Stand Up And FIGHT For Your Future And Your Family’s Future

To be destined for success, you have to believe in YOURSELF!!  If you WANT something that you’ve NEVER had, then  you must do something that you’ve NEVER done! I’m so over listening to excuses, I could shriek! [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HJeQfVBK9Q[/embedyt]    

Virtual Assistants-Taking Your Online Marketing to the Next Level

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.

How to Market Your Service Based Business

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
There are a number of other social networks out there you may also find suitable. Once your pages are all set up, stay on top of them.  This can be achieved by responding to customer inquiries, posting valuable information, and providing relevant updates. As you cultivate this audience, you will build a following that will continue to reach more and more people over time. Offer Incentives Customers like to take advantage of a good deal.  Special promotions are a great way to let them. While a promotion might cut into your profits initially if it brings in new customers the payoff could be worth it.  You need to make sure you find a balance between your pricing needs and your customer’s idea of a good deal.  You can even utilize your Social Media presence to promote your incentives without extra cost to you. Empower Your Clients Often with services, the service providers have so much control over how the service is provided, this can sometimes cause a feeling of detachment for the clients.  To prevent this separation, try to make your clients feel involved in the process by underlining their significance in the process and reducing the visible influence of your own position. Stock Up on Business Cards Even within the Digital Age, business cards are still a valuable tool, especially if you are an individual or small business.  You can network with other local businesses, asking if you can leave a stack of cards in their lobbies.  You can also pass them out to other business owners at networking events, social engagements, and class reunions.  They can also be passed from customer to customer the way word-of-mouth advertising is accomplished.  These days you can even get your first set the same day by taking advantage of in-store printers, like the ones found at Staples and Office Depot. In the long run, the success of your business will depend on the quality of your services.  Here we’ve provided a few easy ways to get your marketing and your service-based business off the ground and increase your ability to communicate what you have to offer to a potential client. For more ideas on how to market your service business check out this post at the wix.com blog: 5 Ways to Market Your Service Business Like a Stellar Product You may find that not all marketing techniques will work with every target market, but, with patience you will find what methods will work for you and help you develop an effective strategy.

How to Best Promote Your Sales Promotions

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.
These steps will go a long way in getting the information out there. The second way many businesses aren’t successful with their promotions is that they, get the word out but, put out the wrong information. Your first instinct will probably be to make your message about your offer, and that is a good place to start.  But, your message should also be about your customer.  More specifically, how they will benefit from the offer you’ve taken so much time to plan and execute. Let’s say an accounting firm decides to run a discount promotion on all services they provide, for a specific period of time.  To promote this, they start sending emails and posting on Facebook that for a limited time, clients can come in and receive a discount for any service they need.  Most people will see the post or email, make a quick mental note about it, and then move on with their day. The communication aspect was successful, but the desired conversion wasn’t.  What you need to do next is persuade your client that this will make his or her life easier. Persuasion begins with building a link into your customer’s head. Start by thinking about your service promotion from your customer’s viewpoint.  Then make a list of the things that may be on your customer’s mind.  Some examples could be, whether or not their job is currently stable, whether they should buy a new car or even, where they are planning their next vacation. No matter what they have in their heads, there is a good chance they are not thinking about seeing an accountant.  It’s your job to put the idea in their head and then, attach it to the things they are thinking about: “Want to fly during your next vacation instead of drive?  Let us help you find your maximum deductions and use your larger tax refund to start a vacation fund!” Next, go on to explain the benefits of having a professional go over their taxes instead of doing them at home. Last, include an effective call to action: “Call now for your appointment!” Now that you know how to promote your promotion, take a look at this article on ThriveHive.com for examples of what kind of promotions you can consider offering.  

Increase Your Traffic with Improved Image Names

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.