Category Archives: Online Marketing

News and discussion about the latest in online marketing from Ecard Mint. Help and advice on how to encourage more users to engage with your website.

Winter Sale Ecard

We’ve made it through all the seasons and we now present to you our Winter Sale business e card. This simple, sophisticated design is ideal for informing customers of your product offers and sales this Winter.

Winter Sale Company Ecard

Winter Sale Company Ecard

Stay tuned on the blog for the latest business Christmas ecard to be added to the site.

Boost Email Marketing Open Rates

With an over abundance of online forums, articles and research, email marketing is an ongoing topic showing no signs of slowing down and it can be tough to weed out the good advice from the bad.

With roughly 182 billion emails being sent out every day, one of the greatest problems facing email marketers is making sure their efforts don’t go unnoticed. We found this handy infographic from Sikich, which clearly identifies key points to improve open rates that will have an impact on the success of your email campaigns.

inforevied

This infographic highlights the key points reiterated in online email marketing advice. Here at Ecard Mint we were determined to create a corporate ecard site that is not only compatible with most platforms and browsers, but also  provide a technically sophisticated platform that provides the right tools to aid successful email marketing campaigns.

Image and video act as great marketing tools, quickly conveying your message while capturing the attention of your audience making static and animated business ecards the perfect way to connect with your customers. In addition to this, at Ecard Mint we have worked hard to incorporate features to our site to aid your campaigns such as in-house analytics, easy to manage mailing list , customising options including social media buttons and more.

So, of the billions of emails sent everyday, make sure yours don’t go unnoticed with Ecard Mint corporate e-cards.

The Next Batch of Christmas Ecards is Here

Last week we announced the new arrival of eleven new corporate Christmas ecards. Over the holiday season we had numerous requests for a variety of Christmas messages on our seasonal Ecards. We took that on board and have created the next four new corporate ecards with alternate ‘Season’s Greetings’ and ‘Happy Holidays’ messages to suit you.

Both sets of business ecards feature picturesque winter wonderland scenes that are perfect for getting your recipients in a festive mood over December.

Snow Path Company Christmas Ecard

Snow Tree Company Christmas Ecard

Snow Path Happy Holidays Company Christmas Ecard

Snow Tree Happy Holidays Company Christmas Ecard

Snowy Path Business Christmas Ecard

Snowy Path Business Christmas Ecard

Snowy Path Business Christmas Ecard

Snowy Path Business Christmas Ecard

When you’re sending a business ecard, whether it’s this Christmas or anytime during the year, make sure you’re making use of our scheduling and analytics features. You can track open rates, success rates, bounce rates and more at Ecard Mint.

Make sure to take a look at our selection of announcement, appreciation and Birthday business ecards. Ecards are a great marketing tool for your business and now they’re even more cost effective at Ecard Mint.

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.

Email Marketing: When is it ok NOT to follow best practice?

When devising an email marketing strategy for your organisation, there’s lots of different people out there ready to tell you what’s considered acceptable and – more importantly – what’s not. But if we always take these ‘best practices’ as gospel, how can we be sure that we’re really doing the best for our business?

As tempting as it is to play it safe, sticking to the letter of the law in this instance isn’t likely to get you noticed amongst the other thousands of companies all sticking to the rules whilst vying for that all-important inbox interaction.

So if you know your business and your audience, is there really any harm in trying out something new?

Below are some of the most widely held email marketing mantras along with some suggestions of how and when to consider mixing things up a little.

Limit your subject line to 50 characters

Best practice dictates your email subject line should be around 50 characters in order to draw your audience in – hook, line and sinker.

But what if, maybe, you don’t? Instead you could base the length of your subject line on the content, purpose and readership of your email. If you’re sending out something that’s informative for your loyal subscriber fan base, a long-ish and engaging subject line implies an email containing content that’s similarly well written and is likely to appeal to that particular audience. On the other hand, a very short enigmatic subject line might be used to convince new leads to open up and take a peek.

From our experience, often the company ecards that show the highest open rate for our clients are those that are most adapted for their audience. In short – an enticing subject line is an absolutely must.

Don’t send a marketing email that is too text heavy

We hate to repeat ourselves, but just as the subject line should be adapted for your audience-type and purpose of your campaign, so should the content of your email. If you have lots of information that you know will be valuable to your readership, why would you want to leave it out? Obviously, we’re not saying that you should waffle on for 16 paragraphs about one topic, but in our opinion counting words should always be secondary to providing engaging and relevant copy that’s presented in easily digestible chunks.

Make sure your recipients can unsubscribe

This is one rule that you should never bend or break. It’s a legal requirement to provide a clear and easy method for your customers to opt out, preventing their information from being used in further direct email marketing campaigns.

Make sure the aforementioned email marketing opt-out is hard to find

Why exactly? If a recipient wants to opt out but can’t find how to in a quick and easy manner, you’re in danger of breaking the law (remember the law states that this option must be clear and easy to find) and irritating them in the process. Next time they receive an email from you that they didn’t want, it’s unlikely that they’ll think: “Wow that’s a great deal, maybe this company isn’t so bad after all” and instead are much more likely to muse: “Wow, here’s another email from that really annoying company that I vowed never to use and will take great joy in dissuading others from using in the future”.

So make unsubscribing as easy as possible. Contacts that don’t want to hear what you’re saying aren’t the right audience anyway. By unsubscribing they’re actually doing you a favour by helping you create a more exclusive and targeted list for future mail-outs – let them.

Luckily, if you’re sending an ecard for direct email marketing purposes through Ecard Mint, this is something you won’t need to worry about as the ‘unsubscribe’ link is automatically placed clearly beneath every corporate e-greeting.

Don’t send your marketing email at the end of the day/on a weekend.

Do we agree? Well, that depends. One thing we can agree on is the importance of timing. For example, if you’re targeting parents, a mum or dad waiting for a child outside the school gates at half past three is likely to dig their phone out of their pocket and check for any new electronic mail. Likewise, if you’re looking to announce the start of a sale via email which starts at the weekend, the Friday evening before or even the Saturday morning of the promotion’s launch could very well be the best time to inform your customers about it. And whilst later emails might not be so well-suited to the 9-5ers, a younger remit such as students, could respond very well to night-time communications. Again, what’s likely to work is largely dependent on your audience. When the best time to send your marketing email is outside of the normal office hours, don’t forget that most email marketing platforms – including Ecard Mint – allow you the ability to schedule your email at any time, day or night.

So to conclude, when it comes to finding the right way to communicate via your email marketing campaigns, it’s clear that rules are as important as learning from your own mistakes. It goes without saying then, that testing and re-testing to find out what works and what doesn’t is absolutely crucial.

And faced with the question of whether or not to keep following the rules when you find yourself concocting the next e-shot in your campaign, never underestimate the power of insider knowledge of your audience and industry as being the best trick up your sleeve.

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.

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.

Ecard Mint’s 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. 

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