I ran a VA business from 2007-2009. As much as I loved it, I found that I was having to spend a large percentage of my time marketing my business. I would like to start up again, but what alternatives should I consider besides doing my own marketing?
To give the best answer, I first asked some additional questions.
- What percentage of time did you use to market your business?
- What marketing strategies did you use?
- Would you be open to having someone else do your marketing and if so, how would you envision that?
The virtual assistant stated she spent at least 50% of her time marketing her business. Now that may seem like a lot. However, I did a bit of research and found several entrepreneurs who encourage spending at least 60% of your time marketing. I do know that if I’m working 20 hours a week for clients, I’m spending an additional 10 hours or so marketing my business. So the amount of time seems right.
What we sometimes forget is that we are entrepreneurs and business owners. That means usually we are the one person doing it all: sales, marketing, client work, administrative work. And that takes time. If we don’t want to spend the time doing the marketing, we have two choices:
- Hire someone as our marketing person
- Find a J.O.B. – because a business owner must market their services and products in order to succeed
Some marketing strategies that are very effective are in-person events such as SBA events, BNI meetings, professional associations. Then there’s online marketing: a blog, social networking sites, ezines, press releases. Yes, these all take time. That’s why it’s important to put together a simple marketing plan and calendar and schedule these events and actions. Our Action Guide has a sample marketing plan and calendar with details on how to put them into action. Having a plan helps you make sure you’re using strategies that are most effective and less-time consuming than just haphazardly posting something on a social network every day.
Joining local small business groups and attending monthly mixers are effective marketing strategies. Get to know the people, what their needs are, how you can refer them to others. It’s important to build relationships with these people before you ever try to “sell” them your services. There’s a whole section in our book, The Commonsense Virtual Assistant – Becoming an Entrepreneur, Not an Employee, that has lots of great information on marketing. You can purchase a copy on the website.
I believe doing your own marketing is most effective. However, hiring someone to market your services for you is also a viable option. After all, isn’t that what many of our clients hire us to do for them? You can hire someone to help promote your services – online, via mailings, follow-up phone calls, and even by attending in-person events.
Another great marketing strategy is article writing. It establishes you as an expert and always links back to your website. Check out my articles at Ezine Articles.
You can read more about proactive marketing at another blog post of mine.
I’d love to hear your comments!