Each month we bring you our Hints and Tips Ezine with information that will help you develop your business or save you time or money (or both!). Our aim at My Virtual Assistant is to give you more time to work ON instead of IN your business and increase your profits as you spend more time on the money making activities in your business that only YOU can do.
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A Note About Our Founder Justine Curtis
Justine Curtis is the director of one of the UK’s most successful virtual assistant businesses My Virtual Assistant which is now recruiting a team of virtual assistant licensees. She is the founder and chair of The UK Association of Virtual Assistants (UKAVA) which offers free resources and information to its subscribers and an online Directory of members offering virtual assistant services.
Justine is the author of Setting Yourself Up As A Virtual Assistant and now passes on the benefits of her vast experience of the VA role to aspiring and progressive virtual PAs through her My Virtual Assistant Licensee program.
A Selection of Recent Articles from Monthly Hints and Tips Newsletter
Automate Your Relationship Building with Autoresponders and Newsletters by Justine Curtis
Are you spending a large amount of time each week following up with prospects or customers? Are you checking they are ok, asking for feedback, telling them about other products or services that might interest them or the special offers you are currently running?
Do you capture the contact details of the visitors to your website and include them in your regular newsletter? We all (should) spend time on a regular basis touching base and following up to ensure happy customers, increase sales and profitability. But unless you have a system in place that can do this for you, it can become a full time job.
What you need is an autoresponder system that is linked to your shopping cart and can also produce your regular newsletter. 1 Shopping Cart has all these features and allows you to automate the follow up of prospects and customers.
Top Ezine Housekeeping Rules by Justine Curtis
We all know the benefits of sending out an email newsletter to our prospects and clients. In the following article we will look at some housekeeping rules which will ensure that you follow the strict etiquette of internet marketing, while presenting yourself and your business in a professional and ethical way.
Make sure your subscribers actually subscribed
There is nothing more annoying than being inundated with unsolicited sales emails. We all hate it. If you are boosting your subscriber list by adding email addresses from business cards you have picked up, trawling the yellow pages or your local Chamber of Commerce’s mailing list, your messages risk not only going straight to the junk mail folder, but also alienating people with whom you might have established good working relationships. Make sure the owner of the email address has requested that you send them information, or, at the very least, has agreed to receive it.
A ‘Double Opt-in’ System
If you use a proper ezine delivery service such as 1 Shopping Cart, Constant Contact, Aweber or Vertical Response, your subscribers will go through what is known as a ‘double opt-in’. This means that, after submitting their email address through your website form or other link asking them to sign up for your newsletter, they will receive an email asking them to confirm their subscription by clicking on a link within it. This is key, as it stops third parties from adding subscribers without their knowledge.
Use A Proper Email Delivery System
When you first start sending out email newsletters, it is very tempting to send them using your normal email delivery service, such as Outlook. After all, it is free and already there on your desktop. However, internet service providers frown upon mass mailing, and you will find very quickly that your email address will be blacklisted and you may be banned from sending any email. There are many legitimate ezine delivery services available whose costs are minimal; use one to manage your mailing list.
Business Social Networking – How’s Your Online Profile? by Justine Curtis
Most of us are aware of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and the rest, but did you know that there are sites for online networking for businesses too? Are you active on sites such as LinkedIn and Ecademy?
When a potential client ‘Googles’ your name, often the results at the top of the page will return profiles from business and social networking web sites as the search engines love their continually updated ‘fresh’ content. So how is your online profile looking?
If you haven’t got around to setting up your profiles, or have done that but have not used the sites for networking or really showcasing your area of expertise, help is at hand.
10 Tips to Creating First Class Podcasts by Justine Curtis
Don’t be baffled by the terminology, podcasting is simply the production of audio content which people can download from a web page and listen to either through their computer or on an MP3 player like an iPod or mobile phone.
You don’t need any special equipment or training to record and produce a podcast and it is a great way of communicating because people can listen to it at their own convenience, wherever they may be. I often listen to them during a coffee break at my desk, or download a whole series to listen to while running or on a car journey.
The real strength of podcasts is they enable you to engage in such a powerful way with your audience. People who you have never met will hear your voice and connect with you in a way that is much more compelling than simply providing the same content in written form on your web site.
So how can you go about creating first class podcasts?
- Know your material. It probably goes without saying but if you speak about a topic that you know inside and out, such as yourself or your area of expertise, you can give people real value.
- Know your audience. Who are you aiming your podcast at; prospects, customers or a particular sector of your audience? What level of knowledge do they already have about your subject? Do your homework and know who you are speaking to so you can gauge their expertise so that you don’t talk down to them or above their knowledge level.
- Be suitably prepared. There is a fine line when podcasting between being too prepared, so you sound as though you are reading from a script, or being under prepared so you go off at a tangent and end up far afield of your topic. Try to create an outline of points that you want to make, and talk confidently about them.