In my experience, Case Studies are the single most effective piece of marketing – they are unique, compelling and have longevity.
Unfortunately, the Powerpoint presentation is too large to upload here (click on this link here to access it via the Nobleword website), so here are the edited highlights:
Interview your client first…then interview your customer
Know the message/USP for each Case Study and stick to it!
Remember the 5 W’s – Who, What, Where, When, Why
Ask open questions – you’re looking for the customer to be creative and emotive in order to create memorable content, e.g.
How did the product/service you received make you feel?
What 3 words would you use to describe the product/service
What challenge was your business facing…which the product/service helped you to overcome?
Catchy titles – think like a newspaper/magazine and draw your readers in
Pull-out quotes: break-up the text and help to isolate key USPs
Testimonial quotes: scatter these liberally!
Note that getting hold of the customer to approve the Case Study can be the most time-consuming part of the process…but it’s absolutely essential that they are comfortable with what is being sent out in their name.
The advantages of this stage of the process are:
Polish quotes: tell them you’ve reworded certain sections/quotes to make it flow better – as long as people know, they are almost always content to sound good
Time to rethink: often the customer gets off the phone with you and suddenly realises something they’ve left out, or a quote they’d like to add – this is the ideal time for a ‘second bite of the cherry’.
Sign off: you want the customer to agree that they’re happy with the Case Study, so that you’ve got an audit trail and a reference point if there are any issues further down the line (very unlikely, but I have known it!)
A professional pdf is something to be proud of…so don’t skimp on your Case Study at this stage – make it look fantastic!
Nobleword uses InDesign and graphic designers to create both online and hard print Case Studies.
For any more information, please contact Matt Wright at email@example.com.
Did you know that 81% of data breaches are due to poor passwords?
The most common passwords are not always that sophisticated according to research undertaken by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC):
123456 [23.2m victim accounts worldwide]
123456789 [7.7m – cunningly adding 3 numbers only makes this the 2nd most commonly hacked password!]
qwerty [3.8m – so letters aren’t that much safer than numbers…]
password [3.6m – ah the old classic – all lower case mind you!]
1111111 [3.1m – cunning…but not quite cunning enough]
Interestingly, the NCSC also published the 5 most common passwords involving premier league football team name (‘liverpool’ champions again with 0.28m), musicians (‘blink182′ 0.29m – never heard of ’em) and fictional characters (‘superman’ 0.33m easily defeated ‘batman’ 0.2m in this particular face-off).
Practise good password hygiene
“Recognising the passwords that are most likely to result in a successful account takeover is an important first step in helping people create a more secure online presence.”
Troy Hunt, international web security expert
Identify whether your password is weak: Troy Hunt’s list – Have I Been Pwned – can be used to check breached usernames and passwords.
Create a strong password: the NSCS recommends three random words.
Store passwords securely: this means not on a post-it note, but using professional software such as Password manager (as recommended by IT Trouble Free – this will only offer to fill in passwords for accredited sites) or other reputable programmes such as LastPass.
“Using hard-to-guess passwords is a strong first step and we recommend combining three random but memorable words. Be creative and use words memorable to you, so people can’t guess your password.”
Dr Ian Levy, NCSC Technical Director
The NSCS has published a paper on UK Cyber Security [see below] which is well worth a read if you’d like to educate yourself further about password protection.
Alternatively, call in the experts at IT Trouble Free and let them take the worry off your hands!
In these ever-changing times when social distancing and remote working have become the norm, the advantages of VAs (Virtual Assistants = online) over PAs (Personal Assistants = physical) has become even more pronounced.
As a reminder, here are 3 key benefits a VA can offer your business:
1. PAYG (Pay as You Go)
With cashflow and workflow proving more difficult to predict, a traditional PA represents a fixed cost and commitment for your business.
By comparison, VAs work flexibly as & when you require their services.
That means no recruitment, tax or National Insurance costs.
2. Social Distancing
The notion of a physical office for all employees was already being challenged pre-COVID 19.
In this ‘new world’, being able to work remotely and at a distance has become mandatory
VAs are accustomed to managing dynamic workflows and working from their own premises
3. Outsource & upskill
VAs usually have their own unique set of skills, aside from the usual word processing, spreadsheeting and presentation competencies; e.g. invoicing, expenses and purchase ledger management
Also, VAs are usually great networkers with an extensive book of contacts, so if there is a particular job you need, a VA should probably be your first port of call!
Having worked as a PA across a wide range of industries (financial, retail, pharmaceutical) I understand what businesspeople need and how to deliver it effectively.
There isn’t a one size fits all – everybody’s requirements and ways of working are different, which is where a VA such as myself fit in nicely!
Week 2 of Quarantine and the novelty of working from home full-time starting to wear off a little?
Motivation lagging and good intentions going by the wayside?
Remind yourself of these 10 Tips for Motivating Yourself at Home.
Have a schedule
Organise your day as if you have to get up to go to work
“When we put on an item of clothing it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear,’ so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.” – Karen Pine (professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire)
Don’t work where you sleep
It helps with a delineation between work and play
Being sedentary isn’t just harmful for your health, it’s terrible for your motivation and discipline; exercise gives you a boost of energy that’s incredibly helpful for productivity
Rather than binge-watching box sets and putting off any work until the evening, use tv as a reward in the evening
For smaller blocks of time, use micro-rewards; e.g. an hour of work = 10 minutes on a video game
Mute Social Media
That little “bong” message noise will instantly jolt you out of thinking about whatever you’re supposed to be working on.
Either hide your phone or mute it
When working from home, your house or apartment can become your bunker; it’s a safe spot that has everything you need, so why should you ever bother leaving?
Your body needs sunlight (easier said than done in the UK much of the year…) and getting outside (for your scheduled 1-hour per day) will help your mental sanity
Talk to other Human Beings
Make up for the lack of actual human contact where you can – adapt, improvise, do anything that forces you to have a conversation or engage with another human
Declare war on Distracting Sites
Delete distracting sites (amusing cats…etc) from your favourite bar
Have a side project to fill the dead space
Working from home trims all that fat from your workday, so with diligence, a 9-5 job might well turn into a 9-2 job
Use the time freed up to take up a hobby (such as drawing) or starting that book you’d meant to write, or…whatever!
Date: 6th March 2020 Speaker: Charles Fraser Business:Longmores Solicitors Topic: Powers of Attorney and the OPG
“The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) helps people in England and Wales to stay in control of decisions about their health and finance and make important decisions for others who cannot decide for themselves.”
The Office of the Public Guardian(OPG) is a government body that operates within the framework of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. It is the body that registers lasting and enduring powers of attorney, so that people can choose who they want to make decisions for them
Charles recounted a real-life example (no names, dates or anything identifiable!):
A widowed woman with dementia had 2 sons.
She asked one of the them (together with his wife) to move into her house to help care for her.
However, at some point in the future, the other son complained about perceived misallocation/misuse of her funds.
There was no Power of Attorney in place at the time, so all of this had been undertaken on an ‘ad hoc’ basis.
Under the rules laid out by the OPG:
1. You have no power to make cash gifts: hence, you can’t allocate yourself any cash arbitrarily whilst looking after somebody.
2. Lifetime gifts (to yourself or other persons) which reduce the value of the estate should be treated with extreme caution; i.e. if you are intending to put a relative in care and expect the council to pay for it, bank statements will be scrutinised and your request could be refused on the grounds of deliberately trying to avoid payment.
3. Application for Power of Attorney can be retrospective, but stops on death.
There are a number of restrictions on what you can and cannot do when you have been granted lasting Power of Attorney…and if you haven’t even applied for it in the first place, you should do so immediately.
Suffice to say that you need to speak to an expert at the earliest opportunity – don’t even go there yourself!