Email Marketing is Mobile Marketing

Last week I posted on how to get started with mobile marketing. And as soon as I did, the feedback started coming in. And it wasn’t all pretty.

The common theme was this: Email marketing is not mobile marketing.

People took issue with the fact that I included email on a list of mobile marketing strategies. Email marketing is its own thing, an entire category separate from mobile, they argued. But let’s look at the facts here.

  1. Mobile marketing by definition is a promotional activity designed for delivery to cell phones, smart phones, and other handheld devices, usually as a component of a multi-channel campaign.
  2. As of January 2015, a US Consumer Device Preference Report said that 66% of all email in the US was opened on a mobile device, including tablets.

I really don’t think we have to look much further than those two facts to prove that email marketing is most definitely a mobile marketing strategy.

I agree that email marketing can stand alone. I also agree there are other mobile strategies, just see last week’s post for a full list.

But I can’t see an argument against email marketing as mobile marketing. If you are engaging in email marketing, you are engaging in mobile marketing, whether you mean to be or not. And if you want email to continue to work for you, it’s imperative that you acknowledge that most of your recipients are opening and reading your emails on their phones and tablets.

Getting Started with Mobile Marketing

It doesn’t take another blog post from me on the importance of mobile to convince you that it’s a topic critical to your marketing strategy. I hope not, at least.

But for most people, the concept of mobile marketing is still a confusing one. It’s vague, and broad. And even though I know that I need to be thinking mobile, I’m not totally sure what that means.

When people talk about mobile marketing, they could be talking about any number of things. So let’s list them all here:

  1. Mobile websites – you should have a mobile version of your website, or build your website in a responsive design template, to attract and keep more people who are searching and browsing on their mobile devices.
  2. Email – email marketing is essentially a form of mobile marketing today. That’s because so many people are using their phones as their primary email consumption method. So you should make sure your emails are optimized for viewing on smartphones.
  3. Text messages – many companies now allow prospects and customers the ability to sign up for text message alerts. It’s referred to often as SMS marketing.
  4. Search marketing – search is more and more becoming a mobile activity. And if you’re advertising through Google or Bing, you need to be thinking about how your ads are targeting people searching on their phones and tablets.
  5. Native apps – companies are creating apps to reach people on tablets and smartphones in a more effective way. If your products or services lend themselves to an app, think about investing in one.
  6. Third Party apps – you can leverage popular apps that are already out there, like Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook to attract people on their phones to your brand via advertising or organic participation.
  7. In-app ads – iAds is Apple’s advertising platform for iPhones and iPads and there are others like it for all devices. You can create banners that pop up while people are using apps to promote your brand.
  8. Location management – smart companies with brick and mortar locations are actively managing their locations on Google Maps, Yelp and other popular location-based sites to attract more people who are using their mobile devices to find places or products on the go.
  9. Telemarketing – there are specific rules around calling cell phones vs. landlines and if you’re in the telemarketing business, you need to know what they are.

Every company needs a mobile strategy. But that does not mean that every company needs to do all of the above. Pick the areas that are most important, that offer the biggest opportunity, and move forward. Do not let a lack of understanding hold you back any longer.

Mobile First Web Design

What do we mean when we talk about “mobile-first design”? Well, it’s actually quite simple. We mean that when you sit down to design something for the web, you design it for mobile specifically, and think about other formats second.

Most design today is desktop-first. Unless you are developing a mobile application, most designers and product developers still think in terms of desktop users.

The problem with that is, mobile as a percent of all web users is rising fast, and will soon overtake desktop users for the majority of companies and websites in the world. Check your Google Analytics and you’ll find out just how many of your visitors are coming from mobile devices. It might already be more than 50%.

My recommendation is, no matter who you are, the next time you redesign or redevelop your website, you should approach the project mobile first.


  • Have your designer do their initial mockups using the screen size of the most popular phone on the market
  • Use buttons, large fonts, and clean, simplistic designs that appeal to mobile users
  • Take extra care in your navigation to make it easy to find what users are looking for without too many steps
  • Make the big calls to action, like calling or purchasing out, persistent throughout the site, even when a user scrolls
  • Once you have settled on a mobile design you all like, then work backwards to determine what they will look like on a desktop or larger screen size

Mobile, Social, Content, Email: One Big Happy Marketing Family


We all see the headlines about how much better one type of marketing is than another. There are people that promote Content Marketing or Mobile Marketing as the one size fits all solution to all your marketing woes. As a marketer, and one that is interested in teaching other people about marketing, this can be very frustrating.

Because the truth is, there is no one size fits all solution. And marketing works best when you are doing it all. Content Marketing works with Email Marketing, which directly relates to Mobile Marketing, and they all feed Social. No one channel stands alone.

Here is a common example:

You start an email marketing list. You create a signup form on your website. You push people to it from your Facebook page. You send them content you created. People read that content on their phones.

In that example, you just experimented with Email, Social, Content, and Social. It’s that easy. And the opportunities and combinations are endless.

So please, marketers of the world, let’s come together and admit that we’ve been thinking about marketing all wrong. Integrate your marketing rather than keeping things in their own little buckets.