Category Archives: Internet Marketing Techniques

Comment and discussion around the latest internet marketing techniques designed to boost your companies online achievements.

Effectively Engage Your Customers

This week Apple revealed the release date for Apple Watch, their first new product line since the launch of the iPad in April 2010, which led to customers camping outside stores worldwide. We’re guessing Apple’s new time machine is going to cause just as much of a stir. Every one of their product launches over the past 10 years has resulted in customers waiting in long lines for the latest slice of the ‘Apple’ pie.

 So what makes their product promotion so successful?

Aside from the obvious appeal of cool design and innovative technology, Apple know how to promote a product. They follow a minimalist marketing technique comprising of simple style elements, as displayed in their advertising Campaign for iPod, which incorporated silhouettes of dancers against plain colour background, employing fashionable music and clever slogans like ‘1000 songs in your pocket’. In an article published by Jonathan Gardener, “Keep it Simple: a new mandate for marketing”, he explains:

“Simplicity is what consumers want, what marketers need, and what standard-bearers such as Apple, Google, and Amazon have proven as a successful way forward.”

When designing the Ecard Mint website, we thought carefully about the corporate ecard categories. When launching a product or service, engaging with customers isn’t always easy as there is so much noise and choice out there. Something Apple has figured out is to say one thing, and say it well, so with this is mind, we included the business announcement e card category for you to say what you need to say in a clear, simple and eye catching way.

Announcement Ecard

‘Hot Off The Press’ Announcement Ecard

When you engage your customers effectively, you are establishing a relationship with them and creating a dialogue that has real meaning. The rules of simplicity don’t just apply to Apple, they apply to every industry.

After all, who isn’t in favour of a little more simplicity in this world?

Happy Birthday iPad!

Happy Birthday Ecard Design. Billboard with paster and Happy Birthday message

Happy Birthday iPad! – New Birthday Company E-Card

On January 27, 2010 Steve Jobs waved Apple’s very first iPad in front of global (and instantly envious) audience.

Preview our New Birthday Ecards for Business

And in the same week that iPad celebrated half a decade, we added not just one but TWO new mobile friendly birthday ecards for business to our site:

Click on the links to preview the new animated Birthday Billboard and Birthday Waiter e cards.

Manic waiter birthday ecard with cake and Happy Birthday message

Click on the image to preview this new business birthday ecard design

iPad and the Evolution of Email Marketing

Amongst other changes in the world of eCommerce, the iPad helped create a different kind of customer: one that was available most of the time and took their online life with them wherever they went.

Over the past 5 years, the shift in online communication from desktop to rucksack caused the evolution of email marketing techniques which considered campaigns around this modern consumer and it’s why we were absolutely adamant when we built Ecard Mint that all our business e-greetings should be compatible with tablets and smartphones.

It’s hard to believe that five years has passed since the iPad was introduced… and even more difficult to remember a time when they didn’t exist at all. But one thing is without question: Apple’s iPad has completely revolutionized how we use technology, not just in our personal life, but in business as well.

The Email Marketer’s Countdown to Christmas

With Thanksgiving celebrations just a couple of days away, marketing focus has recently seen a sudden shift from the last Thursday to the last Friday of November.

Black Friday is often thought to be the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the US. Although an American tradition, it’s one that seems to be creeping across the Atlantic with some International companies eager to make it date that UK diaries will recognise.

The most prominent example of this is offered by the mighty online retailer, Amazon. Never one to miss a trick, the retail giant has extended the reach of its Black Friday email marketing campaigns out to UK customers – to help us Brits feel more included whilst providing reminder that the Black Friday flash sales are the perfect opportunity to get ahead of the gift-buying game.

For the most part though, the run up to the festive season here in the UK has been under way since the Halloween pumpkins were carved.

UK consumers watched as High Street Brands like John Lewis and Sainsbury’s squared up to one another at the beginning of November releasing lavish Christmas advertising campaigns, both seemingly aimed at making their customers cry.

It’s a strange angle, but one that seems to be paying off with both companies reporting a record response to their ads.

Screenshots of John Lewis and Sainsbury's Christmas Adverts

Battle of the Christmas Ads – John Lewis vs Sainsbury’s

But with just one month to go before Christmas day, whether Stateside or not, one thing’s for certain for online marketers – the clock is ticking.

Get ahead of the game when you schedule and send your Company Christmas E-Card from Ecard Mint.

More Email Marketing Tips for SMEs

A few weeks ago we shared some of our top tips for a successful email marketing campaign.

Some NOT all.

So here are a few more insights on how to get your mailing lists’ attention and keep it with a well thought out email campaign.

Mailing lists: divide and conquer

Don’t blanket email your contacts with a communication that you know won’t be relevant to everyone on your list. Divide your database depending on demographic, then design custom email campaigns for each of your audiences.  If you’re dealing with international recipients it’s a good idea to schedule your campaigns around time-zones and any research you’ve done in relation to when’s the optimal time to send your marketing mail.

Choose your subject line wisely

A good subject line can be the difference between a delete and a conversion. Resist the urge to use CAPS or exclamation marks to reduce your chances of completely bypassing their inbox and instead landing yourself into the perilous purgatory of the spam folder. Remember that the subject line is the first thing your recipients will see, so you need to make it great. Create curiosity, a sense of urgency or excitement and you won’t go far wrong.

Oh and keep it under 50 characters to avoid being cut off mid-se —

Send something that stands out

We’re constantly publicising our corporate ecards and how effective they are in terms of engagement. Out of the ordinary with eye-catching designs and smart formatting, e-cards make a real impact on the reader, just as every marketing email should.

Give your email purpose with a call to action

If you know what the goal of your email marketing campaign is, the chances are you’ll have an idea what your call to action should be. Base this crucial bit of content around what you’d like your recipients to do once they’ve opened your email – whether that’s visiting your website, filling in a form or simply getting in touch by phone. Keep it clear, concise and with a tone that entices.

Shy away from using spam words and it’s all gravy

Eliminate the possibility of your email ending up in the Spam folder by avoiding spam trigger words such as ‘FREE’ and ‘Act Now!’ in your content.

Track opens and click-throughs, then do it all again

Analysing these statistics will give you a good idea of how successful your campaign was. And once you have this data, you’ll be able to extract more information as to what worked and how you can improve and build on this, just in time for your next email marketing campaign.

On Ecard Mint this information can be easily monitored in the ‘Stats and Tools’ section of your account – a feature completely inclusive in the price of your business e-greeting.

Naturally, our area of expertise lies in ecard marketing and the benefits it can offer to businesses large and small – we’re firm believers that this is an underused and much underestimated method of communication to customers and clients.

To give one a go, check out our pay as you go pricing structure with company ecards available to send to thousands from just £50 / $86 / €65.

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.

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