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Archive | March, 2014

Using The Search Engines to Promote Your VA Business

Here Norberto Mercado Here's the search engine scoop: They want to help real people find what they are looking for. If you have a service to offer and someone goes to Google looking for what you have, then Google wants them to find you.   Getting found in the search engines doesn't have to involve complicated algorithms, mathematical calculations or hours and hours of keyword research per article. Where's the fun in that?! You can get found in the search engines for highly relevant keyword terms with natural SEO that allows your visitors to get the experience they are looking for.   I hope that puts you at ease a bit. I know when I talk SEO sometimes people tune out totally. They think it's too complicated and don't even want to both trying.   Here are three reasons why getting listed in the search engines is worth the effort:
  1. You can find highly motivated clients because they are seeking you out.
  2. You will be seen as an expert because they found YOU.
  3. You can get traffic and clients for years to come based on efforts you do once (with some updates to keep it fresh).
  Your next question is probably going to be how to you optimize your virtual assistant site for the search engines. I did mention natural search engine optimization and I want you to think along those lines. Don't try to follow a specific formula or plan. What you want to do instead is make sure you use a lot of very descriptive content. You want to include details like: –        Where you're located so you can get local traffic. –        What software programs you work with so you get people looking for help in those programs. –        What type of client you work with so that they can find you to work with them. –        Any specific processes you use so when someone searches that they find you.   The more details you add to your page the more likely you will get found for topics that relate to your business.   It's not a bad idea to do some keyword research so you're certain that the words you are using to describe your services are the same words a potential client would use to look for your services. This can be done by using a number of free online tools that actually give you statistics of how many people search for certain words in a day. This is good information to know so that you can be sure you're not targeting something that no one is looking for. Just go to Google and type ‘free keyword search tool' and you'll find a few good ones.   If you're not sure how to lay this out or where to include the content here are some of the most common places to include important details that will get you found: –        In the website title. –        In the page URLs. –        In content headings. –        In your page titles. –        In categories and tags if you are blogging. –        In image names. –        In image alt tags. –        In internal links. –        In bolded content. –        In regular content. Now like I mentioned before, don't go all crazy and put your targeted phrases into every place mentioned above as many times as you can. That would be considered trying to game the system and generally isn't well accepted by Google. You want this to flow naturally while keeping the above list in mind as you go. To your success, Norberto Mercado

Finding Clients For Your Virtual Assistant Business Online

Here Norberto Mercado You started your virtual assistant business because you love the idea of working online whenever suits you, without having to dress up and work in a cubicle. Good for you! It's a great business and it's very rewarding. Your first challenge in this business, however, is going to be finding clients.   Finding clients online is a great way to build your business. Is should be using in combination with finding clients offline for best results, but you can still get good results using a few methods that we'll discuss in this article.   First of all, you need to prepare your business before you go looking for clients online. Here's what you'll need:  
  1. A completed website. Telling people to hire you simply won't be enough. You'll need to have a website up that sells people on your services and why they should hire you. You need to stand out from the crowd and relay that you know your stuff. Take the time and effort to put together a great website to present to potential clients. If you don't know how to build your own website, then take a course or hire someone to build it for you… it's that important.
  2. A client process. What if you find someone who wants to hire you? Do you know what to do next? Make sure you plan out a process of how you will accept and retain clients once they are interested in your services. It would be a very good idea to write this process out to hand over to your new clients so they know exactly what to expect as they start working with you (clients love that).
  Once you're ready for clients you now need to get out there and hustle. Here are some places online to look for new clients:   –        Email – Don't underestimate the power of writing a personal email to any and all contacts you have. You can ask them if they need to hire your services and/or if they know anyone who would like to hire you. Depending on your relationship it may be best to ask them if they know anyone first and they may end up replying that they actually need your help instead. –        Forums – Online forums are not dead. In fact, some niche topics have forums that are still extremely active. My recommendation is to pick a couple of paid forum membership sites that are active and build long-term relationships there. This has paid off for me in so many different ways with the two membership forums that I am an active participant in. –         Social Media – Social media is definitely the buzz word these days in online marketing. It is a place where you can find clients but it's got to be your ‘thing'. If you're not into social media then social media won't be into you. It's a flow, almost like someone who is the life of the party…if you're not like that then there's no point forcing it. There are many other ways to find clients and build your business. –         Advertising – There are so many ways you can get your business in front of a large amounts of traffic if you use advertising. Find websites that are highly respected and that are not loaded with spammy looking ads. –         Virtual Assistant Forums & Websites – There are a number of virtual assistant forums and websites that you can join. It's a good idea to be a part of these and build relationships with other virtual assistants. VAs often refer each other out or work together when a client has a need that one can't fill. Use this to your advantage.   There you have a few ideas to get you started with marketing your Virtual Assistant business online. Remember it's all about a constant flow of marketing in order to get the right clients finding their way to you. Think of it as an ongoing process, always be marketing and over time you'll see the rewards for your efforts.   To your success, Norberto Mercado    

Offline Networking for your Virtual Assistant Business

Here Norberto Mercado Many virtual assistants are introverts. They start their business because they like the idea of being at home and not having to deal with the regular social aspect of going into work everyday. They also like the freedom that working from their home computer brings.   That's why it doesn't always occur to a VA that the BEST place to find great clients to work with is not behind the computer screen.   You see, trusting a virtual assistant to help them with their business is a very big deal to your potential clients. They are literally putting their business and life in your hands sometimes. For example. What if a business who's main source of income hires you to do updates and you have all the passwords that could wipe out their web presence… I would say that's a little scary, wouldn't you?   Now not every situation is as drastic as that but the point is you have to have trust. In reality, text and phone calls can never, ever build more trust that a good old belly to belly meeting.   That's where offline networking becomes very important to finding great clients for your virtual assistant business.   First, you'll need some materials ready:
  1. A great business card – I know this is pretty obvious but have you checked your cards lately? Are they up to date? Do they best reflect your services? Would a total newbie to virtual assistance understand what you do?
  2. An opening dialogue – I personally don't like the ‘elevator speech' thing but I do think it's important to know what you're going to say when someone asks you what you do for a living. Preparing ahead of time is great but sometimes you just need to test this out until you hit the right thing. If you say your dialogue and your listener's eyes glaze over it's time to try something else. Keep track and pick the best.
  Next, you need to get yourself out there. There are so many places you can go to build relationships that will lead to business. A good tip is to not go out with the mindset that you're taking on a new client tonight (or else). You're better off thinking about the people you meet as potential referrers who can send business your way. That will take the pressure off them (and yourself) while allowing you to share what you do. If they need your services you'll find out and they may even tell you because you're not being one of those pushy salespeople!   Where can you go to network yourself as a virtual assistant? Like I said the ideas are plenty, here are some suggestions:   –        Go to Meetup.com and look for relevant business groups or interest groups that are in the market you serve. –        Find out about industry seminars, conferences and events that you can get out to. –        Join local business groups like the Chamber of Commerce and Toastmasters. –        Go into local businesses and see if you can add a business card to their advertisement board. –        Go into local businesses and leave them a business card with a little info on what you can do for them. –        Donate a service package to local auctions or other events as it suits.   It's not always about getting the client in the beginning. You need to get known in your area as the person to go to when the help you offer is needed. That won't happen from behind the screen. People want to refer people that they know so you have got to get yourself out there if you want local business. You'll find even if you are an introvert that getting out on your own terms will still offer you the freedom you wanted when you started your business.   To your success, Norberto Mercado  
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