In this video, I'll teach you my secret for finding an endless stream of clients for your virtual assistant business.
Have you ever said that "every business owner is my target market"?
As a virtual assistant coach I've heard it a lot and when I do, I cringe.
It may seem that if you cast a wide net you're likely to catch more fish, but the opposite is true. When you market your services to everyone something very unfortunate happens. Your ideal client, that client that you just adore working with for all the right reasons...
Can't find you.
When you market to everyone your marketing is generic. Your message lacks something crucial. The ability to laser in on specific problems that your ideal client is experiencing.
The right people won't be able to say "this is EXACTLY the problem I'm having".
Narrowing down your focus (read: the services your offer) allows you to have a message that resonates with those who you want to work with.
Example of a narrow focus
You're a VA that specializes in social media marketing and you support Wellness Coaches who know they need to be active on social media but hate how time-consuming it is.
Example of a not so narrow focus
You're a virtual assistant that supports entrepreneurs with their project management and customer service needs by utilizing software such as MicroSoft Suite and WordPress.
So this begs the question, how DO I focus my message and attract my ideal clients?
The answer is, complete your ideal client profile.
Knowing who your ideal client is is so important that I consider it to be the crux of your business.
If you can't walk a mile in your customer's shoes, you shouldn't be selling to them.
Walking in your customer's shoes means you're in their head. You know what it's like to be them. You understand them can help them in a way that no one else can.
Getting clear about your ideal client is the key to having a successful virtual assistant business. Because all of your marketing efforts will be "speaking" to this person, your message will be communicating your value which by default will make your services less about your price and more about how you can help them.
Your prospects will often self-select themselves as ready to buy your services BEFORE you even have an introductory call.
Bake on that for a second. Your website is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week stand in for you and if you get your messaging right you can snag clients while you sleep.
Imagine waking up to an email that reads:
"Hi! I just found your website and I am in desperate need of your help and would love to speak to you ASAP about how we can work together".
A simple way to begin creating your ideal client profile is by asking yourself these questions:
- What is my ideal client struggling with (be specific!)
- How are my services the exact thing you need right now and forever more?
- What does life look like for them now that you're in their life? Paint me a picture darlin!
- What action should they take to find out more?
Now, start putting together your ideal client profile and clarifying your message! Leave me a comment below and let me know who your ideal client is and the services you want most to focus on and I'll respond with some ideas for you.
Have you figured out who your ideal client is? What is holding you back from figuring out who you should work with? Let me know in the comments.
Does this sound familiar? You’re about ready to scream out of frustration, or cry (or both) because:
1. You’re a new virtual assistant and you’re working your butt off to get your first client and you’re feeling defeated
2. You’re a virtual assistant and you have a few clients but for months you’re sitting at this plateau and nothing is moving?
I’m about to get into the details that will change the course of your virtual assistant business. I’m going to show you exactly what I did to market my business and why these techniques work.
Now, I want to make something clear up front. When I started my virtual assistant business I didn’t have a website for an entire year. This turned out to be a good thing.
It proved that I could market my virtual assistant business and grow it from 1 client to 10 in 12 months with just my LinkedIn profile.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you don’t need a website. I’m simply saying that you don’t need to get your panties (or Jockeys for you guys) in a bunch if you don’t have one. You can still set up shop and market your business like a ninja without just your LinkedIn profile.
Set a goal to get your website online but don't let it become a bottleneck to start marketing yourself and networking as a virtual assistant.
So let's go over the way I network online and off. Since I am a huge fan of LinkedIn I’m going to start here and share how to use this social network to get a flood of leads.
First, your LinkedIn profile should be completed 100%. What makes your profile complete?
• Your industry and location
• An up-to-date current position (with a description)
• Two past positions
• Your education
• Your skills (minimum of 3)
• A profile photo
• At least 50 connections
I just wrote a blog post on how to find professional networking groups on Facebook. I am a member of a lot of groups on Facebook. Groups on Internet marketing, copy writing, coaching groups for professional coaches and more. The more I participate in discussions in the groups on Facebook, the more the members get to know me.
I always make sure to dig deeper with the people I communicate with in Facebook groups by sending them a friend request and then following up with a quick note saying hi. The key here is to build relationships. While I’m always thinking about ways to prospect clients, my first goal is to build relationships.
Of course you should have a Facebook fan page for your business so if you haven’t set one up do so now. Push to get people to have conversations with you on your Facebook page and just as I say above, engage your fans. Communicate with them and mix up your posts so it’s not just about your business.
Post about things you love, and things you hate. Show off who you are because people want to do business with someone they can relate to and like. Be yourself.
But where can you find groups on Facebook where your ideal clients are hanging out? No problem, I've covered that. Click here to learn where to go where your ideal clients are having conversations on Facebook.
I have got a love hate relationship with Twitter. The reason for that is that I loathe idle banter and Twitter is full of a lot of fluffy conversations.
Most businesses lack real connection between their followers. They are not having a conversation but rather standing on a soap box shouting out “buy my stuff/services”.
There are plenty of ways to build meaningful relationships with your prospects on Twitter. The key is to actually have a conversation, not to just promote your business. If you want to see results in your marketing with Twitter than it’s time to stop promoting, it’s time to start communicating.
Find out if your ideal clients have a Twitter account and start following them. Start conversations with your ideal clients and just be yourself. Provide value and show off your personality. Don’t try to sell. Give people the opportunity to know, like and trust you. Want some great examples of people doing it right on Twitter? Gary Vaynerchuk just authored a great book about how to use social media the right way to get more business.
He likens boxing to social media and his book is called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World. He talks about why you must give, give, give and only after giving do you throw in your hook.
So go and find your ideal clients and start talking TO them, not at them. If you want to learn how I prospect my ideal clients on Twitter check out my quick how-to video here.
The magic of networking is always in face-to-face meetings and nothing is going to change that. I don’t care where you live, there is some kind of local networking group happening right now. Now is the time to find a professional networking group near you and get your butt over there and start building business relationships.
Get your business cards ready (if you don’t have any get some made at Moo)
Put on something sharp because people do judge you based on how you look (unfortunately) and plan on walking up to people and introducing yourself. NO WALLFLOWERS ALLOWED. You’re not in business to sit on the sidelines and wait for something to happen. Make things happen.
So here is a list of some great face-to-face networking groups that you can join.
LinkedIn – often times there are meet-ups organized within geo-specific networking groups so keep your eyes peeled.
When you meet someone at a face-to-face networking groups always ask for their business card. If they mentioned something personal about them make sure to note it. Jot down details about the person on the back of the card. The next day send an email to everyone you met and make it personal. Let them know how much you enjoyed meeting them, include any personal details you remember from the conversation and ask them how you can help them by saying something at the end of the email like this:
I look forward to keeping in touch with you and if there is anything I can help you with, just let me know.
So, now is the time to take action. Go out and find at least 5 relevant groups on LinkedIn and Twitter to join right now. Next go and find at least one networking group in your area and register to join it.
All while you’re doing this go and complete your LinkedIn profile and come back and let me know in the comments how you’ve done!
Get. To. Work.
Just a couple of days ago I asked my community of aspiring, new and established virtual assistants what they are struggling with in regards to their virtual assistant business.
It was clear as most of the responses were:
My biggest struggle is finding and keeping clients.
One of the things I am most passionate about is helping women and men like you grow a successful virtual assistant business. So I talk a lot about how I built my own successful virtual assistant business back in 2010. I didn't do it magically, I did it with a lot of hard work and a lot of research into the best ways to brand and marketing my business.
So when I hear from my community that they are struggling with finding clients what I really hear is "I am having trouble branding and marketing my virtual assistant business".
You need to learn how to attract clients and not run after them and that's not something that you just learn overnight. This took me years to understand and I am learning more and more about how to brand, position and market my business every day.
So today I am going to talk a little bit about what you can do to boost your client rooster in a way that won't make you feel like you're spinning your wheels.
Meet me below in the comments and let's keep this conversation going because so much of the great advice comes from YOU and my community of amazing ladies (and gents!).
Imagine you're in SoHo in New York City (love that city!) and you're hungry for some sushi. In front of you are two sushi restaurants side by side. One has a packed dining room and the other, well, not so much. Obviously you'd want to go to the packed restaurant, right? Social proof is a pretty powerful force. It makes sense to assume that the packed sushi restaurant has better sushi, right?
You decide to look at the menu for both restaurants to compare before you go stand in the long line and wait for a table.
You see that the empty sushi restaurant has a kid menu. Hamburgers, french fries, you know the drill, and of course they sell (you guessed it) sushi.
The busy restaurant only sells sushi. It doesn't care if you're kid doesn't like sushi, they don't sell anything else but raw fish.
You'd think the sushi joint that caters to picky eaters would be successful, right?
When you try to be everything to everyone you end up losing. The packed sushi restaurant isn't trying to cater to kids or those that may not like sushi. They want to be known for their sushi and ONLY sushi.
Because they stick to what they are good at, they are brimming with business while the other restaurant is having a hard time filling their tables.
What does this mean for you? Pick the services that you are REALLY great at and that you love and stick to those. Watch my video below to learn why you shouldn't cater your services to every business owner and how to figure out what you should focus on and what you shouldn't.
Got questions? Leave me your questions and comments below. I want to know how this video has helped you figure out how you are going to go narrow and deep in finding your niche and ideal client.
Every now and again, in the virtual assistant forums I see discussion threads about whether or not to cold call prospects. Quite honestly, I would never do this, and I think I have better ways of spending my time sourcing out potential clients. That was until today when I read Ashley Ambirge's blog post titled "How to Cold Call Prospects Without Sounding Like a Tool."
I value Ashley's in-your-face, and dead honest approach to business and since I've been reading her blogs for a long time now I just had to give this topic attention on my own website.
Ashley really helped me realize that as virtual assistants, we CAN cold call prospects without sounding overly salesy (translation: without sounding like an idiot).
If you are struggling to find clients and want to use this old tactic I say GO FOR IT, but before you do make sure you read Ashley's blog and listen to the audio she's recorded. It's hysterically funny and will help you craft your phone introduction for your own cold call efforts.
So who are you going to call?
Write a list of local businesses in your area that you can phone up and potentially meet in person. That's a good starting point!
What do you think of cold calling prospects? Have you done it yourself and how did it go? Leave your comments below!!
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If you want to grow your client base and your earning potential you must have a great website. If you're ashamed of your website it's time to change that.
As part of my blog post series about how to get new clients for your virtual assistant business I’d like to talk about why what you include on your website is just as important as what you should not include.
I will show you how to build a website that leaves little doubt about what you do, and how well you do it.
Let’s say I am on your website. Within 3 seconds do I know what you do and the clients you serve? If I can’t I'm going to bounce off your site.
To prevent this, make it easy to for your visitor to see within 3 seconds what you’re all about. Include a clear message, whether it's a photo, logo or a well-written tagline. I would recommend doing all three.
What and how many pages should I have?
The golden standard for most websites is 5 pages. They are your home page, about page, contact page, testimonial page, and blog. There is a lot of controversy about whether or not to post your rates to your website. If you want to create a page for rates, go for it! Alternatively, you can insert your rates in the about page.
Avoid adding additional pages that just clutter up your navigation bar. I've seen some virtual assistant websites include pages such as “why choose a VA” and even a page dedicated to highlighting a resume. Online resumes are good for LinkedIn, not for a website and you're about page should explain why you should choose working with a VA.
Make sure your page titles are easily understood. An about page is one of the most visited pages on your website so make sure your visitor knows where to find the about page. Stay away from kitschy terms like “Get The Scoop, or My Story”. The same goes with your testimonials page. Stay away from titles like “singing my praise”. It’s okay to be creative with the titles of your pages but make sure everyone can understand what each page is and why they would want to open it.
Call to action
When a visitor comes to your site do you have a place to capture their email address similar to my home page? If you don’t you’re leaving money on the table (stop that!). The idea is to grow your email list so you can market to this list at some point by offering special promotions or services. In order to entice people to subscribe to your email list consider offering a useful freebie. If you don’t have a freebie why not create a VA/Client checklist or a short video on how to work with a virtual assistant. Create something useful for any business owner or entrepreneur to use.
Social Media Icons
Is your website littered with social media icons, badges, links or categories? Talk about distracting! If a potential client lands on your site and you've got all this junk in the sidebar how are they going to know what to do next? The idea is to minimize the number of links that lead visitors away from your site. You want to keep people engaged on your site, not off your site.
Clear, well-written copy
We all make spelling and grammar mistakes from time to time but your website isn't the place to make these kinds of mistakes. Go through your website copy and read all the text backwards to see if you have made any mistakes in sentence structure. Run a spell check. Have a friend proofread the copy for you. Do all of this and make it a priority because your potential clients will choose another VA if they see spelling and grammar mistakes on your site.
Go through your website from time to time to make sure all your links are working. You can do this by setting up Google Webmasters. Once you have Google Webmasters set up you can receive a weekly report that shows you if you have any errors on your website.
So come clean, are you happy with your website or are you embarrassed by it? Let me know in the comments below and feel free to ask me a question on how to make it better. I read every comment.
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Twitter is a great place to start a conversation with a complete stranger. In fact it’s a great place for a virtual assistant to find potential clients. By starting a conversation with potential clients you're putting yourself top-of-mind in a client's mind and when they are ready to hire a virtual assistant they are more likely to turn to you because of the know-like-trust factor. So, onto the burning question. How do you find potential clients on Twitter?
Start by searching for phrases that match the services you offer by running a search in Twitter’s search operators. Then comb through the results and find tweets that match people looking for your services.
After you’ve created a list of tweets go through to the blogs from tweets that match your criteria and do one of three things: 1) Leave a comment 2) Submit a message through the contact form 3) Send an e-mail if an address is listed.
Another way to find potential clients is by searching locally. There are several ways to find someone based on a geographic search. Most Twitter users occasionally tweet about the things around them. This means that you can find local people by searching tweets for things in or near your business location.
When you search for your city name on Twitter, you have to look for all of the possible ways people may type it. Experiment with the options to figure out which ones give you the best search results. You can also use Twitter’s search operators to string together multiple options in one search or exclude items from your results.
Finally create a private list of all of these Twitter accounts and title that list “potential clients”. Go back and engage these people on a regular basis. Respond to their tweets, RT them, and provide value to them by answering questions if they are asking something. To learn how to create lists on Twitter click here.
As promised here is my super cool Twitter checklist to help you get started using Twitter.
To download the checklist click here.
How do you use Twitter to find new clients? Leave a comment below with the ways you have succeeded in vetting out clients on Twitter.