In this era of the Digital Age, more and more people are turning to the Internet to increase their marketing exposure. The problem? Every day the ways to use online marketing seem to grow exponentially. In one blog post at Wordstream.com, they offer a guide to the top 99 Online Marketing Tools. You read that right, 99! And, they are only listing the TOP 99. From Clothing Boutiques to Real Estate Agents, Social Media Marketing has become a necessity to keep up in today’s marketplace. So, as an entrepreneur or small business owner, how do you find the time to run your business, increase your productivity, have a personal life, and keep up with the ever-evolving online marketing field? The short answer? You don’t. You hire someone to do it for you. Enter the Virtual Assistant (VA). Who are Virtual Assistants? Virtual assistants are home-based, skilled professionals, offering businesses, and entrepreneurs support remotely instead of within the traditional office setting. Communication is usually done via email, phone, or even face to face services like Skype. This alleviates the need to provide additional work space at your office or other business location. Don’t Virtual Assistants Just Provide Basic Admin Support? Back when remote assistants first came on the scene, the majority of their services focused on administrative tasks that were similar to those of an executive assistant or secretary. They were just done from home. However, with the growing number of VAs available, their offerings now run the gamut, and thanks to the incredible increase in popularity of Social Media Marketing and other Online Marketing, specialists in that area have become easier to find, and are extremely beneficial to have working with you. In fact, just a few years ago, the University of Florida created the first Bachelor and Masters degree programs to provide accredited education in Social Media Marketing and other schools followed quickly after that. A Few Things to Consider When Hiring a Virtual Assistant When you choose to hire a virtual assistant the first thing you’ll want to determine is whether you want them to be an employee or a self-employed contractor. There are pros and cons with each arrangement. When you hire an employee, even a remote one, you’ll need to provide any benefits your other employees receive, based on their employee status, ie: Full-time, Part-time, or hourly, as well as add them to the regular payroll. A real estate agent in the northern California area reported he has a full-time person who’s only job entails maintaining all Social Media postings for active If you choose to work with independent contractors or a freelancer you will have none of those responsibilities. But, you will have little control over what hours they work or be able to demand when they can be available. To be designated as an independent contractor, an individual must be free to determine how the work will be done to completion, free from the client/company’s control. The contractor is responsible for the final product only as far as the terms of their contract requires. Where Can I find a Virtual Assistant? Just as the internet provides the opportunity for the concept of a VA to work, it also provides locations, and even platforms to easily find, hire and pay your VA. Here’s a short list of websites that provide freelancers and businesses a way to find each 24/7 Virtual Assistant Assistant Match eaHelp Fancy Hands Freelancer FlexJobs People Per Hour Red Butler Time Etc. Me Upwork Virtual Assistant USA Virtual Staff Finder Worldwide 101 Ziptask Zirtual Hiring a virtual assistant will leave you with more time and energy on your hands to focus on the other aspects of your business. For more information on finding the best Virtual Assistant for your needs, check out Virtual Assistant Assistant for reviews of the best virtual assistant companies.
What is a Sales Promotion? When selling a product, marketing usually comes fairly easy. Your marketing campaign revolves around the product for sale and how it can be used. When you own a service-based business, the marketing may require a different approach. Instead of marketing product features, you have to market yourself and your team. The good news is, people are always looking for reliable services, no matter the type. You just need to make sure they find you and not your competitors. Here are some techniques that will help you accomplish this. Connect with Your Own Community Established local businesses have their own clientele. And, they may only be able to handle a certain number of clients. So, if you treat these businesses respectfully, they may refer clients to you when they are at their capacity. A good way to connect with your community is to be involved with the local Rotary Club or Chamber of Commerce. These associations will connect you with other businesses that welcome assistance from a peer. Use Social Media and Networking By now you’ve probably created your business website. Now, you need to consider establishing your presence on Social Media. Starting with each of the following will give you a strong foothold:
- Facebook Business Page
- Twitter Account
- LinkedIn profile
What is a Sales Promotion? When done correctly, sales promotions can transform a business. Most of us these days know sales promotions are usually designed to increase sales or, encourage the use of a service. They are also often one type of marketing strategy confused with general advertising. In fact, the two are different. Because, each entices a different part of the buyer’s nature. Advertising is emotional in nature. It induces consumers to purchase products or services through images, sounds, and experiences. Sales promotions draw on a customer’s logic. To get the most out of the efforts you put into creating a promotion, it’s important for you to promote your sales promotion. I know, that’s a lot of use of the base word promote, it’s confusing, but accurate. Promoting Your Promotion This concept is often where many small businesses and entrepreneurs come up short and, usually happened in one of two ways. The first way is that many businesses simply don’t let their customers and potential customers know there is promotion opportunity going on. When it comes to small business marketing, the first thought is advertising, but this can add expense. Here are some optimal ways you can get the word out, without breaking the bank.
- Highlight the promotion on your website home page.
- Create a web page specifically about the promotion.
- Post the info on your Social Media Pages and Blogs.
- Where permitted, include it in guest posts on other pages and blogs.
- Sent email notifications sent out to your approved email contacts.
Yesterday, I made certain to schedule some free time for myself so that I could spend the day with a friend and her two little ones. I have spent so many hours these last few months trying to get my business up and running, that I did not even have time for myself because I was determined to set it off on a great start. Now I know better. Yesterday was fun, filled with laughter and happiness It was a beautiful day and having a photography skill as a hobby, we made sure to memorialize the day with photos and videos. I rarely ever schedule free time for myself, even though I know it is important, and I don't do it as often as I should or need to. [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK7rEcYVNYY[/embedyt] 'Simplifying your life can create extra time in your day,' says life trainer Stephen Yates. 'Doing everything at once actually makes you less efficient and tasks can take longer,' he says. Multi-tasking can also overload your brain, leading to stress, forgetfulness and a weak immune system. There is no need to live like this - with a bit of re-organisation, you can free up enough time to relax, do the things you really want to do. You'll feel less stressed and pressurized which will help boost your mental and physical well being.
1 Learn to delegateAsk family, friends and colleagues to do things for you. You may find it hard at first, but you'll not only have more time, you'll also feel less resentful of others leaving everything to you.
2 Just say noCut out activities that drain energy and time. Ditch regular get-togethers that have become little more than a habit and don't waste energy on people who take without giving anything back. "Saying no is the most effective method of gaining time and energy,' says life coach Suzy Greaves.
3 File your life awayInstigate a clear desk policy. Aim to handle each piece of paper just once: this means dealing with bills, forms and the like immediately then filing them away. If you don't already have a simple and effective filing system, set one up as soon as possible.
4 A place for everythingAvoid those frustrating searches for misplaced essentials by creating special places for keeping things like glasses and keys, which always seem to disappear just when you need them fast.
5 Buy in bulkA lot of birthdays this month? Consider buying all the cards (and stamps) you'll need in one go. You'll have a better choice and avoid last-minute panics.
6 Manage your emailCheck your in-box regularly but only answer emails at specific times. Then you can choose which emails to prioritise rather than dealing with each one as it arrives.
7 Cut out cold callersYou don't have to keep answering the phone to double-glazing salespeople or other unwanted sales calls - just register online at the Telephone Preference Service. But remember to contact organisations whose calls aren't unwelcome, such as charities and companies you do want to do business with, and give them permission to call you.
8 Go for internet bankingRegister for internet banking so you can check your balance, transfer money, apply for an overdraft, pay bills and make credit card payments 24 hours a day. Alternatively, most bills can be paid automatically by direct debit - it only takes minutes to set them up.
9 Shop onlineYou can now buy virtually anything on the internet - books, toys, cosmetics, clothes, groceries, computers, furniture, flights, tickets for concerts - all at the click of a mouse. Opt for well-known companies or those with an address and phone number in case of problems.
10 Know your numbersConsider setting up the same chip and pin for all your accounts - but then keep it to yourself!
11 Store by the doorKeep a basket by the front door for library books, rental videos and DVDs and anything else that's been borrowed, so you're more likely to return them on time.
12 Create a reserveAlways running out of petrol, golf balls, light bulbs? 'Start to create a reserve,' says Suzy Greaves. 'For example don't wait until the petrol tank is hovering on empty, fill it up when it hits half way, buy in bulk and see how it feels to have more than enough.'
13 Shut down the computer'Watch out for computer addiction,' says life trainer Stephen Yates. Set a time for stopping projects, for example installing that latest bit of software your children sent from afar, bidding on e-bay or planning the family holiday until 2am and then not sleeping. Say at 5pm, "I will stop and start again tomorrow".'
14 It takes five'Spend five minutes every day doing something you enjoy,' says GP Dr Rob Hicks. 'Play the piano, listen to some music, whatever takes your fancy. Then gradually extend it to 10, 15 minutes and so on. Before you know it you will have made the time to do what you want to do and you'll be more relaxed, so more productive in other areas of your life.'
15 Breathe deeplyAs soon as you get up take 10 deep breaths, then make your 'to do' list. 'Breathing deeply brings oxygen to your brain which clarifies your thoughts and energises your minds helping you to plan your day more efficiently,' says naturopath Jackie Young.
16 Join the clubAvoid going to the surgery to pick up your repeat prescription then queuing at the pharmacist while it's being made up. Join the Boot's Health Club and they'll do it for you and have it waiting for you at your local branch. Visit www.bootshealthclub.com for more information.
17 Box your pillsNever quite sure if you've taken the right pill at the right time? Get yourself a pillbox at your local pharmacy and worry no more. Most come with marked boxes for each day of the week with four adjustable compartments labelled breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime.
18 Use NHS DirectWorried about a recent diagnosis or an unusual symptom? A quick call to NHS Direct (tel: 0845 4647) will set your mind at rest and could save you a visit to the pharmacist or surgery.
19 Be a pay palSign up to www.paypal.com and you can buy online without having to spend time searching for your credit card number and financial information every time you make a purchase.
20 Down-size your tasks'Do you really need to wash the car every week? Does your garden have to be 100 per cent perfect?' asks Gladeana McMahon, co director of the Centre for Stress Management. 'Look at your weekly tasks and see if you can trim them back, then spend the extra time gained doing something healthy like going for a walk.'
We all know the old cliché, “A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words.” From the oldest cave paintings and Egyptian hieroglyphs to today’s social media shares, we are consistently finding new ways to use images to communicate, tell stories, and make sales. When it comes to e-commerce, companies like Amazon owe a large part of their success to imagery. To hold the customer’s attention, most product descriptions need to be short and to the point. This means you want the photos to speak volumes. Imagine if you will, you’ve gone through the effort to create the right product, buy the ideal domain name, paid for marketing ads, and launched the perfect website. So, why isn’t traffic to your site what you want it to be? You need to make sure your buyers can find you, or more importantly, your product. One way to do this is through Image Optimization or, Image SEO. Choose a Descriptive Filename By now in your journey through online marketing you’ve probably heard the word “Keyword” from a vast number of sources. According to most experts in the SEO field, keywords appear to be the end all be all of SEO. Primary Keywords, secondary Keywords…Google “Keyword” and the list of sources of info will probably go on forever. With Image SEO the first location to use your primary keyword will be the image filename. This means if your image is a women’s top in a specific abstract design, the file name shouldn’t be DSC12345.jpg. Instead, you want to rename it: “ann-monique-womens-top-abstract-v.” This gives the search engine spiders something to grab onto and take back to their part of the web. Start a file name with a lowercase letter or a number and remove all spaces. For multiple words, join them with a dash. Make the Image File as Small as Reasonably Possible Loading times can be crucial for websites to maintain traffic. The faster the site, the easier to visit it. Images can have a huge impact on this. Standard resolution for a screen image is 72ppi and most web pages won’t need an image to be more than 1000-1200 pixels wide. To put that into perspective, a typical smart phone camera today will give you an image at 72 ppi but the file will often be over 3000 pixels wide (or more). When you are using a website builder online, you may have the advantage of the builder site doing some downsizing work for you. If you aren’t sure yours will, or if you expect to have a lot of images to process, getting a program like Adobe Photoshop would be a good investment. There are also a few online image editors that work quite well and often don’t cost a thing or have a minimal membership fee with added benefits. Two of my favourites are PicMonkey and Pixl. Alt Text-aka-Alt Tags When you get to the point you are ready to upload your image, you will often be given an option to add “alt text” or “alt tags.” This is another good place to use keyword placement. In one of Google’s articles about image publishing guidelines, they include a section on creating great alt text. Google places a high value on alt texts. In the article, they give the following reasons to consider: Alt Text provides Google with useful information about the subject matter of the image. They use this information to help determine the best image to return for a user’s search. Many people, like users with visual impairments, may not be able to see images on web pages. Descriptive alt text provides these users with important information. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/114016?hl=en To JPEG or PNG? In most e-commerce catalogue pages, the product is shown in a specific place on the page that doesn’t overlap any other image or text. JPEG images are most commonly used for this. I’m adding this quick highlight in case a need arises for you to remove the background of a photo. JPEG images include a visible background showing behind any curves or irregular lines. If you’ve taken the trouble to remove the background of the photo of a product but, save it as a JPEG (JPG), you will still be stuck with a background colour when you re-open it. PNGs allow you to make the background transparent so the image can be used on top of any colour, texture or other text. This can be helpful if you decide to show multiple products in one virtual shot but don’t have the means to retake the photo. So Now You are Ready As history shows us, images will continue to be a primary tool of our culture and the world around us. Now you have the right knowledge to take your products to the next step. Taking the time to Incorporate these into your regular marketing routine will assist your product’s ability to be seen in your customer’s searches and get you the traffic you desire. So, get your images together and make them work even harder for you.