Many virtual assistants and other service-based businesses can find that their workload slows down in summer. Perhaps because their clients take time off to go on holiday, or the business owner themselves has to cut back hours to look after the kids who are off from school. Whatever the reason, as a small business owner it can be tough when the client work isn’t rolling in as regularly as you’d like. You can lose momentum and motivation if things go too quiet for too long.
So how can you keep things moving over the holiday period? Well you don’t have to start selling holiday packages or swimming pools but like travel agents, you do need to understand what your customers are thinking about in the summer months and cater your marketing to that.
So when business is slow, ask yourself a few questions:
- What are your customers’ worries and concerns in summer? As a virtual assistant, some of my clients may be concerned about who is going to answer customer enquiries while they’re on holiday, or they may want to keep their Facebook page or LinkedIn group updated while they’re away. So grab a piece of paper and write down the kind of concerns that your target market may have over the summer months and how you could help them with that.
- What are they busy doing? When you know what your customers are doing and what’s on their minds, you know how to speak to them. Ask your clients what their plans are over the summer months. Perhaps they want to get started on a project that they’ve been putting off and want to use the quiet summer time to do this. By asking questions and finding out what their plans are for the rest of the year, you can talk to them about how you can help them achieve these plans.
- What would they rather be doing? They may want to take some time off over the summer but are worried about how this will affect their business. Perhaps they’d just like a few days lazing by the beach. So what would your clients love to do but feel they can’t, but possibly could with the help of your services? Again, educate them as to how you can help them achieve this without a lot of stress on their part.
Putting together a summer marketing plan doesn’t require any magic skills, but it does require some thought. When business is slow, take time to speak to your clients and find out what they are doing over the summer months. Then put together a plan that can help them with any issues or projects that they have. By doing this, your clients will not only appreciate what you’re doing for them but you will also be ensuring that you have a steady stream of work to cover you over the holiday period.
Are you planning to go on holiday but worried about who’s going to look after things while you’re away? Or perhaps you’re planning to work on a project and need some help? Then click on the arrow button to find out more about our virtual assistant services and how we can help you in your business.
Now video marketing is becoming an increasingly popular way for small businesses to promote their services or products. If you’re like me and running a business on your own, then it’s a great way for people to get to know the person behind the brand. In fact, I’ve recently started to put some videos together – mainly short screencast tutorials – which I will be sharing shortly.
So if you are someone who would like to use video marketing but don’t have the time or skills to set everything up, then here are 5 ways that a virtual assistant can help you to manage and promote your videos.
Research appropriate equipment and software. One of the first things you need to consider is getting the right equipment to shoot your video. This will include camera and microphone, and possibly lighting and screen. A virtual assistant can research and recommend appropriate equipment based on your needs and budget. They can also suggest software to edit your videos whether you are recording head shots of you talking to camera or recording your computer screen for tutorials.
Help with editing. Once you have got your video recorded then it can be time consuming to edit the video and add in the appropriate titles etc. A virtual assistant can do this for you with your directions. So they can add or remove audio and visuals as required, add captions and call outs to sections of the video, and cursor and zoom effects when you want to highlight a particular point.
Make it look professional. To make your video look really professional then it’s a good idea to add intro music and a title both before and after the main content. A virtual assistant can research and add appropriate music, titles and graphic effects to the video which will help to promote your brand.
Promote video. Once you’ve made your video then you obviously want people to see it! A virtual assistant can set up a channel for you on YouTube, complete with your company details and branding. They can upload videos and add tags so they appear in the search results. They can then promote the videos via social media and email marketing so they get the highest visibility and ranking on YouTube, as well as submitting them on video promotion sites such as TubeMogul and Traffic Geyser.
Video blogging. Another way to use video is to create video blogs (or vlogs). If you’re someone who blogs a lot then you can shoot a short video which is related to the blog. The virtual assistant can then upload the video on to YouTube with a link to the blog post, and add a link to the video on your blog. This creates traffic both to your blog/website and to your YouTube channel so dramatically increases your online profile.
Although you could do all the above yourself, by outsourcing the technical and promotional tasks you can focus on the marketing message you want to get across so that you can maximise the results from your video marketing activities.
Check out the Smart VA YouTube Channel for a selection of video tutorials. Whether you want to know how to use Twitter Search, create a campaign on MailChimp, or manage your inbox in Outlook, these videos are all aimed at showing you how to use tools and software to save time in your business.
If you’re like me and are running a business by yourself then you know how important it is to streamline as many processes as possible to save you time. One way of doing this is to manage your social media activities from one place using tools such as HootSuite and TweetDeck.
However, apart from the fact that you shouldn’t post the same content to all your social media accounts (that’s another blog in itself!), it could mean that your Facebook fans are not seeing your posts.
Now I’m someone who had set up their blogs so they were automatically posted on to my Facebook Page when published and used HootSuite to update my Page with other information. However, I’ve read several articles recently that this is not the best way to add content to your Page as it can affect how it appears in your Fans’ newsfeeds. How does this happen?
Well as you may or may not know, Facebook prioritises what appears in newsfeeds and this is dictated by something called Edge Rank. This is an algorithm that uses certain factors such as the numbers of comments or likes, or age of a particular update which affects how likely it will appear.
The Edge Rank of a particular update will also be affected by whether or not it has been posted via a third party application such as Networked Blogs or HootSuite because Facebook will sometimes display these differently to updates posted in Facebook itself. This is because Facebook will often group updates from various Pages that have been posted via third party apps, rather than show them individually.
For example, Twitter feeds from various sources will be shown together in a Fan’s newsfeed, as will blogs posted via Networked Blogs. This means that those updates posted via third party apps will have poorer visibility, or lower Facebook Edge Rank.
So although many small business owners use third party applications to manage the scheduling and management of their social media activities; if you do have the time then I would advise that you try to create status updates in Facebook itself so that you can get the most visibility for your content in your Fans’ newsfeeds.
So what do you think? Leave a comment below!
If you want a Facebook page that will promote your business professionally and effectively to your online contacts, then we can help you. We can design a page to match your company branding, create and add welcome tabs etc, and post updates to your page. Click on the arrow to find out more about our social media marketing services.
As someone who runs their own virtual assistant business, I know how essential it is to have an online presence. However, it can sometimes be very difficult to make yourself heard above all the other marketing messages being broadcast whether it’s via Twitter, Facebook or blogs.
So if you’re a business owner like me who wants to reach out to people in your area, how can you do this? Well this is where the power of local marketing comes in. By targeting your marketing to people within a specific area, you are able to become more effective in communicating your message.
So if you want to make yourself heard, here is how a virtual assistant can help with local marketing.
Google places. This free local listing service is the quickest and easiest way to get on the first page of Google. A virtual assistant can set up your profile with all your company details, including information on your services, location and opening hours. They can also upload any images or videos, and will include specific search terms within your profile so that your place appears when people are looking for your services or products within your area.
Facebook Places. A VA can create a Facebook Places account for you where they will set up or claim your “place”, ie your business address and then complete your profile with details of your location, services and products. Once this is set up, then people can “check in” when they visit your business and by doing this, they tell their Facebook friends about you.
Facebook advertising is like Google Adwords where you set a budget and then pay every time someone clicks on your ad. A virtual assistant can create an ad with images and text and then specify who sees the ad by selecting criteria such as age, gender, interests and location as specified by you. They can monitor the performance of your ads and manage your budget.
Foursquare is very similar to Facebook Places, and again a VA can create or claim your place, and set up your profile with any exclusive discounts or special offers for people who check in to your location. When people check in, they share their location via social media which spreads the word about your business.
Google Adwords works in the same way as Facebook advertising where you set a daily budget and then pay every time someone clicks on your ad. A virtual assistant can create an account on Adwords with criteria specified by you. This includes where your ads are displayed, eg in a particular country or city, your cost per click budget, and which keywords you want to use – you can use location-based keywords so that your ad appears when people are searching for your services or products within that area.
Now you know how a virtual assistant can help with local marketing.
So if you want to communicate to potential clients within your local area then these tools will help you do this and keep you one step ahead of the competition. By using a virtual assistant to set these up and monitor them for you, you can focus on following up the leads that have been generated from these marketing activities.
If you want to have a more effective presence online, then we can help you. By having a visible presence online, you can raise your profile and credibility as well as market your business to people who are interested in what you do. Click on the arrow button to find out more about our online marketing services.
After speaking to some business owners recently, it seems that there are quite a few who won’t be taking a holiday over the summer period. In fact, many people feel that they are not in a position to take a break because without them, their business would not survive.
However, in order to fully achieve personal and financial freedom from your business, it needs to be able to exist without you actually being there. This can be something that a lot of people struggle with in the early days but one of the first steps is to start outsourcing those essential but non-fee earning tasks, such as admin and book keeping.
So if you are now feeling that your business is running you rather than the other way round, here are 5 ways a virtual assistant can give you the freedom to take a break from your business.
Manage your team. If your business is made up of a team based in various locations then a virtual assistant can liaise with them while you’re away. With your instructions, they can co-ordinate team activities to ensure that they stay on track and deadlines are being met.
Manage your clients. One of the main things that a lot of business owners worry about when they’re away is ensuring that their clients are being properly looked after. A virtual assistant can handle enquiries or issues via phone or email, or forward them to another member of the team. They can also keep a record of client activities on a CRM system so you can track of what’s been happening.
Manage updates. Having a holiday can result in a hiatus with your marketing activity. If you’ve spent time building up an online following you don’t want to suddenly “disappear” for 2-3 weeks. A virtual assistant can continue to post important business-related updates to Twitter and Facebook while you’re away, as well as schedule your regular blog posts. They can also keep your contacts up to date with the latest news or promotions by sending out newsletters or updating your website.
Manage projects. Don’t put off your holiday just because you’ve got a project or event coming up. For example, a virtual assistant can handle many aspects of your events, such as liaising with attendees and speakers, organising the venue, handling enquiries, dealing with bookings and payment.
Manage your payments. You don’t have to stop getting paid just because you’re on holiday. A virtual assistant can raise and send out invoices to your clients and chase up payment as necessary. They can also manage your expenses and reconcile your expenditure and income with your bank statement. This means that you can keep the cash flowing in your business and return to a healthy bank balance!
By having a virtual assistant to manage and oversee your business while you’re on holiday, you can take out some of the worry about being away from your business. You may need to be contacted during your absence but by having one person managing the process and keeping you up to date, you can keep the disruption to your holiday at a minimum.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to take a break from your business, then we can help you to manage your workload while you’re away. Click on the arrow button to find out more about our virtual assistant services and how they can help you save time and money in your business.
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