mobile devices. After all, 30-40% of their recipients are likely to see them there.

    Side note: I believe the last word in this post should be “mobile” instead of “email”, and the video on the iContact page isn’t working.

  3. Ryan says:

    Email marketing is great for anyone that is looking to ensure that they are getting information to their customers on a regular basis. I love email, but I am starting to look more into pushing my clients into having an app so that they can do a simple push to to get that information out.

  4. Interesting – I believe apps work very well for some business models – but not so well for others. What are your thoughts?

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