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Ecards as a marketing tool
As any successful businessman will confirm, having a great product or service is just the beginning. After all, in this day and age, everything comes down to marketing. The more creative you are in your marketing efforts, the more successful your business is. There are many ways to promote your business without spending a fortune. In this article I will describe one of the most powerful tools on the Internet ? ecards!
Ecards (electronic greeting cards) are a great example of efficient marketing on the internet. You have a service open to the Internet users. The ecards they send from your site invariably contain promotion for your company, products or services. They are advertising tools that are immediate, inexpensive, personalized and although sent via email, S.P.A.M.-free.
This form of Internet marketing is extremely effective. More than 50% of the U.S. population and 85% of all Internet users visit a greeting's site annually, according to research firm Jupiter MediaMetrix. Why not use even a small percentage of these potential clients to you advantage? OK, BlueMountain.com has more than 100 million unique visitors each year, but even with less numbers, the potential is there. Remember, with each sent ecard from your site you have at least two potential clients!
If someone utilizes the ecards service on average only twice a day, in the period of a year the service is advertised approximately 730 times. Multiply this number by the number of registered users and you get yourself a healthy advertising stream. Recognizing the huge potential, in 1999 Excite@Home Corp. paid $780 million for the purchase of BlueMountain.com. How much would you pay for that type of advertising?
No need to answer -- you can have an ecard site for a lot less. The concept is the same, and you can use it just as the big boys. You can build a database of qualified prospects and use ecards to:
OK, so now you know you need an ecard section on your site. What do you need next?
Custom content: If you have a larger budget you can have an well-known artist create custom animated ecards for you. On average, a Flash animated ecard costs $350.
Leased content: A much cheaper way to obtain high quality content is to use the services of a company like Cardsup Greetings (http://www.cardsup.com). Their ecards have been used by such sites as Yahoo Greetings, Regards.com, ecards.com, etc. For a very reasonable price you will get:
GREAT CONTENT for your existing web site, made by some of the best animators/cartoonists in the business.
TIMELY UPDATES -- you will receive monthly Flash ecards! Each month you will get from 5 to 30 additional ecards at no cost.
SCREENSAVERS -- you will receive all additional animations as screensavers too, and you will be able to sell them to your customers.
There are a lot of very good ecard programs on the Internet. I highly recommend the following:
About The Author
Dessy Oundian is a the marketing Guru behind etoon.com -- one of the largest searchable cartoon databases in the world. Find T-shirts and other custom apparel, get information about licensing our cartoons or send e-cards.
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Well, if 1 in every 20 visitors buys your product, your cost per sale is $10.00. Total Sale Amount : $9.95 USD Paypal's Fee Amount : -$0.59 USD Net Profit Amount : $9.36 USD So if each sale of your product produces a gross profit of $9.36, then your net profit per-sale will be -$.64 ($9.36 gross profit - $10 cost-per-sale). This campaign is not profitable! As you can see, something has to change in order to make a profit. That's why it's important to track and calculate every campaign. So what went wrong with this example? -Paying too much for the banner space? -Need a better click-through rate? -Need to charge more for your product? The truth is that only you have the information required to decide but at least at this point you're in a better position to make a qualified decision. Return on Investment Ratios: Your return-on-investment (ROI), before non-marketing expenses, is 0.0% ($0.00 total net profits with a $10 investment). Experiment by advertising on multiple sites or using different banners if your budget will allow it. Find the perfect campaigns that yield the highest ROI. A few terms to know: » CPM - Cost Per Impressions (The "M" comes from the Roman numeral for 1,000). So $20 CPM represents $20 per 1,000 displays of a banner). An Impressions is simply each time your banner is shown. » CPC - Cost Per Click. You pay an agreed amount for each click-through to your site. » Click-Through (CT) - A click on an ad which takes the viewer to another site. » Click-Through Rate (CTR) - This is the number of people who click on an ad (banner or text link) divided by the number of displays of the ad, represented in percentages. Example: 500 people click on an ad that has been shown 10,000 times, which works out at: 500/10,000 X 100% = 5%. » Run Of Site (ROS) - This means your banner will be displayed on all or most pages of the site. Buying or Creating your own banners: You can find a graphic designer to create your banner or you can simply learn to design and build you own. We have done both on this site and our research shows almost equal results when using identical conditions. We're not going to give tutorials on banner design but we will offer a few tips to help get you started. If you decide to purchase your banners: Do your research. There are many so called ' graphic designers' that have very little training or experience with any type of graphics much less internet marketing or banner advertising. Get any promises or guarantees in writing. Keep in mind that anyone can setup shop online and many have no idea what they're doing to say the least. Do it yourself banners: There are several options when it comes to creating your own banners. Again, we're not here to teach you how to design and build your own, just to guide you in the right direction. Here are a few things to consider: » Think through your design. » Decide on a format. » Flash or Animated. » Image or HTML. » The best banner size. » Image load times. Image or HTML? Well, most of the banners we see are image based, whether .gif, .jpg of flash. But there is another very simple alternative. The HTML banner. You can even combine images and HTML to create incredible banners. A couple benefits of using a HTML banner are: » HTML banner will normally load faster. » On a HTML banner, you can promote many links. Banners sizes: 468 x 60.....Full banner 234 x 60.....Half banner 392 x 72.....Full banner with vertical navigation bar 120 x 240...Vertical banner 125 x 125...Square button 120 x 90.....Button #1 120 x 60.....Button #2 88 x 31.......Micro button A few tips: Use attractive and attention grabbing images. Keep your text short and simple. Use proven key words like "free" and "now". "Free" is a very powerful incentive for the viewer to click on the button. Even the words "Click Here" can increase your click-through rate. Use a large font size for your message text. Create different versions of the banner. Test different banners to improve your click-through rate. Animate your banner, but use as few frames as possible to keep the file size to a quick loading minimum. Test new banners with a Pay Per Click network, before you use them in Pay Per Impression campaigns. Many sites display two different banners on each page, while others display the same banner at the top "top fold" and bottom "bottom fold" of each page. When given a choice, it's usually best to choose the top fold of page because the viewer is more likely to see your banner. You can expect to pay a lot less for "bottom fold" of page banner spaces. Brian Hawkins - Entrepreneur, Internet Marketer, Online business consultant, Author. Site owner and administrator of several sites including: http://www.extremesitepromotions.com/ and http://www.csc4u.com/
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