SVA put together 10 baby-steps to becoming a Virtual Assistant – a must-read for any aspiring assistant! Continue reading
One of my core VA beliefs is that people won’t work with us unless it is to their advantage. However, faced with having to take a risk trusting someone they can’t see with their business, possibly learn new software, and not being able to micromanage you, sometimes it is a step too far… They want someone in the office.
My approach to this has always been:
Well you aren’t ready to work with a VA then, call me when you are.
But I totally get why it kills newbie VAs to finally snag a prospective client and then have to turn them down simply because they want you to work some of the time in the office… Continue reading
It is Marketing Friday! Here are this week’s tips to help you market your Virtual Assistant business:
1. Offer a prize. Offer your services as a prize in a competition in return for the contact details of everyone entering. Team up with a newspaper, magazine or organisation.
2. Get testimonials. If you’ve done a great job ask your clients if they would mind being included in your marketing materials as a testimonial – get them to give you a quote about why they use your service, how it’s made a difference to them and what it meant to their business along with their name, business, and possibly contact details if they are willing to be a referee for you and your business.
3. When writing copy for your website remember to include those all-important keywords and phrases in the titles and first part of the text. Search engines trawl through these and will recognise your site as a “Virtual Assistant”, “Administrative Support” “offering bookkeeping, web design and secretarial support” “based in Edinburgh” site and list it as such. Also keep it short, snappy and use lots of bullets, as people tend to scan sites rather than reading them.
4. Frequent flyers for VAs? Offer a discount on services when they buy over a certain amount – buy 5 hours, get one free for example.
5. Under promise and over deliver customer delight every time. Note: don’t just aim to deliver customer satisfaction, it’s boring and everyone does it!
Hello, welcome back to our regular Friday series to help you market your Virtual Assistant business. Here are this week’s tips:
1. Contact your local newspaper (www.mediauk.com) and ask about inserting leaflets in the paper.
2. Or contact your local newsagent who may be willing to do newspaper inserts on a smaller scale across all newspapers being delivered.
3. Enter a competition – there are lots of new business, entrepreneurial prizes or local business prizes. Not only are the prizes great, but you get to network with other business, and create excellent PR.
4. Have professional photography done. Good for creating a personal “real” feel to your website and also for supplying along with press releases as a visual aid. Plus you can use these as an avatar on all your networking forums. Remember to get hi-res and lo-res versions.
5. Start a networking group. A bit extreme, but if you’re finding it hard to find a suitable business networking venue then there are probably a few other people in the same situation.
Here are this weeks tips to help you market your Virtual Assistant business:
1. Make sure you are data protection registered www.ico.gov.uk – don’t be fooled into paying more than £35.
2. Use a rifle instead of a machine gun. Another strange saying, but people are more likely to buy from you if they already know you, so it’s worth re-targeting people who have expressed an interest but haven’t yet bought instead of finding new ones to target.
3. Buy a data list. www.marketingfile.com compiles ready to buy, cleansed lists of all sorts of companies and businesses. Great if you want to target a specific market or area.
4. Royal Mail Leaflet drop – great info on direct mail here including pre-paid responses, buying addresses, and how to keep within the law.
5. SMS bulk text messaging – www.clickatell.com or www.kapow.co.uk
Welcome back to our regular series of tips to help you market your virtual assistant business, here are this week’s 5 tips:
1.Print up some fun postcards. Great for sending out reminders of new products, events or special deals. And they save on envelopes and postage. Remember to keep the message / picture quite generic so you can reuse them and they don’t go out of date. And, as always, put your contact details on them!
2. Printing a one off deal? Instead of colour printing everything, consider using coloured paper and printing in black. Good for posters, leaflets etc. in small print runs.
3. Out and about? Try branding your car or laptop. A number of sign makers will do cling labels for your car windows and www.skynmobile.com will do personalised laptop covers. A great talking point on the train.
4. Take up a hobby or an evening class. Okay, this isn’t as weird or as sadly single as it sounds, particularly if you do something business related like web design or accounting… Just think about why they’re doing it!
5. Create standard templates and pictures on www.microsoft.com and www.hp.com to personalise your marketing materials.
It is Friday again, so time for this week’s tips to help you market your Virtual Assistant business:
1. Contact other VAs and ask if they have any subcontract work going or better still team up with a VA who has different skills to you and do a client swap – you refer clients to her in her speciality and she refers clients to you in yours.
2. Brand everything! From CDs, pens, notepads, envelopes, letterhead – make sure your contacts are on it. Firstly it makes it easier for people to find you again if they need more work doing, but secondly it acts as a really good reminder when they take a sip of coffee from your mug!
3. Put in place a follow up procedure on all your marketing activities – put it in the diary. Whether it’s a phone call, an email or a postcard.
4. Make sure you can track what’s getting the best response, get into the habit of asking people where they heard about you and tracking what’s most effective so you can concentrate on that area and get rid of the activities that aren’t making you money.
5. Create an ideal client profile – who are they, what do they do, where do they live and why do they need you? Concentrate on the clients who give you profit. You know the clients who don’t pay on time, mess you about and generally cause chaos? Forget them – if they can’t afford to pay you, you can’t afford to do business with them.
I hope you’ve had a fun and productive week. Here are this week’s 5 tips to help you market your virtual assistant business:
1.Remember it’s 10 times easier and 16 times cheaper to keep an existing customer than to find a new one. Concentrate on delighting your existing customers, selling to them more often and in greater quantities.
2.. Make the process of using you as easy as possible for clients. Introduce a standard procedure when signing up new clients. Include all the information you need in one form, create a checklist of what you need to do in order that nothing gets forgotten.
3. Try to automate as much of the payment process as possible by using standing orders or prepayment via Paypal for example (most banks won’t offer merchant banking to a new VA business straight away so credit cards and direct debits are not available).
4. Offer a special seasonal service – e.g. holiday call answering / off site temping / Christmas card mailing.
5. Talk to other VAs and get ideas about what works from them – Times Crème or the National VA Conference is great for this.
Hi fellow VA’s it’s been a while since my last blog, as I’m sure you will all know setting up as a VA keeps you really busy! Continue reading
We are now halfway through our regular series of tips to help you market your virtual assistant business, I hope you’ve found them useful so far. Here are this week’s 5 tips:
1. When handing a business card/leaflet to someone, give it with both hands, as though it were a gift – it is!
2. Volunteer to write a business column or contribute to a local newspaper or magazine.
3. Become a great source of information for your clients – I often have clients phoning me up for really random things but I’m often able to put them in touch with just the right person – so when they hear of someone needing my services, I’m front of their mind!!!
4. Offer a free trial. A lot of people aren’t sure how the service will work; offering them a free trial takes the risk away and may even encourage them to tell their friends about the service.
5. Say thank you. A range of nice presents are available to customise with your logo and also say thank you for their custom.
As part of our Specialist Niches section, we’ve spoken to VAs who have unusual or specialist niches.
I’m Debbie and my background was in financial services. I set up as a VA when I left my job in the City (I was miserable being so far away from my 1 year old son).
I didn’t know what else to do that would enable me to be close to home, so I thought a VA role would be perfect.