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Humour Goes Viral

Humour Turns E-Mail Viral

A study by Sharpe Partners, an interactive marketing agency, revealed that
89% of adult Internet users in America share content with others via e-mail.
This is excellent news for those companies who use self-propelling
word-of-mouse” e-mail techniques to sell their products.

The study generated some interesting results regarding the type of content
that is most often forwarded, as well. The most popular content is humorous
material.

The second most popular category is news, followed by healthcare and medical
information, religious and spiritual material, games, business and personal
finance information and sports/hobbies. in that order. So it is easy to see
that humour is the best content for your viral e-mail campaign.

Cartoons, jokes and funny video clips are among the things that can be added
to an e-mail to insure that it will go viral. People will want to pass along
something that makes them laugh.

They are a lot more likely to hit the forward button and send your email to
their friends and relatives if it is an “advertainment” rather than an
advertisement.

Not long ago, about 35 million people got an e-mail containing a picture
taken in Disneyland. It took a minute to see it but there was Donald Duck
lying prone in front of the famous Cinderella Castle. The title of the
picture was “Bird Flu has hit Disneyland”. It was a viral e-mail advertising
Disneyland and used the edgy strategy of making light of what’s serious. and
it works.

I’d guess that most people who own a computer have seen that picture. and
thus the advertisement for Disneyland. The bird flu epidemic is newsworthy
and has the potential to attract an enormous amount of attention to any
brand that might, for whatever reason, associate itself with it.

Remember that people are much more likely to share a joke or a funny picture
than anything else so you would be well advised to include humour in your
e-mail campaign.

10 Ways to Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile

Social media sites are more popular than ever and with over 100 million users LinkedIn is in the top five most popular.  LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network and is an extremely resourceful tool for job hunters, recruiters, business owners, etc.  Once you sign up for a LinkedIn account, you must create your professional profile.  The more effective your profile, the more professionals can find you and connect with you.

Below are ten things you can do to enhance your profile so it is the most effective it can be in building your network of connections.

1. Complete the Profile – This is very important in that you do not want a half-done, unprofessional profile.  This will not accomplish much in the way of building your network of connections.  Complete each section, completely and professionally to make the most of your online professional identity. According to LinkedIn, you are 40% more likely to be found in a LinkedIn search with a 100% completed profile as opposed to one that is not completely finished.

2. Always Use a Photo – There are many people who do not want to use photos for various reasons but you need to post a photo on your LinkedIn profile to get more results.  You do not have to have a professionally taken photo but you do want it to look professional.  People will be more likely to remember your profile if you present a photo of yourself.  Photos can also increase the chances of people trusting you.

3. Use a Persuasive Headline – Don’t just plaster your name and title as your profile headline.  Add a short slogan or benefit you provide.  Compare the two headlines below and decide which one would capture your interest more.

Jane Doe
Virtual Assistant

Jane Doe

Virtual Assistant – I will free up your time and grow your business.

You don’t even have to have your title, you can just stress the benefits you provide or the skills you possess.  Use something that makes you the one to choose.

4. List Your Websites – Be sure to add your URL and/or blog to your profile.  You can add up to three urls.  Customize the tiles of your links as opposed to My Site, My Blog, etc.  You can do this by choosing the “Other” category in the Edit Profile section.

5. Get Recommendations – Having people give you recommendations will increase your chances of being found as well as give people more reason to choose you and/or your business or connect with you.   You can ask people who have worked with you or past customers for recommendations.  If they like your work/service, they will be glad to give a testimonial.  You can also trade with people you would recommend but always remember, your reputation is on the line every time you recommend someone so don’t ask random people to trade recommendations.

6.  Video Presentation – Add a video presentation to your profile highlighting your skills, services, products, etc.   You can do this by going to Google Presentations under “More” in the toolbar at the top of your profile page.  Click on More Applications….. then scroll down to Google Presentations.  Add the Application and follow the directions on creating your presentation.  Be sure to check out the other apps as well for a more productive profile.

7.  Experience and Skills – Be sure to list all your experience and skills using relevant keywords.  Be thorough, precise and complete when describing your skills and your experience.  Be sure to be grammatically correct and proofread every sentence.

8.  Professional Summary and Specialties – When writing your summary, let people know what you are about and what you can do for them.   Use short precise paragraphs.  Get to the point and be convincing.  List your Specialties so they are much easier to read and capture attention quicker.

9.  Keep Active – Do NOT fill out your profile and never come back.  You need to keep updating regularly and be active on your profile.  Get involved with LinkedIn and become a participant.  Nobody wants to connect with a dead page!

10.  Join Relevant Groups – Joining groups is one way to stay active and become involved with other LinkedIn users and professionals.  Participate in the discussions and offer help, advice, support whenever you can.

When joining networking sites such as LinkedIn, you have to take the time to create productive profiles and pages.  Put the time and effort into all the above enhancements and your LinkedIn profile will be much more effective.

Viral email marketing what works?

Stop with the enforced e-mail forwards already! Trying to force or bribe people to forward your info to a friends or family in order to be rewarded or win looks skanky in today’s ultra-permission-based world. Especially when you tell visitors nothing about their friend’s or family’s privacy in the space directly next to the e-mail form.

A true viral campaign gets forwarded because consumers are compelled to do so by the content not because you bribed them with points or something else.

What absolutely will not work:

Suggesting that e-mail recipients forward your message to their friends and family will not work and adding a line at the bottom of your e-mail that reads “Please feel free to forward this message to a friend” will mean your email is more likely to get it deleted than forwarded.

What absolutely will work:

  • Offering something worthy of sharing like a valuable discount, vital information or offering an incentive for sharing like additional entries into a sweepstakes or an added discount or premium service will work.
  • Relevant or timely information, research, or studies that are included in your e-mail might encourage the recipients to share with their family and friends.
  • Interactive content like a quiz or test, especially if it’s fun, will always inspire forwarding.
  • Jokes and cartoons are almost always forwarded to everybody the recipient knows.  Why?  Because they are entertaining and entertainment is meant to be shared.
  • A really cool multimedia experience is always going to achieve a lot of pass-along. Rich media is new and the novelty and tech factors alone are often enough to make the e-mail recipient eager to share it.

Oops!  Almost forgot one really important thing…You can craft a brilliant e-mail following all the rules, but if a consumer visits your site and has an experience less that what was promised, you are going to achieve viral marketing, alright…the bad kind.

So be certain that your product or service is ready and is as advertised!

Cheers

Roy

Top Tips for Conference Speakers

I have sat through and given a few presentations in my time so based on my experience of sitting through a conference or two I have put together a few tips:

Preparing For The Event

  • Read the proposed conference flyer and match your points to the theme.
  • The flyers can help on the direction of the content – it is always a good idea to discuss the content further with the Conference Producer before you prepare ‘it’.
  • Cicero over two thousand years ago said a good speaker learns fast and is knowledgeable and expert about the subject – know your subject in depth and provide evidence during your speech that you know what you are talking about.

Content

If you are speaking at a conference attracting senior-level decision-makers from across your sector ask yourself:

  • What do they want to hear?
  • What do you want to say?
  • Where does the crossover lie?

Watch out! – Presentations from speakers who dwell too long on their basic company information are always seen as crude sales pitches – and people switch off.

Be aware of the format of your session

If you doing a presentation and you are using PowerPoint:

  • Use a minimum font size of 18 – better 24+
  • Allow around three minutes per slide (remember no death by PowerPoint!).
  • The Rule of Five – ideally PowerPoint presentations should contain no more than 5 words per sentence and 5 lines per slide.
  • Visuals are often a great way of illustrating your presentation but ‘Keep It Simple’ – too many charts overwhelm a presentation and cannot be read at the back of the conference room.
  • Likewise, avoid over-use of PowerPoint special effects – or flash effects like zooming they distract from the presentation

If you are taking part in a panel discussion prepare:

  • The Chair should contact you approximately 2 weeks in advance of the panel to set the agenda – schedule time to talk to her!
  • You are likely to be asked to spend five minutes setting out your thoughts on the proposed topic.
  • Prepare and memorise this five minute piece and think carefully about what you are going to say (Cicero also recommended memorising your speech).

Practice makes perfect

Rehearse your speech several times preferably in front of an audience who will not fall asleep and who are honest.

And on the day…

…start strong

It is often helpful to memorise the first minute or two of your speech to ease you into it – once you’ve started you’ll find it easier to keep going. Never apologise or spend too much time on inane pleasantries – get down to business. The first minute or two is about establishing the rapport with the audience and setting the degree to which they give you authority to speak.

Think about your body language

  • Style and tone of voice account for 90 per cent of communication so adopt a relaxed, confident pose.
  • Maintain eye contact with the audience – select one or two people from the audience to maintain contact but do not stare!
  • If there are label mics available use them – no Al Jolson impressions and shout at them!

Timings

Watch your timing, never overun and finish a few minutes to ask for any questions

The Project Audit Process

The Simple Steps for a Project Audit

Initiation

The process of carrying out a project audit starts with initiation. In this activity a meeting with the prime stakeholder is held where the scope of the audit is agreed, a list the questions that need to be answered is drawn up and basic facts about the project such as scale, locations, goals, history, and progress to date are garnered. The output of the initiation is a plan of attack of the audit.

Enquiry and reporting

The twin tasks carried out during the audit are enquiry and reporting.

Research tasks

The first step is to understand the project “landscape” (who is who, what are they doing, where are they doing it) and status (where are they up to). This is normally accomplished by reading documents such as the brief, PID and highlight reports, and talking to the sponsor and the current project manager. It is at this stage that the overall context of the project at the organisation is clarified.

The second step is to select interview candidates, and then to carry out semi structured interviews – these will be recorded for ease of transcription. Some interviews will inevitably raise further questions and lead to more rounds of interviewing or follow-up (which can be done by email if there are matters of clarification) – revisiting some people and other meetings. Interviewees may be drawn from both in- and outside the project team (for example from the program office). Simultaneously, I would normally acquire and study relevant project documents and files during this process to see if good practice is in place. The status of the technical artifact as it currently is will be investigated by investigating the operational software and by carrying out reviews of the code – but this is likely to be confined to an assessment by the TDA.

Reporting – report contents

  • Summary
  • Background
  • <sections specific to questions being addressed>
  • Quantified risk assessment, showing for each major risk:
    • Nature of risk
    • Risk likelihood
    • Risk avoidance strategies
    • Outcomes if risk materializes (with probabilities for best vs worst cases)

Royston