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May 23, 2014

Memory and Mission

Filed under: Special Reports — Tags: , , — 10:00 am

Chances are you’re reading this blog post as you sit at your desk on Friday morning. In your head, you’re already miles away, on a beach or in a tent at a campground somewhere. You’re making lists and doing some quick math to figure out if you have enough charcoal for the barbecue or enough ice for the cooler.

We have so many things to remember on any given day. We have to remember our passwords. We have to remember our to-do lists. We have to remember our meetings and our school pick-up times and to get groceries for dinner. Many of us have trouble remembering what needs to be done from one minute to the next. We invent apps, we buy notebooks, we tie little ribbons around our fingers.

That’s the reason that Memorial Day is so important in American culture. We rush around, trying not to forget the daily routines and the big events that need a lot of planning, but how often to we take time to remember our bygone Servicemen and Women? One day surely isn’t enough time to recount all the sacrifices they made on our behalf. Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the three-day weekend that we don’t even utilize that extra time as it was intended. We must make it our mission to remember.

Like so many businesses in America, DigitalMailer will be closed this coming Monday. Our company is made up of a wide variety of people with many different backgrounds. Some of them are veterans. Some of them have spouses, children or other family members who are currently serving in the armed forces. Some of them are the children and grandchildren of those brave few who gave their lives in service for the many.

In a weekend of boat trips, first visits to the pool and time spent with family and friends,  we take the extra time given to us to honor the fallen and to be thankful for the freedom their sacrifices afforded us.

We sincerely hope you’ll do the same.

Memorial Day honors those who gave their lives for their country. However, there are many active members of the Armed Services and living Veterans that need your help at this moment. Please consider joining us in donating to the USO, the Wounded Warrior Project and to Disabled American Veterans today.

April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day! Let’s DO Something About It.

Filed under: Arbor Day,Earth Day,green,green technology — 10:24 am

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day! Friday is Arbor Day! We celebrate the precious blue ball we all float on and give thanks for all the wonders of nature. Or, at least, that’s what we do here at DigitalMailer.

In the last 14 years, we’ve delivered around 24 million eStatements. Each eStatement delivered represents an envelope no one had to stuff, a statement no one had to print, and a consumer that didn’t waste all that effort by shredding it the minute they opened it. If everyone in America used electronic statements and billing, we’d save roughly 17 million trees. You could build a twelve foot high wall between New York and California every single year out of the paper Americans throw away.  Isn’t that a crying shame?

So let’s do something about it. If you don’t already use electronic statements and e-bills, why not start right now? If your office doesn’t have a recycling program, why not start one? All it takes is a few bins and a keen eye for recyclable goods. Consider doing an Arbor Day promo that plants trees for each member or customer that switches to eStatements. As individuals and businesses, we can each do a few little things every day that make the world better. As a society, our little things work together to make big things happen.

There’s no better time to start than right now.

April 18, 2014

Why Stop at Dye? Six Off-the-Wall Egg Decoration Ideas

Filed under: Uncategorized — 9:16 am

by Jimmy Marks, Creative Media Director

You’ve probably already been to the store to pick up your yearly egg dye kit, some white vinegar and a stack of disposable cups. If you still need to make the voyage, or if you have a little extra time, you might take a moment to consider a few alternate methods of making your eggs stand out from the crowd.

Tattoo Eggs

Tattooed Eggs

Follow this handy how-to and learn how you can turn temporary tattoos into fun egg designs. Better still, you can keep your kids from putting the tattoos all over themselves…or you.

Glitter Spotted Eggs

Glitter Spotted Eggs

Got some glitter handy? Dab on a few light patches of glue, shake the glitter over the eggs and you have sparkly, spotty eggs! Just make sure that the glitter stays contained to a specific area or you’ll have a sparkly, spotty house.

Splatter Eggs

Splatter Eggs

The splatter method is truly a work of art. Dip a toothbrush into some acrylic paint and flick the bristles at the egg with your finger. This method is much different from the usual “splatter method for eggs,” in which you drop an entire carton of uncooked eggs on the floor and they splatter everywhere. That’s less a work of art than it is the art of cleaning.

Gilded Eggs

The Golden Egg

No goose required…simply a small vial of gold paint or a handful of metallic paint markers, both available at your nearest craft store. You can color your dyed eggs with the gold or silver metal paints and make your average-looking egg look like a Faberge!

Lava Lamp Eggs

“Lava Lamp” Eggs

Of all the cool alternatives I found to traditional, one-color eggs, these are by FAR the coolest. You take rubber cement, drizzle it over the eggs, dye them, then peel the rubber cement and drop them into another color. I’m dyeing to try this (get it? Dye-ing?).

Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

It seems ironic that my favorite part of the Easter holiday is when my mom makes “Deviled” eggs. Nevertheless, I can’t wait for the moment when she decides we’ve enjoyed the dyed eggs as long as we can and she cracks them open to make her delicious deviled eggs. There are thousands of recipes for deviled eggs out there. The recipe shown here is for bacon cheddar deviled eggs, a recipe I know will resonate with all our bacon-loving readers out there.

Striving For Egg-cellence 

It might seem like there’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to dying eggs. Luckily, there are crafty risk-takers out there that always push the envelope and find fun new ways to spruce up our long-standing traditions. It’s a lot like email marketing (you had to know I’d work that in eventually): it might seem like the traditional ways are the only ways and there’s nothing new to try. But that’s why we’re here. We encourage all our users to take big steps forward, to make their email a priority and to make their messages into little works of art.

A new twist on something you’ve always enjoyed. That’s what egg-dying – and our Automatic Relationship Builder Plus email suite – are all about.

April 10, 2014

DigitalMailer is not impacted by Heartbleed

Filed under: security,technology — 3:18 pm

by Lenny Giambalvo, Chief Technology Officer

A few of our clients have asked about the Heartbleed/OpenSSL security issue. We at DigitalMailer would like to assure you that our systems are not impacted as we do not utilize OpenSSL. We use only Microsoft servers and they do not use open source software in their products.

As a partner in technology, we’d like to encourage you to make the time to change your passwords for other, more commonly-visited websites that were (and in some cases still are) susceptible to Heartbleed. Tech website Mashable has a table of popular websites that may have been affected and a checklist of which ones will require a new password.

March 31, 2014

Getting Your Customers to See the Value of World Backup Day

Filed under: My Virtual StrongBox,World Backup Day — 11:33 am

World Backup Day

Today is World Backup Day, a day to remind even the most stubborn or forgetful of us that we need to back up our computers, phones, tablets and everything else in our digital world.

Backups are important for any business, but they’re even more important for our home computers and gadgets. Sure, you’d be sad to lose all your email contacts on your work computer, but wouldn’t you be even more depressed at the thought of losing the video of your child’s first birthday? What about all those great pictures of your mom and dad’s anniversary? How about that music collection it took you years to perfect? All your software, all your apps, all your documents – gone, in the blink of an eye.

Regular, routine backups are the solution. Saving your computer’s contents to an external drive or to a secure online space will help you recover from the loss of your computer quickly and thoroughly. It’s important to share that same sentiment with customers, members and clients, as well. Why?

  1. Most people don’t think about data loss. It’s the reason about one-third of all people have never backed up their computer…ever. That statistic is heartbreaking when you consider how easy it is and what’s at stake if the proper action isn’t taken.
  2. We have a duty to our customers and members to guard their interests as their trusted partner. How many shred days have you hosted? How many lectures have you given about safety and password updates? These are important to us and they should be important to our customers and members. We can be a big partner in helping them make good decisions for the benefit of technology.

So what should we do? How can we impart good habits on our clientele, not just today, but every day?

  1. Consider giving away hard drives as part of a “data security special promotion”. These are relatively inexpensive and promote good backup habits.
  2. Offer a secure online storage portal for your customers’ most important documents.
  3. Create a page on your website that focuses on data security and how members can protect their data and prevent data loss.

Head over to the World Backup Day website and take the pledge. Then, think of new ways you can help the people that trust you for financial protection and good advice. Together, we can keep all our important moments and memories secure.

March 19, 2014

Who needs the Sweet Sixteen? We’re a Fabulous Fourteen!

Filed under: DigitalMailer — 10:39 am

While we prepare our brackets for the big dance, we take a few minutes from thinking about the “Sweet Sixteen” and focus on the “Fabulous Fourteen”. DigitalMailer turns 14 years old today!

Wow, what a whirlwind fourteen years we’ve had. We began in 2000 with only three employees and a simple idea: to find new ways to increase efficiencies and cut costs by growing virtual branches. We’ve never shied from that mission and we’re always looking for new ways to make big things happen for our clients.

We thank each and every one of the partners, clients and people that have helped us along the way and we’re very excited about what’s to come in the next fourteen years…and beyond.

Now, to enjoy a piece of cake and finish filling out these brackets…

Picture: Will Clayton, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.

March 5, 2014

You Clean Up Nicely!

Filed under: email marketing,eStrategy,Marketing,smart marketing — 12:39 pm

Clean up!

by Jimmy Marks, Creative Media Director

It’s time I confessed something to you, dear reader: I’m a clutter-bug.

I’m a scatter-brained, right-handed mess-maker. My desk, where I sit and write these words you’re reading now, is littered with papers and books and coffee cups and knick-knacks. There are pens and markers and paper clips and phone chargers and pictures everywhere. And this is how it looks when it’s in a state I like to call “organized”.

I’m not the only one, though. According to this nice article about messy desk and genius (ahem), Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Alan Turing, Alexander Fleming, and Steve Jobs all shared my “messy desk syndrome”. And while I like to think I’m as big a genius as the men behind penicillin, the theory of relativity, Tom Sawyer and the iPhone, I could probably benefit from a thorough tidy-up day. So, why not today?

I start by making a few little piles. One is “stuff that needs attention,” one is “stuff I should hold on to, but probably don’t need right now” and one is “garbage.” I take a look at all the paper on my desk, piece by piece, and I figure out where it should all go. When all my piles are stacked up, I take care of each according to their importance.

It’s a nice little exercise and it helps you figure out where your projects are in terms of process. Better yet, it can be repeated in many ways. I did the same thing to all the files on my desktop, then all the files in my documents folder, then all the files in my downloads folder. The old stuff, I set aside. The new stuff, I checked over. If it wasn’t needed, I sent it to recycling. If it was needed but not right away, I saved it to a separate storage drive.

These occasional clean-ups and purges help me and help everyone in my organization. When I can find what I need at a glance or with a simple pull of a file drawer, I save them the time and trouble of waiting around for me. I give them what they want and I know just where to find it.

A few things I’ve learned about dealing with file clutter, both on paper and with electronic files:

  • Break down files into folders by type. For those Adobe Creative Suite users out there, make one file for Photoshop files, one for Illustrator files, one for InDesign files, and so on. Save the outputs into files based on the project you’re working on, but keep all the .PSDs in one place and you’ll never have to wonder which project the templates were kept in while you were working on them.
  • Don’t be afraid to save the iterations of campaigns and ideas. If your email campaign started as a sketch in your daily work book (…you do keep a daily work book, right?), make a copy of that page and stuff it in a file with the other updates, changes, edits and revisions. It helps you keep track of when changes were made and why and it will show others how your creative process goes from start to finish.
  • Staples, tape, paper clips, chewed gum…if you need to stick a couple of files together for posterity sake, do it by any means necessary. (You might want to avoid the gum thing, though…at least at work.)
  • Go through your inbox and find all the “rotten tomatoes” – things that seemed ripe and fresh when you got them but are now just making things stinky. These include notes from colleagues about what lunch is that day, coupon offers that have long expired, and any email where the body is the word “Thanks!”. Delete them with vigor.
  • Got a lot of stock art options? Organize them by theme. “Families”, “cars/auto loans”, and “vacations” are all stock images we use a lot of here at DigitalMailer. We can get to them all because we’ve got them saved in a central folder that the marketing team can access collaboratively. We only copy files out of that folder and we never, ever modify them in the root folder.

What are some ways you’ve improved your workflow with a little extra organization? Let us know about it in the comments.

(Image credit: emilyrides, via Flickr. Used under attribution license.)

February 13, 2014

Bringing the Romance Back to Your Emails

Filed under: Banks,Credit Unions,email,email marketing,Marketing,marketing on a budget,technology — 11:51 am

Forming the "Love Connection" via Email

Sure, getting an email from your bank or credit union isn’t the same as getting a bouquet of roses or a fancy steak dinner. But emailing your subscribers is more than just “sending an email” – it should be part of building and maintaining a relationship.

It takes so little to make subscribers feel special. What are some steps you can take today to “show the love”?

1. Start Personalizing

Throwing in the first name or preferred name of your recipient makes a big difference in your open rates. Making the reader feel like he or she is the only one the email was meant for makes them feel special and encourages them to read thoroughly and take action.

2. Respect Boundaries

Who wants an email from their financial institution every day of the week? Make sure you’re sending on a regular time frame that’s not too intrusive or hard to manage. That way, your readers will be less likely to think of your emails as a chore and more likely to see them as a special benefit.

3. Figure Out Their Heart’s Desire

A regular newsletter email? That’s fine. An email sent to a prospective borrower with a pre-approval offer and all the info they need to take the next step? That’s an email with potential. Forget about “big data”…all you really need is a little extra information and an email address and you can come up with a list of subscribers that will not only love to get your message, but will love you for the money you save them on loans and personal banking services.

Valentine’s Day is upon us. Show your subscribers that you really care – start building relationships!

January 27, 2014

Our Recent Update: A Change of Makeup

Filed under: Banks,Credit Unions,DigitalMailer,e-Statements,email,web sites — 2:23 pm


by Jimmy Marks

In September of 2013, it was decided that our website was due for a makeover. I sat down, brainstormed a few changes to be made and started doing a rough sketch of the layout. One thing led to another and I put the refresh in my “to-do” pile.

In October, I was in Nashville for a conference and I got an email from Greg Crandell, our EVP of Sales and Marketing with the subject line “Focus.”

“I want to talk about creating FOCUS,” the email read. “We have three, maybe four, service focuses but we show 25 services on our site. You and I are going to define focus.”

When I got back from my business trip, I sat in a conference room with Greg and Ron and we started drilling down on what really mattered to us.

I was slowly but surely realizing that this latest update was going to mean more than a change in style – it was going to mean a change of makeup. Not like lipstick and rouge, mind you — “makeup” as in the DNA of the website itself.

First Thing’s First: Focusing

Greg’s email was right. We had too much “stuff” – pages for services that were sub-sections of other services and sub-sets of sub-sections of blah blah blah…it was just overstuffed with information.

In our meeting, we took a hatchet to the current content. We were brutal. “Dump, dump, roll up into EDMS, dump, roll up into ARB Plus, dump. Moving on to the second section…”

It took me by surprise how quickly we moved through every section of the website and cleaned house. It also surprised me how little certain pages were being visited in a twelve month span and how much more efficient it would be to combine certain sections and cut others loose.

The biggest, boldest change: the addition of the “Virtual Branch” section. We wanted to show our visitors what happens when you take your “small data” (customer basics – name, date-of-origination, credit scores, etc.) and combine it with our various communication and e-document products. The results: more loans offered and taken; more engagement with key demographics; operational efficiencies that save money and energy and replace complex processes with simple, down-to-earth solutions.

Lighter, Brighter, Travel-Ready

As we move into a new era, mobile-friendly web experiences are going to mean more to your average user. The site was built from a responsive boilerplate and then modified to suit our needs. I gathered my stock images and worked them into our theme to show shiny, happy people using technology and managing their money. I then decided to set up color schemes for each “service section” – crimson for marketing, hunter green for documents, a nice rich purple for virtual branch, etc. I tested and retested and pushed and pulled until I found the perfect mix.

Why bother with all the lightening, brightening and tightening? Because there are all kinds of users and all kinds of learners. Some folks (like me) need images. Some folks (like…well, not me) need words. We had to try to find the right balance between the “lookers” and the “readers” in a way that would encourage both types to keep reading, looking, and learning.

Testing and Being Okay with the “Leave-Behinds”

I took a little time to test against a variety of browsers. It looked okay in all of them, with one big-ugly set of exceptions. Yep, you guessed it – Internet Explorer, versions 7 and 6. Believe it or not, we have a handful of visitors that use IE7 and IE6 for their day-to-day browsing experience. I thought about digging in on how to make those changes when the following thought occurred to me: keep moving. IE 6 has been cut-off by Microsoft . It will never be updated again. If people don’t get the “full-experience” with an IE6 browser, it’s not my concern. It can’t be. I have to keep moving. They need to upgrade their browser to get the “full effect.” And even then, the information’s the same – it’s just not going to look as beautiful as it does in IE 9 or IE 10.

But “leave-behinds” doesn’t just pertain to the user – it also pertains to me, as the site designer and administrator. If I find out a few months from now that a certain new addition isn’t working, I’ll make a change. I’m not going to sit around pouting about how my perfect little spider-web got ruined – I’m going to roll up my sleeves, make a smart change and move on to the next issue.

So, what have we learned?

The new site’s been getting great buzz and people are really enjoying it. Our viewers are getting information and, when they need more, they’re seeking out our white-papers, webinars and info sessions. And they’re getting all this information more quickly, with less clutter.

As you move forward into 2014, start asking these three questions about your own web experience:

  1. Is it easy to figure out what we’re doing here, and how what we do can help our target audience?
  2. What could we cut loose that our audience would never miss? Would this section work better if merged with another section?
  3. Does this site travel well, and does it suit our ideal audience in their ideal reading environment (mobile, desktop, tablet, etc.)?
  4. Most Important: When something isn’t working, how long am I going to wait to make a sensible change?

When you can answer all those questions succinctly as a group, you and your web team can start making the changes that will bring your website forward. And you can give your site a very nice makeover, knowing your makeup is much improved.

Image: Flickr ( by _Frankenstein_, some rights reserved)

December 23, 2013

Turning the Page: A Special Message from Ron Daly, President/CEO

Filed under: DigitalMailer,Special Reports — 10:24 am

The lights are up at my house. The tree is trimmed, the house is warm, and all the gifts are hidden away, waiting to be wrapped for Christmas morning.
As I sit writing this, I take a quick peek at my calendar. For the last few days, I’ve been a little curious about what 2013 looked like as I turned the pages back from December, right up to January.

2013 brought us a ton of new, exciting product developments and great suggestions to work on in 2014 from our client focus groups. These new innovations and solutions will be a major boost to our clients and will help deepen their customer relationships.

Not only did our suite of services grow, so did our company. We’ve added 7 new full-time employees to our staff — so many that we needed a whole new suite of offices at our Charlotte location.

I’m always happy to add another eager worker to our family. I’m also happy when a product we worked on for months comes together and goes to work. But neither warms my heart as much as the great feedback and stories of success we receive from our partners and clients, week after week. This business was founded around the idea of helping our clients connect with their customers online and grow their business. All indications are that they’re right on target to meet these goals and save money in the process.

I can’t begin to thank the entire DigitalMailer family enough for their hard work and dedication this year. I want to thank my own family as well, for letting me continue to do what I really, truly love. To our partners, thank you all for seeing the value in what we do and for growing with us, collaboratively. To our clients, both new and long-lasting, we give our unending gratitude. We literally could not do all of this without you.

As I put the final touches on this letter, I realize that 2013 is going to be a tough year to beat. But I’m willing to give it a try.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and we’ll see you next year.


Ron Daly, President/CEO of DigitalMailer

PS – Please take a moment to remember our troops this holiday season. Their commitment to cause earns them a special place in all our hearts.

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