So if you hadn't heard the news already we've just started managing "The Virtual Assistant Network" group on LinkedIn, which you're very welcome to join. I'm super excited about this because LinkedIn is a great space to connect with colleagues. We had a question posted from a lady looking to get some advice on marketing to obtain clients, here's what she said:
"I'm starting my marketing efforts for my business however I have had no leads. I'm marketing on LinkedIn, Facebook and other websites I can find. I have had one feeler and that was it. Can anyone give me advice on how you found your first client?"
First, clients can come from a variety of places; my first client came from me offering to help an old colleague for free, so I could gain confidence - as without that, I know any kind of marketing wouldn't have been as effective. I couldn't ask a client to put their confidence in me, when I was lacking it in myself through inexperience.
Then my first paying client came many years ago before the age of social media. I'd submitted my business to "any and all" internet-based business directories and he happened to have found me through one of those.
These days with social media and networking groups you would think it would get easier, but our approach to marketing through these tools can greatly influence our success.
A lot of VAs I interact with will say they're marketing via social media. The first thing I ask is, "How?" and their answers are very different.
Here are a few examples I've come across:
Setting up a Facebook advert to send traffic, and then they hope for the best that the traffic will make an enquiry (or enquiries).
Posting blog posts to their Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.
Contacting connections and telling them about their virtual assistant business and asking if they could help them.
Trying to educate people on what a virtual assistant is.
None are wrong, or bad, but standing on their own, they aren't exactly effective.
So what's the most effective form of drumming up business online? Well, for me, it's been demonstrating to potential clients that I can see things they can't.
Here's a summary of the process.
1 - I'd be selective with who I'd contact, this means I'd never wait for leads to come to me, I'd go out and pick the leads I wanted to work with through those I'd connected with through general network building.
2 - Let's say I decided to look at 10 a day, I'd go to each one and look over their website, social media, I'd even sign up to their newsletter. I'd almost always be able to find a 'problem'.
3 - I'd then contact them either via an email, social message or video message letting them know how much I enjoyed visiting their site, and the action I took there. I'd then broach the problem I found and mention that I just wanted to make them aware of it, and also share that because of my line of work, I happen to be able to fix it, so if they need any assistance - don't hesitate to ask.
Doing this doesn't take that long when you consider how effective it is, and when you commit to a target of doing this so many times a day, you most likely will get a fair number of responses, and eventually paying clients.
It's never failed to work for me, and it's the simplest and most effective client generation method I've been teaching for many years, but don't just take my word for it... Check out the video below on YouTube from Dan Greason, of VA Lifestyle Design, or the testimonials from colleagues who I've taught.
It's always a winner
The excellent part of this process, is that you should never, ever feel like you've wasted your time. You'll almost always have helped someone else uncover an issue in their business that they can fix - and that would help them improve, and every time you do that, "good juju is waiting in the wings" to deliver the good turn back to you by some other means!