Choosing a Charity for Your Corporate Ecard

What do Mark Zuckerberg, Benedict Cumberbatch and Kermit the Frog all have in common?

Well, they’ve all taken part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the latest craze to sweep the internet.

A N-ICE Way to Donate

And although it might seem a little bit silly, it’s all for a good cause as the organisation has raised $88.5 million in the US alone – a figure that keeps on rising.

It’s pretty remarkable, especially considering that in the same period last year, the charity reported that it collected just $2.6 million. And whilst the sheer amount of money that has been donated is obviously the main goal, the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS and MND Association (its UK counterpart) has had another positive effect: raising awareness.

If you hadn’t heard of the ALS association until recently, you wouldn’t be the only one. The organisation itself admits that it’s a small and (up until now) under publicised charity that funds research into a progressive degenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has also helped to highlight another important point; there are lots of small charities out there, suffering from a lack of funding – perhaps you’ve worked with some of them or have donated to them in the past. And whilst the challenge has been largely focused on individuals promoting the charity, you might be wondering how to go about raising awareness on behalf of your company…

Well, you may be relieved to hear that raising awareness doesn’t always go hand in hand with some grand gesture like pouring a bucket of icy-cold water over your head or, as with the last internet charity craze aimed specifically at women, posting a photo of your make-up-less face. It can be as simple as making a donation at Christmas to share with your employees and business partners to a cause you feel is worth endorsing.

Use a Company E Card to Raise Awareness

We added the charity donation logo feature to our business ecard service specifically for this purpose; to allow companies to easily upload or choose from our list of logos to proudly promote their chosen cause on their corporate Christmas e card.

From Action Aid to the World Wildlife Fund and everything else in between, we hope you’ll find just the right Christmas ecard to help you spread the word.

Why Office Birthdays Are Important

Workplace birthdays are often seen as a bit of a chore to everyone involved. Baking cakes, doing a whip round, picking out a birthday card and buying presents are just some of the tasks expected to be carried out by those unfortunate enough to be lumbered with ‘birthday duties’.

In an episode of The Office: An American Workplace, entitled ‘Survivor Man,’ Jim has a cunning plan to alleviate the hassle associated with celebrating co-worker birthdays ahead of ‘birthday month’. With loads of colleague birthdays fast approaching, Jim decides that it would be a good idea not to bother with individual parties, cakes and presents and instead organises a joint celebration. After a lot of disagreements and stress for all involved, the episode ends with Jim relenting once he realises that making a big deal about each employee’s birthday is the right thing to do…

But why are employee birthdays so important?

Because celebrating an employee’s birthday is about making your each and every employee feel appreciated and part of the team. And whilst lavish parties, expensive gifts and home-made cakes might not always be necessary, a birthday ecard with a personal message is always sure to be greatly received.

Check out more employee ecards for your business at Ecard Mint.

Email Marketing Tips for SMEs

Email communications remain the cornerstone of online marketing; done right, they can be an affordable way to remind customers about your brand as well as developing your relationship to them along the way.

How to Keep your Email Subscribers Happy

And that’s why it’s important to show your customers that your business is worthy of their email address. So how do you keep your email subscribers happy? Here are a few tips to help get you started…

Make the Sign-Up Process Quick and Easy

If you’re thinking of starting a newsletter, make sure that it’s easy for your users to subscribe. Provide a clear form in a prominent location on your homepage or blog. Try to design a simple form that doesn’t ask for too much information – but don’t be afraid to add a birthday date field – sending your customers a birthday e card is a great way to sweeten their opinion of your brand.

Say ‘Hello’ with a Welcome Email

It’s always a good idea to get off to a good start with a friendly welcome email. You could even send your customers a discount code or provide them with some exclusive content to say thanks for trusting you with their email address and as an incentive to pay attention to future mailings.

Hello Speech Bubble Company E Card

Say ‘Hello’ and welcome new subscribers with one of our company e card designs.

Send Email Marketing that’s Mobile Friendly

When we developed the Ecard Mint website, we were adamant that all our ecards should be compatible with all mainstream mobile devices, and therefore created designs which could be viewed on most smartphone and tablets including iPads and iPhones. But why was this such a big deal for us?

Just ask ReturnPath who published this infographic with a number of very persuasive statistics, including this one:

43% of Europeans and a staggering 63% of Americans would close or, even worse, junk a marketing email that wasn’t optimized for use on mobiles.

Brand your Marketing Emails Clearly

Make sure your marketing emails fit in with your brand by adding your company logo, a link to your website and your social networking profiles. This isn’t just about directing people to different marketing channels, but about giving your customers the full picture of your brand and what it can offer your subscribers.

It’s exactly why each and every one of these elements is present when you come to customising one of our corporate ecards.

Keep your Newsletters Brief

Amongst the abundance of other emails in their inbox, your communication has limited time to make an impact. So it stands to reason that brevity and clarity should be your main mantras when it comes to creating the copy for your newsletter. Subheadings, short paragraphs and content that you can get the jist of at a glance are all great ways to ensure that your readers stay subscribed.

And Above All, Make it Relevant

Ask yourself why you’re sending your marketing email; what are your goals and what will your contact list get from your newsletter. One sure-fire way to encourage ‘unsubscribe’ emails is to send a communication that has no real purpose. But by keeping your email campaigns user friendly, easy to digest and, above all, relevant, you might just earn you and your company a great return on your investments in email marketing.

 

5 Reasons Why Humour is Good for your Business

Companies can sometimes be a little weary about introducing humour into the work environment. A fear of appearing unprofessional or being responsible for a joke that’s in bad taste can put organisations attempting to tickle the funny bone of their clients on edge.

But an ability to turn a frown upside down can actually be a string in your bow rather than a pain in your business’ backside.

So, as a fella with a fair bit of face-paint on once said: “Why so serious?”

Here are 5 reasons why we think having a sense of humour can be invaluable to your business:

  1. Helps build better relationships with clients – comedy can really help ‘break the ice’ with new customers and strengthen relationship with existing contacts.
  2. Helps build better working relationships with employees – a happy working environment is key to the success of your company and a little bit of laughter can prove a great tool in alleviating stress during tense or hectic times.
  3. Makes your company seem more approachable – tasteful humour can put customers and business associates at ease.
  4. Allows your company to stand out – being one of the companies willing to poke your head above the parapets and try for a chuckle could be the thing that differentiates your organisation from the rest.
  5. Increases productivity and encourages creative thinking – if you’re all about outreach, showing your employees or business contacts that you welcome intelligent and creative thinking through humour can be a doorway to unlocking new ideas.

Add Some Laughter to Your Marketing Plan with an Ecard

Coming up with funny content to share with your customers or employees can be tricky. After all, there’s nothing un-funnier than a joke that feels forced.

Company Ecards as part of your marketing plan provide a slightly more subtle way of inviting your business contacts to share in joke, particularly at opportune moments in the calendar – our funny corporate Christmas Ecards go down a treat during the festive season.

Funny Static and Animated Company E Cards

Whilst some might argue that there’s nothing funny about a good marketing strategy, as a company who specialises in providing tools for email marketing, we beg to differ.

From our retro humour ecards for business to our animated company e cards featuring tormented turkeys, a naughty snowman and even some snowball dodging politicians, we’ve got the goods to get your recipients giggling.

Are These the Most Clichéd Business Buzzwords Ever?

The other day we came across an article on Mashable which we shared through our Twitter page. The piece was all to do with determining some possible candidates for ‘The 12 Most Overused Business Buzzwords.’

The article highlighted 12 of the most clichéd phrases as chosen by 12 successful business founders with explanations as to why they’re mostly redundant and always fairly ridiculous.

12 Most Overused Marketing Buzzwords

The top 12 were:

  1. “Hit the ground running”
  2. “Visionary”
  3. “Think outside the box”
  4. “Innovate”
  5. “Influencers”
  6. “Pivot”
  7. “Paradigm shift”
  8. “Engagement”
  9. “Value add”
  10. “Pre-revenue”
  11. “Growth hacking”
  12. “Game Changer”

Recognise any? We have to admit we’re familiar with the majority of these, but some we’ve not had the misfortune to experience – “Growth hacking”, for example, sounds very messy and something you should only do after consultation with your doctor.

Buzzword Banter with Business Babble Ecards

We’ve long been aware of the influence of buzzwords in the marketing world and how there’s been a sort of backlash against the sometimes meaningless jargon adopted in place of straight-talking, no-nonsense meeting room dialogue.

It’s exactly the reason why we developed a range of company e cards designed to gently poke fun at this ludicrous phenomenon within the business world.

Behold, the Business Babble ecard:

Funny Business Babble e greeting - Coffee or Tea? Corporate E Card

One of four of our Business Babble ecards

We’re pretty fond of these designs and we think we know the reason why.

We could say it’s because they’re ‘game changers’ or that these email greeting cards are ‘really pushing the envelope’ — that they’re ‘innovative’ and ‘value add’ to businesses through ‘engagement’.

But the real reason we think they work so well is because most people in the marketing realm at some time or another have been subject to (and have cringed at the mention of) at least a few of the phrases used.

The example shown is just one of four ecards available in the Business Babble range. You can find all four, plus more funny corporate ecards, in our humour category.

An Email Marketing Plan for All Seasons

It’s no secret that we’re a company that need to pay attention to the upcoming seasons and the celebrations each one brings. And though it might seem ridiculous to even mention it during a suspiciously warm British summer, there’s one particular season that’s always on our mind.

December is easily our busiest month, as companies prepare to send their corporate Christmas ecards to employees, clients and business partners.

Analysing Data for Seasonal Email Campaigns

How do we know this? Well apart from the obvious increase in revenue, we use Google Analytics to monitor visitors to the site and conversions over the past year – allowing us to effectively expect the next Christmas rush by a certain date.

Our Corporate Ecard Strategy

Just because the nature of our business is to assist yours with a unique and bespoke email marketing strategy, doesn’t mean we’re able to neglect our own.

So as Christmas begins to creep up on us, here’s what WE do:

We’ll take a look at our figures from last year.
We’ll work out the peak in traffic and transactions and we’ll mark that date in our diary for this year.
Then we’ll count back a week or so.
And then we’ll do something quite bold:

We’ll send our own Christmas company ecard.

It might seem ever so cunning, but we’ve found that it’s the perfect way to give our previous clients and business partners a gentle nudge and sometimes a much needed reminder that it’s that time of the year again.

It’s also about making life as easy as possible for our users. If they’ve sent business email cards with us in the past, there’s a chance that they may want to send one again – so providing our contacts with a direct link to our corporate e card site, eliminates the process of finding us in the search engine results pages or by trawling through their old emails.

Sending Company Ecards at the ‘Right Time’

Ecards can be a great way to reach out to customers and clients during the Christmas period. But the real message here is that timing is key.

And we don’t just mean for us.

Send an ecard too early and you run the risk of suffering the same sort of response you might get from neighbours if you decided to put up your Christmas tree in the middle of June.

Conversely, there are obvious downfalls to sending a last minute mail – there’s nothing more depressing than returning to work in January to find an unopened Christmas card in your inbox sent at 5pm on 24th December.

Of course, the ‘right time’ is entirely dependent on the nature of your business, which is why examining all the available data of the habits of your users around the busy Christmas period can really make all the difference to your seasonal email marketing campaigns.

Email Marketing for Mobile

We tend to think that when it comes to showing the numbers quickly and concisely, infographics can be a tad hit and miss.

This one by Mashable, however, we did find quite interesting. 

Have a look and see what you think: What do we know about email today infographic

Some staggering statistics there, we’re sure you’ll agree.

In particular, we’re drawn to the two bottom figures, one which tells us that 90 million Americans access email through a mobile device and that 27% of emails are opened on a mobile device.

This isn’t as surprising as it is a confirmation of how the internet, and the way we use it, is changing. 

And because of this, email marketing is changing too. Campaigns are created around responsive designs that are fully compatible with smartphones and tablets, along with desktop and laptop computers, for maximum impact from your mailing list.

It’s one of the reasons why we were determined to create our corporate ecard website as fully compatible with all mainstream mobile and handheld technology – with more and more emails being sent every single day, compatibility issues are simply not a good enough excuse to lose out to the competition.

Of the 89 billion business emails that will be sent today, make sure yours don’t go unnoticed.

Check out our business e cards now.

What Should You Expect from a Workplace Birthday?

We recently tweeted the story from BBC News that Manchester City footballer Yaya Toure was disappointed that his side had failed to mark his 31st birthday.

Office Birthday Etiquette

Workplace birthdays can be tricky, as behaviour expert, Judi James describes them in the article as a “complete and utter minefield” mainly due to the fact that different companies, departments and teams do things differently.

And when it comes to treating staff equally, she admits that “Birthdays bring out people’s infantile side” as people will take note of what their colleagues receive and expect the same.

Agony Aunt, Virginia Ironside, adds hers two cents advising that normal etiquette dictates that when it comes to office birthdays, the celebrating party should be the provider of cake and that no-one should be expecting presents.

This advice seems sound. Yet, it’s clear that acknowledging an employee’s birthday in some small way, can show that you value them as part of your team.

How things might have been

If we look at this news story again, it’s disheartening to think that if only Man City Manager, Manuel Pellegrini, had taken the time to browse through our range of Corporate Ecards he could have found just the right way to wish Yaya many Happy Returns, thus avoiding all this ill-feeling and resentment.

With a personal message from The Blues and the Man City badge proudly attached, what more could a £200,000-a-week midfielder ask for?

We think he would like this one:

Funny Retro E Card with Caption

Retro Happy Birthday E Card

By using our scheduling feature, Pellegrino could have also guaranteed that there was no need for an embarrassing belated birthday card. And in the interest of not showing favouritism, our Birthday Ecard Tool, allows companies to add the dates of their employee’s annual celebration, meaning that Aguero, Silva and the rest of the gang are all kept on-side.

On a more serious note, making your employees feel a little bit special on their day can have quite an effect on morale, so keep your team members happy and do something to make them feel appreciated on their birthday.

Ecard Mint is on YouTube

We’ve officially hopped on the ‘Tube’ and created our very own Ecard Mint video channel in an effort to diversify our online presence and provide another platform for our users to browse that huge collection of animated email cards that we’re so very proud of.

We’ve been developing animated e greetings for organisations since 2013. But up until now, previews of our customisable designs have only been available directly through the Ecard Mint website.

So we thought it was about time we jumped on board and found ourselves a spare aisle seat on the world’s largest video sharing site.

We’re no strangers to social, oh no. Ecard Mint already has an existing presence on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. But the introduction of a company YouTube Channel and expansion of our reach beyond the boundaries of the Big Three seemed like a no-brainer; YouTube’s a visual medium and we put a lot of effort into making our designs look great. If there’s potential to share our ecards with a wider audience, well of course we want to be a part of that!

Along with our active company blog and presence on the major social networking sites, the addition of Ecard Mint’s YouTube channel gives us the opportunity to take a more integrated approach to our marketing strategy.

As well as giving us a chance to take in the odd cat video whilst we’re there. Like this one:

Ahhhh. What were we saying again? Oh yeah…

Our latest videos added to the channel include corporate e cards for retirement (previewed below), employee leaving cards and thank you e-greetings. More cards are to be added in the coming months, including new designs currently in development.

But if you simply cannot wait, you can still find our whole catalogue of very individual digital e cards for every occasion on our website; from Christmas and Birthday card categories to other more unique collections such as Motivational business ecards and Humorous e greetings.

Where Did Ecards Come From?

The custom of sending greetings cards has been around for quite some time. Of course, we all know that this tradition can be traced back to ancient Chinese culture in celebration of New Year…

And obviously, we’re all familiar that it was early Egyptians who send their greetings on papyrus…

Hmm.

But what about ecards? Where did they come from? It’s not hard to deduce that the concept was derived from the traditional paper card but who created the first email greetings cards and why? These are the questions that, without the answer, have the potential to leave you sleepless.

So sit tight, because today Ecard Mint is taking you back to school and teaching you all about the origin of the humble e card. Or should we say Electric Postcard…

1994 – Judith Donath of the MIT Media Lab creates the world’s first postcard site: The Electric Postcard.

Electric Postcard - Screen Grab

1995 – After building steadily over the last couple of years, the Christmas season sees over 19,000 cards being sent a day in the run-up to the holiday season.

1995 – November brings the introduction of Awesome Cyber Cards which begins to develop the ecard offering a suggested greeting along with the image.

Awesome Cyber Cards Screen Grab

1996 – By Spring 1996, Over 1.7 million electric postcards have been sent.

1996 – Later in the year, new capabilities introduced with the Netscape 3.0 browser allow ecards to be mailed direct from the sender, rather than merely sending an announcement from the company to the recipient with a link to the card’s location.

1997 – Paper greetings card companies such as Blue Mountain begin to add ecards to its site, capitalising on the popularity of this new method of communication.

1999 – The dotcom boom sees the ecard industry expand. Blue Mountain Arts is sold for a noteworthy $780 million.

So there you have it, a complete (and quite concise) history of the inception of the e-card.

Granted it’s neither very long nor complicated, of course there are no ancient Egyptians involved… BUT it is interesting to note how the industry took off in such a short amount of time.

Writing in the mid 90s for her thesis, ‘Inhabiting the Virtual City’, Judith Donath might just have the answer as to why her invention was embraced so quickly:

“The most significant function of the postcard, and the reason, I believe, for the great popularity of The Electric Postcard, is that they allow people to keep in touch without having to actually say anything.”

Need an ecard for an occasion in your organisation? You name it, we’ve got it: