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It’s Not Too Late to use Email Greetings to Spread Joy and Save the World

Posted on | November 21, 2014 | No Comments

So the holiday crunch is here.  If you react with panic when you hear the jingle alarm bells because you forgot to send your annual company holiday greeting, don’t worry. You can send an environmentally friendly email greeting with just a click of a mouse. Yes we know, “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,” but with Ennect online marketing tools an exception can be made for this type of mouse. By using Ennect to send warm wishes to your clients and business associates, you’ll save time and reduce waste.

Here are some facts on holiday waste that might help persuade you to go digital this season:

  • An estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards are sold each year in the United States, enough to fill a football field 10 stories high – Electronic holiday greeting cards are a convenient, no-cost, waste-free alternative. (CA.gov)
  • By sending one less card, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper. (use-less-stuff.com)
  • Increased paper use (for wrapping and cards) means more trees are cut down, more air and water is polluted, and more toxic waste is generated in the manufacturing process. (ucc.org)
  • The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends sending electronic greeting cards to reduce paper waste. (epa.gov)

Also, check out this Holiday Recycling Guide from eco-cycle that will turn your holiday greener.

Eco Holiday Guide.

Why are you email marketing?

Posted on | May 30, 2014 | 1 Comment

Have you had trouble explaining the value of email marketing to a boss or client? Fret no more. Below are the engaging talking points to support  email marketing campaigns.

91% of consumers check their email daily  (ExactTarget).

74% of all online adults and is preferred over direct mail by a margin of nearly five to one. (Merkle).

Email marketing has an ROI of 4,300% (Direct Marketing Association).

76% of email opens occur in the first two days after an email is sent (Alchemy Worx).

48% of emails are opened on mobile devices  (Litmus).

44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email. (Convinceandconvert.com)

33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone. (Convinceandconvert.com)

Personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened. (Adestra July 2012 Report)

64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line. (Chadwick Martin Bailey)

Monday emails had the highest revenue per email. (Experian 2012 Q4 Email Benchmark Report)

Emails that include social sharing buttons have a 158% higher click-through rate. (GetResponse)

For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment. (Experian)

 

Are you answering the 5 Ws with your email marketing?

Posted on | May 8, 2014 | No Comments

Every journalism student is taught to write stories that answer the 5 Ws: who, what, where, when and why? These Ws also answer the important questions your email readers have about your product or service.

Follow our flowchart graphic to create the right emails that get to the right customers at the right time.

 

The bridges of the Pittsburgh Marathon and other stats and facts

Posted on | April 29, 2014 | No Comments

We love Pittsburgh. We love events. When the two intermingle, there’s a lot more to love. Below we’ve gathered some interesting facts and stats about this weekend’s Pittsburgh Marathon.

Runners of the Pittsburgh Marathon will cross five different bridges. In order of the marathon route, they are:

Birmingham Bridge

Opened:                                   1977

Length:                                    1,662 ft.

Crosses:                                   Monongahela River

Design:                                    Steel bowstring arch bridge

Trivia:

A construction worker who had pinned his leg near the top of the span had to have his leg amputated  by a surgeon, who was hoisted up to the span,  in order to save his life.

 

16th Street Bridge (David McCullough Bridge)

Opened:                                    1923

Length:                                     1,900 ft.

Crosses:                                    Allegheny River

Design:                                     Through arch bridge

Trivia:

David McCullough is a Pittsburgh native, graduate of Shady Side Academy and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, McCullough received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006. McCullough has written “The Johnstown Flood,” “1776,” and “John Adams,” among many others.

 

7th Street Bridge (Andy Warhol Bridge)

Opened:                                    1926

Length:                                     1,061 ft.

Crosses:                                    Allegheny River

Design                                      Self-anchored suspension

Trivia:

The company that built the 7th Street Bridge (and 6th & 9th) also built, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Oakland Bay Bridge and the Macarthur Causeway in Miami.

 

9th Street Bridge (Rachel Carson Bridge)

Opened:                                   1926

Length:                                    840 ft

Crosses:                                   Allegheny River

Design:                                    Self-anchored suspension

Trivia:

The Three Sisters (6th, 7th and 9th Street bridges) are self-anchored suspension bridges and are significant because they are the only trio of nearly identical bridges — as well as the first self-anchored suspension spans — built in the United States.

West End Bridge

Opened:                                   1932

Length:                                    1,978.75

Crosses:                                   Ohio River

Design                                     Bowstring Arch

Trivia:

The Riverlife Task Force conducted a competition in the spring of 2006 to design a pedestrian bridge across the Ohio attached to the West End Bridge. The winning design was submitted by Endres Ware in association with OLIN, Ammann & Whitney, Auerbach Glasow, and RWDI; however, there is not yet a budget or timelime for actual construction of the winning design.

 

Other Marathon Facts:

  • Neighborhoods by mile marker: mile 1, Strip District; mile 4, North Side; mile 7, West End; mile 9, South Side; mile 12, Oakland; mile 14, Shadyside; mile 16, Point Breeze, mile 17, Homewood; mile 19, East Liberty; mile 20, Highland Park; mile 22, Friendship; mile 23, Bloomfield; mile 24 Strip District; mile 26, Downtown
  • Runners will climb 255 vertical feet: Lowest point, Downtown – 730 ft above sea level; Highest point, Point Breeze – 985 ft above sea level
  • Runners will participate from all 50 states and 18 countries

 

 

5 Quick Tips: Event planning

Posted on | April 16, 2014 | No Comments

Holding a marketing event is a great way to showcase your product or service to a captive audience who are attending because they are already interested in your wares.

Follow these 5 Quick Tips to create an event that will get potential customers to convert and clients to become brand evangelists.

5. Find your audience

Define your audience and make it easy for them to attend. If your potential attendees/clients are higher education enrollment professionals, hold your event in a college town.

4. Set your goals

What do you want your event to accomplish? Are you creating brand awareness or are you in fifth gear delivering the hard sell. Your speakers, slides, giveaways, etc., will be defined based on your perceived outcome. Your budget should not exceed your intended ROI.

3. Budget your event

How much will you pay for the venue? Do you need to employ speakers? If you’re speaking, is the event more beneficial than spending your time doing other tings for your company? Will there be food and drink? Will you offer your product at a discount? How much will it cost to get the word out?

2. Market your event

Send out a press release, post on your social channels and contact your existing clients. Spread the word anyway you can.

1. Outline your presentation

If you are giving a speech, time it. If you are demonstrating your product, test it. If you have a slideshow, go through it twice. You need to be the expert in the room.

Check out our easy-to-use and comprehensive Ennect Event Management Software. It’s also very affordable.

 

Uncle Kage explains Furries, Furrydom and Fursuits

Posted on | April 9, 2014 | No Comments

Since 2006, Anthrocon has been held in Pittsburgh. A yearly event with attendance that is steadily increasing, Anthrocon is the world’s largest Furry convention, which saw over 5,500 attendees in 2013.

So what’s a “Furry”?

“One does not ‘become’ a Furry,” said Uncle Kage. “One is born with a fascination with animal characters; it is only later in life that one finds that there is a word for it and an entire fandom devoted to it,” according to Chairman and CEO of Anthrocon, Inc., Samuel Conway (aka Uncle Kage) — a chemist by profession.

“Furries are dreamers, every one of us. Now, if you ask, ‘What type of people are dreamers?’ the answer is: students, scientists, doctors, firefighters, clerks, cooks, soldiers, congressmen, architects, tailors, electricians, dentists, bus drivers, salesmen, actuaries, journalists, brokers …,” said Conway.

Conway emphasized that Furries aren’t only people who dress up in costumes. In fact, costumers are only a small portion of Anthrocon attendees.

“The biggest misconception is that a Furry is ‘someone who dresses as an animal.’ We have people who like costuming, but they make up (by our best estimates) only about 20% of our fandom.

So how do you spot a furry if they’re not wearing one of the telltale Fursuits? You probably don’t.

Most Furries are “a plainly-dressed army of writers, artists, animators, cartoonists, puppeteers and just plain fans,” according to Conway.

However, those who do dress up make a hefty financial and physical commitment.

“A costume — or “Fursuit” as we like to call them — can cost several thousand dollars. Each one is hand-made and each is a unique work of art. They are also bulky, uncomfortable and dangerously hot – one person described wearing a Fursuit as ‘wearing your sofa.’ At my age, I get overheated wearing my overcoat in the car, so even if I had the money for a basic Fursuit, I would probably have to invest in some technology like a cooling vest or strategically placed fans.”

Interested in a Fursuit of your own? Check out MadeFurYou.com.

So what distinguishes a fan of anthropomorphic animals from a fan of any other fantastic story? Conway said it’s the originality of the Furries that makes them stand out.

“Our members are creators, not consumers. Consider any other fandom out there from ‘My Little Pony’ to ‘Star Trek’ to ‘I Love Lucy’: they all focus on properties that are put out by studios and publishing houses, properties that someone else created for others to adore. Furries create their own fandom. The characters that float around in our heads (and in some cases, cavort down the street ahead of you) come from our own imaginations.”

Want to join in the action? Conway says it’s a three-step process: “Go into the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, purchase a membership to the convention and have fun. It’s really as simple as that.”

Anthrocon 2014 will be held from July 3 to July 6 in Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Ennect offers eMarketing Software, including event management software, which keeps us interested in all kinds of events, especially events in the Pittsburgh area.

5 Quick Tips: Email marketing

Posted on | April 2, 2014 | No Comments

According to McKinsey Global, the average person dedicates 13 hours (28 percent) of their workweek to reading, deleting, sorting and sending emails. What if you could cut some of that time for your customers?

Follow these 5 Quick Tips to cut the fat from your emails and become the e-marketing diamond in the inbox rough.

5. Write compelling subject lines

According to HubSpot, A good subject line should contain no more than 30 to 50 characters. It should also create a sense of urgency and  should give readers some indication of what to expect once they open the email.

4. Personalize your subject line

What’s more compelling than connecting with a customer on a personal level? According to a Marketing Sherpa case study, personalized email subject lines returned a 17.36 percent higher than average click through rate.

3. Keep call to action near top of email

If your main call-to-action falls below the fold, then as many as 70 percent of recipients won’t see it. Also, any call-to-action should be repeated at least three times throughout the email.

2. Optimize for mobile

You’ve heard it before. We’ll tell you again. Return Path points out that 63 percent of U.S. consumers delete emails immediately if they are not optimized for mobile.

1. Hold the buzzwords

Nothing says I put no thought into you as a customer like an email littered with business jargon. Steer clear of words and phrases like: hit the ground running, innovative, cutting-edge, leverage, reach out, think outside the box, value-add …

Read more about Ennect Mail

Bonus Tip: Try emailing at night. I couldn’t find any studies supporting this theory, but opening emails (even spam at times) at night is something I often do. Wake up, check all my social media channels then desperately search for something new, short and sweet to read before falling back asleep.

 

Event Cancellations: Have a refund process in place

Posted on | March 24, 2014 | 1 Comment

Q: How do I handle event cancelations? If a person pays with a credit card through Ennect Event’s built-in portal, can I credit the refund to their card?

A: The best way to handle cancelations is to prevent them from happening! Obviously that’s a bit unrealistic, so it’s important your event site clearly states that registration fees cannot be credited back to a credit card. Unfortunately, the administrative and processing fees involved in processing refunds is cost prohibitive. So instead of issuing a credit back to the registrant’s credit card, we recommend the following:

1. Clearly post your cancellation and refund policy on your event’s website. If you will not refund registration fees under any circumstance, clearly state that. Customers appreciate honest communication and transparent transactions. If you allow registrants to cancel, you may want to charge them a small fee to cover the 5 percent Ennect charges for credit card payments. Or you can issue a check for the refund minus the amount you decide to charge for processing and handling.

2. Let registrants know that their transaction can be voided if we are contacted on the same day that the credit card was charged. We understand that mistakes happen, and occasionally a person might click the register button twice. If the event administrator contacts us on the same day, we’ll be happy to void that transaction. You can contact support via the toll-free number, email or live chat.

3. Once a person has canceled, remember to update your registration report module to reflect the change of status of their registration and payment for your records.

 

Don’t Hold The Bag Too Long – It Could Mean the Difference Between Good and Bad Business Karma!

Posted on | December 3, 2013 | 2 Comments

So you made your sales pitch, had the right conversations and upon returning back to office from the most recent, hip industry trade show, you find yourself holding the bag. You know the bag, the one with all those business cards with email contacts.

What do you do now? Well, recency is the friend of memory, so don’t wait too long to upload those email contacts into your online marketing email software!

A day or two after you are back in the office go ahead and craft and blast your follow-up email. Make a reference to where you just met, keep the email short and provide your contact info. All of those new tradeshow business contacts and prospective clients will be amazed at how tech savvy you are and assured that you are a serious business pro, interested in learning more about their needs.

If you use the right type of online marketing software, it will be easy to send an email specific to your recent meeting and then, add them to your larger email list.

Fostering positive business karma means staying top of mind. That’s where an online marketing software tool gives you the advantage.

Online Marketing Software or Basic Email To Keep Social Media Clicking?

Posted on | October 17, 2013 | 1 Comment

Most businesses these days heavily invest in keeping their brand relevant within social media circles and it is no surprise that most emails are deluged with social media icons like Facebook or Twitter. It makes sense to include links in your emails directing your customers and clients to your social media websites but should you include the colorful icons or simply the links? Well, the answer is, “it depends.”Online Marketing Software

If you are sending email from your Outlook, Gmail, Thunderbird or other provider, it’s probably best to go with a simple text email to get your message delivered.  Here’s a big reason why, images and logos as part of text emails are prime targets for spam filters and security catch-alls that can cause numerous deliverability roadblocks and crush open rates.  For example:

  • Images may get sent as attachments and end up quarantined or undeliverable.
  • It is almost impossible when using images to know how it will show up in all email clients.
  • Adding images can break the design and layout of your email and make it hard to read.
  • Most email clients do not show images by default and prompt users to choose to download or show images, so they may not appear anyway.

Now, if you want to include all those colorful social media icons in your email and actually have the whole message intact when it arrives in a recipient’s mailbox, then an online marketing software like Ennect Mail is the way to go.  Here’s why:

  • Most web-based marketing software send email from non-black listed IP addresses, which significantly reduce the risk of messages from being blocked.
  • Web-based marketing software like Ennect allows users to easily create customized html emails to support their branding needs with logos, images and colors.
  • Many online marketing email programs offer reporting options that let users see if an email was delivered and opened.
  • An on-call customer service helpdesk is always a boon when you have pre-launch questions on your social media email campaigns.

In the end, it might be better to stick with a text only email for everyday email communications, so just type out any links to your social media or brand websites in the body or signature panel and it should work fine.  When it comes to larger email campaigns, employing online marketing software such as Ennect Mail produces a more conducive environment for including images, social media icons and branding in your messaging.

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