Passion or Pretend

secretary

Well, it’s officially nice weather here in Michigan.  It’s been in the 70’s the last few days and I’m enjoying it very much.  I love getting outside and exercising, so I’ve been walking 1.5 miles a day and doing as much yard-work as I possibly can.  Why am I telling you this?

I have a few passions in life:

– Feeling good
– Helping others
– Working hard

Here’s something about me…  I don’t pretend to have it all together.  I don’t pretend to always know what I’m doing.  I don’t pretend to be passionate about something I’m not.  I’ll tell you straight away what I like and what I don’t, what I’m good at and what I’m not.  I am not afraid to learn, but I only do what I’m passionate about.  That’s who I am.  That’s why I’m always happy and I don’t let anything stand in my way.

Are you doing what your heart desires?
Are you enjoying your business or are you just pretending you do?  

Here’s a little story:  When I first started out as a Virtual Assistant 6 years ago, I was willing to do pretty much any admin work I could get my hands on.  I worked for a small hourly fee.  I put in a lot of hours learning how to perfect my skills.  I busted my hump to build up my business.  In the process, I learned a lot about myself, my clients, and why I decided to work as a VA in the first place.  I love helping others (one of my passions).  Many business owners don’t want to sit behind a desk (or simply can’t) doing things they hate, or are not good at, or don’t have the skill for, or simply don’t have the passion for.  When they pretend, things either don’t get done at all or they simply get put on the “will do later” list.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m not pretending to love my job, I actually have a passion for it.  If you have a passion for your work, don’t let anything get in your way.  Don’t let small tasks (and lack of skill set) stop you from pushing forward and continuing to grow your business.

I am now working on expanding my business, hoping to bring on some partners and work locally with more businesses.  If you’re in need of some assistance with your administrative tasks, contact me.  I want to help you!

Elizabeth Debol
Executive Virtual Assistant
elizabeth.debol@smallbvs.com
www.SmallBVS.com

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What Does Your CRM Look Like?

OK.  I need to start a topic of conversation regarding CRM programs & database management.  I talk to at least 1 person a week (sometimes more) regarding their contact database and CRM platforms.

I currently work within the following platforms for clients:

www.Soffront.com
www.ConstantContact.com
www.MailChimp.com
www.Zoho.com

What does your CRM look like?  Here is what I often see:

  1. Thousands of contacts getting no consistent communication.
  2. Thousands of contacts getting regular communication, but poor list segmenting means poor open rates.
  3. Thousands of contacts added to the wrong lists, resulting in poor open rates and no engagement.
  4. Thousands of contacts, segmented fairly well, getting the same communication, resulting in no engagement.

Now, some of the individuals I speak with say they have thousands of contacts, hundreds of business cards, numerous clients, and dozens of suspects, but when asked what they do with all them, they say NOTHING.

Does this sound like you?  If so, don’t feel bad.  I’m not trying to call you out or put you down.  It’s just the way it is.  Why? Because not many people really know what to do with their contacts. They just don’t know where to start.

Well, let me explain something to you.  Email marketing and list segmenting is NOT something magical.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It doesn’t create instant clients.  But, if done correctly and consistently, it does get your name out there and get you in front of people.  And it can get you new clients. And that’s what you want!

It doesn’t have to be complicated.  It can start with a simple spreadsheet and turn into so much more in a short time if the work put in is consistent and effective.  But who has time for that?  I know you don’t. I speak with so many business owners who say they WANT to get starting with email marketing and they WANT to see the results, but they have no time in their busy work week to even think about sitting down and starting from scratch.

Don’t let all those contacts go to waste.  Don’t let all those years of networking and hours of meetings leave you with no prospects or leads. Utilize all that hard work.  Put it to good use.  Find a CRM program and email marketing platform that works for YOU.

Need help?  Contact me.  That’s what I do.  I help the overwhelmed business owner keep track of their communication efforts and consistently work with them to effectively keep their name in front of those who need their business.

Elizabeth Debol
Executive Virtual Assistant
elizabeth.debol@smallbvs.com
www.SmallBVS.com

 

What’s the real (effective) way to send email campaigns?

OK.  So lately, I’ve had some real questions about email marketing.  There is so much out there, and so much to learn, that many of my clients (and potential clients) are just getting frustrated with how unpredictable email marketing seems to be.

Well, let me start by saying this…It is a very slow process!!  You will have to do these things, and do them correctly, for email marketing to work:

  1. Pick an email marketing program that will work for your budget and your needs (I recommend Constant Contact because of all the tools it has to offer).
  2. Create web forms for your website, your blog, and social media.  These forms help get sign-ups for your email campaigns.
  3. Create an email that has value, is not too long, is not too short, has the right colors, and is mobile friendly.
  4. Load an organic, nurtured list of individuals into your program (and then learn how to segment them as your list grows).
  5. Follow-up with your contacts, based on their interests, their wants, and their needs.
  6. As your list grows and the demands get higher for your valuable content, create automated emails, or even put together a “product” using email marketing.

Oh goodness…so much to think about.

Let’s first start with FINDING INDIVIDUALS TO EMAIL. Where are you getting your contacts from?  Do you have a well-nurtured list of people just sitting in your folders in your Gmail or Outlook accounts?

Did you purchase a list that you’re hoping to use (I really hope you didn’t waste your money)?

Are you in the process of networking, collecting business cards, handing out flyers, speaking at events, etc?

AND what do you do with all those NEW contacts?

First, you have to decide who is who, where each contact came from, how you know them, what relationship you’ve nurtured through them.  Then, you need to segment them based on your answers.  The idea is to create SPECIFIC lists so you can send them SPECIFIC valuable content through your email marketing efforts.  If you don’t have contacts, well, then you need to get some. You can do this by using a web form through your email marketing program, through networking in person, or through prospecting on LinkedIn.

Is all this too much to process?  I know, it can be overwhelming.  And that’s JUST finding contacts.

Now, the first email you send to your contacts SHOULD always be an introductory email.  You should include who you are, how you know them, why you’re emailing them, what you have to offer, and how often you plan to email them.  AND always include a way for them to opt-out or unsubscribe…always!!!

Listen, don’t beat your head against the wall trying to figure all this out. Let me help you with ALL of this and more.  Email marketing is often times trial and error.  It’s can be a very long process…it takes time.  Don’t get lost in the email marketing world.  Contact me today so I can help!

Think of it this way.  Even if it takes you months to actually get it all right, just ONE of those contacts actually making the right move at the right time can pay for all your hard work and then some.  But in order to get that contact (and hopefully more) to purchase from you, you have to nurture them the right way…through segmented email marketing!

So, get help and do it all the correct way.  Don’t settle for a purchased list or a $10/hour admin to help you.  Remember, you ALWAYS get what you pay for…ALWAYS!!

Have a question about your email marketing needs?  Contact me! I will walk you through what needs to be done first, we will set a plan in motion together, and I will work with your budget and your business needs!

Elizabeth
Virtual Marketing Assistant
Business Virtual Services, LLC
www.BusinessVirtualServices.com

 

Why you should ask for help…

When you own your own business and try to wear many hats, it’s only in due time that you will realize you are falling behind and need HELP.

Look at me…I am a Virtual Assistant.  I work with business owners taking those tedious tasks off their hands so they have more time to focus on their business and don’t have to work 70 hours a week catching up. Here’s the kicker…now I am looking for help.  I work at least 40-50 hours a week now because I am constantly getting emails from past clients and referrals who need help.

Yes, even a professional like myself needs help so I don’t fall behind and get bogged down in tedious work.  There are projects and tasks (HERE is a quick article to explain the difference) that I am very skilled at and need to handle myself.  And there are some that I can hand off to an assistant of my own…either because my skill set is not up to par in that area or because it’s time-consuming and I need to focus on bigger/specific skilled projects.

OH Lord…I have to hire an assistant!!!  This is new to me!!

Sound familiar?  If you have an assistant (or are thinking of getting one) then you understand what I am going through.

Asking for help can be in the form of hiring an assistant to work for you (or with you) or it can be in the form of a Mentor or Coach to help guide you to make better business decisions and reach important goals.  I work with a lot of Business Coaches.  Perhaps I should ask a few of them for advice?!?

Below is a really great article from Entrepreneur explaining why asking for help is good for business: Asking For Help Is Good For You and Your Business

Want to know more about hiring a VA?  Here is a really awesome article that may help you with the process:  7 REASONS YOU SHOULD HIRE A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

Don’t work alone all the time and try to do everything on your own.  It’s good to get help, ask for assistance, collaborate with other business owners, network, and hand over small tasks (or large projects) if it means you get peace of mind and become less stressed.

Hey…if I can do it, you can too!  Here is a great article explaining what a VA does:  How Virtual Office Assistants Work

If you have any questions about how a VA can help you stay organized and get more accomplished, please contact me!

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Elizabeth Debol
Virtual Assistant
Business Virtual Services
elizabethdebol@live.com
http://www.businessvirtualservices.com/

THANKS FOR READING!!  🙂

Feel free to use my post on your blog.  Just please make sure to include the link to my blog in your post.  I would greatly appreciate it!:)

 

Know your Database

Please!!!  Please!!! Please!!! Know who you are interacting with!!!

Know Your Database (2)I work with small business owners, and the harsh reality is that many of them do not know their database.  They don’t know who they are emailing.  They don’t know they have a customer with 5 different emails, receiving their email blasts 5 times, each time.  They don’t realize they have customers on 10 different lists in their email marketing program.

Here’s the thing…you’ve been working for years.  You’ve acquired a large list of contacts.  At one time or another, you’ve met some of these people, you shook their hands, exchanged business cards, had a friendly conversation with them, and then went back to the office and loaded them in your CRM program.  Chances are…you didn’t take notes, you didn’t ask them ALL if they wanted to be emailed, and you didn’t expect some of them to opt out of your emails.

You need to do a DATABASE CLEANUP!  Your email marketing goals are not going to be set on their own.  You are not going to have better open rates or click-through rates if the blasts are going to the wrong people. Your customer service skills are not going to improve if people think all you want to do is spam them.  You are actually hurting your business!!

Here is what I want you to do:

  1. Create one last email to your database.
  2. Make this email a simple one…make it a quick questionnaire.
  3. Ask your database if they want to be on your mailing list and ask them which list(s) they would like to be on (if you have multiples).
  4. Explain to them that you are cleaning up your database so you can provide exactly what your customers need, to those who really want it.
  5. Take their answers and CLEAN up your database.
  6. Place those on the lists they requested to be on.
  7. Email only those who want to be emailed.
  8. Your business will love you…your open rates will love you…your customers will love you…YOU will love you!!

Remember, it is ESSENTIAL that you know who you are trying to do business with.  You really need to know that your database wants to hear what you have to say.  Don’t waste your time shouting to all the others who don’t care.

Make it simple.  Clean it up!  It’s ESSENTIAL to your business!

If you want some help with this, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I am here for you!

 

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Elizabeth Debol
Virtual Assistant
Business Virtual Services
elizabethdebol@live.com
http://www.businessvirtualservices.com/


THANKS FOR READING!!  🙂

Feel free to use my post on your blog.  Just please make sure to include the link to my blog in your post.  I would greatly appreciate it!:)