What is the best way to market a virtual assistant business?
I own a wonderful virtual assistant business which offers so many crucial services to small to medium sized businesses. I am unsure how to market my business to my target client with a tiny marketing budget. I utilize LinkedIn already. Thoughts and suggestions are appreciated. Our website is www.virtualstaffoncall.com Thanks. Tamara
Hi there! When I needed to market my virtual assistant business. I turned to the guys from http://thecmoclub.com/ community to help me work out a good marketing strategy. They did their best to make my business flourish.
I recommend social media, specifically Facebook. There are many group that you can network on and get to know other VA's and other business professionals. Once you make a name for yourself, people will engage you more with questions and referrals!
I'm starting up a similar business in the middle east. I would love to hear from you on what marketing methods worked with you the best so far. That would be very helpful and very much appreciated.
Congratulations on starting your own business. One of the first details to confirm is the type of business that would benefit from your services. A questionnaire may be useful. If the prospects selects three or more options, they may self-select as being able to use your services.
As you created your business plan, who did you select as your primary and secondary target audiences? The peripheral audiences can be useful too. They are companies that service the first two.
Please contact me at 480-510-7166. You sound like a prospect for Drive Through Coaching.
Happy new year.
Michelle Cubas, CPCC, ACC
TFE Training Solutions Training Advisor
Make Linkedin your best friend.
Set up a site with paypal. Package your services. Create content per package. Price is right for individual tasks and packages.
Create a quick video explaining what you're good at, how you can help "3 case studies of different client types) and create a time based offer.
Evaluate what are the top 5 issues, challenges, tasks that people need help with. You can do that looking at requests on sites like craigslist or elance
Instead of responding directly to people off your site, create a resource section that answers all the questions and share links to drive traffic to your website each time
Post videos on vimeo, youtube, Facebook and Linkedin.
VAs top priority is resourcefulness and timely turnaround. Prove with case studies and examples how you've helped others. Add their Video or text testimonials. Don't have any clients yet? ask 5 of your pro friends if they would work with you for X amount of hours to build case studies from your assistance then ask them instead of paying you for services to do a video review or if camera shy to write up how your assistance helped them achieve their goals.
Your reputation management will be your best asset. If your clients ask you to create specific document templates...think of creating generic one sand offering a downloadable on your site so you don't do repetitive tasks. Charging for those a flat fee is acceptable.
Your marketing budget is not the issue, creativity is. You can do a lot very little. Video will be your best friend. You can use webex, skype, facetime....don't worry about quality as much as what you're conveying. Stick to relevant details, offers, tasks, issues and don't be vague.
For instance even when you post on Mosaic, keep in mind there are people on here who can become your customers. Always pay attention to what you say, what keywords you use in text as it helps people find you. Instead of saying: "many crucial services" which can be anything...say: " daily administrative tasks or research, appointment settings...be specific wherever possible.
In respect to SEO, make sure your site has basics covered (titles with keywords crucial to your customers, meta tags, keyword rich content etc)
Blog content: write a post on each task you offer. Explain how it helps a business owner with running their company. Give examples within each. Be specific. End with a way to contact you.
If you are offering packages, create landing page for each package, capture leads by having a form they need to fill out in order to reach you, share their task needs or download something from your site.
VA service is about people and trust. Get on video, smile and tell people how wonderful you and your staff is and what has inspired you to launch this business. Passion sells. Be passionate, Be hungry. Be available ;)
You are off to a good start with your website and engaging with LinkedIn. I see you also offer a newsletter. Do you email your newsletter of just offer it through your website? If you don't email it you should consider that and have a simple newsletter sign up right on your website. I don't see that anywhere. Just a name and email address is all you need to start collecting contacts. Address topics of interest for your target audience in the newsletter - pain points, tips and tricks, and use it to show your expertise and value.
VA is a service I see people searching for online so I would consider a relatively inexpensive PPC campaign with Google or Bing. You can set the budget to what you are comfortable paying each month and if you set up the account and campaign yourself, you will save money there (although it can be a bit tricky if its your first time). It does not look like you did much SEO on your site from my quick review. You should ensure your keywords are used in your titles, headers, and copy and even enhance your website copy to address all the questions a potential client may be looking to answer.
With LInkedIn you didn't say how you were using it but there are many many ways to utilize LinkedIn for marketing your business. Join groups, answer questions, ask for referrals and recommendations and sign up for a premium account and send InMails to target companies you would like to work with.
These are just a few ideas to get start with. Let me know if you want help with any one of them or have any further questions.
Tamara, what are the basis Packages do you provide? Because I am in need of a VA from US..
There are lots of shoestring marketing opportunities out there. Your question is on marketing, i.e. excludes sales, and the best way by far is to tell people you know about the "essence" of your business - why you are special.
Yes, social media can be useful for making contact but this is a specialist field populated by mostly mediocre business owners who think they can do it. Networking is usually a reasonable way forward, and there are a number of free or cheap meetings out there. I really urge you to consider picking up the phone, though it really sounds as though you need to get your business proposition worked out first - just calling everything wonderful and crucial is not enough.
The answer is that marketing is specific, sales is general. So market "invoicing", "scheduling", "export paperwork", "legal support" or whatever. And get on the phone and out to meetings - you will be selling you just as much as your services.
Newsletters(digital), Email marketing has worked for me. Virtual seminars where you can talk to clients might work
Hi Tamara, you have many target clients, real estate brokers, construction and renovation companies, solo practice attorneys etc. soyou could write blogs that would address the concerns these groups, ie time management etc. Since 'stress' is one of the high rated google search words, Use this word and other similar wording in your blogs. Post frequently in all mediums to make connections and show you want to help people with stress relief. Alex is right on point with all his advice. Content is important. People buy from people they trust so on-line marketing isn't the only tool, Have you tried business networking? The Meetup site is a great way to find groups in your local area see http://www.meetup.com/. What about joining your local Chamber of Commerce? You would then have access to a database of members for your marketing activities.
For a web based business, or any business for that matter, you need to engage multiple channels that integrate social media capacity within the marketing/advertising and customer engagement to B2C/B2B prospective clients. Your business presence enhances, your SEO and digital footprint enhances, and the ability to more meaningfully engage towards sales conversion is the key. You may want to also engage the thought of an effective loyalty program that differentiates you in your niche. Keep well.
I've been looking at your website and I must say that your concepts sounds great.
In regards to your question and the answers that have been send, I wonder why everybody is leaning on social media platforms for your business to get noticed.
I realy don't believe that this will help you get noticed at all.
A few steps to help you get started :
1. face-to-face. There is no daubt, that your service requires a personal approach. You need to contact your potential clients in person.
Try to select your potential clients and make a list. Try to get 3 presentations each day and you'll be supprised about the results.
2. become a member of a local business club or start your own. This offers you great exposure when working with local business clubs.
If you want to start your own business club, I can only advice to use Flexkom Int. as a general platform.
This realy works for me. I've started 5 business clubs this way and startups, small entrepreneurs realy like it. The nice thing about this BC concept is the fact that a member fee is only required once and than everybody will earn money from working together.
3. use social media as a final communication tool, together with small advertising in local papers. However, I've experienced that small entrepreneurs are so involved with their business, that they don't really focus on finding services like yours through social media platforms.
Hi Tamara, you will need to focus on
a) Product/ Service
Product or the Service bundle is of critical importance while pricing needs to be realistic. Offering virtual services also implies one can manage costs to be affordable for small business owners. Pricing needs to be significantly lower than what a physical employee would cost. the ' marginal benefit' of having a virtual employee should be significantly lower. People who are involved in the service delivery should have broad industry knowledge and also business etiquettes to deal with the customer. Lastly, the process of service delivery will be key to this. Once you have a service bundle you can package it and communicate it via variety of channels but advertising will only work if you have a strong product bundle.
I have had the same dilemma with my business, but I started to market it using Reference USA; you may check this link http://www.cobbcat.org/e-library/business.html, it is from my library, but you can use it as reference. You will need a Library Card and PIN number to access from home, so visit your library first and you will be searching soon to find employers by geographic area or type of business; includes company contact name and address and start to offer your services. Good luck!
How are you using LinkedIn?
For instance... have you joined LinkedIn groups and participated in the conversations, thereby establishing yourself as an industry expert? Have you figured out how to market to companies on LinkedIn by exploring your connections? Do you regularly offer discounts in posts for folks trying your services for the first time?
I would strongly recommend an Inbound marketing approach. I suggest writing articles on topics that are "problems virtual assistants solve": i.e. write on the work you do (and want to do) for your clients. This will give you the 'hub' of a hub and spoke marketing approach. The spokes I would recommend would definitely include: social media, adwords and re-marketing banners.
Social Media: I always suggest to choose 3 channels to actively manage. In this case you have been working with LinkedIn, continue doing that and also use Twitter and Google+ (yes, Google+).
Adwords: Have an expert build you a persistent long tail keyword focused campaign that will provide you with content focused keyword traffic (probably avoiding "virtual assistant" related head terms initially). For a few dollars a day, you might be surprised what sort of activity/leads you can achieve.
Re-Marketing: This will allow you to provide previous visitors to your site (to read content), and/or those who have engaged with your Adwords campaign to be subtly reminded of your brand, after they have left. It can be highly cost effective, and if nothing else is very cost effective for generating low CPM, high frequency brand marketing.
Naturally, when all is said and done, you should be measuring your websites analytics and reviewing what tactics, topics and keywords are driving the greatest engagement and leads to your site.
If you need help building a content strategy, to build a platform for social media marketing or help with Adwords and remarketing or tweaking your site feel free to reach out.
There are lots of ways to market your business. One, and the most expensive way is to hire someone to do it for you through social marketing sites (for example, a marketing company hires me to do just that for some of their clients!)
But, here is what I have learned: the number one most useful way to market your business is at least have a twitter account. You don't need to write any posts, just start following people and businesss- ones in your, ones that share common interests, people or companies who you would WANT to do work for, and other virtual assistants. This gets you noticed, just following people will get them to know who you are. Right now, it is the hottest social networking tool for people and businesses.
You can also do the same with other social networking sites, like Facebook and LinkedIn. Create a page just for your business, and then start connecting with people. When they connect back, be sure to tell them thank you and if they ever need help, feel free to contact you. Join all the virtual assistants type groups on these sites as possible, sometimes there are clients who are looking for your service.
Another great option, is a site called Elance, where you build a personal profile telling people what you do. Here, you can search for virtual assistant positions, there are tons of them! And people will often seek you if you have an up-to-date profile.
Lastly, make sure your listed on accredited virtual assistant sites. These sites, and they may charge a fee, list virtual assistants in a specific area. There are some great networking ones, like AssistYou that you should join to better market your business.
Hope that helps! Good luck!
Use Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to get started on a minimal budget. Start with the connections you already have such as relatives, past employers, friends, organizations, and other groups that may want your services or know someone who does. Don't be afraid of asking people for a favor and talking about what you do and why its so great.
If you have time, try to get real reviews from businesses you have helped in the past.
To help support your website, go to the different business listing and phone book websites and put your businesses information and website links in. It can take time but it will do a lot of good for your business in the long run.
These are things you can do on your own with a small budget or find a small marketing company. You could even a college student to help you and give them real world experience.
Try it on Bing. It is relatively cheap and helps to enter the american market at low risk!
Please let me know if you would like more details about that