Monthly ArchiveOctober 2010
Marketing Sydni Craig-Hart on 30 Oct 2010
Starting your own successful Virtual Assistance business requires a significant investment of time, energy and some financial resources. There are many tools available to help you setup your home-based venture. One of the most important considerations in starting (or upgrading) your business is to create a brand that reflects the high quality services you provide.
Keep in mind though, just because you have a home based business, doesn’t mean it should look “homemade”. Everything you do from participating in social networks to your website should reflect a polished professional image. There is NO second chance for a first impression.
Therefore, you’ll want to give careful attention to how you create your marketing materials.No matter what it is: your website, note cards, email newsletter, headshot, social media profiles, etc. your marketing materials must be first class. This isn’t the time or the place to be stingy or cheap. You can create high quality materials for less than you think. Don’t lower the industry standards (or your personal professionalism) by printing materials on your computer or setting up your business website with a shoddy free template.
Make sure your marketing materials reflect all the hard work you’re doing to build your business! This is SO important!Â Your marketing materials are an extension of you and your business – make sure you position yourself as a service provider that your clients can trust and want to do business with.
Here are some guidelines for creating high quality marketing materials:
- Website – Hands down, this is your most important piece of marketing real estate. This is usually your potential clients’ first (and could be their last impression) of you – make sure it is the right impression. Building a professional and useful website doesn’t have to be overly expensive. You can work with a professional designer to build a high quality website for about $600 by going to www.eatova.com/websites . This investment will go a long way in setting the foundation for your marketing materials.
Your website needs to reflect what’s unique about your business and the services you offer. Your site should be easy to navigate, have clear copy that speaks to the reader and MUST have a professional headshot. People want to know who they’re working with and why they should work with you. Don’t leave them guessing. You also don’t want your site looking like someone else’s. So take the time to have your site professionally customized for YOUR brand. (Not whatever the ‘overnight website’ company thinks it should look like.)
- Logo – Please, make the finanical investement to have your logo professionally designed. While I highly recommend you work with a professional designer that GETS your style and what you want to convey, there are many low cost options like www.LogoNerds.com , who can create a logo for your printed materials as well as your website header for less than $100.
- Note cards – Note cards should be printed on high quality cardstock, no less than 80 lb. weight. Many of your local printers or large office supply stores can print these for you for a minimal cost. Make sure you include your customized logo and full contact details, so that your brand is on everything your client receives.
These are just a few guidelines to help get you started in the right direction. If you already have some marketing materials that are not high quality and do not reflect your professionalism, consider getting rid of them and starting over. While you might be able to recycle some things, you want to make sure to pull the substandard marketing materials out of circulation.
Having high quality marketing materials does not have to be expensive, but it does require forethought and planning. Â You’ve worked hard to build your business and get where you’re at now, continue to build your business with quality. Â This will speak volumes about you and the services you provide.
When I start working privately with a new client as their coach, one of the first elements of their marketing we work on is identifying their target market and creating their ideal client profile.
Most of the time, the Virtual Assistant will say something like, “Wait a minute Sydni! If I focus on just one particular market, I’m going to be leaving people out. I don’t want to leave anyone out! Everyone needs my services! I don’t think I want to do that.” I smile and respond that they don’t have to worry. And that they don’t have to walk away from opportunities or leave anyone out. That’s not what I’m talking about here.
Choosing a target market means that you focus your MARKETING efforts on one specific group of people who need the solutions you offer. So all of your materials speak to that group, your messages in your marketing address the specific challenges of that group; the services you offer are solutions those individuals are already looking for. If, along the way, you happen to come across individuals in other industries that want to work with you, that’s perfectly fine. Go ahead and work with them too!
For example, let’s say you work primarily with home based businesses. That is your target market and that’s who you want to focus your marketing efforts on. But you go to a networking event, you meet this really interesting attorney, the two of you enjoy an instant connection and hit it off! In the course of the conversation, he shares that he is completely overwhelmed with handling the day to day operations of his business and after learning about the work you do, expresses an interest in engaging your services. If this happens to you â€¦ work with the attorney! You don’t have to walk away from the opportunity because you’re targeting home based businesses. That’s not the point of choosing a target market.
As the CEO of your company, you have the option to work with whomever you like, regardless of whether or not they fit your ideal client profile. But, when it comes to marketing your business, you’ll be much more effective and much more profitable, if you narrow your focus to one specific group of people. This will allow you to become the expert problem solver for that group and become a leader in that industry. You’ll be so well versed in the challenges those individuals face, what solutions they’re looking for, what software to use, what lingo they use, etc., that hiring you becomes a no brainer.
Think about it. When you get ready to hire a service provider to help you with a problem in your personal or professional life, don’t you want to work with an expert? Don’t you want to work with someone well versed in handling the challenge you’re facing? Of course! The same principle applies to your VA business. The ideal clients you want to connect with are looking for a professional who understands them. Some who “gets” the challenges they face and has the experience to resolve them. When you speak to this need as you market your services and talk about your business, you will seamlessly attract the clients you were meant to serve.
So start TODAY, narrowing your focus to one specific target market. Update your marketing materials so that they speak to that ONE target market. Start attending networking events that cater to that ONE target market. Create solutions that YOUR target market is looking for!
You’ll immediately start enjoying your work even more and can look forward to a BIG boost in your income and being of greater service to those who need you!