Life at Startup Speed (70mph on the LIE at 1:00am)

Life at Startup Speed (70mph on the LIE at 1:00am)

eGifter goes totally Crypto.

OK, so not totally crypto, but it is still pretty awesome.  We just experienced an amazing thing. Dogecoin may be trading at pennies per Doge and a million Doge can only get you a reasonably good Android phone, but come on! The Crypto-Currency world is paying a lot of attention to what’s going on.

Here’s how it played out for us at the Inside Bitcoins Conference in the Big Apple last week.

The following events took place on Monday, April 7th and the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 8th:

6:30AM: Team meets to pack the Big Black SUV with booth equipment.

10:00AM: Inside Bitcoins starts at the Javits Center, NY and eGifter is there. Great crowds, lots of questions about using bitcoin to convert to digital gift cards. eGifter appears to be one of the few offerings at the show that give bitcoiner's places a place to spend their bitcoin.

4:15PM: eGifter CEO, Tyler Roye, gives a lively presentation on bringing “Bitcoin to Main Street."

5:00PM: End of day 1. Nighttime events begin.

11:50PM: On our way back to Long Island, hungry, thirsty and tired in the Big Black SUV, the need for us to accept more than just bitcoin consumes the team. A call is made to our CTO, David, who is given the task of finishing off the GoCoin integration for both Dogecoin and Litecoin immediately. While Tyler and Bill, VP of Marketing, (both passengers in the SUV) realize that we can’t wait until tomorrow to put the finishing touches on the press release…it’s go time.

01:00: (That’s AM for you non-military types.) Integration is done and testing kicks off. Press release is being polished at 70mph on the Long Island Expressway.

02:30: Word comes down from David and Steven, the head of QA, that all is tested and ready to go live. Minutes later, Dogecoin and Litecoin go up on the eGifter site, mobile apps and Facebook applications.

02:50: Press release put out via PR Newswire.

03:30: Ben Doernberg from the Dogecoin Foundation gets a Google Alert that eGifter supports Dogecoin to allow holders to convert their Doge into digital gift cards with USD value. Ben loves it so much he changes his Inside Bitcoins presentation for that day to include eGifter as a key example of an early adopting ecommerce platform supporting Doge. eGifter gets a real nice PR push just for being a part of Ben’s presentation at the show!

If this is not a 21st century start-up success tale, then we don’t know what is. Combining strategic thinking, mobile communications with the team on-the-go, and agile development disciplines to do a release in the middle of the night to influence an “influencer’s” presentation that very same morning; that’s what being a Lean Startup is all about……

 

Twitter Best Practices

Twitter is a household name in the world of digital marketing, but it is still highly underutilized as an important piece of strategy. Facebook may be the largest and most active social network, but Twitter has the ability to break down communication barriers that other forms of social and traditional media cannot. The power of Twitter lies in its simplicity. If you're new to Twitter, it may seem like navigating a foreign country. But, these best practices will turn you into a Twitter Pro.

1. Listen before you tweet.

500 million tweets are sent per day. It's impossible to read them all, but you can use Twitter's search bar (just like a search on Google) to find people tweeting about specific topics - or even your brand! Another great way to scale listening is by using Tweetdeck. In 2011, Twitter acquired Tweetdeck and it's a great tool for monitoring your Twitter mentions in realtime as well as multiple search feeds for keywords relevant to you. Responding to others' tweets can be even more powerful than broadcasting new tweets and you can't respond without listening first.

For retailers, Twitter is a great tool to support customer service and integrate customers into the brand experience. Be sure to heavily involve your customer service team in your Twitter strategy and planning. Turn negative experiences into positive ones by finding customer feedback both direct and indirect on Twitter, escalating and resolving the issue. And, don’t forget to thank customers for Tweeting positive feedback. Consider creating short, personalized Thank You videos on YouTube and tweeting the video URL at the customer. 

2. Tweet human.

You are what you say and how you say it. There's no need to be overly formal or sound like a TV ad on Twitter. Talk to your customers on Twitter the same way you would if they walked into your store. Your voice can affect the way customers communicate with you on Twitter, so make sure it represents the personality of your business. Make it conversational. Write a tweet like you're having a conversation with a good friend. Stay away from "marketing speak." People seek education and entertainment online. Use Twitter as a way to provide it in a meaningful way.

3. Use hashtags.

A hashtag is created on Twitter by adding the hash symbol (#) before words or phrases in tweets to categorize them for others or to organize conversations around a theme. Users can click on hashtags to see similarly-themed Tweets. Placing hashtags in your tweets will increase the discoverability of your content. It's important to be selective when using hashtags. So, don't do this:

#Checkout this #sweetdeal – get it #todayonly and don’t forget to #sharewithfriends. #bestdealever #dontmissit

Use 1-2 per tweet (3 can be ok sometimes). Do a few searches on Twitter to find hashtags that are being used more commonly (or uncommonly if you are trying to create a unique hashtag for your brand).

Another great way to use hashtags is by starting a Twitter chat. Center the conversation around a topic or interest important to your audience. Add value by inviting topic experts to co-host the chat. Schedule your chats to happen on a weekly or biweekly basis so that your audience knows to keep coming back for high-value conversations.

4. Engage your audience.

It's important to find and follow your audience on Twitter. When you see their tweets in your timeline, seize opportunities to engage them. Reply to their tweet if you have a good response. Retweet their tweet if it's something you think your audience would like to see. Favorite their tweet if you like what they said, but it doesn't require a reply. Favoriting is the most underutilized action on Twitter and it's a highly effective engagement tactic.

A great engagement tactic for retailers on Twitter is to favorite tweets from customers' checkins at your retail locations using location-based social networking platforms like Foursquare.

5. Find your "tweet spot."

How often should I tweet? What time should I tweet? These are common questions that brands ask when they are developing a Twitter strategy. There is no perfect formula to a tweet schedule. Try tweeting once a day to start. Download the Twitter app on your phone so that you can tweet on the go or schedule tweets to publish in the future using a tool like Tweetdeck. Over time, you'll hit your tweeting stride and learn what works for you.

Try scheduling tweets between 8pm and 10pm and measuring their conversion rate. This is a great time to capture customers' attention while they are browsing the web at peak online shopping hours.

6. Don't count followers.

Having a load of followers is great if you are news source or other type of media publication. But for most businesses, the number of followers you have doesn't really matter. It's all about interactions - not only the quantity of interactions, but also the quality. Focus more on nailing down opportunities to engage 1-on-1 with people or other businesses than growing your follower base. 

7. Want it? Ask for it!

A great way to gain organic reach on Twitter is when followers retweet your content. Adding a simple request to RT (retweet) a post goes a long way. Don't ask your followers to retweet every post. Save the requests for the best tweets and ones that drive traffic to your site. Asking for a retweet can increase your chances of getting one by up to 23x.

8. Be relevant.

Twitter happens in real time so there are plenty of opportunities to guide conversations when they are most relevant to users. Keep your messages timely by tweeting relevant tweets during events or breaking news.

Holiday-centric messaging is another great way to keep your tweets relevant. Create a calendar of holidays ranging from Mother's Day to Talk Like a Pirate Day and plan content around these days. You could even offer deals on these days to incentivize your followers and further engage them in the holiday festivities. For example, Talk Like a Pirate Day's coupon code is ARGH or WALKTHEPLANK.

9. Post photos.

Pictures perform really well on Twitter and take up a lot of space in the timeline when auto-displayed. On average, tweets with photos get double the engagement. Twitter makes it easy to share photos from any location. Tweet real images of your products and watch how fast it gets retweeted. By real images, we mean sans studio production or Photoshop. People respond well to real images on Twitter. It invokes transparency and makes your brand more relatable.

10. Flock to unlock.

Incentivize followers to share your tweets by retweeting to unlock exclusive content or a great deal. Find an incentive your followers will love. Do some research by asking followers what their favorite product or feature is. Drum up anticipation by tweeting when your campaign will launch. Follow up with countdowns and campaign mentions (including hashtags and retweets) to gain visibility and boost excitement. After launching the campaign, stay engaged. Tweet specific instructions on how to redeem the deal or access the content. This message will have greater reach, so make sure it's clear. Fuel your campaign with progress tweets in real-time, telling followers when they're close to reaching the goal. When they reach the goal number of retweets, give your followers the reward. You can embed the content/deal into the tweet itself or drive them to your website.

 

Need more help with Twitter? We've got your covered! Email social@egifter.com

 

 

Sources: 

http://business.twitter.com

http://socialmediaexaminar.com

http://forbes.com

Hear eGifter CEO Tyler Roye at All Payments Expo

With 2,000+ attendees and 100+ Sponsors and Exhibitors, All Payments Expo brings together a universe of the most powerful payments companies each year.

If you’re planning to attend the expo, be sure to join eGifter’s CEO Tyler Roye as he leads the discussion “Disrupting the Fraud Supply Chain: How to Develop a Consumer-Focused Fraud Strategy” taking place Wednesday March 5th at 9am. And while you’re onsite, make sure you stop by and visit our booth in the exhibit hall--we’ll be in booth #302.

eGifter is a proud partner of All Payments Expo, and we look forward to being your host, March 3-5, 2014 in Las Vegas.

Best Practices for Sharing eGifter Promotions on Facebook

Congratulations! You just created an awesome promotion for your customers powered by eGifter.com. Now what? Well, Facebook is a great place to share promotions because you'll be tapping into the viral nature of the platform. So, what's the best way to share your promotion on Facebook? Here are a few simple tips to optimize sharing on Facebook in order to drive more traffic to your promotion.

1. Share Links - Not Photos

Many brands have gotten used to sharing photos with shortened links in the caption instead of using the native link-sharing feature when posting a status. That's because photos used to give brands much more real estate in the News Feed. In September 2013, Facebook rolled out larger images for link-share posts to help boost click-through rates. Photo sharing is still a great way to engage your audience, but sharing links will drive traffic.

When a customer sees a shared link on Facebook, clicking the image, title or description will take them to the desired landing page. (Clicking a shared photo will simply enlarge the photo and will not bring the user to the landing page for your promo.)

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2. Remove URLs from Copy

Leaving a URL in the post copy looks sloppy and is a waste of precious space. Characters employed should be used purely for the sake of sparking the user's attention and igniting a click. 

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3. Upload a Custom Image

After pasting a URL in the status box on your Facebook Page, a box below will auto-populate with an image. You can upload your own image by clicking on the "Upload Image" link below the auto-populated image. The dimensions of the image should be 560 pixels wide and 292 pixels tall. PNG images look clearest when uploaded. The image should be eye-catching and not contain too much text.  

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4. Optimize the Link Title and Description

Along with an image, a link title and description will auto-populate. These are also customizable. The link title should be used to captivate the reader and the description should be used for a call-to-action. Double click on either space to add custom copy. The title should not exceed 100 characters. A good call-to-action for the description is "Click here to...", but feel free to get creative and try other calls to test your audience's responsiveness.

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5. Boost the Post

Although eGifter promotions have an inherent viral effect, the perfect recipe for Facebook success also includes a dash of advertising. Boost your post to give it extra reach and ensure that many of your fans see it in their News Feed. A small budget can go a long way when it comes to promoted posts.

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Questions? We're here to help! Contact Kristen Malzone, eGifter Community Director, for support with your social media outreach.

Mobile Commerce Top Priority for Retailers

Today RetailWire published a great article on mobile commerce, which is core to our mission at eGifter. Here's a snippet:

Mobile first. That's the rallying cry for retailers looking to keep pace with the growing number of shoppers using mobile devices, according to the 2014 Shop.org/Forrester Research State of Retailing Online report.

According to the research, 53 percent of retailers identify mobile as their top priority with "responsive design, mobile site optimization, and tablet redesign" as key areas of focus.

Read the full article and let us know what you think!

Hey, Huntington, we're here!

The eGifter team has officially moved to Huntington, in the new LaunchPad Huntington Tech Accelerator. The final coats of paint are still drying, but we just couldn't wait any longer! Come visit us when you're in town!


The team gets to work in the midst of construction.

The team gets to work in the midst of construction.


Happy Holidays from the eGifter Team

We celebrated the holidays today and toasted to another great year at our start-up. It's hard to believe how much this small team has accomplished in just 2 1/2 years!

Of course, we couldn't have gotten to where we are today without the support of our customers, brand partners, and business partners. Thank you to all of you who have helped eGifter continue to grow.

2014 will be even more exciting. We will be growing the team (again), traveling to a number of conferences around the country, and continuing to work hard to make eGifter the best it can be. Stay tuned for all the latest news!

The eGifter team celebrates at TGI Fridays--one of our favorite brand partners!

The eGifter team celebrates at TGI Fridays--one of our favorite brand partners!

Now Accepting Bitcoin

We are excited to announce that we will now be accepting bitcoin for purchases of eGift cards from eGifter's growing list of more than 100 brands, including brands like GameStop, Home Depot, CVS and many other household names. We have partnered with Coinbase, a trusted and popular platform for buying and selling Bitcoin that was founded in June of 2012.

Bitcoin is an alternative virtual, crypto-currency with over $1.3 billion in circulation according to Bitcoin.org and $4 million in transactions per day and growing. Coinbase has over 200,000 users producing over 138,000 transactions per month.

Welcome to eGifter, Bitcoiners!

The RGCA Releases Gift Card Attitudes Survey

91.4 Percent Plan to Give One to Three Retail Cards

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (June 18, 2013) The Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA), a trade association of diverse, closed loop gift card retailers committed to promoting the use of gift cards, has released the results of a consumer gift card attitudes survey. The survey asked over 1,000 consumers about their attitudes, behaviors and preferences when giving and receiving retail gift cards; the data also revealed insight into current consumer gifting and spending trends… Read More