Easter Egg Hunting with Ecard Mint

With Easter on the way as a special Springtime treat with thought we share some geeky search engine secrets or ‘Easter Eggs’ as they’re affectionately known – provided by the good and the great at Google.

There are quite a few of these, and they’re added to almost as quickly as we add new card designs to our site (speaking of which, have you seen our new Humor ecard category for business?) …so here are just a few of our favourites Easter treats:

Go back in Time

When you enter, ‘Google in 1998’ into the search bar prepare to be magically transported back to the time of dial-up connections and ropey graphics as Google presents a very basic but nevertheless recognisable search page from the late 90s.

Search with the Swedish Chef

We all know that Google serves many different countries and allows users all over the world to search in their own language. Yet it might surprise even the most internet savvy to learn that even The Muppets’ very own Swedish Chef is catered for. Seek out the special Bork Bork Bork search page here.

Use the force to beam me up

If you’re a Sci-fi fan, it’s probably in your own interest to head on over to YouTube right away.

For wannabe Jedis, a search for ‘Use the force, Luke’ will cause the results drift on the page and every so often fly around the screen.

But if you’ve always been more of a Trekkie than a member of the Rebel Alliance, try typing ‘Beam me up, Scotty’ and watch the results appear in true classic Star Trek transporter style.

Search for Blink HTML

Search for Blink HTML in Google and keep your eyes peeled to see if you notice anything different about the search results.

That’s One Small Step for Google…

Pop over to the Kennedy Space Center for a quick visit and you’ll find that when you use the peg man in Street View, he’s magically transformed into an astronaut.

To infinity and beyond!

So there you have it. And if you find yourself in need of some more procrastination tools, there’s plenty more where that came from – not least in our very own animated ecard section where you’ll find plenty of addictive and interactive games to send on behalf of your business. 

New Employee Designs from Ecard Mint

We’re very pleased to announce the addition of two ecard designs to launch our new Employee category within the animated branch of Ecard Mint. 

The ‘Congratulations on Your Promotion’ animations have been developed from the static ‘Team’ category of business ecards. Starring illustrated office characters drawn in a retro style, alongside the relevant greetings messages, the static company employee ecards have been created in consideration of a variety of workplace occasions – such as welcoming new staff members on board or saying a fond farewell to employees on their retirement.

At Ecard Mint, we always try and make our designs as versatile as possible, which is why our new designs feature one female and one male option to offer a more representative ecard for the newly promoted recipient.

Animated Employee Ecards - Design Preview

New Animated Employee Ecards – Design Previews

The new company e cards show employees as they jump for joy beside the ‘Congratulations on Your Promotion’ message and dance to the upbeat music playing in the background.

The addition of the new employee ecard category in the animated section of the site is all part of our plan to offer a diverse range of email marketing communications suitable for both internal and external use.

We think that these designs, in both static and animated Employee categories provide a really valuable opportunity for small and medium sized businesses to acknowledge and show their appreciation to exceptional members of staff, to keep their morale high and to ensure that the best people feel valued and happy in their organisation.

They encourage celebration of the important landmarks of the team member’s career within their company and help build better relationships between the employer and employee.

We’re constantly developing our animated range to incorporate more of the versatile static categories for business use, which include Announcement, Invitation and Appreciation ecards – as well as the ever-popular business Christmas ecards and  corporate Birthday e cards.

Visitors to the site can preview and customise their chosen design before they sign up. Ecard Mint offer a ‘Pay As You Go’ payment option as well as Silver and Gold membership deals with discounts for users looking to send more than one ecard to employees, customers and clients.  

Redefining Viral Video for Small Businesses

Last month, the top 10 viral marketing videos from 2013 were announced with Dove’s 3 minute ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ film taking the top spot:

Following on from this, The Guardian on Social Media Marketing released an article attempting to discover the secrets behind the success of popular viral videos.

And again it seems there is no easy answer. Particularly for small businesses who don’t have the resources to back up their campaign with ‘rock-solid media planning, distribution and public relations strategy,’ as columnist Jessica Twentyman herself admits.

Instead, Twentyman suggests that smaller businesses limited by budget should ‘define “Viral” on their own terms’ and focus on creating captivating content that engages their audience.

Microcontent is given plenty of mention as a way of evening out the playing field – using thriftier budgets and a smaller company’s ability to be responsive as key to engagement.

Planning a communications strategy around important dates in the calendar is important – sending a company Christmas e card, for example, can be extremely valuable. And offering ‘real-time content’ in response to developments within your business or the outside world can be really effective too. Not to mention user-generated content, where advocates of your brand create a compelling message on behalf of your company through photo and video sharing.

The article concludes with a hopeful message to SMEs looking to make waves on a shoestring budget:

“The simple rule is this: no brand should be intimidated by the megabucks budgets and sky-high production values of big-brand viral campaigns. There is still huge value to be gained from more modest attempts to engage with online audiences, as long as they’re timely, relevant and compelling.”

Corporate Ecards provide a unique and method of engagement through internal and external marketing. Browse our varied selection of custom business e-cards which include Company Birthday E card or to get in touch about creating a bespoke card through our contact form or call +44 (0) 208 977 1122.

Sending Your First Ecard

Did You Know Ecard

Doing things for the first time is rarely easy. Doing them alongside the other twenty things you’re supposed to do before the end of the day is even harder.

As many people visiting the site might have concerns about sending their corporate e cards for the first time, we thought we’d take this opportunity to do a quick run-through of the process to help you on your way.

Follow these instructions in a separate window alongside your main browser to make the process even simpler.

Do I need an account?

First off we should say you don’t need an account to choose and customise an ecard. So feel free to have a play around and preview our designs without joining. If you fancy saving your design to edit at a later date, it’s free and quick to set up an account. All you need to do is go to the ‘My Account’ tab on the homepage and click the orange ‘Sign Up’ button.

Choose your ecard category

Our ecard designs are listed in categories related to special events or topics including Company Christmas ecards, Business Birthday Ecards as well as Moving and Thank You ecards. To find the appropriate greeting, go to the ‘Send an Ecard’ tab to the left of the Ecard Mint logo. Click it and a drop-down menu will appear. The categories are listed in two columns: static and animated. Click on the relevant category to begin browsing the designs.

Browse our range of ecards

Now for the fun bit! Click the green ‘View this Ecard’ button to preview as many cards as you like. Once the ecard you have chosen to view is displayed, you can click the grey ‘Back to Category’ button to go return or ‘Next’ to preview the designs one after another.

Customise your ecard

Once you’re satisfied that you found just the right ecard, click the orange ‘Customise this Ecard’ button beneath your chosen design. Here you can make the design your company’s own by uploading your logo, adding social buttons and a link to your website.

To add your own text to the greeting, click on the headline or personal message sections. Write your message and alter the text style, size, colour and position using the formatting options above.

When you click on the signature and logo boxes your file browser window will open, allowing you to find and select the files required.

Copy and paste your company web address into the box which appears when you ‘Click here to enter your website URL’.

Options for adding your social media accounts, the logo of your chosen charity if you’re making a donation, and to change your background colour can be found beneath with detailed instructions on how to add/change these features.

You can add to and edit as many or as little of these customisable options as you deem necessary for your greeting. To see how your finished design will appear to recipients, click on the green ‘Preview Ecard’ button at the bottom of the page.

Sign up or sign in

If you’ve already created an account with us, great! Here’s where you can sign in and continue through to the final stages of the process.

If you’re already signed in then you’ll completely miss out the sign in page.

If not, all you have to do here is add a few details: Your name, name of your company, email address, chosen password along with confirmation and country (to make sure payment appears in the right currency).

Once you’re signed in you can save your card for later or continue on to the next step.

Choose your mailing preferences

Now it’s time to choose your mailing preferences. When would you like your card to arrive? Do you want to send it? Or can we do that for you? You can also choose what the cover email will look like. If you’re sending the card yourself, the cover email will be created by you. If not, you can choose several options on the format and wording used when you send.

It’s at this stage that you can send a test email to make sure your card is just how you want it. This is sent free of charge, but the ecard will be watermarked.

Add your mailing list

Add your contacts one-by-one by adding your recipients name and email address to the table or import an existing mailing list. Simply save your current list as a .csv file and upload. Or you can download our free contacts list template which makes the process even easier – copy your list to this document and re-upload it to Ecard Mint.

Payment

You can either pay using a credit or debit card via Sage Pay or Paypal. Enter the details required, then click proceed.

Send your Ecard

Once your payment is processed your ecard is good to go! Monitor the performance of your email marketing communication by accessing Reports and Stats in your account to find out how many people have viewed it.

If you’re still having trouble, you can find more help topics and instructions here. Otherwise, please feel free to get in touch with us on +44 (0) 208 977 1122 or send us a query via our contact form.

Happy Sending!

 

Our Very Own Flappy Bird

We thought it might be relevant with all the recent hype around the highly addictive (and highly frustrating) game app ‘Flappy Bird’ to share a few of our interactive business e cards.

After all, we’ve got a couple of games that feature our very own flappy bird (more specifically, turkey) as he avoids the perils of the holiday season in Turkey Shoot and Runaway Turkey.

Play the Turkey Shoot game and watch our bird flap

Play the Turkey Shoot game and watch our bird flap

If the popularity of ‘Flappy Bird’ has taught us anything (other than to download the latest app craze while you still have the chance) it’s that people like to be distracted from the mundane for a couple of minutes with a quick game of something simple. Our ecard games do just that.

Play Lob the Leader and Pelt Some Politicians

Play Lob the Leader and Pelt Some Politicians

Not that we advocate procrastination in the workplace… but we do happen to think that they do serve a purpose. They’re a great way of rewarding a hardworking and dedicated team at the end of another successful year. Our ‘Lob the Leader’ game in particular is especially popular with businesses – not just because the aim of the game is to pelt as many politicians as possible with snowballs – but because in the past we’ve been commissioned to create bespoke corporate Christmas ecards that sub the faces of the MPs with those of the unsuspecting bosses’.

We also think that ecard games are a really great way to get people’s attention whilst reminding them of you as a brand. In essence, what we provide are ecards first and a game second. They might be extremely addictive, but they also offer the opportunity to add a company logo and a website URL to the greeting as well a personal message that might just help you get that other foot in the door.

Ecard Mint also offers email marketing opportunities in the form of Company Birthday ecards and an extensive range of Employee e card designs for business. 

So how big is the greeting card industry?

This week we thought we’d share this quite good looking infographic from the good people at Day2DayPrinting, based in LA.

Focusing on personal rather than corporate e cards, for our purposes the data shown might not seem wholly relevant. But there’s a reason why as a company it’s good to remind ourselves of a couple of things that are made evident from these figures.

Take a look and we’ll be right back with you, beneath the fold.  

How Big Is The Greeting Card Industry? – An Infographic from Design & Marketing Blog

Embedded from Design & Marketing Blog

So the Greeting Card industry is huge. It’s popular, and why? Because it’s meaningful. Although here we’re looking at people sending cards personally, there’s no reason why businesses can’t and shouldn’t be harnessing this method of communication to show employees, clients and business partners that we remembered to send a birthday company e card or a corporate Christmas ecard.  After all, those 7 buyers who viewed greeting cards as ‘absolutely essential to them’ could very well be crucial members of your workforce or valued contacts in your address book.

Best Internet Marketing Techniques

Over the years we’ve come to learn that there’s no ‘quick-win’ when it comes to online marketing.

A definition of the notion itself is so fluid and dependent on changing user trends and search engine responses that it’s hard to really pin down the best internet marketing techniques available to small and medium sized businesses trying to make their presence known amongst a sea of competitors.

So we’re sorry for the slightly misleading title, we don’t have all the answers. However we do have this rather interesting case study with the same title which we’d like to share.

The case study investigates a start-up Summer Camp business in their first year and investigates which internet marketing avenues provided the best ROI.

Unsurprisingly, the tool which proved most successful for driving traffic was the humble blog. It’s something in online marketing that we hear over and over again – relevant and fresh content is key to web success and a blog provides the perfect platform. The case study admits that for a successful campaign you’ll need to post at least one blog per week and keep it up.

Yet the insight given is not all so well-worn. The case study provides some interesting surprises especially in relation to social networking; LinkedIn, for example, doesn’t fare too well in this particular example.

The case study also comes with a note of caution; as soon as the camp owners began looking to promote their new business online there were flooded with emails and calls from scammers promising first page rankings and other unrealistic claims. Even if their claims are in some way true, the methods used are dubious and whilst they may result in a slight increase in traffic, it will be temporary. What’s more, it could damage your website in the long run as search engines are constantly working to crack down on these underhand tactics.

Ultimately after reading this case study, that old adage – if anything that’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly – feels remarkably apt. The best return always comes from things you invest in. And just as this case study shows, that investment doesn’t always have to be financial.

For a more in-depth look, read the full case study here or browse the presentation below:

Ecard Mint specialise in email marketing communications for business including Corporate Christmas e cards and Company Birthday ecards

Have Another Happy New Year

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Hot off the Ecard Mint Press comes the announcement that we’ll soon be adding a new ecard Chinese New Year category just in time for the vibrant and dynamic festival at the end of the month.

Share in the Celebration

Chinese New Year is such an important date in the Chinese calendar that we wanted to give our customers the opportunity to share in the celebrations with our static and animated company ecards. And China’s growth over the last decade has given businesses the incentive to pay more attention to what’s going on outside their own front door.

For example, you might be interested to know that on the world stage, China is the world’s fasting growing economy and overtook Japan in 2011 to become the second largest economy, leaving only America with a higher nominal gross domestic product (GDP). The country has also averaged an impressive yet consistent growth rate of 10% over the last 30 years.

Year of the Horse

In 2014, New Year falls on the 31 January and will mark the year of the horse in the Chinese zodiac. Festivities culminate in the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month.

Take a cheeky, sneaky peek at some of our new corporate e cards, below:

chinese-new-year-horse

Celebrate the Year of the Horse with Ecard Mint

chinese-scroll

Chinese scroll design reads ‘Happy New Year’ in Cantonese

On top of our most popular categories, corporate Christmas e cards and Business Birthday cards, we’re constantly developing our range to provide more choice for a diverse global marketplace. Our goal is to give our customers the chance to cement good business relationships by sharing in the traditions and customs of international clients and partners.

So you can rely on the fact that in the next year will be investing more time in creating an even greater selection of ecards to incorporate and celebrate with even wider range of cultures and holidays.

1 Digital Marketing Resolution for 2014

Resolutions are part and parcel of that no man’s land in the calendar between the end of December and February where you’re forced to insist that you’re going to change the habits of a lifetime for, oooh, at least a month.

But don’t worry we’re not going talk about how you can make improvements in the New Year, because quite frankly, if we read another article listing ‘5 digital marketing resolutions for 2014’ we might just have to melt down an entire chocolate orange and drink all that molten goodness through a straw.

Instead we’re suggesting only one resolution for your business – giving your achievements the recognition they deserve. We’re suggesting, that instead of focusing on what you’ve been doing wrong, as seems to be an perennial requirement of January and February, that you instead focus on all that your company has achieved as a way of motivating the continuation of good habits and encouraging more without even pushing for it.

And if you’re a small company struggling to make what little resources you have provide the greatest return, improvements don’t have to be drastic. In fact, creating an environment where steady and consistent growth of your digital marketing strategy is the order of the day, where you’re able to prioritise and set feasible goals, might just be the key to getting your creative content juices flowing.

The New Year doesn’t always have to mean changing everything. Maybe it should be more about giving yourself a pat on the back for earning so many extra followers through social platforms or diversifying your content with the odd video post.

Speaking of which, take a look at this great Ted Talk by Dan Pink on the puzzle of motivation for a more in-depth look at just what we mean…

Motivate your employees in the New Year with a corporate e card. For various occasions in the corporate calendar, choose from our extensive category including company Christmas ecards and Birthday ecards for business

Happy New Year from Ecard Mint

A look back at 2013

2013 was a really exciting time for us. Towards the end of year, we launched Ecard Mint – the culmination of months of hard work developing a business e card site that focused on great usability and provided all the extra functionality needed for businesses wishing to send high quality, professional greetings.

Site features and functionality

We were pretty insistent on some of the features for customising our ecards. We wanted to allow users to add their own social media accounts, to upload their logo, and add the logo of their chosen charity, quickly and without hassle. It was also really important to make sure that all our ecards were compatible with devices such as iPads and iPhones, as the use of smartphones and tablets becomes ever more prominent in the workplace.

Looking ahead

Looking forward to the year ahead, we hope to build on this hard work by continually updating the site with new designs and delivering insightful marketing advice on a range of subjects in our blog and on our social networking platforms (Twitter and LinkedIn), as well as providing responsive and friendly customer service.

We’re also looking to complete the ‘Design Your Own Ecard’ side of the website which is still under construction. We do, however, continue to create bespoke ecards and develop existing designs. For companies looking to commission a truly unique greeting, contact us with your requirements using our enquiry form or call us on +44 (0) 208 977 1122.

In the meantime, we’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks for all your support and wish you all the best for a happy and prosperous 2014.

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Happy New Year from Ecard Mint

Say Happy New Year to clients, customers and employees with our selection of static and animated New Year company ecards. Or for employees and business partners celebrating their birthday, send a corporate Birthday e card.