Marketing your Business
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.
What to Include in a Welcome Packet
So, you’ve decided you wanted to work from home as a virtual assistant. That’s awesome! So what the heck is a Welcome Packet? Continue reading below and I’ll explain it all to you.
Since that big decision, you’ve been networking like a fool for your first client. Hanging out in Facebook groups, going to networking events, telling your friends and family to the point you’re starting to feel like you’re bugging people with your pitch.
But a virtual assistant without clients is – well, not really a business.
You need clients!
And then one day, you get an email – someone wants to chat about how you can help their business.
So you have that discovery call and you’re feeling like you knocked it out the park. You said all the right things and shoot, you even sent a thank you email afterward.
Now, you wait.
You refresh your email countless times, waiting for a response.
And then it happens — you get an email. You’ve got a client!
But don’t celebrate too much because you’re not done.
There’s something you need to put together for your new client – and that’s a welcome packet.
What is a welcome packet?
The welcome packet is a PDF that contains important information about your business that may or may not already be in your contract.
Is a welcome packet required?
Well, no not really. I’ve just found that having all of the necessary information in a separate PDF file is handy not only for you but for the client as well. And we’re aiming for simplicity here, folks!
What’s in a welcome packet?
Glad you asked!
Here’s what your Welcome Packet can include:
- A personal note from you, welcoming them on board. Start on the right foot but including a note from you: how excited you are to work with them and how you plan to make a difference in their business, something along those lines. Keep in mind that some clients may be working with a virtual assistant for the first time so you may have to a bit of hand-holding to ease them into the water. It’s okay – a kick-butt virtual assistant doesn’t just do the work: they also educate their clients.
- Work expectations. Spell out when you will return phone calls and emails. Do you have a 24-hour turnaround during business hours? Will you make recommendations and offer solutions? Tell your client what they can expect from working with you.
- Your office hours. If you don’t spell out your office hours, I can bet my bottom dollar that at some point you’re going to have to talk to a client about working outside of your hours. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. This is where educating a client GENTLY about what a virtual assistant is (a business owner in partnership with the client) and what a virtual assistant isn’t (an administrative worker solely who is on-call and dedicated to their needs only). Make it clear what your hours are and stick to them. For example, my business hours are Monday – Friday, 6 pm-9 pm, Saturdays from 10 am-5 pm. I’m closed on Sundays and the last Saturday of each month. Period. Which brings us to the next matter:
Important Facts to Add
- How will you handle “rush” jobs? OK, life happens sometimes and things pop up that need immediate attention. No problem. But if it’s happening over and over, then it’s time to put some processes in place to keep that from happening. Planning will save you lots of time and headaches. Discuss and note how you will handle rush jobs. Let’s say the client gives you less than 24-hour notice to complete a project. It’s okay to charge a 25% surcharge. Again, make sure it’s indicated in your welcome packet, as well as your contract, to avoid problems later.
- How you will handle referrals and if you provide a referral incentive. In the virtual world, referrals are golden. Do a great job, your client will tell someone else and BOOM! You’ve got a new client. But you want to thank them, right? Maybe a gift card or a couple of complimentary hours.
All the important facts
- Your business processes: how you will protect passwords and confidential information, etc. The online world can be a scary place with all this hacking foolishness. And your client is trusting you with the back-end of their business. That’s huge! You want to reassure them you’ve got systems in place to protect their confidential information – may be shredding confidential data, keeping passwords private, that kind of thing. Give your client some peace of mind.
- Your subcontracting process, if applicable. You may get to the point where you become so busy with work that you’ll need to bring on a subcontractor. Or, maybe you don’t have the skill set to complete a project. Let your client know how you will handle this type of situation (the subcontractor will do the work but you will check it over thoroughly to ensure it meets your approval). Remember, this is YOUR business on the line.
- Invoicing process. This little nugget of information is probably in the contract you sent to the client but it doesn’t hurt to share it in the welcome packet. Reiterate your hourly rate/retainer amount, when you will send an invoice and when payment is due.
- Your contact information and how you prefer to be contacted. I’m cool with getting texts from my client so they have my cell phone number as well as my email. Maybe that won’t work for you so tell your client your preference.
Whew…that’s a ton!
Add in a get-to-know-you sheet: the client’s address (so you can surprise them a gift from time to time), birthday, spouse/children info, if applicable.
Isn’t some of this information already in my contract?
It’s highly possible. But let’s think about this for a second: most people don’t thoroughly read contracts. We should but we don’t. We read the most important part – how much we’re making/paying and kind of skim over the rest. The welcome packet outlines IN A SEPARATE DOCUMENT a lot of what’s in your contract. The difference is that your client will probably read your welcome packet.
You don’t want any excuses (“I didn’t know that was in there because it’s so buried in the contract!”) Nope, we don’t want that!
What else do you need to bring on a new client? Well, you can get all that outlined in a Trello board. If you’ve been around these parts for a while, I compare Trello to Post-its on steroids! Seriously, I can’t get enough of Trello because it keeps me super organized.
A Trello board dedicated to onboarding every new client is a must. You can set it up step-by-step, include what you need to do to ensure a smooth start to your working relationship with every client.
GET YOUR CLIENT TRELLO BOARD HERE
So, I hope this information helps you. Let me know if you need anything else.
Here’s to your success!
Turning Your VA Clients into Repeat Customers
Some virtual assistants complain about the ‘feast or famine’ cycles in their business. But the truth is that Virtual Assistants with this problem aren’t focused on getting repeat work. How to turn your VA clients into repeat customers is our topic of discussion today.
When you have repeat clients, you can balance your bills each month with ease and you don’t have to spend time constantly searching for new projects.
So, how do you get and keep repeat work?
Try using some of these tips…
Do Your Best
If you don’t do a good job with the initial project, clients aren’t likely to hire you for follow up ones. Think of your first project with a new client as an audition. You want to bring your best work to the table so that next time they have a project, they think of you.
Meet Your Deadlines
When you don’t deliver on time, clients are less likely to give you repeat work. If there truly is an emergency or a valid reason that you can’t meet a deadline, let your client know as far in advance as you can.
Send an email or call them on the phone. Tell them that you won’t be able to meet the deadline then suggest a new one. For example, “A loved one is having emergency surgery this week, so I can’t meet our deadline. However, I can have your project back to you by (a new date). Does that work for you?”
When you approach clients this way, most of them will be understanding and will still be open to working with you again. Honest communication is the foundation of a successful working relationship. It’s essential if you hope to turn a client into a repeat customer.
Offer a Long-Term Arrangement
When you’ve finished working on a project that both you and your client enjoyed, bring up the subject of working together again. For example, you might say something like, “I enjoyed redesigning your website. I notice your social media branding doesn’t match. I can help you with that.”
Don’t be pushy when you make this type of observation. Simply point out a problem area and offer to help. Some clients will be enthusiastic and want to start work immediately while others may not be ready to hire you for another project just yet.
Create a Package
Another way to land more repeat customers is to create a package around your most popular services. If you’re a virtual assistant who specializes in social media management, then you could create a package where you upload 100 social media updates for your clients.
Your clients may be more likely to hire you to do this task when they know how much you’ll charge. It makes it easy for them to look at their budget and determine if they can afford your services.
But when it comes to creating a package, try to look for a task or project that clients will need monthly, like blog content or website backups. This way, your clients can continue to pay you month after month.
Getting repeat work can take time.
Keep offering exceptional service and let clients know that you’re available for more work in the future.