Saturday, July 10, 2010

E-cards with a Difference

Sam Desilwa

E-cards have been around for a number of years now, and for many people they offer a great alternative to traditional greeting cards: it’s much easier to personalize an e-card with your own message or images, plus you don’t need to rely on the postal service (especially important if you’re sending the greeting abroad). On top of all this you’re saving the trees by sending your greeting cards electronically!

The downside, of course, is that your recipient might feel that e-cards require less thought and effort than a paper version. After all, you don’t need to go to the shops and choose your e-card, nor do you have to purchase a stamp and pop it in the post box; everything can be sorted out while you’re in front of the computer.

But like all technologies, electronic greetings cards have evolved quickly over the last few years and there are some really unique versions available: the best online companies offer interactive cards, personalised cards, musical cards, or even a combination of all of the above. So if you’re prepared to put some time and thought into your selection, you can find an e-card that will impress even the most die-hard supporter of hand written messages.

First off, forget the traditional e-card providers where the recipient simply receives a static e-mail with a birthday message written on. Look for something quirky and well-designed that you can personalize as much as you like, from the message to the image to the music (a musical greeting is far more surprising and engaging than a silent version).

Secondly, you need to make sure that your recipient will actually open their card – some people check their inboxes more frequently than others after all. A sure fire way to do this is to find a company like Card Cube, where a text is sent to inform the recipient that their greeting card is waiting for them. This is a really clever idea which not only ensures that your message will be seen on the correct day, but it also builds anticipation – who is the card from and what does it say?

It’s also important to find a company with a really wide selection of designs and formats. It goes without saying that the wider range of choice you have, the more likely your card will both surprise and delight your recipient, and they’ll feel you’ve chosen something uniquely for them. For instance, if you have a puzzle loving friend you could hunt down an interactive e-card that doubles up as a jigsaw, allowing them to put the pieces together to get their message.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that e-cards are not only useful for birthdays, Christmas and other traditional occasions: they can be a really thoughtful way of marking alternative celebrations where you might not usually consider sending a card. From pregnancies to driving tests, if you know somebody who is celebrating something and they’re not really expecting to receive greeting cards, why not surprise them with an electronic message? With a little effort they are convenient, thoughtful and fun.

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