Category Archives: Marketing advice

Marketing advice from the Ecard MInt blog. Information about how promote your business and put into place effective email, online and social strategies.

Data Driven Marketing in 2015

Over the past few years there have been huge developments in data driven marketing with a plethora of online tools and sources available to help marketing campaigns succeed. These tools are game changers in the world of online marketing and taking advantage of them is imperative to keeping up the pace with your customers.

What is data driven marketing?

At its core, data driven marketing is the use and analysis of credible data to engage your customers, consequently driving value. Being in tune with the needs and expectations of the customer, as an individual, is the key to making smart marketing decisions. This may sound straightforward but we’re pretty sure almost any marketer will tell you that with data coming from every angle, it’s an overwhelming process to make effective, real-time decisions – to say the least.

Let’s face it, these days it’s a rare thing to visit your Facebook account and not have items you looked at a week ago pop up in adverts. The digital world has empowered the customer, giving them their say, which has resulted in higher expectations. So, engaging customers and meeting their demands is more important than ever, and with a well-informed, individualised approach, businesses are sure to yield a higher return on marketing investments.

What can data driven marketing achieve?

Teradata Corp recently published the Teradata 2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey, an international study comprising of data driven marketing trends. The results of the survey that involved 1,500 marketing and communication executives’ worldwide, serves as a good indication of just how much value businesses will be placing on the practice in 2015.

Having individual insight is increasingly important to marketers with executives revealing they are searching for a deeper understanding of customers,

  • 90% of marketers say individualising marketing is a priority. Moving towards one to one personalisation in a real time context is their main focus.
  • 38% of marketers reveal that one of their biggest challenges is how to better acquire and retain customers.
  • Marketers have more than doubled their use of data-driven marketing in the past year and a half. 78% of marketers now use data methodically, as opposed to 36% in 2013.
  • Data-driven marketing is viewed as the means to the end of gaining individualized insights.
  • Marketers however still struggle with individualizing offers and communication. Only 50% routinely apply data to engage consumers with 44% admitting a lack of consistency in omni-channel marketing.

It’s apparent from the results that the future of marketing is all about meeting the expectations of the individual on a one to one, personal basis. We’re expecting that data driven marketing will be increasingly be used as businesses become reliant on the impressive results found in an increased data driven marketing spend. Avoiding mass, bulk messaging and focusing on the customer as an individual is paramount. Today, the top priority of marketers is to understand and respect the needs of their customer to drive value, a point concisely summed up in a recent article from Adweek,

“Consumer demand for personalisation makes information the most valuable currency”

Marketing Infographic

Teradata 2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey Infographic

How do Business Ecards fit into my online marketing strategy?

Corporate Ecards from www.ecardmint.com are a highly valuable tool when considering your online marketing strategy. What sets them apart from your everyday email marketing is the additional dimension of entertaining the recipient while conveying your personalised marketing message in an E-greeting. Television advertising companies worked this out decades ago, entertaining and amusing your audience will make them more receptive to the marketing message being broadcast. By implementing the sophisticated account tools offered by Ecard Mint, the user can select the right message for each section of their customer base or tailor it for individuals.

So, what are the benefits?

With every Company Ecard marketing campaign, you can use the in-house analytics to record the Ecard delivery, open rates, bounce rates, unsubscribers and other behaviour patterns. With data analytics, you can determine the success of each marketing campaign and alter your strategies accordingly.

An Ecard Mint account allows you to breakdown and segregate business mailing lists into specific groups and individuals. This makes it easy to categorise your email marketing campaigns and target those groups. Giving your customers an entertaining or complementary experience – keeping it relevant and welcome, will allow for a great return on your investment.

If Teradata’s survey has shown us anything, it’s how important it is to properly engage your customers on a personal level. The data driven conversation is one that needs to be had, and implemented quickly if you want to keep up the pace with competitors and customers. It’s not just about sales prospects; it’s about building strong, maintainable customer relationships. A little personalisation is something we’re all looking for; and we’ve found an effective way for you to provide it – online marketing with ecards.

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?

Why You Shouldn’t Proofread Your Company Ecard

It’s easy to make a misstake.

Yes, we did that on purpose.

Over our busy festive period, we got quite a few emails from customers who, once they’d purchased their company Christmas ecard, realised that they made a bit of a boo-boo – missing an apostrophe here, a letter there and so on.

“No problem,” we said and helped them re-create and send their e-greeting again.

Luckily, in these cases, the corporate ecards were sent as links or scheduled for to be delivered at a future time and date, so no harm was done.

But what if they hadn’t? How can these errors be avoided?

When you’re the charged with the task of creating and sending out your next company mail-out it’s often hard to see the wood for the trees when it comes to those pesky typos, grammatical slip-ups and the like. Proofreading is one of those skills that you can be absolutely brilliant at, until it comes to reading your own work.

Thankfully, Wired magazine  recently confirmed that the reason these mistakes slip through the net is not because we’re careless but, rather, because we care. And they even got a scientist to back it up. With the help of a Psychologist (Tom Stafford from the University of Sheffield) the article, “What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos”, explains:

When you’re writing, you’re trying to convey meaning. It’s a very high level task… When we’re proofreading our own work, we know the meaning we want to convey. Because we expect that meaning to be there, it’s easier for us to miss when parts (or all) of it are absent.

So now we know the science behind it, how do we banish those embarrassing blunders from our business e-cards and email marketing campaigns once and for all? The answer’s quite simple: don’t proofread, get someone else to do it.

A fresh pair of eyes on your copy might sound cliché but can work a treat.

Obviously, we’re not suggesting that you make someone else correct a first draft – but when you think you’re ready to send your email out into the big wide world, don’t. Pass it on to the person sitting next to you instead.

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.

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.

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

Latest-news-newspaper-tabloid-blog

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

The Last Christmas Post

We were wondering what to write about for our last post before Christmas. And that got us thinking, ‘post… last post… when is the last post?’ And wouldn’t you know it, that day is today.

Yes this is it. Today is the last day to send your parcels and cards with Royal Mail to make sure they land on the designated doorstep in time for festivities.

Of course, if you’ve had a good year you could always delay for a couple of days and go first-class – as long as you get yours in the red box by the 20th December. And if you’ve had a really, really good year (we’re talking lottery wins and long-lost inheritances) you can put it off till the 23rd of December and use Royal Mail’s special delivery service.

Or if you’ve still not managed to send off your corporate Christmas ecards, at Ecard Mint the last post is determined by you. You can schedule your company e card for Christmas eve, for 4.55pm on the last day of work or even 23.59 on Christmas day itself (bit odd, but who are we to judge?)

You don’t need stamps, you don’t need paper and you definitely, most certainly do not need to panic.

Now that’s a last post to be proud of.

Oh thank you, you’re very kind.

And now that that’s all sorted (as the postmaster might say) the only thing really left to do is to wish a very Merry Christmas, we hope you have a good one.

Christmas Wreath Animated Ecard

Preview of Christmas Wreath, Animated Ecard from Ecard Mint

Check out Ecard Mint for a unique method of email marketing. Why not send employees and business partners a company birthday e card? Use our handy business Birthday ecard tool to make sure you never miss their special day again.