The Visual Marketing Revolution:
26 Rules to Help Social Media Marketers
Connect the Dots
When it comes to audiences online, content is king but it doesn’t have to be simply text. Enter the world of visual marketing. Employing visuals in your business can greatly improve your engagement, traffic, list building efforts and sales. “The Visual Marketing Revolution” shows you what you are missing when you don’t use images to tell the story.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
It’s called the “art of persuasion,” utilizing all senses to convince your customer that your product or service will solve their problem. A customer must believe that they have a problem that only your product or service can solve. How do you do that? They must identify on an emotional level with you and your product. Text alone doesn’t accomplish this. Therefore, express your point in images: from photos to video to info graphics.
Visuals are the new way to relay information. Customers can understand the information quickly. They are more likely to stick around and view the nuances of an image. Learn to integrate image media into emails, landing pages, and social media.
Optimize Your Site for Smart Phones and Tablets:
Today, you must remember to optimize your visual tools for tablets and mobile devices. Your goal is to create a sales winning message that hits all the senses, on any computer or mobile device.
Click here for The Visual Marketing Revolution: 26 Rules to Help Social Media Marketers Connect the Dots by Stephanie Diamond.
Nine Ways Your Small Business
Can Benefit From a Virtual Assistant
Hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) can be one of the smartest business moves you will ever make. A good VA will be able to assist you in handling your administrative workload, allowing you more time to focus on growing your business and generating revenue.
Here are just nine of many ways that a Virtual Assistant can provide much-needed support to your small business:
- General Administrative Support
If you ever wished you had an administrative assistant on call, a Virtual Assistant may be the perfect solution for you. By harnessing the power of the Internet, Virtual Assistants can provide general administrative services such as:
- Word processing
- Data entry
- Database maintenance
- Desktop publishing
Indeed, the list goes on and on. In fact, if you could give it to an administrative assistant, you can give it to a Virtual Assistant!
A Virtual Assistant can facilitate your invoicing, ensuring that your clients receive timely, and accurate, billing statements. By partnering with a VA to prepare your invoices, you can gain a tremendous amount of time each month to focus on other aspects of your business that require your specialized attention.
- Emails and Voicemail Management
If you get large numbers of emails or voicemails, a Virtual Assistant can manage your inboxes. They can sort through the spam and reply to messages that don’t require your attention. This results in leaving you with fewer messages to wade through everyday. A VA can also provide you with a consolidated report of voicemail messages, allowing you to return a number of important phone calls from a single report.
- Online Marketing Management
A Virtual Assistant can assist you with your online marketing plan. As we know, a marketing plan has many tasks that must have timely follow up action to succeed. The VA can:
- Manage your pay-per-click campaigns
- Post articles
- Submit your website to search engines
- Add your website to online directories
- Create banner ads
- Prepare and send email newsletters
Since Virtual Assistants make their living online, many of them keep abreast of the latest trends in online marketing. That means they can keep you up to date and you can focus on your specialty that is earning your income.
- Customer Response
Use a Virtual Assistant’s services to keep current and potential customers happy. A VA can effectively and efficiently handle questions and complaints in an appropriate manner. By providing a timely, helpful response, a VA can help you build a stronger relationship with your customers.
- Event Planning
Nothing is better than a well-planned event. Enlisting the help of a Virtual Assistant in coordinating your seminars and company functions can take a tremendous amount of burden off your shoulders, allowing for stress-free coordination of your events. They can make arrangements for the location, speakers, catering, photography, etc., and notify the attendees, too.
- Internet Research
A Virtual Assistant can efficiently perform Internet research, consolidating the information you seek and saving both time and money. A VA can use extensive research skills to your benefit, providing you with incredible value by investigating requested topics and providing the results in the desired format.
Personal Case Study:
When I worked with the AMAC Foundation, a VA did research for me on topics important to the Foundation’s Mission. We determined that financial scams were the number one concern for retirees. We developed a “Scam Alert” seminar, free to the public. The data she uncovered for us was invaluable and helped us to develop a quality service that supported the Foundation’s Mission.
- Calendar Management
Managing a busy schedule effectively doesn’t happen by chance. Team with a Virtual Assistant to help you stay atop of important dates, appointments, contacts and events. The VA can help you stay organized and prepared each day, with minimal effort on your part, reminding you of obligations and events ahead of time.
- Project Management
A Virtual Assistant can manage large and small projects alike. A VA can keep your project on track by organizing and coordinating resources, objectives, deliverables, etc.
There you have it. Nine ways a VA can help you in your business and reduce the stress in administrative tasks. After all, as a retired person seeking to build a “Second Act Career,” it is important to have time to enjoy the retirement lifestyle.
For more information in pursuing a career in becoming a Virtual Assistant, click here for my product review on “How to Start and Thrive a Virtual Assistant Home-Based Business.”
You can also click here for more information from the author of the training course.
“ I alone cannot change the world,
but I can cast a stone across the waters
to create many ripples.”
Retirees Can Market Their Business
With an Online Community
One of the best ways to use social media to build your business is to build an online community. You can do that with a lot of different software like Ning.com, DelphiForums.com and, very popular right now, Facebook. There are a lot of benefits to building online communities that you need to know about.
Online Community Defined:
An online community is a place where you can speak to others about issues affecting like-minded people. It can be a community of customers (current and future), of your peers, or even leaders and innovators. A community of influencers and visionaries is great too. The type of community you build will depend on your goals.
Why Use Facebook?
The popularity of Facebook is enormous. Google reports that 40% of all referrals come from Facebook communities. That is a lot of referrals. Also, retirees have grandchildren and are using Facebook and other Social Media platforms to keep in touch with them. Therefore, don’t assume that the over 50 crowd is not on Facebook. They are also there looking for solutions to their problems.
Define the Goals of Your Community:
You, as a retired home-based business owner, can build a community around the services or products you are offering to your customers. That can include all age groups or specialize in one issue. Devote the time to build a community to make a difference in your marketing efforts.
Set Your Goals
In order to build the right type of community, it’s important to consider the following questions:
- Is It Easy to Maintain?
The type of group you build needs to be simple to maintain and practically run itself. When you choose the platform that you want for your community, be sure that you understand it. If you don’t, be sure you can get help with it.
- Who Will You Invite?
If you want to build your business, start a community for potential, current and future customers. That way you can have a good mixture of satisfied customers. You will also attract those who still have questions that you and your community members can answer. When you do this you’ll discover enormous benefits from your community.
- You’ll Connect with Your Audience Faster:
Building a community is the very best word-of-mouth marketing that you can get involved with today. Within just a few short months you can have a thriving community.
- Get Insight into Your Audience:
Having a community consisting of your audience gives insight that you’d never get any other way. You’ll be able to know their problems and solve them like never before.
- You’ll Have Lower Customer Acquisition Costs:
Once you build the community, you’ll be able to turn people into customers a lot easier, which means less cost for advertising and marketing.
- You’ll Build Your Business Faster:
When people get to know, like and trust you, they’ll be a lot more likely to want to work with you. This will help you build your business faster than ever.
- You Will Become a Known Expert:
As you expertly answer questions, people are observing and growing in trust regarding your knowledge about your niche. This will help you attract more targeted customers, who will likely utilize your expertise to solve their problems.
- Beat Out Your Competition:
If you can build a more vibrant community than your competition, you’ll win the most customers.
Here’s a recent book on building an online community in simple steps:
Key Resource: Click here for The Online Community Blueprint: A 9-Step Guide to Planning an Online Community for Your Customers, Members, or Partners, by Katie Bapple.
A Community of Like Minded People Supporting Each Other and You
When you have a true online community, people who are in your target audience will discuss with each other issues surrounding the niche, and give you an opportunity to participate and be a fly on the wall. It’s an excellent way to build a better business.
Mother Teresa was right, when you cast a stone in the water, ripples will travel far and wide. Cast that stone now and watch how you can help to change the world.
Start an Errand Business
Are you looking to start your own business and work from home? Are you retired and mobile? Do you like helping people and want to earn a nice income? Then consider starting your own errand running business. This is an interesting business model that may be an ideal fit for you.
How Do You Develop an Errand Running Business?
An errand running business offers you the ability to help people, make personal connections with customers, and make a nice income.
Here is what you need to start an errand business:
An errand running business has a number of potential customers.
- Mothers of young children
- Elderly people who are home bound
- Families involved in multiple activities
- Workers involved in long commutes
- Workers who travel to make a living
- Finally, consider also targeting affluent customers who work twelve-hour days and don’t have time to complete many tasks.
Booming Market to Explore
There are almost 40 million retired people over 65 and this population group is expanding by 10,000 a day. Senior services are booming simply due to this rapidly expanding market. Retired people don’t all live in Florida either. They are everywhere and will become more numerous as time moves forward.
Develop a Unique Business Name to Stand Out
You might want to consider using a unique business name to stand out from your competition:
- Senior Errand Runner
- Just Ducky Errands
- Helping Hands Concierge
- Mother’s Helper
- Errands R Us
You could use as your tag line:
“No errand too big or too small. We do it all!”
Brainstorm and let your imagination soar. Try to use your business name for your domain name on your website.
As a concierge or the owner of an errand running business, you have many options. You can offer a number of services or you can specialize. Some options include:
- Taking Pets to the Veterinarian
You can also specialize in a specific type of task or service like financial errands, which would require a high degree of trust. You may have to look into bonding yourself before handling other people’s money.
Research your competition to choose what services you offer and how you price them. You can charge by the hour or by the errand. You can develop a package for a monthly payment plan.
For people running errands for the elderly, the charges ranges from $15 to $45 an hour. The average rate is $25 an hour. Rates vary from metro areas to rural areas as well as the part of the country you currently reside.
- Start-Up Equipment
The wonderful thing about an errand business is that the start-up costs are extremely low. If you already own a reliable vehicle, your costs may be less than $100.
Remember to keep track of your mileage in a notebook within easy reach in your car. You will need to note the date, location and purpose of the errand. Then note your starting mileage and ending mileage for each stop. You will be amazed at how the miles add up.
Also, keep track of your vehicle’s expenses, such as gas, oil, tires, and repairs. Give this to your accountant who can use the data to determine if you will have a greater benefit using the car depreciation or the standard IRS mileage rate.
You’ll also need a telephone and email address.
A smart-phone with email capability, texting and instant messaging options would be a good investment. Be sure your cell phone number is your unique business number. That will help your customers stay in touch with you. You may also be able to deduct it as a business expense for your United States taxes.
Your home office should have a computer with software to track expenses and income for your business. You will need to generate invoices and track payments. Set up a business bank account and don’t mix your personal cash with your business. A PayPal business account will help to facilitate collections, especially with people who want to pay by credit card or online banking.
Investing in a high-speed Internet service will allow you to run a website with critical information your customers need to know, such as location, service areas and errand services you are providing.
- Marketing Your Business
Initially, your marketing campaign will be local. You’ll want a website for customers to reference and you’ll want to be listed on local search engines like Google Places. You will also want to use classified advertisements in your local papers, Craigslist and the yellow pages.
Networking and word of mouth are perhaps your biggest sources of clients. Help your clients spread the word and consider offering a referral bonus. Flyer and brochures will help spread the word too.
- Key Suggestions to Ensure Successful Client Relationships
When you are setting up an agreement with your client, you need to define the service in writing that you will provide. You could have a list pre-printed and check off the service the client desires. If you offer several different errand services, you should develop several simple lists, divided by topic.
Then you need to discuss their personal desires. They may need your help in defining what they want, so be prepared with questions. Put that preference in writing as well. Then give them an estimate of the service and deliver the items and service on time and on budget.
Always carry your cell phone with your client’s phone number since you may have to call them with suggestions on a better option.
It is best to use the KISS formula for this interview (Keep It Simple). Be professional and courteous. Avoid disputes by giving them a copy of your agreement. If your client requests extra services while you are working, be sure to be firm on additional charges if extra time is required. Remember, your time has value and your client must understand that there will be an extra charge.
- Crucial Personality Traits
An errand running business is a wonderful business if you’re personable and responsible. Additionally, it’ll help if you’re excited to start and grow a business focused on helping people. Research your competition, plan your business, and help meet the needs of your community. Get started today!
This post barely scratches the surface of the details involved in starting a concierge business. For more information: The Concierge Manual: A Step by Step Guide on How to Start Your Own Concierge and/or Errand Services by Katharine C. Giovanni
Let me know how you do with this business idea and I will share with the readers of this blog.
“You’re no good unless you are a good assistant;
and if you are, you’re too good to be an assistant.”
–Martin H. Fischer
Retirees are Well Suited Offering Virtual Assistant Service
Are you a retired Baby Boomer “downsized” from your job? Unfortunately, in this challenging economic times, more and more businesses are downsizing to cut costs and scope of their business. Being forced into retirement with a reduced retirement income is not a recipe for enjoying your “golden years.” You don’t have the money to meet your needs. What to do?
Never Fear, the Internet is Here!
One Industry that is increasing in popularly today, being rated one of the top 5 home-based businesses by Entrepreneur Magazine, is “virtual assisting.”
Benefits to Offering Virtual Assisting Services
Becoming a Virtual Assistant allows you to work from anywhere in the world as long as you have a computer and a fast Internet connection.
This business requires little in the way of start-up costs or fees. The main requirements:
- Ability to type well
- Organizational skills
- Communication skills
- Native English speakers for companies serving the USA
- British English speakers for commealth countries
- Other companies serving their native market need Virtual Assistants in their native language.
As you can see, the sky is the limit to this business opportunity.
Just what is a Virtual Assistant Anyway?
By definition, a Virtual Assistant or VA, is a highly skilled professional who provides administrative support and other specialized services to:
- Online businesses
- Sales professionals
- Others who have more work to do than time to do it.
What are the Typical Skills VA Can Offer?
Many VA’s also provide web design and maintenance, publicity and marketing, desktop publishing, word processing, and business start-up consultations. The services are endless depending upon the Virtual Assistant’s knowledge, skills and creativity.
Virtual assistants are instrumental in helping businesses with their marketing and communication skills. They also may have the capability to run a business office efficiently, thus getting more work accomplished. They also have a solid understanding of the latest tools to make a business succeed.
Case Study: Blogging for Dollars
One example is blogging. As reported elsewhere on this website, we know that it is essential for a business to have a blog to succeed. Yet, many businesses don’t have the time to create and maintain a blog.
The business manager or owner really doesn’t have the time to write a blog. Nor do they know how to hire it done by a good content writer service such as Hall Content Writing.com.
A good virtual assistant will handle outsourcing the content, Ensure online payment for services, posting the blogs on a timely basis, and report on the effectiveness of the blog in generating traffic and sales.
Ideal Outsourcing Service for Busy Clients
What started out in the 80’s as home-based word processing service, has grown into what we are seeing today. Plus more and more clients are realizing the need to outsource their work and let a professional virtual assistant do it, so they can focus on that they do best, running their business.
How to Gain Training to Get Started as a Virtual Assistant
Start today in the successful career to supplement your retirement income working from your home office with a schedule that allows you to enjoy your retirement.
A good training guide by a successful virtual assistant is from Lisa Taliga. She developed “How to Become a Virtual Assistant: The 5 Key Steps to Your Successful Virtual Assistant Business.
Lisa earns from $45 to $80 per hour, working with clients around the world. She describes how you can work your way up to charging decent billings for the work you love to perform. This product is available from Click Bank who offers a 60- money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.
Ready to begin? Click here.