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Every Virtual Assistant needs to find clients, but when you first set out there seems to be so much to do and, unless you come from a marketing background, you’ve probably never done any self-promotion before. Well I’m sorry to tell you that you may not like putting yourself out there, but you’re just going to have to suck it up cos nobody hires someone they’ve never heard of! I sometimes go to local freelancing events and meetings and, even though there are other VAs in my local area, the other freelancers tell me I’m the only VA they know about because they haven’t met the others!
Read my article on how to network for more detailed advice, get my free networking info sheet to hand out at events from my downloads page, and sort out your elevator pitch so you can tell numbskulls what you do for a living. Read this article I wrote on common business card mistakes and think twice about using free ones cos they usually look shonky as hell.
You’ve probably got loads of online contacts – people in your email address book, LinkedIn contacts, Twitter followers etc but I bet you’ve not met half of them. People do business with people they know, so market your Virtual Assistant business by getting to know your contacts better and stay on their radar. I can’t stress enough how important LinkedIn is when it comes to marketing your business. I’ve had some good results with Adwords in the past but it really does help if you not only know who your target market is, but you also research how to use Adwords! Get some flyers made then pin them up in strategic and specific places your target market might be such as co-working spaces, serviced offices and community boards. A Twitter presence also raises your profile amongst local business owners and generates traffic to your website. Market your VA business by contacting all your old colleagues, tell them what you’re now doing and ask them if they know anyone who might need your services. Also contact previous work clients (as long as you’re not breaching any legal contracts), tell them what you now do and ask if there’s anything you can help them with. Tell all your friends and family what you’re doing, ways in which you can help people and ask them to keep their ears open for opportunities and leads.
Keep an eye on discussions in the groups that your target market are members of (as well as local business groups) and post useful advice in response to questions. Gumtree is also excellent for SEO purposes, so a free ad once every 4-6 weeks can help bring you up in local search results when your website is still in its early stages and isn’t being ranked yet. If someone types in “admin support (name of your town)” then Google will list you near the top if you’re listed on Google my Business because they obviously give preferential treatment to people using their services. Although you’ll often receive a fair amount of sales calls from these companies wanting you to place a paid ad, a free listing in these directories will help your SEO ranking.
Remember to update each site if and when your services change and always ask people how they found you so you know which sites are working for you. Not only are these groups full of potential clients, they also offer lots of networking events, talks and training sessions that will benefit your business. If you attend events your specific target market will be at then you’re putting yourself right in front of a captive audience. As always, you need to target your niche wherever possible and put yourself in places where they are going to physically or virtually be. This should always be a solution-based article telling the reader how to solve a problem they have. Always ask new enquiries where they heard of you and keep doing the things that bring in clients. Always keep in mind when doing any marketing that people don’t really care about you, they just want to know what’s in it for them. Having a niche whether that be the type of clients you work with, the industry you serve or the services you offer makes it a billion times easier to target your marketing.
Being a VA is all about using your brain and working around a problem, so think creatively about how to market yourself and put yourself and your services in front of your specific target market. My DIY VA course has a whole section on marketing and also covers every single other thing you need to set up and run your own Virtual Assistant business. The question you have answered is probably the most common issues VAs face – new or experienced, when looking to grow their business. Very nice and helpful blog post for those who are starting their virtual assistant business. As a Virtual Assistant and small business owner, I’ve needed to be creative with my marketing.  I don’t have a huge budget, time or resources to splash out on costly marketing initiatives.

During a busy year for my business I mistakenly told myself I was ‘too busy to market or be out networking’.  This was a huge mistake and one I won’t make again. If someone has done a good job for me, I’m more than happy to refer them to family, friends and colleagues.
Ensure your website is up to date and looking tickety boo.  Make your website a priority – the majority of people who meet you or find you online will check out your website, if it’s not up to scratch, they’ll quickly move on. Create a website which is visually appealing and easy to navigate.  Don’t be tempted to include too many bells and whistles, these are distracting and confusing to the reader.
Keep your website current by regularly updating content and be sure to incorporate keywords that your prospects will most likely use when searching for your products and services.
Following on from your website, blogging consistently is perfect for updating content on a regular basis.  It also provides you with the means to show your expertise and be helpful to your community.
Place social media sharing buttons at the end of your blog posts, so your readers can share your content too.
It goes without saying that using social media should play a part in your marketing activities.  Find the right platform for you and one in which your prospects hang out. Have clear goals and objectives to your social media plan.  What results are you expecting?  How will you measure them? Offering to write a guest blog post to another blogger who complements your products or services is an excellent opportunity to take your expertise and share it with others.  Guest blogging is also a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your market, build relationships with other bloggers and widen your community.
Video engages your customer and sets you apart from the competition so says a recent survey by Animoto.  Take a look at their infographic with some interesting statistics. Video has been on my to do list for a while now and I added it to my vision board – embrace video! Successful forum marketing means finding the right community for you.  Look for popular forums in your niche with an active community and one, which is not overrun by spam. One forum I’ve been a member of for a while now is Fizzle marketed as Honest Online Biz Training with Corbett Barr, Chase Reeves and Caleb Wojcik. These ten, creative marketing strategies will help you to build relationships and engage with your prospective customers.  It’s not just about the money, it’s about the time and effort you put into it. I’m your Virtual Support Professional offering Online launch support and harnessing the power of WordPress to create beautiful, functional and mobile responsive websites. Whenever you are launching a new product or service, it’s an ideal time to write and publish a press release. If you make a change to your business model or you add a new model to your business, you can issue a press release to announce the news. Often, live events like webinars are used to help build momentum for a new product or service. Other opportunities for a press release include reaching business milestones, hiring an industry pro to work at your company or when someone on your staff is involved in something newsworthy. In today’s environment of restrained finances, savvy business women must know how to market and grow their business with little to no financial expenditures. Even if these aren’t initially your target market, networking raises your profile in your local business community and people often refer clients to you later.
Being around other freelancers provides a place to discuss issues that full-time work friends won’t have and to get free techie advice. You don’t have to buy loads, just do 50 at a time and Google ‘creative business cards’ to get some inspiration. Make it your aim to meet two people a week (Friday afternoons are good so you don’t lose valuable work time) for coffee and find out more about their business and challenges they face. It forms the main part of my DIY course, my personal training and my guide on how I get my clients.
So if one of your LinkedIn connections has a first-degree contact that fits your target market perfectly then ask them to introduce you explaining why you might both mutually benefit from knowing each other. It’s like a dark art and quite complicated but Google often offer vouchers (you spend ?25 and they give you an extra ?75 for example) and they have a fantastic free help service too. As with all your marketing, you’re trying to get your info in front of the right people so know who they are and get a targeted ad for your business in their face. You could also take them to places you know your target market are going to be such as meet ups, exhibitions and other industry-specific events. I get a lot of referrals from Twitter actually as people say they can see that I know my stuff, I add value and I offer useful advice without asking for anything in return.
Use Buffer App to schedule static tweets and save time and keep an eye on people who follow industry specific or local accounts such as your local newspaper, Chamber of Commerce etc.

These are warm leads – you already know each other and you understand their challenges so are in a good position to help. As with job hunting, the more people who know what you’re looking for, the more likely you are to find it. They might never have heard of a VA before and love that there’s no associated employee costs with using one. You can list what you can do for businesses as well as keep an eye on job vacancies to approach the company about your services. In fact, any website like LinkedIn, Gumtree, Yell etc will have better SEO than your own website especially when you first set up.
Research the event to find out who’ll be attending (or exhibiting) if you can, take loads of business cards and work the room. Having (or even sharing) a trade stand at business events is a good way to raise your profile and tell people what you do and how you can add value to their business.
Quite a few of my clients had never heard of a VA and hadn’t realised the service even existed.
Address their specific problems in your ad and outline how you’re perfectly suited to help them or direct them to a place that does. It could be a general article on what a VA is and how they help people, or an article on an industry-specific problem and how it can be fixed – so a way in which they can use tech to work better or how to organise their systems etc – share what you know for free and people will check you out. As above, if you share what you know and provide solutions (which is what a VA does for a living!) then you’ll get noticed and people will want to connect with you because they see you as valuable. Individually Google ‘how to…’ for each one to learn more and find out exact details on how to do that specific thing.
The one about falling out of love with freelancing was a real shock to me until I mentioned it to a group of other freelancers and discovered it was entirely normal. I often pass on regular admin work and get more niche newsletters, autoresponders, blogging and Gmail work passed my way.
Listing these ways for VA business will give ideas for startup companies and for those who already have existing VA companies to add their services within this list.
Distribution services mean that your press release can drive traffic to your launch sales page. The release should highlight the benefit your customers and prospects gain, and how the new model will impact their lives. If you’re getting ready to launch and you’re in the pre-launch marketing phase, you can use a press release to help build excitement by promoting your event. For example, if someone on your team is giving a TedTalk, that would be worthy of a press release. If you know how to write a press release or have someone on your team who can write one, then you have just taken care of the most expensive part of this marketing tactic.
Many of my trainees have gotten work just by having and using an excellent LinkedIn profile and if you’re not getting work from it then you’re doing it wrong! I’ve found that referred work can come from surprising sources but nobody can refer or hire you if they don’t know you exist.
Your LinkedIn profile and website should demonstrate your relevant industry experience and have case studies, projects and testimonials as evidence.
Again, the key to remember with press release marketing is to make sure that it’s both newsworthy and relevant and valuable to your audience. Press release distribution services often offer free distribution and you can pay a little extra to receive additional features and resources. For example, you might normally offer a home study course and now you’re offering a home study course and two hours of coaching for the price of your home study course. If you’re on a tight budget, issuing a press release is a budget friendly marketing tactic to consider. In fact, there are many opportunities throughout the year to market your business with a free press release.

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