business growth, Business Savvy, growing your business, Marketing, Social Media/Online Marketing, Virtual Assisting

Outsourcing 101

So what is outsourcing you ask?

Well some people actually think that it means that you are sending your work overseas to some foreign company for cheap labor and non English speaking representatives, and although that is a possibility with some firms, that’s definitely not the case with your typical virtual assistant or virtual assisting firm.

Traditional VA’s offer outsourcing as a business service for busy professionals who struggle with a variety of situations, like time management issues, possibly lacking the specific skills or confidence with certain business tasks, or just find themselves in a position where their not ready to bring a staff member aboard to perform these duties. That’s where a well trained VA comes in.

Teamwork
Photo Courtesy https://www.workquotes.net

Outsourcing is available for pretty much everything and anything business related. A majority of small businesses already hire a group of professionals outside their business for the usual services, like an attorney, accountant, business advisor, etc. and your VA should be part of this team.  VA’s have the ability to outsource an enormous amount of business tasks. Common ourtsourcing duties include social media services and management, data entry, basic administrative needs, public relations, data maintenance, research, scheduling, purchasing, business development, marketing, training, and much, much more.

Outsourcing provides business owners with a very unique tool. Imagine that you want to get involved in the social media gold rush but you’re intimidated by the internet and all that technology stuff, and you’re probably working hard on keeping your customers happy and fulfilling their needs. Lets face it, when in the world are you supposed to have the time to start a facebook page and keep up with the content updates? More than likely, you know it’s something you should do, but it’s the least of your worries at this point.

However, in this situation it would be in your best interest to meet with a VA and review how having a social media outlet presence could help your business gain revenue and what specific methods should be used to get you there to accomplish your goals. A VA can set your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and website pages up for you, review them with you, and then once you develop a strategy, the VA can manage them on your behalf as often as you need. Your VA can also incorporate a nice professional weekly, monthly or quarterly newsletter that will keep you in constant contact with your clients. The key to keeping your clients is to remain in contact and to be seen as an informative source, rather than a pesky business who just wants to make a quick buck. Set the stage, be the leader in your market by being the go to source for what your clients need.

teamwork
Photo Courtesy http://www.carrie-persichini.blogspot.com

 

Something that is always in the back of my mind when I go to the vet clinic with one of my animals is that I think how nice it would be if my vet actually could notify me when my animals are coming due for their booster shots or their annual checkup.  I have 4 dogs and 3 cats, and trying to keep track of when they are all due for shots is a nightmare, but what an awesome service that would be for the vet to provide and I can guarantee you that there would be in increase in revenue for the vet if they had a VA who could incorporate this into their business. The same can go for any business, a dentist, doctor, chiropractor, eye doctor, service station, etc.

Start getting creative and think of ways to increase your bottom line and contact a VA to start implementing these services for you. Trust me, the investment is worth every penny and then some.

 

All the Best,

Miss Executive- Tina

Business Savvy, Marketing, Social Media/Online Marketing

Keeping in Touch

So you’ve decided that you’d like to stay in touch with your customers more often and you’d like to do something more effective compared to snail mail, postcards and generic marketing emails that they may never read. Maybe you’ve been thinking about taking the plunge and trying the new so called online marketing techniques that everyone’s been talking about but you’re just not sure where to start. I can help. 🙂

I can tell you from my own personal experience that there are ALOT of methods out there but I’m going to review a few of my most favorite techniques. When you implement these methods you want to ensure that you commit 100% in order to see results.

planFirst start with a plan. Like anything you need to understand what you hope to achieve and gain with your new plan and what your objectives are going to be.

Do you simply want to inform customers of specials and new product updates or do you want to simply build relationships and strengthen them by providing helpful information, tips, and just simply keeping in touch? It’s proven that the more your customers see valuable information from you, the more likely they are to do business with you. They will see you as a trusted source. The key here is the word VALUABLE. The information needs to be worth their  while, information they find intriguing or helpful to them. Then you can start putting your plan into action.

I suggest that you start with an email marketing campaign by using a program like Constant Contact, www.constantcontact.com, or MailChimp, www.mailchimp.com. Both of these are online services where you can choose from hundreds of templates including newsletters, coupons, postcards, etc. The templates are very user friendly and match any color scheme you may have. They have hundreds of pictures in their stock galleries for you to choose from as well, so you can make your emails look extremely professional in a matter of minutes. You can then easily import your email addresses from your computer into the program, where your email addresses will then be stored for future campaigns. Simply add new email addresses in and start building your list.

constant contact

mail chimp

You can start your email templates months in advance, save them, and work on them when it’s convenient for you, in addition to being able to set timers and schedule the exact time of delivery for when you want them to be delivered, such as 7am on Friday morning, or 4pm Monday afternoon. You can send holiday greetings and cards and pricing specials or notifications anytime.

When you send your emails, always abide by anti spam laws and the email policy’s of your email marketing provider, there are strict laws regarding spam and junk mail. I always provide an opt-in and opt-out attachment in all emails and have a link in all my emails for automatic signup to my email campaigns and newsletters. I also ask my customers to forward the emails and newsletters if they feel someone else might find the information useful. I use these tactics for what I call soft selling techniques. My goal isn’t to push the customer into purchasing or buying from me, in fact most of my newsletters have nothing in them relating to my products. I actually provide them with helpful tips, tricks, and information they might need. For instance if I sell automobiles, I wouldn’t include any sales information in my monthly newsletter. Rather, I would provide articles on how to keep your vehicle running in cold winter months, how to keep your vehicle protected from sun and UV rays, and infromation on the best rated tires in the industry. I might include tips on how to get the best fuel mileage and how to repair chips in the paint. If I owned a laundromat, I would focus on telling people about the newest laundry detergents, or stain removing products, and provide tips on how they can get stains our of their clothes. If you operate a veterinary clinic, then tell your customers the importance of vaccinating your pets, provide a calendar of pet related activities in the community, review common pet problems, and the proper way to clip pet nails etc. You get the idea.

paperless postAnother wonderful program I have used in the past is called Paperless Post, www.paperlesspost.com. This service is also online and is a virtual card company. Rather than spend the money for mailing actual invitations or cards through mail, and never knowing if your intended recipient received it, you can literally create a highly professional invitation, thank you, or holiday card, with a matching envelope through Paperless Post, and then write your content, change fonts and colors, add pictures, logos etc. Upload it all, attach an RSVP and then simply upload your email contacts for whom you want to send the card to and schedule delivery. Once your emails go out, it tells you when it was sent, when it was opened by the receiver, and they can immediately click on the link in the card to rsvp. It’s that simple! I have used this for large Open House Events and for sending Holiday Cards and Thank You Cards with huge success. You can track your responses and then re-send the card or invite anytime if your recipient still hasn’t opened the card. The tracking results are so helpful and allow you to be highly efficient.

I also highly recommend getting involved in social media and blogging. I am a firm believer that if you commit to engaging in social media and you continuosly update it several times per week, this will result in higher sales and engagement with your customers. Remember the goal is to build relationships which will eventually lead to business.

Top Five Suggestions for Social Media:

Twitter-www.twitter.com

Facebook-www.facebook.com

Pinterest-www.pinterest.com

LinkedIn-www.linkedin.com

Tumblr-www.tumblr.com

For more information on social media, visit my other blog posts.

Here’s to building relationships!

Miss Executive, Tina Holtz

Social Media/Online Marketing

So what is LinkedIn?

Nederlands: Linked In icon

I must admit that I am a bit of a social media junkie. Okay, I am a HUGE social media and internet junkie. I spend my days almost entirely on the computer for work and pleasure and it never ceases to amaze me the quality of information that is available on the web. As a lifelong student I absolutely love to read and enjoy soaking up as much information as I get my eyes on, so I naturally love to surf and engage. Which brings me to this topic, specifically LinkedIn.

I started my love affair with LinkedIn a little over a year ago or so and I cannot say enough good things about this platform. It has forged new relationships and help strengthen others in a way not achievable through other methods. I am actually amazed at the amount of people that are not yet using this tremendous professional tool. If I had told you 50 years ago that you could literally reach hundreds of thousands of people, realistically millions, each and every day and that you could engage with them at anytime to talk about business in areas that interest you and them, and that they would know who you are and what you do, and for FREE, you would have been jumping at the opportunity. For me, I am now linked up to more than 300 real and valuable connections who between all of us and our connections I now reach more than 3 million potential connections every single day! That’s right, it’s like the old saying goes, their is strength in numbers and LinkedIn proves it.

Now like anything in life, you have to put some effort in to get something out of it. So you can’t just create a profile and then sit back and wait for connections to find you. You have to engage. Get your feet wet a little bit and test the waters. Here are my proven suggestions on how to get the most out of LinkedIn.

1. Create a personal profile for yourself. Go all out on this one and don’t skip anything, be as thorough as you can be. Those that tend to be professional on LinkedIn are treated as such and people are more likely to want to connect with you. If someone has a mediocre profile or a profile with little to no information, I’m really not inclined to connect as I have no idea who they are, what they do, or why we should establish a relationship. Now with the new features on LinkedIn you can enter slideshows, examples of work, videos and more! DO IT.

2. If your company or business doesn’t have a LinkedIn Company profile page, I highly recommend that you make one. You can do this through your existing personal profile. You can then add your products and services, information on each, link to youtube videos, and more. This is an excellent area for people to follow and engage your business.

3. Engage. What I mean is engage in every way possible. Begin looking for colleagues, business acquaintances, vendors, professionals, even prospects with whom you want to do business with. Send them a connection request or invitation and ALWAYS customize that message to them. Tell them why you want to engage and what’s in it for them. Maybe you’ve done business together, perhaps the person is a vendor, maybe a potential mentor, whatever the reason is, tell them! I have so many amazing connections and I love to hear what they have to say. Then remain in touch. It’s a good rule of thumb to find a way to remain in touch at least once per month with each connection, just to keep the doors to your relationship open. After all the purpose of the connection was to remain in touch and connect.

4. Join the groups. LinkedIn has some amazing groups and I a changing mine all the time based on the scale and level of information made available. When you belong to a group, you are provided a daily report of hot topics, which includes articles, discussions, and more about the topics that most interest you. I find so much helpful information through this discussions that it would literally probably have taken me years to find it on the internet. I save all of the hot topics to a popular folder in my bookmarks for future reading. For some people this is daunting, but if you learn to manage your groups and messages each morning it’s actually about a 20 minute process and I belong to well over 20 groups. Within these groups I am able to participate in discussions, which might be created by me or by others. But we can talk about problems, issues, and overall we help each other. It’s a win win. Kind of like free therapy in a sense.

5. Do not be afraid to connect with people you don’t know. Think of LinkedIn as the largest networking event you’ve ever attended. You have the ability to meet anyone and everyone in the room, and you can choose who most interests you. The purpose of LinkedIn isn’t to connect with just those that you know, but to reach out and connect with new people. Kind of like the old AT&T slogan, “Reach out and touch someone”. But on another note, do not spam. Don’t send out invitations to hundreds of people just to connect. Be careful and connect with people you really want to do business with. This is an opportunity to reach the right target market for your business.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)