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How Brand New VA’s Can Choose The Best Target Market When Promoting Their Virtual Assistant Business

Michelle Dale - Friday, May 06, 2011

I recently had an excellent question posted on my Facebook fan page, “How would you pick the best target market to promote your brand to when you don't know who to target?” There are actually many possible combinations of answers to this and really it rests on what you offer as a virtual assistant service and what you’re looking to achieve from your business.

This is what I do… It totally works for me, and I know it’s worked for many of the VA’s I have coached. It’s a way to get started and earn while you learn. 

The Trick To Finding Something To Target

Begin targeting individuals who are already looking to work with VA’s, it is a much faster and easier way to secure clients, when they have already made the decision to work with a virtual service provider with your skill set. You can do this through networking and social media, something as simple as Twitter, and I reveal my method in The VA Passport on how I find those individuals. Don’t be concerned what market they are in for now, it could be any market, but do make sure you trust your instincts and they fit into some sort of client profile, don’t try and convert everyone who is looking for a VA, only the people who fit. Through putting your efforts into this, you will begin to work with clients much quicker than immediately going down the target market route – so it’s a target and a focus, but not a market. Then once you have worked with a few clients, and gained some personal experience, you will know who the best  target market is for you, and can take things from there.

Targeting Individuals Before Markets

From more of a generic point of view, I would first get together a client profile, which is a series of criteria which all my clients have to reach, this is a great start for finding out who your potential target market ‘could’ be, for example, if you particularly want to work with solopreneurs as a one-on-one partnership, then you need to be looking for a market of people who could generally be in solo professional industries, these can be consultants, coaches, accountants, lawyers, basically anyone who is in a position to set up a profitable solo practice on their own.

This is just one example, and you may have several criteria that you would like in your client, for example, location, language, trade. But the absolute most important tool when you are seeking out your target market is your instinct… And you have to be true to it.

I am in this industry because of the lifestyle it allows me to have, and my business and the success of it rests very much on how happy I am, how content I feel and that has a lot to do with the type of person I work with. So, if you are just starting out as a virtual assistant, don’t get too bogged down in the details and psychology of marketing, use the method above to get started. If you get a target market wrong from the start, it could mean a big wasted effort going after the wrong type of client – plus you won’t be doing any business. Of course if you are only offering transcription services, then it would be an excellent idea to list every possible business which requires a large amount of transcription, for example the medical profession, then market your business to those that are almost guaranteed to need that skill, but really that’s only if you specialise in something like an individual skill set. For a wider range of services you can aim at a much wider market, but always keep in mind that it’s the individuals that count, and for many virtual assistants, we don’t necessarily need a large amount of clients, but we do at least need a small amount of the right kind of clients, and you will have to take your time to get to know people, just initially by marketing in a general sense, by working with a few clients, you will gain personal experience in relation to the type of people you really want to work with, and then you will discover from that, the market you need to be aiming at more, and the market you want to avoid. 

Always keep in mind though, that a target market is not individuals, and it’s the individuals that you need to pay close attention to, relationship building and connections. This is what will help you stand out from the rest of the crowd, the folk with their target market strategies and old-school business plans tend to be in the mindset that this industry is just like any other business or industry, well I have worked many jobs, in many different industries, and I can say, without a doubt, the VA industry is totally unique. It’s an online industry, pulled into the realms of Internet marketing in the one direction, but it needs offline values, real human interaction and outstanding customer support to be able to succeed, and this combination is what we need to focus on.

The bottom line is to spend less time analysing and start taking action, getting yourself out there, and seeing, from experience and personal interaction where you should be putting your energy into your target market ongoing. The people who you perceive to be the right kind of market for your business may not be the right kind of market for you, and if you are becoming a virtual assistant because of a lifestyle choice, then you must put what’s best for you first, before what’s best for the business.

This advice is sound, and I recommend you listen to my interview with Jeremy Locke  (which is in the "Think Big" experts section of The VA Rockstar programme information page), who will delve into this a little deeper.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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