Posts Tagged ‘email marketing’

Grandma DJOnce upon a time, as testified by the mighty Kevin and Perry’s Go large, rave was all the rage. Glow sticks and whistles were actually very cool, and if you whoop-whoop’ed in a club, that was just ‘wicked’. Now, such behaviour is not wicked at all, it’s not even cosmic. Doing running man and saying ‘Mad for it’ in anything but jest and you can expect a swifty backhander.

You can still find a genuine, old school rave scene in certain more isolated pockets of the UK, for example those regions where the mullet is still fairly commonly seen in a phoenix nights style, local pub accommodating a few sheltered but very serious old school ravers with nowhere else to go. Think, Ayai Napa, Blackpool, most of Slough .. However if you are part of the new school cool which rightfully we all feel we are, you would rather eat your own head then be seen in such a place.

Here in the capital, newly launched, trendy nightclubs and cocktail bars probably have a lifespan of less than 6 months of celebrity spotlight before the heat reader crowd descend, complete with the tank top and chino wearer’s in tow, meaning you are compelled to move on if you want to be on the pulse of the next great thing and disassociate yourself from all those other ‘mainstream losers’. Heaven forbid you get caught in the same club as your grandma, no one wants to see your Grandma do the robot – your reputation would be ruined.

These bars and clubs generally tend to disappear in time, upstaged by better, trendier places or copy cats who rip off the edge our club once had to cannibalise your crowds. The length of their existence correlating with the gravity of their deviation from the boring, mainstream norm at their point of launch. This is what I like to call the nightclub effect. Something I heard on Jason Calacanis TWIST show on the episode featuring Gabriel Weinberg of DuckDuckGo.com, in specific reference to social media and email.

In his guest Tyler Crowley’s view, echoed by myself, Facebook has become no more than a platform for commenting on status updates. Using the nightclub analogy, Tyler feels social media has reached the point where the Grandmas (or in my case mother in laws) are now in the Facebook club. Recent research from Pew Internet found that between April 2009 and May 2010 social networking grew in the 65 and older group by 100%! Read more about this on mashable.com. Personally I love Facebook, but I haven’t checked it for months because it has lost the appeal it once had for regular visits. So we’ve travelled past the bell curve where early adopters are those buzzing around the channel and now we have technology laggards aplenty diluting its appeal. So what club is beyond social media? It’s hard to conceive there will be another layer of communication more far reaching than social media, so you want to head back to where there is a higher quality interaction, which interestingly in Tyler’s view was email. Although, if we’ve been in the email club before then how can this retro view resonate? Perhaps the edge the email club has is that it isn’t what it used to be. The bouncers are bigger than before and have been specifically tasked to only let the very coolest, charismatic people in. We’ve even removed the sawdust from the floor and replaced rusty speakers with a vodka luge. You’re welcome of course, just don’t bring your break dancing Grandma.


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Happy Birthday

It’s been a year since eCircle’s blog Inside the Inbox launched back in September 2009. During this time we have aimed to provide you with useful, topical content on the subject of email marketing and the wider digital world. To celebrate a year of Inside the Inbox I thought I’d share with you our top 10 most read blogs posts from the year in order of popularity.

Top 10 Inside the Inbox Blog Posts

1)     Is it ever too early to start your Christmas promotions?

2)     The decade that digital came of age

3)     Getting seriously social

4)     Do your customers know their inbox from their shoebox?

5)     Do we really need the Royal Mail?

6)     Newsletter registrations really shouldn’t be this difficult!

7)     America sneezes and we catch a cold

8)     Crossing borders with email marketing

9)     When selecting an ESP is the most important question really, how much does it cost?

10)  Email Relevance – Be honest and you can’t go far wrong

If there are any topics that you feel we should cover over the next year of Inside the Inbox then please do let me know.

If you haven’t already signed up to receive Inside the Inbox updates you can do so via RSS here or by email on the blog.

So all that’s left to say is ‘Happy Birthday Inside the Inbox’ and here’s to another year of blogging!

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eCircle Award NominationWe’re delighted to announce that our investors TA Associates have been short-listed at the InvestorAllStars 2010 Awards for the ‘Deal Envy of the Year’ for their majority investment of over €60million in eCircle.

Now in its eighth year, Investor AllStars brings together the best of Europe’s venture capital community to celebrate great investments, lucrative exits and all-round professional excellence. The awards recognise the leading risk-takers and backers of high-growth businesses in what is undoubtedly one of the most important events in the venture capital industry.

We’re up against some strong competition including our last investors Wellington Partners. Other nominees for Deal Envy of the Year Award include:

  • Heliatek GmbH − RWE Innogy GmbH
  • Spotify Limited − Wellington Partners
  • Mimecast Ltd − Index Ventures
  • Jolicloud SAS − Mangrove Capital Partners & Atomico Investment Holdings Ltd

The winner of the ’Deal Envy of the Year Award’ last year was the $17 million series B funding deal in Playfish by Accel, Index Ventures. We’re hopeful that our nomination is strong, as the €60million investment has already proved beneficial in the expansion of eCircle.

So fingers crossed we’ll be bringing home an award at the end of the night!

Investor AllStars 2010, Thursday 23rd September 2010 at the Hilton, Park Lane, London.

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FlowersMy sister recently got married.  It was a gorgeous day: sunny, beautiful venue, stunning bride, dashing Naval Officer husband and groomsmen, verrrrry stylish bridesmaids (well, apart from me who was 6 months pregnant at the time and ever so slightly rotund in a very snug dress!) and the champagne flowed.  The photographers snapped away in the background, and – as all good wedding photographers should be – we didn’t even notice that they were there!

However it was the process of sharing the stunning snaps after the big day that impressed me so much.  I only got married 5 years ago, but I was struck how much things had moved on in terms of showing off the proofs and circulating the photos, post-wedding.  In ‘my day’ (circa 2005), we met the photographer (word of mouth), he took the snaps on the day, we met him afterwards and showed us the proofs, we chose which ones we wanted, he gave us a set of colour and black and white prints, plus a CD of the set, and off we trotted to choose which ones would adorn our fireplace/mantelpiece/sent to the family.  Job done.

My sister’s wedding photo experience was entirely different!

Firstly they found their photographers through a long and extensive search online, checking recommendations and web reviews, reading their blog, checking out their portfolio online and basically doing thorough research.  The photographers were booked, then turned up at the bride-to-be’s house as we were all getting ready in the morning, spent the entire day snapping away discreetly, and off they went well into the evening festivities.

The new Mr and Mrs Phillips were then – in less than a week! – sent a sneaky peak of some of the better shots from the day, via email, as a little teaser. The photographers told Hannah specifically that these were the shots to put on Facebook before too many amateur shots are tagged of them to ensure the newlyweds were able to showcase some amazing photos to their friends and family.  Of course the shots were subsequently forwarded via email to close friends and family to enjoy, shared on Facebook and generally admired by all their internet-savvy mates.  (And WOW were they worth sharing!)

The following week (and we’re talking less than two weeks after the wedding day), the photographers had put a simply stunning montage of ‘part one’ of the wedding onto their blog site (I know I’m biased but I have to say they are some of the best wedding photos I’ve ever seen).  The link was duly emailed around between friends and family and – again – shared on Facebook for all and sundry to enjoy.  The blog received loads of hits and comments from proud rellies and friends, and the photographers were able to gather a huge amount of glowing testimonials for the fabulous piccies.  An invaluable way of the photographers gathering feedback from both clients and their friends.

Blog posts ‘part two’ and ‘part three’ were shared in the following week, and less than 6 weeks after the wedding took place, all of the photos were posted onto a secure part of their website, password protected of course, and the bride and groom were able to share the link – via email of course  – with their guests.  In turn, the guests could send a link, again via email, of any of the shots to their own friends and family to encourage them to buy the photos.  Amazing!  So amazing that another sister of mine has booked them for her wedding later this year.  How’s that for a recommendation?

This is such a far cry from the process my photographer went through for our wedding just 5 short years ago.  I can’t imagine how much things will have developed in the next 5 years, exciting times indeed.

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Fresh foodFoolishly I fell victim to the Apple / iPad marketing campaign after the launch in January and recently invested in the world’s most expensive handheld toy. Aside from relieving me of some of my hard earned cash, it has brought one ray of light to my life… Ocado. I have to say I’m a huge fan. I dabbled in home delivery back in the early noughties but somehow it just didn’t seem that convenient. Browsing the isle on my 56K dial-up didn’t quite float my boat and I returned to the chaos of Saturday morning shopping at Sainsburys. Then along came the iPad and its wonderful App store, along with a passionate recommendation from a colleague about how good the service was. Within a couple of taps and a flick and found myself able fly through my weekly shop in record time and to top it all off, get it all delivered 24 hours later within a 30 min window early enough to catch me before we both went to work… Fantastic!

Having been so thoroughly convinced of the merits of Ocado I was delighted to receive an email informing me that they would pay me up to £400 in vouchers for recommending their wonderful service which I had already been gladly recommending for free. Sounds good .. well this is where the excitement starts to wear off. Determined to get my free vouchers I started searching their email for a link, button, anything I could click on to get me through to the point where I start recommending. Let’s be frank anyone like me, who loves Ocado probably doesn’t spend a lot of time reading the details in such an email. Eventually I found a link at the top of the page (Ocado logo) and did eventually read the text in the email .. (I mean as if you’re actually supposed to read that stuff).

1. Log into your Ocado account.

2. Click on the ‘invite-a-friend’ link at the right of your homepage (under your basket).

3. Invite your friend to shop with Ocado.

“Its that simple” they say. Well I’m not so sure that is what we would call simple in today’s world where you can order your shopping from a handheld flat-screen device that you carry round your empty cupboards. In fact, considering I was at work and didn’t know my username and password, it wasn’t simple at all.

Having been so impressed by Ocado and wanting to continue my newly found loving relationship with them, I felt compelled to write them an email.

“Dear Ocado, blah blah blah, love what you’re doing etc etc, changed my life… However you could make your email a lot easier to use, and here’s a few suggestions… all the best , Simon”

Well as a replying customer who is not only saying how much he appreciates a company’s service, but also someone who is taking time out to impart some of his highly respected knowledge and on top of that is gagging to give them a few more customers, I’d say my email to them should have been pretty high up their priority list.

Well I bet you can guess how this little story ends.. No reply, no recommendations and one newly found customer who already feels a tiny bit disappointed. Nonetheless, I’ll keep shopping for now.

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