How to market your business is critical to your business success. That’s our topic for today’s post. I’ve added some steps for you to work on that are pretty easy.
Here’s what you should be doing to stay top of mind and current with your network:
Send two emails a day to people you know to stay in touch. You’re not selling to them, just checking in to say hello.
Try to get together every week with either one new person that you’ve been introduced to, or one close business friend you haven’t seen in a while.
Offer free, 15-minute discovery calls, by phone or Zoom, to anyone who’s interested in working with you.
Once a month, write an email newsletter with relevant content and send it out to everyone you know.
Regularly post excerpts of your newsletters to social media.
Once a month, you should attend a networking event to meet new people.
Keep your LinkedIn profile current, including adding every new person you meet.
You may think this is a lot of work, and way too time-consuming to fit into your day. But, it’s not really!
Once you have the system set up, it takes far less time to run than the time you spend worrying about generating business! Getting clients is always on top of your mind, but you need to do these steps to create a steady flow of clients.
Another Way to Market
Try using Facebook and Instagram to post content on a regular basis. You need to get noticed on social media, but you don’t have to be on every platform to get noticed. Also, don’t consider this selling, it’s just marketing to do the work for you.
Just make sure that you are consistent with what you create and post valuable content, not just fluff. Anyone can do that and it might get you followers but not clients. Also remember that even when you have a steady flow of clients, you’re always going to need to market yourself.
You’ll hear people refer to routine as being dull or boring. It implies that life is the same from one day to the next. However, routines are a great way to get your work done.
It’s also a great means for teams to work together towards a common goal. When everyone has an understanding of what needs to get done, i.e., what routines each team member needs to perform, projects tend to run smoother.
We also have routines in our society. In some ways, laws can be considered routines. You know that you aren’t supposed to run a red light and that can be thought of as a routine.
When you come to a red light, you stop as best as you can. There may be instances when you accidentally go through one here or there. But, most people will stop for red lights. And this is good to reduce accidents.
You set up routines for your kids in the form of chores. You know that certain tasks need to get done each week. Many parents tie their kids’ allowances to these chores. When the kids finish their chores, they receive their allowances. It teaches the kids a work ethic. They need to perform tasks, and when they complete those tasks, they receive money for them.
When you pay bills, you tend to have a routine for this. Some people like to get everything sorted on one day and pay all the bills on that day. Others will pay them whenever they receive them. Others, still, will set up their payments to be paid automatically by their bank or brokerage.
There isn’t a right answer for how to do this. Whatever works for you is the right answer. However, the method you choose will be routine.
Contrast this to people who don’t have routines to manage their lives. They tend to handle tasks when the mood strikes them. These people are usually late with their bills and have messy environments. Some of these people will say that this way of life works for them. However, for most people this is chaos. It’s something that can easily be avoided by setting up routines for the tasks you need to complete.
Of course, people are not robots. Hence, they do break up their routines on occasion. You may use weekends to do activities that you don’t get to do during the workweek. Also, many families use vacations to help break up their routines.
How do you create routines for yourself? Do you have them? If not, you should acquire some routines, especially for your business. It can be as easy as what days of the week you do your invoices and banking. Keep it simple but make them a routine. You will thank yourself for this later.
Not every virtual assistantjob is easy or simple. Some projects start well but as you work, you encounter problems that feel overwhelming. The good news is that while it may seem like a big deal now, many of these problems can be solved quickly and efficiently once you know what to do. Today’s topic is all about the 3 Client Pitfalls Virtual Assistants Should Avoid. Goodness, you mean there are things we should avoid? Absolutely!
Pitfall #1: Scope Creep
A big pain point for VAs is scope creep. This is when the client asks you to do more work than the original amount you agreed upon. For example, you’re designing a book cover for a client. She wants you to design bookmarks with the cover on them, too.
You may be tempted to accept this extra work without saying a word. But what you should do is renegotiate with your client.
Keep in mind that most clients aren’t trying to get extra work out of you when they make a request.
They just don’t understand how much additional time and effort these extra tasks will cause you.
One of the best ways to handle scope creep is to talk with your client.
Tell your client that once the cover is completed, you’ll be happy to begin a new project for the bookmarks.
Pitfall #2: Not Getting Materials
A common pitfall that VAs encounter is not getting needed materials from a client. It might be that they haven’t sent you their logo, copy, or login information. The way to handle this issue is to send a short message to your client and let them know that you’ll have to charge an extra fee because you don’t have the resources you need.
Give them a clear deadline in your email. Say something like, “If I don’t receive XYZ from you within the next week, then you’ll be charged an additional $25”.
Most clients will quickly find the files you need when they get this message.
Pitfall #3: Extensive Revision Requests
Your client might love your work on Tuesday but ask for several large revisions on Wednesday. This is a common problem when you’re working on a project that requires approval from several people.
For example, the marketing manager may love your graphics. But the sales team leader wants to change the colors or suggest different fonts.
You can handle revision requests by communicating clearly. Tell the client that the first round of revisions is covered but after that, you’ll be charging $XX for each hour of work.
When clients understand that they could be charged extra, they tend to limit revisions.
New to all this stuff, we get it!
If you’re a new VA, you might think you should offer free, unlimited revisions. But you don’t want to make this mistake. Otherwise, you risk working on the same project for months or even years to come. Meanwhile, you keep waiting for the end of the project so you can get paid.
If a client feels strongly about a revision, then they’ll pay your additional rate without complaint. A good client understands that your time is valuable and never wants to take advantage of you or your skills.
Most virtual assistant problems can be easily solved with a simple conversation, whether by email or phone. You can stand up for yourself calmly and professionally now that you know what to do.
The Big Secret About Getting Clients from Online Groups
As a virtual assistant, one of your marketing strategies to get new clients might be searching for them in online groups. The Big Secret About Getting Clients from Online Groups is NOT really that big of a secret.
So, places like Facebook and LinkedIn make it so easy for us to find groups to socialize in.
And this marketing strategy can be very effective—IF you know how to work it.
Here’s a secret:
Join groups that include YOUR specific target market! And then make real connections and relationships with those in the group.
I’ll explain below:
First, joining virtual assistant groups is a great idea. But not necessarily a place to find clients.
Remember—everyone else in there is looking for clients and building their business as well. Other virtual assistants are NOT your potential clients. (Unless that’s exactly who you’re targeting—that’s a different story—and a completely different conversation!)
So, should you bother to join virtual assistant groups?
VA groups can be a great resource for you. You can get answersto questions so that you don’t stay stuck. Here are a couple of examples: needing a quick tech answer or wondering if other VAs has used a certain kind of software, and if they like it. Groups are great for that type of information.
And don’t forget about the search feature in groups. You can often find a quick answer by typing your keyword(s) in to the search box and find threads that answer your question.
They’re also useful in making sure that you don’t feel so lonely in this industry. Many virtual assistants feel isolated when they no longer have co-workers or any face-to-face contact with others. You might have family and friends who don’t really “get” what it is that you do and aren’t very supportive. This is where you can come in to a VA group and find other like-minded people to support you.
If you visit a VA group enough, participate and help others out, it’s also a great place to network and make connections with other virtual assistants. You just might end up with a referral partner or two. Connect with VAs who offer different services and you can outsource work to them, start building a team or refer clients to them.
So, being active in VA groups is also a way to get some free mentoring. The groups are often run by VAs or VA mentors who have been in the industry for quite some time. There are also active veteran VA group members who will jump in, answer questions and offer advice. Think of it as a way to shorten your learning curve and move forward just a little faster in your business.
If you’re thinking of working with a VA mentor to advance your business, getting involved in their group is a great way to get a sense of their style and see if you’d be a good fit to work together.
What doesn’t really work in these VA groups?
Only stopping in when you need more clients and asking the group if they have anyone to refer to you.
Creating posts in the groups and/or linking to articles on your blog that explain the importance of hiring a VA. (This is a group that’s already filled with VAs, remember?)
Posting about your MLM or direct sales opportunity that you do on the side of your VA business.
Now, let’s talk about joining groups that include your target market
If you’re looking for new potential clients online, joining groups where THEY hang out is a smart marketing strategy.
I do understand that this can be a little out of your comfort zone. But you CAN do this!
First, you want to check the group rules/profile and make sure that they also accept people in the group that support their industry. (That would be you.)
Make sure to read all group rules and follow them. You want to be respectful of the group owner.
Start going through the posts in the group and getting a feel for the conversations and style. You don’t necessarily have to jump in and post something right away.
If the group owner asks new members to make a new post and talk about yourself, take advantage of that. Make sure you let them get to know you as a business owner—but also you on a personal level. People do business with those that they know, like and trust.
Do you see any questions being asked in the group that you can help with? Then go ahead and post your answer.
Do NOT constantly spam the group with posts all about what you do and links to your site. That’s a quick way to get kicked out.
Think about what value you can add to the group. Maybe you can create a post that solves an issue you see mentioned in the group repeatedly. Perhaps there is a tool or software you use that saves you tons of time and money that you could share with the group.
All in all, remember that these are real people and your goal is to develop real relationships. Be genuine, not spammy. Realize that it takes time and consistency to build these relationships.
You don’t meet someone on the street and immediately ask them to marry you, right? It’s the same thing here. You need to give this marketing strategy time and establish relationships. If done right, it can be very effective for connecting with new clients.
If you want to learn more about relationship marketing and how it works, click here.
You’ve heard about it, right? Setting client expectations, what they want, what they need, how you can help them? Ok, here’s the thing, you must do your due diligence in setting up expectations or else, it could turn into a real train wreck!
Here are 5 simple steps to get a handle on it before it ALL COMES CRASHING AROUND YOU!
Here are four ideas to get a flow of clients coming your way:
Be clear about the work you do. If you can clearly explain your work, others will be able to spread the word. When someone asks what I do, I say, “I’m a Virtual Assistant. I work with solo-professionals – people who work on their own – like business coaches, marketing consultants, and financial planners. I help them with all their administrative work – like updating their websites, setting up their newsletters, and helping them set up online courses.”And then I stop talking. Too much information can be confusing! And by the way, I say the exact same thing every time someone asks me the question (I practiced saying it out loud until I could do it cold!).
Spread the word. Attend networking events in your area, participate in social media, and write a monthly email newsletter that you then send to everyone you know. If you’re in front of people on a regular basis, you won’t be top of mind when someone needs to hire a Virtual Assistant with your skills. People love to make referrals – make it easy for them.
Be clear about how much you charge. By being clear, clients can decide if they can afford you. It removes time spent negotiating and wringing your hands every time someone asks you how much working with you will cost. So pick an hourly rate and stick to it. Then raise it from time to time as your skills get sharper.
Be clear about how to get started. have 15-minute free consultations with many prospective clients. When the call is wrapping up and I think they’re a good fit for me, I’m clear about the next steps. I say, “I’d like to work with you. I’ll send you a link to buy your first set of hours with me. When you’re ready and once you buy them, I’ll be in touch to schedule a meeting with you and we can get started.”
It may seem like getting good clients is a lot of work, but if you think about it as a part of what you do – and have a set approach you rely on every day – the work will flow your way!
Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing tactics available to businesses today. But the power of email marketing grows exponentially when you automatically send targeted messages based on specific customer behaviors rather than doing it manually.
The reality is no small business owner has time to write individual messages and send them to people one-by-one at just the right times. Even if you have the budget to hire a staff or agency to help you, there aren’t enough hours in the day to manually leverage every email marketing opportunity available to you.
That’s where automation changes the game.
Here are five email marketing messages that you can set up to go out to customers and subscribers automatically based on behavioral triggers, which are practically guaranteed to increase your sales.
Why? Because these automated messages can be built to convert.
Email marketing automation drives more conversions and a higher ROI.
Here are 5 easy ways to do it:
Customer Support Follow-up
Do you follow-up with customers and prospects after they communicate with your customer support team? Whether someone contacts your business by phone, email, or online chat, you should have a follow-up message ready to go out immediately after the communication is documented in your customer support software.
You can automate the entire process if you use a customer support tool that integrates with your email marketing tool. Just write your follow-up message and set it to be sent automatically when a contact in your email marketing list completes a communication with a customer service representative.
This message could simply tell the customer or your prospect how to get additional help if they need it. Or it could include a survey to track the quality of their experience and overall satisfaction. You could even include a discount or other special offer which they can use on a future purchase in order to convert a customer service issue into a sale.
When someone makes a purchase from you, your email marketing software should be set up to automatically send a follow-up message. Not only should this message thank the person for their purchase, but it should also offer a cross-sell or upsell item. You can even include a discount to boost conversions.
To do this, you first have to determine which products or services to cross-sell or upsell for every product or service offered on your website. Your automated message triggered by a purchase could say, “Since you loved [insert the item purchased here}, we thought you’d like [insert a related product here] too!” Include some details about why the customer would like the suggested product or service and a link where they can purchase it immediately. If you’d like, you can also include a discount or special offer in your message.
Keep in mind, automated messages based on sales behaviors don’t have to be limited to completed purchases. They can also be sent when someone moves to the next stage of your sales pipeline.
This is particularly important for businesses that sell products or services with long sales cycles. The goal is to automatically send email messages that help push people through your sales funnel. Therefore, consider sending messages when a prospect makes the first contact with you, completes a sales call, completes a demo, nears the end of a free trial period, and so on.
Every time someone submits a form on your website — whether it’s your contact form, a subscription form, a form to download a free resource, or any other type of form — you should have an email marketing message queued to go out immediately after the behavior is recorded.
For this to work, you need to make sure you’re using a form tool that integrates with your email marketing software, so the entire process can be automated and you can access reports to see which forms are working and which should be improved or replaced.
Abandoned cart messages are a critical part of your email marketing strategy. When someone takes the time to find a product they like on your website, puts that item in their online shopping cart, but leaves your site without completing their purchase, it’s highly likely that an obstacle got in their way which prevented them from completing the transaction.
First, you’ll want to find out what that obstacle was and remove it for two reasons. First, you want to save the sale, and second, you don’t want other people to abandon their carts for the same reasons.
Therefore, when someone abandons their shopping cart on your website, your email marketing tool should be set up to automatically send a message asking them what went wrong and reminding them to return to complete their transaction. You can even include a discount in the message to encourage them to complete their purchase.
Of course, you need to have the right tracking configured in your email marketing tool and on your website, so an abandoned cart is set up as a behavioral trigger that kicks off this very important message.
Thank you, messages can be sent to your customers, based on a variety of behavioral triggers such as making a purchase, attending a webinar, writing a review, and so on. The key is to be sure your thank you messages sound authentic and make the recipients feel valued.
Saying thank you shows consumers that your brand is human and helps deepen your brand’s relationship with them. You’re also acknowledging consumers and helping them develop trust in your brand.
Keep it simple and sincere, and the perception of your brand – and the likelihood people will buy from you again and tell other people about your brand – improves significantly.
Automation works because it saves you a lot of time. There is no doubt that when you can automate tasks, your productivity and efficiency will improve, and your costs will decrease.
However, you need to invest some time and effort upfront in writing the messages, setting them up in your email marketing software, and integrating your email marketing tool with the other tools you use to track customer behaviors.
It’s well worth the time though because each of these automated messages will give you a measurable improvement on your overall ROI.