An Animated Holiday Greeting from Idea to Reality in Less Than Two Weeks

Greeneye e-Manifest

I don’t think I’ve officially mentioned this on my blog before, but one of the two businesses I helped startup is a company called Greeneye e-Manifest. What we do, in a nutshell, is make very easy for Canadian trucking companies to submit an electronic manifest of what’s in their trailers, and where it’s coming from, and where it’s going to. We have a website where they can create and send these documents themselves, or we’ll do it for them from a fax or a phone call.

So, anyway, we’ve had a pretty good year with Greeneye, and now have upwards of 750 trucking companies as customers. We wanted to send out a little thank you to each of them, but wanted to do something a little different than the traditional Christmas card. So, two weeks ago, we came up with the idea of doing a little holiday cartoon. One of our guys found an amazing Flash animator named Vlad Kolarov who said he’d be able to get us a finished product in less than a week. Once we got the thumbs up to go ahead from our owner, three of us had a complete storyboard for the animation drawn up on a whiteboard in less than an hour. Then, I sent a quick design spec for some promotional graphics to Casey Jelinski, a freelance designer we’ve had the pleasure working with on a number of our marketing documents. After a few revisions from both Vlad and Casey, I had the final pieces in my inbox this past Monday.

During all of this, I worked on the landing page where this animation would live, as well as the design of the email we’d be sending out. I signed up for a great web service called MailChimp that would let us easily send out our greeting to customers while minimizing the chances of it getting treated as spam. It also produces some really nice reports that give all sorts of stats on the number of people clicking through the email to our website. I highly recommend it.

After lots of testing and tweaking, I had everything finished and ready to go about 3:30am Thursday morning. MailChimp started sending out our greeting at 9:45am Thursday, and since then, it’s been fun watching the reaction. You can check it out for yourself by visiting this page: Happy Holidays from Greeneye e-Manifest.

This whole process highlights one of the many things I love about working at a small business: We had an idea, and we executed it in less time than it would take someone at a corporation to even get approval for the project. It sure helps to be working with great people and flexible freelancers!

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