Many know the name, but do you know the story…?

Where it all started for Forfront…

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THEN…

It all started in 1998 in Epsom, Surrey. Just four of us, with specialist skills and a lot of enthusiasm. To begin with we created a variety of e-commerce solutions and a unique suite of web tools.

Our email marketing product was the most well-received. It took off in a way we’d not anticipated and quickly gained a reputation for being powerful, intelligent and simple.

As a result we began to develop e-shot™

The first version of e-shot™ launched in 2001. In the fourteen years since we’ve sent over 93 billion emails, for thousands of clients. Version 5 is one of the most effective, fast and capable email marketing tools out there.

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Copywriting. All you need to know to get customers gossiping!

It’s always great when we receive an email that really sticks. Whether it’s a company selling a product or service, we all feel relieved when the copy is spot on and builds an instant connection. Here are our top 5 copywriting tips, which will get customers gossiping about your campaigns…

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The internet battle has begun…

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A quote from Tom Goodwin VP of Strategy and Innovation at Havas Media made me stop and think…

The power of the internet has completely changed the way we live and the shift in our everyday experiences heavily rely on the power of mobile phones.

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How to Create a Christmas Marketing Masterstroke

 

How to Create a Christmas Marketing Masterstroke

Wouldn’t it be great if your employees could let loose, you could raise money for charity and you could get noticed on social media all at once…

Charity Events & Social Standing

If you follow a couple of businesses on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, it won’t take you long before you see updates that show employees having fun.

Not necessarily laughing their heads off, “five pints at the pub for lunch was bad for productivity – YOLO!” fun, but the little activities that most companies take part in. They’re usually for a good cause.

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Image source.

 

The ice bucket challenge, Movember, wear pink for breast cancer, charity bake sales, raffles, sports days and the like.

All very worthy endeavours that businesses take part in for good reasons. They then post proof to social media to raise awareness – as well as to show their lighter side.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with jumping on a passing fad or enjoying an annual event to raise money and earn a bit of online attention at the same time.

Did you know, on Twitter and Facebook posts with photos get twice the engagement rate of those without?

However, while things like the ice bucket challenge quickly become passé, there is a relatively unexplored avenue that businesses should consider for fundraising as well as publicity. And essentially every company in the UK (and beyond) holds one of these shindigs already.

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The More the Merrier or Less is More on Social Media?

The More the Merrier or Less is More: How Often Should You Post on Social Media?

Forfront’s Tip of the Month for October is all about social media. Specifically, how often you should post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. No business wants to drive their audience mad, but we don’t want to be forgotten either.

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Gif source.

Quite some time ago we criticised a clothing retailer for its ridiculous email marketing frequency. Social media doesn’t face quite the same limitations; too many posts in a day won’t give the impression that a brand is invading someone’s personal space.

However, your audience still might be turned off if a company’s posts are dominating their timelines – while if that business hasn’t uploaded anything in a while it can be easy to forget about them.

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Hot App Uber’s Cool Ice Cream Campaign

 

The controversial taxi app Uber has today launched an ice cream promotion around the globe.

It’s another in a series of very clever PR moves from the company who rocketed into the public consciousness with their black taxi strike stunt in June.

Yesterday, I received this email from the company:

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At around the same time as the above email screen shot, with well-planned cross-channel marketing, Uber announced on Twitter what was going on:

While the ferocious storms last night might have shaken Southern England, that doesn’t look set to dampen today’s impending heat-wave. Temperatures in London are expected to hit up to 31 degrees Celsius, making it the hottest day of 2014 so far.

Uber have creatively found a perfect way to take advantage of the fierce summer sun, using it for brand awareness, public good will and a load of positive column inches.

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Café Rouge are Going Underground

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The day before London experienced two days of commuting misery while tube workers held a 48 hour strike, this email from Café Rouge popped into my inbox.

We’ve looked at brilliant reactive email marketing on the e-shot blog before. However, this great example by B&Q was reactive in the truest sense of the term; it appeared in the aftermath of extremely bad storms in the UK.

Café Rouge have gone one step further.

The tube strike was announced well in advance, so they had time to plan and arrange their topical email promotion to arrive in inboxes the day before the transport closures in England’s capital.

So when subscribers opened the message it couldn’t have been any more up-to-date and relevant.

As tempting as it is to swap my dull sandwiches for their moules marinières, my commute doesn’t involve taking the tube – so asking my boss to work from a French restaurant is probably not going to happen.

I’d imagine that’s the same for a lot of people.

Yet while people might not follow the “try working from Café Rouge this week” suggestion in their droves, the email succeeds because it puts the restaurant right into subscribers’ minds with a great offer.

When lunchtime comes around, the “delay free” set menu might be too difficult to resist. Especially if your commute took twice as long as usual (and you had to skip breakfast).

Another company trying to use the strike for their benefit is Innocent Drinks who posted this picture on their Twitter feed (twice within two hours). The problem with Innocent’s tactic is that is seems entirely motivated to gain internet attention, without offering any sort of valuable promotion like Café Rouge’s two-course discount.

Innocent’s “London Transport Options” picture is overbearingly twee and whimsical, as if the whole tube strike was some sort of childhood adventure. Nevertheless, they know their followers well as the tone of the image has definitely worked from a social media standpoint – gaining a combined total of almost 5,000 retweets at the time of writing.

Clearly, reactive marketing can be an extremely worthwhile exercise, whether by email or social media. But only if it’s carried out as expertly as in these two examples.

 

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Best Super Bowl Adverts of all Time

 In general, I prefer my footballs round, not egg shaped. And I prefer my athletes slight and skilful, not armour-wearing beasts.

But despite my inclination for the world’s most popular sport (and its sensibly shaped sporting equipment), it’s undeniable that the annual Super Bowl is a monumental occasion, especially for advertisers.

In 2013 the average cost of a 30 second Super Bowl TV advert was a ludicrous $4 million. Yet when the average audience of 2013’s event was 108.7 MILLION viewers, you can understand why such a brief advertising opportunity is so highly prized, pricey and widely talked about. Particularly as our age of viral videos and social media sharing means an advert shown once has the potential to bounce around the internet for years to come.

So putting aside my football/soccer prejudices, we decided to curate a countdown of some of the most noteworthy Super Bowl adverts ever. Looking at social media shares and YouTube views as well as the more traditional indicators of cultural impact like longevity. We’ve missed plenty of significant examples, but these are a few of the most important and interesting.

Volkswagen: The Force (2011) You can’t argue with the figures; 5.24 million social shares and over 68 million views makes this the most popular Super Bowl advert of all time, hands down!

 

Apple: 1984 “And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984’”. It’s an absolutely brilliant tag line – and a clear indication of the bold and rebellious advertising risks Apple would use for decades to come. Not many people would try to introduce their futuristic computer using imagery of George Orwell’s terrifying, dystopian future. Yet it possibly achieved more for the brand than any Super Bowl ad, before or since. Plus, it was directed by none other than Ridley Scott.

 

Budweiser: 9/11 Tribute* (2002) This ad was literally aired once – so as not to be seen as making the company money (unlike some of these tribute failures). In the process Budweiser created a touching commercial that has trended every September for the past 11 years and has been shared 3.34 million times on social networks and blogs. Impressive.

 

READ RELATED ARTICLE: Eulogising or Exploiting? Reactive Marketing Needs to be Careful

 

Budweiser: Brotherhood* (2013) The watery-flavoured beverage maker hit our list once again, achieving 2.73 million social shares with this tearjerker. It’s a classic bromance tale… Of a man and his horse.

 

Doritos: Pug Attack (2011) & Casket (2010) These two ads from Doritos achieved a staggering level of success, even more staggering seeing as they had such huge success twice in a row! Hitting 36 million and 50 million views respectively, their slapstick approach clearly went down well with the American public.

 

And to top it all off, here’s an example of memorable Super Bowl marketing that didn’t require an extortionate TV spot to be hugely successful; Oreo in 2013 (via Twitter).

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It’s an exemplary display of real-time marketing that took the digital world by storm.

Posted during a 34 minute power cut at Super Bowl XLVII, the cookie’s social media department jumped into action, tweeting an ad that read “Power Out? No problem” with an image of a single Oreo and the caption, “You can still dunk in the dark.”

The message caught on almost immediately, getting over 15,000 retweets and producing countless column inches on websites, blogs and newspapers in the immediate aftermath.

Scarlett Johansson’s SodaStream advert has already been banned this year for being “too sexy”, or something ludicrous, while there’s a huge amount of teasers online for 2014’s ads. Yes, you read that right. Teasers. For adverts. What is the world coming to?!

Let us know what you think will take the marketing world by storm at this year’s event or what should have been included in our list on Twitter @e_shot or @copywritertom.

 

*Budweiser could have made our list over and over again. We practically could have made an entirely Budweiser countdown. I mean, nobody could escape the frogs from 1995 could they?!

2014 Digital Marketing Predictions

There’s no psychics here at e-shot, although my colleague Pete did have an eerie case of déjà vu the other day. Nevertheless, we decided we know enough about digital media, and the way the winds are blowing, to back these five predictions for 2014. Agree or disagree? Let us know on Twitter @e_shot or @copywritertom.

 

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Premonition 1: Mobile will grow.

Smart phone and tablet growth will continue on their seemingly unstoppable upward trajectory, and the faster email marketers react to this this better:

  • According to Gartner.com, tablet shipments are expected to grow by 53.4% in 2014.
  • Revenue per mobile click will be almost double that of a desktop click, according to Yesmail in their “Email marketing compass: consumer purchase behaviour” report.
  • The Radicati Group predict the number of mobile users will grow 28% in 2014 (and a further 23% in 2015).

However, according to Equinux, in June 2013 just under 12% of newsletters used responsive design techniques to optimise their layouts for mobile devices. Such a poor amount of responsive design needs to change for businesses to take advantage of the growing market.

 

 

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2. Email will continue to be essential for marketing.

  • According to the experts at Reachmail, the number of people receiving and responding to email promotions may increase to 2.7 billion between now and 2017.
  • Uberflip report that companies spent 20% of their marketing budgets on email marketing in 2013, a figure that is projected to grow by another 10% in 2014.
  • Social media marketing will keep rising, and diversifying into arenas such as Snapchat, but nevertheless email will maintain its position as the bedrock of a brand’s campaign; the unifying format that ties together all other digital marketing strands.

 

 

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3. Higher use of HTML5 & an elevated importance of the inbox.

The inbox will no longer be a place to navigate away from. Landing pages will be less relevant and video in email will become commonplace as part of the inbox experience.

  • According to a recent study by Email Monks, 58% of users can now see HTML5 video in their inboxes.

This opportunity will start to be seized upon by more forward-thinking, creative email marketers.

  • To get a head start, contact us today because e-shot can now provide video integration with your emails as a bolt-on service.

 

 

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4. Greater personalisation capabilities and emerging location marketing.

Not only personalised “Hello, Tom” greetings at the start of emails (which should be standard if you use any respectable email marketing platform, such as e-shot). Instead, 2014 will see better ranges of tailored goods in emails.

  • 2014 will even see the budding emergence of geo-location features, mobile users triggering the display of deals and suitable content based on where in the world they are when they click open.
  • Websites adapted for customer’s habits and past transactions will become more common, beyond the trendsetters such as Amazon or Netflix.

 

 

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5. Analytics will evolve and become even more valued.

With social media marketing, measuring your return and using analytics is a convoluted process. With content marketing it’s even less quantifiable. Email marketing is the one area of digital marketing where analytics are extremely useful, and ROI is clear. In 2014 this will become even more sophisticated and useful:

  • Companies such as CANDDi bring together different aspects of web analytics to produce information about individuals that browse your site and click-through from emails.
  • These newfound advancements in big-data analytics will become far more widely utilised, revolutionising lead-generation.
  • We will see more integration of these analytics platforms with email marketing software, meaning users have a complete package to track who is visiting a site, so that chasing sales becomes more intelligent than ever before.