If 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.

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