Christmas Card Ideas

2017 Best Ideas for Your Corporate Christmas Cards

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and therefore, it’s beginning to look a lot like that time when we need to send out our beloved Christmas cards to all of our clients and prospects.

As a Marketing Agency, we are currently full on looking for good ideas of cards to send to our clients for the festivities and naturally, we are looking at our options with a Marketing oriented perspective.

So, we went scrolling around Google and Pinterest to gather the best ideas for our upcoming E-Card. We found some serious, some fun, some hilarious and some disturbing options and we thought that rather than letting you spend the same precious hours looking for your own options, we would share our selection of favorites on the blog, for all who need inspiration this Christmas.

We hope you find what you are looking for, Hohoho!

The Gif(t) E-CardChristmas Card Ideas 2017

The GIF E-card is a classic. It acts as a virtual snow globe for most of its recipients. One could sit and stare at the falling snow for hours and try to depict every smallest detail within the picture. These are great to spread cheer get people to fully immerse themselves in the spirit of Christmas.

The Poster CardChristmas Card Ideas

We had never come across this idea before, but we sure think it is brilliant (provided you have good Postal budget. This one is especially useful if you have a shop front or a restaurant. Otherwise, you could always take a day off and travel around town to distribute them yourself! Provided that it is nicely designed, your brand could end up hanging on the wall of your clients’ office.

The Kaleidoscopic E-Card Christmas Card Ideas

This is one of our personal favorites. Kaleidoscopes ring out the inner child in most of us. And after all, what is the point of Christmas, if it isn’t for us to bring back our inner child over the course of a night. This design is also very classy and can reflect both an original and a poetic side of your company for this gorgeous time of the year.

The “Can Haz Burger” E-CardChristmas Card Ideas

This is perfect for the less serious among us. (And it is particularly fit for pet-related companies). But what is the point of a Christmas card if you can’t get a little silly?

The Animated E-CardChristmas Card Ideas

These designs are sleek and generally tell a small, sweet story that often brings out some form of emotions within the recipient. Plus, you can never go wrong with pets!

The Secret Santa CardChristmas Card Ideas

This is our personal favorite in the more standard cards. They take the shape of a business card or a paper bauble. Big enough to write a very personalised message on the back yet small enough to be carried around in a wallet and handed directly to your clients on your pre-christmas visit to them. We love the very classy designs and believe that sometime, less is more!

The Personalised (and for the ridicule-immune) E-card

Christmas Card Ideas

This is the absolute creme-de-la-creme of the ridiculous card, but you are sure to give your recipient an immense giggle. We’ve found that generally speaking, these kinds of e-cards are kept internal and share around by the employees of a same company as a way to bond and have a laugh altogether. It is used more as a team building tool than an actual greetings card for clients, but it does a rather good job at what it is used for!

We hope our selection helps you find inspiration for this year’s Christmas cards, feel free to let us know if you’ve come across any other original or beautifully designed ones. As for us, you will find out what we went for soon. Watch this space!

Merry Christmas!

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Event Planning in London

Hosting Events in London just got Simpler!

Did you hear the big news? Meetup and WeWork have just announced that they will be joining forces in 2018!

If like us, you are a Small/Medium sized business, or even a Startup, an entrepreneur or someone looking to explore your interests with other like-minded people, then it is very likely that you have heard of the platform, Meetup. We have been using it for years to attend events and organise our own.

But if like us, you have been using the platform, then you most probably know how hard it is finding a place for everybody to meet without having to pay tremendous amounts of money.

Well, Meetup seems to have found the solution to our problem, by joining forces with the WeWork network, and that could be a real game changer for all event organisers.

Imagine no longer having the stress of looking for a nice, professional place to host your prospects and clients. No longer having to meet with business people at a noisy pub. No longer having to advance the money from your own pocket, with no guarantee that you will get as many guests as you thought to at least break even.

Meetup and WeWork will be blowing all of your troubles away with their brand new alliance. Now, the only real question is, what cost will be associated to this joint (ad)venture? They are still keeping the terms of their agreement very secret. Guess we will have to wait until 2018 to find out!

Watch the full promotional video by clicking on the picture below and click on this link for more information

Where to host events in London

The Marketing Mistakes to Avoid if You Don't Want Your Company to Come Crashing Down - The case of Easyjet

The Marketing Mistakes to Avoid if You Don’t Want Your Company to Come Crashing Down

I was coming back from my holiday in Nice to London Gatwick last week and had to take the only airline with room left at this time of year: Easyjet.

The reason I am mentioning this trip on the blog is because Easyjet made a series of unforgivable marketing mistakes, ensuring that I would never use their services again but also giving me great inspiration for this article. I want to use this article to share with you the mistakes that were made and why you have to make sure never to make the same mistakes if you want to keep your customers.

There is only so much a customer / client / patient can take before they fully stop using your services. It wasn’t the first time that Easyjet had let me down, but it will be the last. And the reason for that isn’t that they ran into some problems that highly impacted how my day went, that happens to every company, it is because of the appalling way in which their customer services handled the situation. I want to share with you the marketing mistakes that they made so that you can avoid making them yourself.

Every business has its share of issues, problems, challenges that sometimes stop them from functioning properly. But in the face of a crisis, a strong and efficient customer service ‘and in-case-of [fill blank]’ marketing plan can turn a bitter experience into a “they did the best that they could and I was very impressed with the way they treated me and the situation”. That’s the very thin line between shutting the door forever or keeping it slightly open, hoping that the next experience will make up for it.

Now, back to Easyjet. They are famous for their lateness so I was expecting a good hour’s delay. We were meant to land in Gatwick at 1.10pm. We had initially arrived above Gatwick on time but then the plane started circling around for about an hour or so.

Eventually, the captain announced that we were being rerouted towards Stansted because there had been an issue at Gatwick causing the airport to close down the runway.

So far, I’m not too annoyed. It happens and there’s not much Easyjet can do about it. They had to land somewhere! What comes next though, is what led me to make my final decision.

The plane taxied and stopped next to the staircase. The doors opened… but for the next two hours, nothing else happened. There was no communication whatsoever between the captain and us. He once told us we were waiting for security to come out and guide us down the stairs and 30 mins later told us we were going to taxi back out and fly back to Gatwick. During two hours, we had no idea what was going on.

Finally after two hours, the captain asked us to get off the plane and claimed that there were buses waiting outside to take whoever had a connexion, back to Gatwick. So we got off, passed security and went to fetch our luggage.

But as we arrived inside the airport, we noticed that there were no members of staff there to tell us where the suitcases were or where the buses were. Easyjet just left us alone to figure out what was going on.

The screens didn’t indicate which belt the suitcases were expected to come out of and the Easyjet Office only had one member of staff barely bothered about trying to figure out what was going on and being frankly extremely unhelpful with the situation, handing out pieces of paper with a customer hotline number.

At 5.30pm on the dot, when we had already been waiting for 1.5 hours, the member of staff from the Easyjet Desk simply left to go home and closed down the desk. It took another 1.5 hours to find our luggage, time during which I heard all sorts of explanations including “airport staff isn’t paid by Easyjet to get the luggage out so they’re not doing it”, “The plane went back to Gatwick with our luggage in it” and “The baggage hold door is broken so they can’t access the luggage”… all of which go to show the complete lack of communication on EasyJet’s part.

Finally, there was no compensation whatsoever, whether in the form of reimbursement, special offer for the next flight or vouchers of any kind because “the plane didn’t land more than 3 hours late”… well, sure, but hum… I mean… It didn’t even land in the right Airport! And if we add the countless hours of waiting around for luggage to come out, by the time we get back to our actual initial landing airport, Gatwick, the 3 hour mark has literally exploded…

Where am I getting at? Well…

As businesses, we are all at danger of making these simple yet lethal mistakes. So, what are the lessons that we should learn from this experience? We should learn that money saving has its limits, and Marketing is one of them. Not investing properly in a good marketing strategy can be very dangerous for a company and here is why:

1/ Communication is KEY – Had the teams on land communicated properly with the captain and had the captain told us the truth, we would have got very annoyed but at least we would have known what to expect. The man sitting behind me was expecting to take an MRI scan  on the very same day that we landed and in view of a heavy operation the next day. Until the last minute he was hoping he’d make it until he had no choice but to face the fact that it was’t going to happen. And that’s all because the captain kept changing his story every 30 mins. Passengers’ expectations were managed very poorly, if even at all.

As a business, you must ALWAYS communicate the closest version to the TRUTH to your clients in order to start managing their expectations. If you know a deadline is too tight, SAY IT. If you know it will be hard to repair their device and that it would be cheaper to buy a new one, SAY IT. If you think that dress makes them look 10 pounds heavier, SAY IT!

2/ Availability SAVES – By that I mean it saves your image. Once we got out of the plane, there was nobody to help us. A good company would send their staff running around trying to find a solution. One of my co-passengers told me about an experience they had with Emirates: the suitcase had been forgotten in Dubai while the passenger was on a plane to London. During the flight, a hostess came to tell them about it and offered for the suitcase to be delivered to the passengers door step on that very same day. A courrier was sent to deliver the forgotten suitcase by 11.30pm on that same day. Easyjet should have ensured that some members of staff would be there to try and communicate with the airport staff and report the situation to the passengers, or better yet, offer alternative solutions to the problem in order to avoid a three hour long wait for their suitcases.

As a business, you must ALWAYS be available for your clients. Whether it’s in the form of yourself, your staff, your PA or even a receptionist. But if there is an emergency, you must be able to have someone tailor to the problem until it is fully fixed. Any member of staff will suffice, as long as the communication channels are good and that they can as quickly as possible redirect the client to the appropriate person. People need to know that they are being taken care of and not left to deal with a situation by themselves. 

3/ Compensation KEEPS – By that I mean, keeps some form of relationship going. The fact that Easyjet did nothing to compensate was the last nudge I needed to promise to myself that I would never use their airline again. And there will be no going back. Because even if I do end up getting my money back, it’ll be the results of hours of fighting and back and forth e-mailing trying to get them to pay for their mistake. I will be disgusted for life and it’ll be too late to get me back.

As businesses, we all make mistakes and we all fail to deliver sometimes. But the important thing to keep in mind for an overall successful relationship with our customers is to compensate for our mistakes. Whether it is in the form of a voucher, a special offer or a freebee to name a few, if we want to admit our shortcomings and try to save the relationship, we must prove our goodwill with a gift.  It shows respect for our customers, a real initiative to try and make up for our mistake and keeps them around just long enough to try to work our way back into their heart. 

As mentioned earlier, during a crisis a good implementation of the above three points will determine whether you find yourself behind a fully closed door or if there is still room to fit your foot. Make sure that your crisis-management marketing is impeccable. 

In total, I wasted 6 hours of my day between the rerouting, waiting to get out, waiting for my luggage, and traveling all the way back across town to get back home.

What I will keep from this appalling situation is this: should I need to use low cost again in the future, I will gladly use the Jet2 airline because they had a member of staff there, who even though she wasn’t related to Easyjet in any way, tried her very best to get someone from the airport to talk to us and sort the problem out.

So to all businesses out there, don’t do like Easyjet: don’t risk losing valuable customers over a Marketing shortcoming.

Have you had similar experiences? If you found this article useful for your own business insights or simply for the trivia, please share and like!

Linkedin Strategy

How to Find Clients through Linkedin

We live in a connected world. We no longer look for jobs in the newspapers or send paper CVs out in the mail. Today, we can look for a job, for clients and for business partners directly online. With the click of a button, we can send a contact request, a CV, share somebody’s expert articles, follow companies’ updates and much more.

Such behaviour came from the uprise of social media, especially through Facebook and LinkedIn. For this article, we will concentrate on the latter as it is a unique and oh so necessary professional tool in the 21st century…

LinkedIn used to be quite straight forward: you create a professional profile i.e. quite literally an online CV, and start adding new contacts to your profile, most of which are originally people that you already know personally.

But as time evolved, the social media platform became more popular and people started seeing new opportunities for connexions and business.

Today, we could say LinkedIn is a mix between a professional Facebook page and a micro blog, which for many people can be quite overwhelming to use.

So we have decided to share with you the ‘TLC’ way to make sure you implement the right strategy for your LinkedIn profile that will stand out from the crowd and get you on the road towards success.

1/ Testimonials – Out of everybody that you are connected with, chances are you’ve already worked with / for some of them. A good way to make sure that your profile is strong is to show that you are a professional and reliable person. And what better way to do that than to get recommendations from the people who’ve already tested your capabilities?

It’s easy! Thanks to LinkedIn, two solutions are available to you. The first one is to remember, next time your work with/for someone, to ask them to give you a LinkedIn recommendation upon completion of your project / mission. The second one is to ask the contacts whom you’ve worked with in the past, if they’d be kind enough to write you one.

Disclaimer: Due to their own time constraints, some people might ask you to write it yourself and send it to them for validation. While this isn’t a solution we’d recommend, if you do decide to do this, make sure to stay true to the project that you carried out and to be honest regarding the quality of the work you delivered. That way, if a prospect or future employer decide to do a background check before hiring you, you are not risking to find yourself in a fraudulent situation.

2/ Literature – Most companies create their own LinkedIn pages. Influential people within any given industry generally have profiles that you can follow without needing to add them as contacts (request that they will probably reject because well… they don’t know you!).

Whether they are companies or influencers, they generally keep their pages up to date with latest news, expert articles etc… This means that if you follow these profiles and pages, you will have access to a wealth of expert literature from your industry that you will be able to share directly on your page.

LinkedIn enables users to add their own caption to any piece of content that they share. This means that you can use these sharing opportunities to showcase some of your own knowledge and expertise on the given subject that you are sharing. Simply put, you can use somebody else’s content and expertise to put forward you own profile too and show people that you are an expert in your field as well.

3/ Content – In addition to sharing other people’s content, it is necessary to create your own! You can write a blog post on your website and share the link to it on LinkedIn, or you can simply write your own expert articles directly on LinkedIn under the ‘Write and Article’ section in your status updates.

Several good ways to find inspiration for your own content are to read what your competitors, partners, providers and other influencer talk about on LinkedIn. From there, you will be able to spot the trendy subjects to talk about and to put your own spin on them.

You can also simply ask your own clients or users about the problems that they are facing relative to your sector of activity. Clients are the best sources for inspiration as they deal with the direct consequences of using your products and services. Therefore, any problems or questions that they might have regarding what you have to offer are the number one subjects that you should focus on finding the answers to.

Writing your own content makes a very strong statement: you are listening to your clients’ and prospects’ needs, you are trying to answer them instead of ignoring them and you know the ins and outs of your sector, which goes to show you are a reliable person.

If you are looking to strengthen your LinkedIn presence, start by implementing all three steps listed above and you will see a real difference in how people find you and approach you. Start attracting more prospects, converting more leads or simply finding more job opportunities now!

How To Improve Online Visibility - SMOUTCOM

One Simple Hack to Significantly Improve your Online Visibility

Nowadays, everybody is going on about using Social Media handles to increase the visibility of your website online. But remember that before the internet was more widely available, businesses were relying on printed directories, such as the Yellow Pages, to be found and discovered by new customers.

The best way to ensure that your potential clients would call you rather than your competitors depended on whether you paid for larger print ad placements, or if your company’s name started with one of the first letters of the alphabet.

Today,  81% of shoppers conduct online research about a product before making a purchase. Therefore, the focus has now shifted, towards having well-optimized business pages across search engines and social media platforms so your business can be found and so you can generate more leads.New Call-to-action

Most people like to focus on Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Google, but did you ever consider using the help of YELP?

The teams of HigherVisibility produced a series of minigraphics, including one regarding SEO through YELP. If you register your business on YELP, these few simple steps will help you improve your pages and could result in more traffic, leads, and revenue for your business!

SEO-TIPS-IMPROVE-YELP

It is also worth noting that YELP offer advertising solutions, the reviews of which you can find here 

MARKETING WORKSHOPS LONDON

Announcing SmOutCom’s Next Upcoming Workshop in London!

Frederic Royer from Frog Telecom and Nathalie Pannequin from Smoutcom are very pleased to announce the next round of the PLUGD’IN Marketing and Communications Workshops on the 30th June 2017.

Come join us to chat all things Marketing and Communication, hear our views on the latest trends and technologies, pick our brains on how you could start/improve your own marketing strategy and network with people from all businesses and horizons.

**Spaces are limited so please RSVP via the contact sheet to ensure your spot**

We look forward to seeing you there!

The SmOutCom team

BOOST

Nathalie Pannequin’s Interview for BNI

Check out the interview of our Founder and CEO for the Networking Group BNI Holborn!

And don’t forget to reach out for more information.

This week, meet Nathalie Pannequin, Founder and Director of SmOutCom, a Branding and Marketing consultancy. Nathalie has 8 years of experience within the Marketing Industry and services companies of all sizes and from all sectors. She helps you lay down the foundations of your marketing strategy and accompanies you through its implementation. Nathalie is also the Co-Founder or the PLUGD’IN workshops, an initiative to help people better address their marketing and communications challenges in the modern numeric world. Check out her website for a FREE mini branding workshop giveaway or to find out more about her services and fees. www.smoutcom.co.uk