If you use a proper email newsletter delivery service such as Constant Contact, Aweber or MailChimp, your subscribers will go through what is known as a ‘double opt-in’. This means that, after submitting their email address through your website form or other link asking them to sign up for your newsletter, they will receive an email asking them to confirm their subscription by clicking on a link within it. This is key, as it stops third parties from adding subscribers without their knowledge.
Include a link to your newsletter sign up page on your Facebook profile and from time to time include it in your status. The day that you have sent out your latest issue is a great time to do this.
When you’ve added previous newsletters to your web site, add the page address to your Facebook status. Make sure there is a link to ‘sign up for more articles like these’ at the bottom of the article page.
When you’ve added previous newsletters to your web site, Tweet the link to the article page. Make sure there is a link to ‘sign up for more articles like these’ at the bottom of the article page.
Host back copies of your newsletter on your web site as an archive. At the foot of each article, include a link to your sign up page with a message to ‘sign up to our newsletter for more articles like these’.
Collect business cards and email each one asking for permission to add them to your newsletter list. Do not add them directly without permission as this will not win you many friends!
Ask telephone callers if you can add them to your newsletter list. If they have enquired about any of your products or services, they are a prospect and won’t mind your keeping in touch in this unobtrusive way.
Offer email only discounts and tell visitors to your site that you do so. If they are interested in your services, they’ll sign up in the hope of getting a discount.
Include a Forward to a Friend link in your newsletters so that your readers can forward an article to a friend that may find it interesting. Run a joint venture with a complimentary business. Choose a business that provides services to a similar target market, for example small businesses.For this reason, also include a link to your sign up page in each emailed newsletter.
It’s simple but very effective, include an opt-in form on every page of your web site. It’s also worth checking your web statistics to see where people leave your web site. Check the last page they view before they leave and make sure there is a note asking them to sign up for your newsletter at the bottom of this page.
Run a joint venture with a complimentary business. Choose a business that provides services to a similar target market, for example small businesses. Include a link in your newsletter for readers to opt into the other businesses list, in exchange for their running an opt-in for your newsletter on theirs.
Join your local Chamber of Commerce and email the member list (if it’s opt-in) about your services with a link to sign up to your newsletter. Again, don’t just add everyone to your newsletter list but introduce yourself by email and ask if they would like to subscribe.
Send an opt-in email to everyone in your address book asking them to sign up for your newsletter. Make sure you don’t just include everyone in your contacts list in your newsletter list, ask their permission first.
Include a newsletter sign up link in the signature of all your outgoing emails. You can include this in a PS at the bottom of your email after your name and before your contact details.
We all need to fill our marketing funnel with the contact details of potential clients and referrers of our business services. The following series gives you some ideas about how to collect contact details, and in particular email addresses, so that you can begin to build relationships with your prospects.
Put an offer on the back of your business card to get people to sign up for your newsletter. For example, “Visit www.mywebsite.com/freereport to download 20 Top Tips for Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant”. When they land on your page, ask for their email address in order to receive the free report.
When I’m doing online research for a particular product or service, I want to know right away what makes any company unique or different from their competition. Most virtual assistant websites just display a whole list of services they provide. While I agree that you do need to let your prospects know all the bases you can cover, if you love designing databases or have a passion for project management, tell the world about it on your website.
The beauty of this is that you will then tend to attract clients that need those services so you will be doing more of what you love. How great is that?
You should allot a certain portion of your day to email and to regular mail. For example, allot one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon to handling all your written communications. Unless you dedicate specific time slots to the handling of email and post, you will soon find yourself on the downward slope of decreased productivity as you constantly check and respond to email to put off whatever you should be doing.
In a nutshell, the success of your VA business is entirely and completely reliant upon you and the decisions that you make. Success is within your reach, if only you can stay focused on your goals. You must decide to reach for your goals, and then, you must have the discipline necessary to reach them.
Don’t permit your friends and extended family to put on you. Many people are under the misapprehension that if someone works from home then they are not actually working. They may believe that you are fair game for a social call during the day or that you may be able to run errands that would otherwise mean them taking time off work.
It’s really important to set the ground rules early and then stand firm. You must make certain your friends and family understand that when you are working, then you ARE working and that when your time is interrupted, you will not be earning. You are the only one who can stand up for you. Your friends and family will seldom be able to appreciate your dedication to your business, unless you make the effort to make sure that they have the same respect for your business that you do.
When you are dealing with family in the course of your workday, it is important to schedule your activities as much as possible. With small children, you must take time when you need to, but you should also work hard to make sure you dedicate a specific number of hours to your workday.
With older children, it is much easier to tell them that you will be working between the hours of x and y. Then your children, and even your friends, must understand that certain hours of your day are devoted to the activities of your business.
Remember that owning your own business is not the same as being employed in a job. Some people go to work and coast along, playing games or enjoying online social networking (Facebook and the like), some socialise over the kettle or printer, and others, most often those who are paid in a commission or tip environment, go to work to work to make money.
When you work for yourself, what you make in terms of income is directly proportional to your productivity. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to stay focused on getting as much done in as short of a period as possible? Go to work to work and to make money. Leave socialising for when your workday has ended.
Write regular press releases and send them to publications aimed at your target market. Even if your particular story is not run, you will be seen as the expert in your field and may be approached later.
Syndicate your articles online to article directories to attract new visitors to your web site and Ezine subscriber list.
Write articles useful to your target market then add them to your web site. You can also include them in your ezines. This showcases you as the expert in that particular field.
Give your website a revamp. Is all the information up to date? Does it show a good photograph of you? This is your virtual shop window and the first impression most potential clients will see.
Build your newsletter or Ezine subscriber list, put a sign up box on your web site, include a link to your sign up page in your Twitter updates, Facebook posts, blog posts, etc.
Set up a newsletter or Ezine to keep in touch with both clients, prospects and visitors to your website. Start by sending out simple tips that are useful to your target market.
Send your existing clients a questionnaire. Ask them what they like about your service and what they would like to see added. If they are happy clients, ask them for referrals to other potential clients.
Join at least one online networking site, which can be a strictly business site like LinkedIn or more social site (but often equally effective) such as Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget as a ‘virtual’ worker you can work with anyone, anywhere!