Category Archives: Social media marketing

Guidance, advice and discussion on the latest in social media marketing techniques from the world of online.

Growth of Mobile Makes China Largest Online Population

This week, it emerged that China now not only has the largest global population, but also has the biggest and quickest growing online population in the world too.

CNN reported that with more than 649 million internet users, China outnumbers “the entire U.S. population two to one.” And of this figure, the article reports that 80% use their smartphones and tablets to connect.

In light of these growing figures it’s not so surprising that last year Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, decided to address a room of Chinese students in their native Mandarin. Speaking to the students of the prestigious Business School at Tsinghua University, Zuckerberg told the audience that he was “so glad to be in Beijing”.

See his full speech in the video below:

Despite the banning of Facebook and other social networks such as Twitter and YouTube in China, Zuckerberg’s attempt to impress shows the importance of creating good business relationships with the world’s largest economy..

It’s also a country that will soon be celebrating the most important date in its calendar – Chinese New Year. And just like a certain social media mogul, we’ve also been busy creating some ingenuous way to connect and share in the celebrations with business partners overseas…

Our Chinese New Year Ecards provide a great range of traditional designs to celebrate ‘The Year of the Ram’. Take a look at our newest addition to the company ecard category below:

Shan Shui style ecard for Chinese New Year

New “Shan Shui” Corporate Chinese New Year Card

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.

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!

 

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

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

A Useful Guide To Six Online Marketing Metrics

As you know, here at Ecard Mint we like to highlight the genuinely useful from the not so useful when it comes to online marketing information available on the web. As you probably know, there are plenty of articles, blogs, free tips and tools out there for you to browse, but having to decipher the good from the bad can be overwhelming, to say the least. This week we’ve found the six marketing metrics, courtesy of Hubspot, which definitely falls under the ‘genuinely useful’. Enjoy!

Six Marketing Metrics Your Boss Actually Cares About

“As marketers, we work tirelessly to move the needle on a sometimes laundry-list of metrics. But with studies that show 73% of executives don’t believe that marketing drives demand and revenue, we have to make sure that we can prove the ROI of our marketing efforts. ”

This useful marketing guide, brought to you by Hubspot, offers a marketing cheat sheet of metrics and a guide that looks at the most critical measures of marketing. These range from six marketing metrics that prove the value of your marketing by detailing formulas that enable you to calculate metrics along with explanations to interpret your own marketing success. Through use of scenario, Hubspot offers scenarios that demonstrate why these metrics are important. By following the online guide, you can not only interpret which aspects of your marketing strategy need more focus and which should be avoided, resulting in a more effective online strategy.

The New Facebook Hashtags: What Can They Do For Your Business?

Facebook is the latest social media website to introduce the hashtag. The use of the hashtag grew organically on Twitter and has since been introduced on Google+, Instagram and Vine. Hashtags have been vital in expanding the role that social media can play: from reporting on new stories to aiding revolutions, hashtags have allowed people to gather around common causes and interests.

For businesses, hashtags can make it easier to reach new audiences and to take part in industry specific conversations. When a hashtag is placed at the beginning of a word, the word itself becomes a hyperlink. This means that it is easy to share content with people who are interested in the same topics. Additionally, they help to categorize the endless chatter that goes on on these increasingly popular social media websites.

If you’re promoting a new product or campaign, hashtags can help to increase visibility and can make it easier for people to engage with it. Hashtags also make it easier to see which topics people are talking about and what the current trends are. This can give you a better idea of your potential customers’ needs and interests.

Finally, try to use hashtags wisely. Use too many and you look like you’re lacking a focus, use too few and you may be missing out on the benefits that they can bring. They need to be targeted and well-thought out, instead of just noise.

Have you already started using hashtags on Facebook? If so, let us know if you think they are useful by commenting below this post, writing on our Facebook wall or tweeting us via our Twitter page.

 

7 top marketing tips for entrepreneurs

7 nuggets of practical wisdom from the excellent Entrepreneur magazine – a great resource for business ideas, trends, news, expert advice and growth strategies for small business owners.

The best and worst times to post on social media
A fascinating infographic. The optimal time to update your Facebook or Twitter page will obviously depend on your audience, but this is a thought-provoker all the same. Times quoted are US-based though. Has anyone seen a UK equivalent?

3 keys to creating viral marketing content
Thought leader Jonah Berger on what it takes to achieve that holiest of grails: going viral.

5 social media rules every entrepreneur should know
How do you grow from a following of 500 to 500,000? 5 pieces of sound advice from those best placed to give it: the current ‘darlings’ of the social media landscape.

5 ways to use Twitter beyond the basics
When a marketing exec in New York got the afternoon munchies, she sent out a tweet saying she could use a snack. Within an hour, a Pretzel Crisps truck was parked in front of her building unloading enough freebie snacks to feed her 50-person office. Impressed? Check out these 5 ways to jazz up your Twitter campaign. (Free snacks not included).

How you should be using LinkedIn  but probably aren’t
Nicole Williams, a small-business owner and LinkedIn expert highlights several essential tasks for using LinkedIn more robustly to build your business.

Digital marketing: it’s not just business, it’s personal
Be human. What could be simpler, right? But what exactly does ‘being human’ mean for online marketing? A group of social media and PR experts got together to discuss making digital marketing relatable, covering everything from creating customer loyalty to engaging through social media. Here are top four takeaways.

The best marketing advice you’re forgetting to follow
Entrepreneur’s panel of marketing experts answers common questions on a different topic each week. Here, the team answers: What’s one marketing tip that even savvy businesses overlook? Read and learn!