Complimentary Guide to Scratchcards

Scratchcards are a great way to achieve many marketing and  promotional aims. They’re highly flexible and people just love them: give someone a scratchcard and they just can’t resist.

A scratchcard promotion can be tailored to dovetail exactly with your marketing aims whether it’s incentivising a sales force, attracting visitors to an exhibition stand, raising awareness of your product or simply saying “Thank you” to your long-suffering staff.

Printed scratchcards have been around for years and come in a variety of sizes, formats and games. Online games are a relatively new idea and, until recently, have been limited to the gambling industry type cards rather than being a viable promotional tool.

Now they’re available online with substantial savings when compared to the cost of traditional printed cards.

We’ve  updated our “Guide to Scratchcards” which you can download here

promotional scratchcards

“Scratchcards” or “Scratch Cards” – deliberate misspelling for SEO

We wuz propurly brung up ere at NHA and konsider gramar & speling to be v important so dont’ even think about putting an apostrofee in the wrong place!

That opening paragraph was tough to write but normal service will now be resumed…

The point of that opener was to share our frustration with some of the grammatical and (mis)spelling issues that we now have to deal with as part of any Search Engine Optimisation work.

Our online promotional scratchcards site ranks number 1 in Google for the phrase “promotional scratchcards”. While doing some SEO keyword research, we discovered (as of Jan 2013) that “scratchcards” returns 467,000 results but “scatch cards” manages 22,500,000. A big enough difference to not be ignored.

We’ve always treated it as a single word and now faced a dilemma. Which spelling to use? All our careful work to achieve the top slot could easily be thrown away if we switched wholesale to two words. Finding definitive information about the possible outcome proved impossible, Google are not forthcoming about such matters. So, tongues were bitten, prejudices ignored and the decision taken to use both; sometimes on the same page.

So, this article is by way of an apology for what looks like careless behaviour and inattention to detail. I’m sorry to say it’s deliberate.

Please be gentle.

View the evidence first hand


Staff Handbooks – a poisoned chalice?

So, you have the unenviable task of producing the Staff Handbook. Where to start?

What with assembling the material, making decisions on content and cajoling colleagues to provide their bit, what starts as an apparently straightforward process can easily become a sysiphian task. And, that’s before you address the presentation.

With sections provided by various parts of the organisation, written by different people with varying writing styles, the task of putting it all together in a well-ordered format can be daunting.

The Staff Handbook needs to be well written, with the information presented in a clear and consistent manner – a major task in its own right.

Text Wrangling

Much of the material will probably be produced in Word or similar. Everyone has their own ways of writing and formatting documents so one of the biggest challenges is knocking the text into a consistent and structured format.

A subtle rewrite can make a tremendous difference to the presentation, providing a  consistent style throughout. Add a clean design and good typography to transform a potentially “boring” document into a well designed, clearly formatted and intelligently laid-out piece that will be far more effective.

Read more about the “improvements” we can bring to your Staff Handbook

staff handbook

School Magazines and the Joy of MS Publisher

Garden House School Magazine

Garden House School in Chelsea produce an annual school magazine that’s used as a school marketing tool and a great memory for children and parents alike. Throughout the year, pupils are encouraged to create and design their own class and activity pages in partnership with the teachers.

MS Publisher is their weapon of choice: relatively easy for them to use as it has similar features to the other Office products and economic for the school. The main problem is that, despite how it’s promoted, Publisher is not really suited to creating artwork for “proper” printing. Great for laser and ink jet printers but not so clever when faced with preparing high resolution files for 4-colour process printing.

That’s where NHA comes in. Having recently completed a fifth consecutive school magazine on behalf of the school we’ve honed the process to produce some very professional results and assume all the technical responsibilities on behalf of teaching staff.

Out-of-the-box, Publisher has problems with a number of technical printing issues: bleed and colour space being the main ones. Rather than baffle the pupils and teachers with technical restrictions they don’t want or need to know about, we now take whatever Publisher files they throw at us and simply take care of it all for them:

  • Fixing incompatible colours
  • Sorting backgrounds
  • Ensuring there’s sufficient bleed
  • Fixing missing or dodgy fonts
  • And… taking care of any other technical issues before organising the printing

For more information on our School Magazine service call Neil Hitch on 020 7436 3565 or e-mail us.

Carte Blanche Scratchcard Tags

Having produced a conventional scratchcard promotion for Carte Blanche during 2010 they contacted us again in late Summer, 2011, having been badly let down by a Chinese supplier.

At short notice they needed 90,000 tags to accompany their Tatty Puppy range. Each tag to have an individual number which the buyer could register on the web site for extra goodies. The main issue was going to be delivery – shipping to China is never a quick option.

Normal production time for scratchcards is around two weeks but we managed to twist a few arms and despatch them within 7 days – narrowly meeting the target date so the tags could be applied to the Tatty Puppies and be sent back to the UK in time for Christmas.

carte blanche scratchcards

A further 30,000 were produced and despatched to China a month later for the follow-up production run.

Update: And another 19,ooo in November. With yet more in January 2012 – another 12,000.

Selling An Unusual Idea – How?

During recent months we’ve developed a promotional system that’s proving very successful with our existing customers but incredibly difficult to sell to the rest of the world – those who don’t know us from Adam.

The user feedback has been very positive which is just as well. Without it we could easily have concluded there just isn’t the demand.

It’s a simple promotional scratchcard system that replicates the interactivity of a conventional printed scratchcard but does it online. It’s a lot cheaper than a printed promotion, can be set-up within a matter of hours and can be delivered via a link on a website or via e-mail so there are no distribution costs to consider either.

We’ve tried all the usual marketing activities: Email campaigns, direct mail, word-of-mouth, networking – but none has shown a significant return.

What makes it even more frustrating is the reluctance of people to accept that they can actually win something for nothing. As you would imagine each of our campaigns features one of our own scratchcard promotions with several prizes of discounts against promotions and a handful of main prizes of a completely free promotion.

Of the five big winners in the past six months, only one has taken up the offer – very happy with the results they were too. So much so, that they have since paid for a second promotion for another of their products.

When compared against the accepted industry practice, the e-mail campaign stats are the most puzzling. We’ve tried an assortment of message combinations: with and without images; html against plain text; alternative colour schemes. The results have been pretty consistent with between 8 and 13% openings and 3 to 5% click-throughs. So the messages are obviously presented in a way that encourages people to, at least, look at them, and often play the game.

So it must be something to do with the system itself. Is the idea incomprehensible? Is it a lack of imagination as to how a promotion can be used? Is it all too much trouble or too technical?

Have a look for yourself, try the system out and let us know what you think:

Staff Motivation and Employee Engagement

promotional scratchcardsThe problem: increasing productivity without spending a fortune or upsetting the status quo.

One solution: an online scratchcard promotion

We’ve developed an online promotional scratchcard system that fits the criteria to a “T”. Scratchcards can be delivered via e-mail or a web page link and have the same promotional benefits and user enjoyment as a printed one yet cost significantly less (and are less messy!).

The game can be completely personalised and branded so they make an ideal way to broadcast internal messages.

People do like a scratchcard – it’s to do with the interactivity – and the chance of winning something. So, using an online scratchcard promotion to motivate your staff increases the likelihood of a successful result.

You can try our promotion for nothing to see how it works – the main prize is a free promotion so you could end up getting yours for nothing. Give it a go>>

For more information on how it works >>

A few ideas for using them:

  • Incentivise your sales force
  • Say “Thank you” to your employees
  • Transmit corporate messages in an entertaining and involving way
  • Motivate employees to become stakeholders

Online Scratchcards – The Perfect Promotional Tool

We’ve been producing printed scratchcards for years – starting with masses of the little blighters for a timeshare operation in Leicester Square but don’t hold that against us. Over the years the cost of producing scratchcards has dropped significantly but, even so, the processes involved dictates an effective entry level of 1,000 cards and not insubstantial amounts of cash.

Because of this we receive many more enquires than orders – so now we’ve developed a promotional scratchcard system that can be played online. And can be delivered at a fraction of the cost of a conventional printed scratchcard.

A promotion can be delivered to your target via a link on your website or in an e-mail and can be used for any number of things:

  • target new business prospects
  • remind lapsed customers of your existence
  • incentivise your staff
  • promote a new product or service
  • boost traffic to your website

The promotion can be fully branded and customised to reflect your brand values and design themes.
Read more

Happy Client

Friday evening, 10 o’clock, and the phone rings at home. It’s Patrick, one of our Nigerian clients, who supplies card issuing sytems to banks and financial institutions. He phones on the off-chance that we might be able to do something for his sister.

Maris runs the St Maria Goretti school in Nigeria and  has recently returned from a cultural school trip to the UK. She needs to produce a memorial brochure for parents and children but there’s a catch: the printed brochures need to be in Lagos by the following Friday. Producing a brochure within a week in the UK is not terribly difficult but we know from previous experience there’s a major transport issue, delivering material to Nigeria.

Before making any sort of decision, I need to see what we’re dealing with so Maria e-mails a draft of the proposed brochure in Word. On the face of it, it all looks reasonable straightforward but I need to check transport before commiting – and that can’t be done until first thing Monday.

And Monday is the 5th day of the Lord’s test with every chance of England beating Australia at Lord’s for the first time in years so I can’t miss that. The stewards at Lord’s are very hot on mobile phones so it’s back and forth between seat and the back of the grandstand making calls, trying to resolve the transport issue. Doesn’t look good when it becomes apparent that the brochures would need to be at Heathrow by tonight to clear Lagos customs in time for Friday delivery.

But what are friends for? Another of our Nigerian clients, Rockson Engineering, has a private plane leaving on Wednesday afternoon – if we can deliver brochures to Kensington by 3pm they’ll take them for us. Game on.

Fortunately Freddie destroys the Aussie resistance and it’s all over by lunch – shame in a way, as the atmosphere at Lord’s was simply fantastic.

Back to the office, and by early evening a draft design is on its way to Nigeria. A few corrections and tweaks on Tuesday morning, and by early afternoon we have approval and the PDFs are en route to the factory.

Sterling work by Prometheus to print the brochure overnight and have sheets drying on the floor by breakfast in time for folding and stitching. By midday transport is on its way to collect and deliver safely to Kensington (with a few minutes to spare!).

Late on Thursday I have a call from a very happy Maria.