FIVE TIPS TO BUILDING A STRONG CLIENT BASE IN A DOWN ECONOMY

 

Won t it be great when we don t have to talk about the Recession any longer? In these tough economic times, there are many challenges to face, and in online business, many Virtual Assistants and online service providers complain that their greatest challenge is finding new clients and maintaining a strong client base.

Fortunately, this is not an impossible hurdle to overcome because even in today s weakened economy, the Virtual Assistance field is growing and thriving. In fact, many companies are now choosing to hire a VA instead of a traditional employee because VAs can be way more cost-effective and flexible.

So how do you attract these clients and keep them coming back for more even during this period of belt-tightening? Well, below are five tips that we hope will help:

1. Create an “irresistible offer” – Even during a recession (and especially during a recession), clients need extra help, and your Live sex job is to “become irresistible” so that they will hire you to deliver the Virtual Assistance services they need and to perform the tasks they don t have time to do. Check out Krishna De s video below, where she provides some great advice and food for thought:

2. Develop an “Internet Marketing Mindset” – Use Internet Marketing strategies to aid you in your client recruitment. In a recent blog post we talked about “Mastering the Art of Email List Building”. Here are some other things you can do to market your services online:

- Create keyword-targeted video content to build your visibility and credibility with your audience.

- Create a Facebook Page designed to support your target client audience s ongoing questions and needs.

- Develop visually appealing, brand-building PP presentations and distribute them through the web with SlideShare.net.

- Use Twellow.com to research and build a highly targeted base of followers in Twitter.

3. Join Meetup groups – Meetup groups in your community can be a great place to network face to face with other virtual professionals and meet potential clients.

4. Visit brick and mortar businesses in your area – As mentioned above, many companies could use a Virtual Assistant to perform some much-needed tasks without having to hire a traditional employee. In this case, a low-cost way of marketing yourself could be to take a walk through your community and visit brick and mortar businesses in person. With your “irresistible offer” and some great ideas for how you can specifically help them in their local business, you could entice them to become your next clients too!

5. Take care of the clients you already have – An interesting article called “Keeping Clients in a Down Economy – Is Giving Or Taking Better For Your Bottom Line” suggests that one of the most effective ways to find new clients for http://www.livejasmin.cc is to be generous with the ones you already have. Here s what the author says:

“Rather than spend more time, energy and money to recruit new clients, I m showing current clients how much I value them by going above and beyond, thus creating raving fans who are telling others and then those others are coming to me.”

So ultimately, a strong relationship with your existing clients could go a long way towards building a stronger and bigger client base even when times are tough.

We hope these tips help generate your creativity so you can face the challenge of attracting more clients to your Virtual Assistance business in a down economy. If you have more ideas that have worked for you, we d love to hear them, so please post them in the comment area below!

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A VACLASSROOM PRODUCT LAUNCH

 

Wow, what a week it s been! Between improving our Membership Center and preparing for our upcoming Spanish Channel launch, things have been hopping around here at VAClassroom! On top of that, we are gearing up to release our fourth certification program, the Product Launch Support Specialist Certification. Well, last Thursday we experienced first-hand the emotional roller coaster involved in an online product launch when our new VAClassroom Membership Center and updated website went live!

As many Virtual Assistants and online business owners know, launching a new product online can be very stressful. No matter how much you prepare for complications, unexpected things always pop up. This launch went relatively smoothly for us, with the exception of some minor hiccups that were quickly resolved, including a brief outage that was thankfully much shorter than the Great Facebook Outage of 2010.

For us, though, the important thing was to communicate with people and let them know what s up. For example, we posted this on our Facebook Page to let everyone know things were back to normal again:

Hey, if you were trying to access our VAClassroom Site this morning and couldn t, we had an outage, but it is back up again! Hey, our turn-around time was even better than Facebook:-) Of course they do a have few more Sexchat members than we do!

Groundwork laid before the launch was also very important. As Ali Brown writes in her article, “Follow 5 Steps to a Powerful Product Launch,” a key strategy to a successful product launch is building up demand by communicating with customers through low-cost or no-cost Internet Marketing tools like e-mail newsletters, social media, group calls or teleseminars. Therefore, leading up to the launch, we made sure we outlined some of the upcoming changes in our Monthly Newsletter and Monthly Members Event.

So now that it s up and running, we d like to highlight some of the exciting changes you ll see on our updated VAClassroom.com website:

- New video on our home page – We are very excited about our new video featuring both VAClassroom co-founders, Craig and Kelly Cannings. You can check it out here:

- New “My Training” layout – Students logging into their online training center will see a simpler layout in the “My Training” area with new tabs for certifications, courses and clinics.

- New FAQs on our Support Page – Before submitting a Support Request, you can now take a look at our list of FAQs as most likely we have provided an answer to your question. If your question is not answered, you can simply scroll down and send us a message. We will add your question to our FAQs and get back to you within 24 hours.

- New Membership Home Page and Additional Features – Our current VAClassroom members will notice a more streamlined home page when they log in to their “My Training” Portal. We have also added some additional features like Success Case Studies, “Take Ten” Demos and Special Reports.

- The addition of a FREE membership and Paid Annual Premium Version – If you haven t already signed up for a VAClassroom membership and would like to do so, check out our home page, where we outline the features of both our FREE and Premium Memberships. You can choose which membership best suits your needs and access it right from this page.

We are very excited about these changes and how they can help us better serve the needs of Virtual Assistants and online business owners heading into 2011. If you haven t already done so, please check out our website and let us know what you think of the new features. We re here to serve you, so we d love your feedback!

IT S HERE – VACLASSROOM S FACEBOOK TECHNOLOGY READINESS CLINIC!

 

We d like to share a few exciting details about our upcoming VAClassroom Facebook Tech Skills and Tactics Clinic. In today s web world, Facebook has quickly become one of the most prolific brand building and marketing channels for virtually any type of business online today. As Facebook membership continues to grow and reach well beyond the 600 million mark, business owners are enthusiastic about the potential this social network has for growing the visibility and presence of their company online.

However, keeping up with Facebook s continuously evolving changes and advancements in technology proves to be a challenge for a lot of Virtual Assistants and online business owners seeking to leverage this powerful social network. As we discussed in a previous blog post, there have been a few key changes and announcements from Facebook that have had a huge effect on Facebook Pages. Well, we here at VAClassroom have a reputation for being “Trend Spotters”, and so we made sure we created a course that will equip you with the technical knowledge, skills and tools to successfully navigate these changes and build a compelling Facebook presence for you and your clients.

Check out the below video, where we introduce our groundbreaking Facebook Tech Skills and Tactics Clinic:

Again, here are the topics we will cover in this highly relevant one-time training opportunity:

Skill 1: Strategies for selecting and implementing the right Facebook Social Plugins for your blog or website

Skill 2: Preparation tactics for the NEW Facebook Changes

Skill 3: Integrating Facebook Connect to a blog or website

Skill 4: Understanding IFrames

Skill 5: Setting up Facebook Insights for your website

Join us for this live, interactive half-day clinic coming up on Wednesday, October 13 from 12pm – 3pm PDT (3pm – 6pm EDT). The technological shifts and advancements at Facebook have created a unique and profitable opportunity for you to be your clients Facebook Technology Advisor. They will need you to help them properly address the new changes that will be coming at the beginning of 2011, and we will make sure you have all the skills you need to do that!

FACEBOOK FOR BUSINESS – A LOVE / HATE RELATIONSHIP

 

We love Facebook, don t we? Yes, we do most of the time.

As Virtual Assistants and online business owners in general, many of us have come to love Facebook Pages as an effective Social Marketing channel to build brand awareness and community. With such features as Static FBML, we have devoted a lot of time to customizing our Pages and adding unique features that make them stand out from the rest.

For example, on our VAClassroom Facebook Page, we have added featured members photos, banners and navigation bars to the left-hand side. Now some sweeping changes due to take effect the week of August 23 will have a profound impact on our Page and many others.

Here s a summary of the changes according to the Facebook Profile and Page Roadmap Update:

- The “Boxes” tab, boxes on profiles and Pages, and application info sections will be removed.

- Beginning the week of August 23, all profile and Page tabs will be resized automatically to a new width of 520 pixels.

According to a blog post by AllFacebook.com, “the removal of the boxes tab is a sweeping change that will see the disappearance of all profile boxes on the left-hand side of Facebook Pages.” A Facebook spokeswoman advised AllFacebook.com that the removal of those boxes will require page owners to move that information to the info page or a custom tab. Page owners also need to be aware of the fact that the new narrower tab width may affect the appearance of their Pages.

So how can page owners best prepare for these changes leading up to August 23?

A HubSpot blog post entitled “3 Ways Facebook s Pending Page Changes Affect Marketers” has some good advice:

- If you ve created any custom tabs for your Facebook page, click on these tabs to make sure the look and feel of each page hasn t been distorted. Because pages will now be narrower, it s possible that images or banners you ve added or formats you ve used previously will now need to be resized or reformatted.

- Be sure to take a look at the boxes on your page s sidebar and in your Boxes Tab ahead of time so you can decide what you will need to create custom tabs for once the boxes disappear.

So, it seems that Facebook consistently makes changes that can present headaches. And yet, the upside is that is an amazing channel to connect with the right audience and has so many cool apps and tools that enhance the business pages.

For now, this newest change will create a lot of work for Virtual Assistants who serve as their clients Social Media Specialists. In the long run, will it have a positive impact on Facebook for business?

We d love to hear your thoughts. How are Facebook s changes affecting you and your business page? Please share your comments below.?

6 ATTRIBUTES OF A GREAT AFFILIATE MANAGER

 

Have you included Affiliate Marketing in the overall strategy for your business or your clients ? If so, you are leveraging one powerful channel for widening your exposure and generating sales. However, this strategy is destined to fail without a great Affiliate Manager at the helm. If your Affiliate program isn t being managed effectively, it ll sink like the Titanic!

But what attributes should you be looking for in an Affiliate Manager? Below are some of the important skills and qualities this key team member should possess:

1. Good Interpersonal Skills – An Affiliate Manager should be a “people person,” willing and able to provide assistance when needed and to interact with affiliates to keep them informed and encouraged. According to the blog post Characteristics of the Proper Affiliate Marketing Manager, “affiliate managers are the face of any company when they go to different conferences and anywhere else where there is contact with their potential affiliates.”

2. Knowledge of the Business – A great Affiliate Manager has a good grasp of the product being sold and the ultimate goals of the company. This is essential when networking with potential affiliates and also in targeting affiliates who are the right fit for the company.

3. Knowledge of HTML – It is essential that an Affiliate Manager know HTML so that they can assist affiliates with links and code. The blog post Common mistakes with hiring an in house Affiliate Manager puts it this way: “If your Manager cannot guide them through placing html or altering it, even basic html, then guess what, they are useless to that Affiliate and that Affiliate will move on to your competitor who can create and place their links with and for them.”

4. Consistent Communication – It is essential to keep affiliates motivated and engaged, and a great Affiliate Manager will have the creativity and consistency to produce monthly newsletters, special incentives and contests, special product discounts, new banners, updated marketing materials and periodic web events to teach affiliates how to improve their sales.

5. Ability to create Affiliate Broadcasts that are simple and that include tweets, Facebook updates, blog posts, etc. for communication – Your Affiliate marketing campaign will be much more successful if your affiliates are provided with a good variety of targeted content to promote your brand and products. A great Affiliate Manager will be able to create Affiliate Broadcasts that are concise and include all the important elements needed for the affiliate s communications.

6. Ability to teach Affiliates how to use Social Media to promote their Affiliate link – There s no doubt that Social Media has become one of the most effective advertising channels around, so it s imperative that an Affiliate Manager is well-versed and active in Social Media and can guide affiliates through this complicated landscape so that they can promote their Affiliate link. Recruiting an Affiliate Manager with Social Media Marketing skills is a wise move for any business!

These are just a few of the attributes that make a great Affiliate Manager, and the list could go on and on. Because building a thriving Affiliate Program is key to the success of any online business, we devote more time to this topic in our newly updated Internet Marketing 2010 course.

What attributes do you look for in an Affiliate Manager? Please share your comments below.