Marketing – it’s another one of those ‘love it or loathe it’ jobs in my experience.
Some VAs are super efficient when it comes to maintaining their website, updating their blog and keeping their social media channels full of interesting and engaging content, whereas others just can’t stand the thought of having to promote themselves and their business online, particularly when they’ve got important (and paying!) customer work to be getting on with…
Unfortunately, marketing is one of those jobs that HAS to be done. Yes, you might have work up to your eyeballs at the present time, but there are peaks and troughs in any business, and you may find yourself at some point in the future with a quiet spell that you need to fill. And the last thing you want to do when you’re already in a bit of a business lull is to start your marketing from scratch, frantically scrabbling around to find out what kind of social media content, on which platform, works best for you. It’s probably also not the best time to throw money at paid-for advertising solutions like Facebook and Google Ads when you’ve never tried them before, as without careful planning (and often some expert guidance when you first set up), you could be throwing money away into the ether.
My recommendation is to spend a few hours (or a day, if you can spare it) and invest it into your business marketing now; carry out an audit of your current marketing activity:
- What’s working?
- What doesn’t seem to work quite so well?
- Have you had success via any specific social media channels in the past?
- Are specific types of content that you post more engaging than others? Taking a look at the native statistics for your social media channels (i.e. Facebook ‘insights’, Google My Business, etc.) and Google Analytics can give you an idea of what kinds of online activities are working to send valuable traffic to your website.
Once you’ve established what works well for you online, think carefully about how much time you could realistically dedicate to marketing every week and then block out some time in your diary to commit to your own business marketing, in just the same way as you would a client task.
Once you’ve got an hour or two set aside, think about what you could realistically achieve in that timescale and build a marketing plan around it:
- What tasks are essential for you to complete every month?
- Where can these fit in to your monthly schedule?
- How will you keep track of this work to check that everything is moving in the right direction?
Dedicating an hour of your allocated marketing time every month to reviewing the engagement and effectiveness of your work is just as important as scheduling content to go out to social media – you don’t want to waste valuable time carrying out work that has no benefit to you or your business.
If you’ve managed to find a little time in your busy schedule, but aren’t sure where to start with your business marketing, here are a few ideas:
– Create a few blogs. Creating useful content for your target audience can help to convey your knowledge and professionalism to potential customers before they even meet you. In addition, you can also use blog content to inspire shorter social media posts that lead back to your blog (i.e. ‘Interested in X? Read our latest blog to find out more’) and also use the content to create videos quickly and simply using a tool like Lumen5 (https://lumen5.com/) to repurpose the content in an eye-catching and engaging way.
– Trial a range of social media posts to find what works best for you and your audience. Try sharing some interesting news articles, some ‘behind the scenes’ pictures or content about you and your business, some question ‘prompts’ for your audience that encourage interaction/responses, as well as the odd ‘sales-y’ post that highlights your products/services. Spend a month posting a range of content (as well as trialling different times of day/different days of the week) and then carefully review your engagement statistics at the end of the month to see what went well and what wasn’t quite so popular! Remember, there are a huge number of things that can affect engagement (from the weather outside to sporting events, etc.), so try not to write things off entirely after a single month! Perhaps try them again at a different time/day to see if they really aren’t particularly interesting to your customers and followers.
– Send out a newsletter… regularly! – Email marketing is a great way to remind customers that you are there and ready to help them, just in case you slipped to the back of their mind temporarily. If you can build up a mailing list of past and existing customers, and of potential customers who aren’t quite ready to commit to buying just yet, you have the opportunity to share your expertise and provide useful and valuable content once or twice a month (again, repurposing those blogs if you’re struggling for content!) and remind your contacts that you are there and ready to assist if they need it. Tools like Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign and Keap are great for email marketing, and also make it easy for you to set up a mailing list sign-up form on your website to grow your list quickly and simply. Just make sure that you are aware of the General Data Protection Regulations and your responsibilities to market to people appropriately and responsibly – learn more on the Information Commissioner’s Website here: https://ico.org.uk/
With just a little time and effort, you can market your business professionally and positively online, so why not take our advice and allocate a few hours a month (at least!) to the task? We’re certain you won’t regret it!