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How to put the passion into your presentations

February 27, 2014 by Andy Bounds

How to put the passion into your presentations/Five business people smiling in presentation{{}}Audiences like presenters to speak with passion. After all, if the presenter doesn’t care about their topic, why should we?

We all know this. Therefore we all also know that our audiences want us to present with passion to them.

But some of us find it hard to remember to inject passion into our presentations.

Instead, we often resort to last-minute, rushed prep; and then use wordy slides to act as speaker prompts. And, let’s face it, it’s virtually impossible to speak with passion to your audience if you have to read your slides. This approach just doesn’t work for the audience. Which means it doesn’t work well for you.

It’s understandable to take this approach once — after all, we all get crazy-busy sometimes. But when it becomes the norm, that’s when the problems start.

How passionate are you?

Here are two quick questions for you:

  • On a scale of 1 (bad) to 10 (brilliant), how would you grade your ability to always present with passion?
  • What grade would your audiences give you?

Presenters’ passion tends to come from one of three sources:

  • What you’re like
  • What you’re saying
  • What you’re causing

So, for the first, some people are just like that. They’re passionate about everything and it shows.

Others get their passion from their subject matter. For example, a technical specialist loves their topic and gets a real buzz when talking about it — and the audience is inspired by this.

The third type loves the impact their presentation will cause: what I call the “afters”: why people are better-off after hearing it. There are two main types of afters here: why your audience is better-off, and why you are better-off.

My burning passion

For example, my burning passion is to enable the people I speak to. That puts me in the third group. So, during my prep, I’ve worked out why they’ll be better-off after hearing me speak — for instance, they’ll have more clarity, time freed up, quicker buy-in. And I keep focusing on that during my presentation.

This makes it easy for me to speak with passion. You don’t have to be in group three but you do want to be in one of these groups. Because if you aren’t, there’s too little passion. And when that happens, nobody wins.

Before your next presentation, ask yourself: What’s the source for my passion? Will it come from what I am like, saying or causing?. And then, keep focusing on your answers throughout your prep, delivery and follow-up.

Andy Bounds is a communications expert, speaker and the author of The Snowball Effect: Communication Techniques to Make You Unstoppable. You can sign up for his free weekly tips here.

How video marketing can help your business

February 26, 2014 by Guest Blogger

How video marketing can help your business/ Man holding object - Play icon{{}}Video may have killed the radio star back in 1978 but it’s proving to be a very successful form of marketing in the digital age. If you haven’t used it already, it’s time to produce your first marketing video — and here’s why.

In our fast-paced daily life, we use our smartphone and tablets as a one-stop source of information and content. This has fuelled the popularity of video marketing — it’s visually stimulating content with great graphics and motivating music, perfect for capturing attention in a busy world.

The rise of video

According to a 2013 online survey on video marketing trends by Flimp Media

  • 93% of marketing professionals used online video in 2013 for marketing and communications
  • 70% are optimising video for SEO
  • 82% said that video marketing has had a positive impact on their business.

What’s more, video is shared more than any other source of online content — video market research company Invodo has found that over half of consumers feel more confident about buying a product or service after watching a video.

And with the rolling out of 4G and platforms such as You Tube, Vimeo and Wistia, video content has never been simpler to create. The accessibility and affordability of video recording equipment means that it not as expensive to make a video today. Starting from as little at £40 for a one-minute video, there is a video production company out there to suit your needs and budget.

Tips on making a video

  • Make a note of your main marketing objectives — do you want more views on your website? Do you want to raise awareness? Thinking about your goals will help you focus on the creative content of the video.
  • Write a script tailored around your main messages/objectives. Keep your videos as short and professional as possible — anything between 60-90 seconds should keep the viewer’s attention.
  • Consider practical issues such as the background, lighting, style of presentation, noise and disruptions. If you’re using animation, create a storyboard. Gather as many images of your product/brand as you can.
  • Embed your video on a platform, such as a blog, making your video easier to share, and boosting SEO benefits.
  • Try creating short video bursts using the likes of Instagram and Vine to give the consumer a blast of your product. Or think about a series of videos — keeping the topic short and sweet but leaving the viewer wanting to see more.
  • Lastly, post links to your videos on social media sites and ask your followers, nicely, to share your video.

Sara Parker is marketing officer at Face for Business.

But I didn't want a Porsche! How to brief so you get what you want

February 24, 2014 by Dave Endsor

But I didn't want a Porsche! How to brief so you get what you want/the new 997 Porsche turbo{{}}Writing a brief might sound difficult or even boring, but I’d like to explain just how important it is. As a marketing agency, we're creative, logical people — but we don’t have psychic powers. If we did, we'd be able to stop wars or predict next week’s lottery numbers.

So, like all consultants, we need to understand our clients’ problems in order to offer them the best solutions.

Think of it like buying a car.

You tell the dealer your old car is rubbish and you'd like a new one. “Great,” they say, “What do you need it for and what is your budget?”

Now you have to make some decisions. This will make the difference between being recommended a two-seater sports car or a sensible family car. If you tell the dealer it needs to be yellow and you don't have a budget in mind, then you're still left with the sports car or the family car.

As they learn more about you and your needs, the salesman might discover that you are a lofty six-foot-four with three children, which helps them eliminate the sports car and probably the hatchback they were going to recommend.

Receiving a creative brief is much the same. We need information. Here are eight questions that will help you form a fully functional brief that will make any agency love you. 

1.   Background. What has instigated this new project?

What’s the rationale?
Your decision to appoint an agency is important and it will be useful to understand your motivation. Have you spotted a gap in the market? Do you have a new product or service?

If your brief was a car: we've had another baby and we need to replace our old car that has failed its last three MOTs.

2.   Objectives. What do you want to achieve with this project?

It's essential that an agency understands the required outcome and how this can be measured. An agency will know the various ways and means, but not the specifics. These might be increased sales, improved brand awareness or a larger share of the market.

If your brief was a car: we need it to be practical, with a large boot, sat-nav, an isofix system for the baby carrier and wipe-clean leather seats — we have kids!

3.   Target. Who is your target audience?

You'll need to consider who you're trying to talk to. This will determine the most appropriate media channel, the language and the imagery. This includes age, gender and social position. From this, your audience's response and attitude towards the communication can be predicted and assessed.

If your brief was a car: the car’s features (and looks) need to be right for us and our children, followed by family and friends.

4.   Action. What do you want people to feel or do as a result of this?

This is what will drive the objective. If you understand your audience well, you can play to their needs and emotions. Do you want people to pick up the phone, visit your website, buy your products?

If your brief was a car: we’re seen to be responsible but our mates also think we're cool.

5.   Proposition. What are your key messages?

Having one core message is much more effective than several smaller ones. Whether your key message is that you have a range of services available, you have a mega sale on, or a specific call to action, choose the most important message.

If your brief was a car: we’re happy and successful.

6.   Production. What components need to be delivered and how many?

Do you need posters, brochures, business cards, a film or a website? And how many do you need? Whilst it may not immediately affect the design or creative concept, it will make a difference to how they are printed, delivered and ultimately — the cost.

If your brief was a car: one car (we're not greedy!)

7.   Specification. What are the specific requirements?

These are things like brand guidelines you might have, corporate fonts or media sizes. Specifying them saves time and money. Resizing artwork before a print deadline or rewriting copy can be avoided if the details are right from the beginning. Holding your hands up in a square shape and saying "this big" doesn't work.

If your brief was a car: needs to be manual transmission, run on diesel and fit into a low insurance bracket.

8.   Budget. How much do you have to spend?

This is a serious question and demands a serious answer. Without this information or even a rough ballpark, the scope for creative is massive. It's the difference between an A5 flyer or a thick, glossy brochure. It's the cost of one banner advert or an entire online campaign. Your agency won't know how big to think without a budget and it’ll just waste your time.

If your brief was a car: maximum £18,000.

So there it is, a fully functional brief. It forms boundaries to push against and methods to measure creative accuracy. It outlines what you need rather than what you want and it allows you to be challenged.

Your limits, priorities and requirements are formulated into a simple springboard from which creative ideas can be launched and hit your targets.

“The Porsche is lovely sir, but it's over your budget and there's no room for the buggy”.

Dave Endsor is an account manager at Origination.

Email marketing trends for 2014

February 20, 2014 by Guest Blogger

Email marketing trends for 2014/@ fiber optics background{{}}At the start of any new year we are often tempted to make a fresh start. Businesses frequently do the same thing — giving their websites a bit of a refresh, changing their policies, targeting new audiences and even updating how they get in touch with their customers.

So what’s in store for email marketing? It has been a key business tool for some time and it should continue to grow, but by how much? And what are the key trends for 2014?

Spending more on email

The amount of money being spent on email marketing has been increasing for some time and 2013 saw a significant rise — 20% in fact. That’s a pretty hefty figure but current predictions suggest that email marketing spending will keep growing. Budgets are likely to increase by about 10% this year.

But what will that money actually go on? With more and more people using mobile devices, there will be an increase in spending on mobile optimisation for websites. Having a site that is mobile-optimised is likely to bring in more customers and the same can be said for emails. If businesses want to increase their open rates, they need to make their messages as mobile-friendly as possible.

This means that businesses are going to have to look closely at where the rest of their finances are going. And the likelihood is that companies are going to scale back on printed marketing material because everything is going digital.

The online revolution continues

Even if customers purchase items in-store, rather than online, there is an increasing chance that the transaction will be completed online. Digital receipts could be given out, so customers don’t have to worry about losing a little piece of paper.

Companies are increasingly encouraging people to buy online by offering them offline deals that push them towards the internet. In-store promotions, for instance, can ask customers to go online to receive a prize or more information. As retailers encourage more customers to shop online, the number of people signing up for email marketing is likely to increase.

Targeting messages

Email marketers are constantly sending us all kinds of content. The problem is, for the most part, it's not useful to most of us. Yes, we will get the odd gem and an amazing deal that is perfectly suited to our preferences but a lot of companies just create a general email, hit send to all and hope for the best.

This year, customers are not going to stand for that and marketers are going to have to up their game as a result. Statistics have shown that 43% of emails are opened on mobile devices so it's simply unacceptable for businesses not to get on board with this. Emails need to be optimised for mobile use but the messaging must also undergo a makeover.

No more one-size-fits-all

Rather than the generic, one-size-fits-all model, businesses will increasingly use data to drill down to specific interests and requirements of their subscribers. More carefully targeted campaigns should result in more sales.

So, there’s no doubt that change is on the way — the question is, how much impact will it have on conversion rates?

This is a guest blog from Lauren Sutton

Four steps to give your exhibition stand the wow factor

February 18, 2014 by Guest Blogger

Four steps to give your exhibition stand the wow factor/Wow comic speech bubble cartoon{{}}Everyone wants to be the stand out exhibition at an event. No matter how big or small your stand or budget, you need to make an impact.

But an impressive exhibition stand takes ambition, creativity and a solid understanding of how to show your business in a unique and relevant way. This last point is key and will, most likely, take up a considerable amount of your planning and design time.

Step one: What have you done in the past?

If you have exhibited before, the first step is to objectively review your past performances at exhibitions. You can learn from your mistakes as well as those exhibits that ticked along but didn’t garner as much attention as you hoped. Carefully analyse your previous performance — what worked, what didn’t and what could be fine-tuned for re-use.

Step two: What have others done?

If you’ve never exhibited before, or even if you have, it’s essential you check out the competition within your sector. Focus on exhibitors that have won awards for their displays or those that are considered to be top of their game. Taking inspiration from previous exhibits that were particularly impressive is a great way forward.

Then take a look outside your industry to find fresh ideas. In addition, spend time on design websites to see what’s being shared and commended. Are there any elements that can inspire your exhibition?

Step three: What do exhibition companies recommend?

Exhibition stands are evolving at an impressive rate. Just consider that integrating tablets into your presentation would have been unheard of three years ago — and flat screen displays five years before that.

Check out those websites that discuss advances in the event industry. Visiting a showroom is also an excellent way to discover what exhibition experts consider to be the future of event marketing. Looking into these advances could inspire some really creative ways to promote your business.

Step four: Keep it relevant

It’s actually quite easy to be the stand that everyone talks about if money isn’t an issue. But you want to see a return on your investment, which means carefully weighing up the benefits of taking your stand in a certain direction with the confidence that it will drive conversions.

The most straightforward way of gaining good leads from your stand is to make sure it is relevant to your business. All forms of promotion should be easily and recognisably associated with your business within five seconds of someone first seeing your stand. It should also feature eye-catching elements that are complementary to the brand message.

A bad example would be a bottled water company sporting a massive aquarium. The connection is there but it’s not immediately apparent what fish and drinking water have in common. A better example would be a travel company displaying a large aquarium to promote glamorous destinations, suggesting exotic adventures.

Once you’ve taken these steps, you should be in a strong position to create a great exhibition stand with the wow factor that everyone talks about.

Kelly Edwards is assistant ecommerce manager at Nimlok.

What makes people buy? Understanding the psychology of the online shopping process

February 17, 2014 by Guest Blogger

Helping shoppers go from browsing to buying is the name of the game in ecommerce. But it’s not as easy as it looks. Did you know?

  • 57% of shoppers abandon a site if they have to wait more than three seconds for something to load. 
  • 85% of shoppers read online reviews before using local businesses.
  • 41% abandon an online shopping cart because of hidden charges.

 Find out more on this excellent infographic courtesy of Vouchercloud

 

Consumer Psychology and the E-Commerce Checkout - An infographic by the team at vouchercloud

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