Jul 22, 2015

Transition: From Part Time VA to Full Time VA

I have become a full time Virtual Assistant from 19th of July 2015. From 2009 to 30th June 2015, I was a part time VA. I enjoyed the benefits of getting paid twice a month - one from my regular day job and the other from my freelance clients. It was so good to enjoy the facilities of an air-conditioned office room, free internet connection and enough time to fulfill both the responsibilities of an admin as well as a VA.

Now, it has become my responsibility to pay for my internet connection, let go off the air-conditioner during the day time (remember, I have to pay my EB bill :) ), answering calls at the door, baby sitting at times, going to school to pick up my little nephew, helping in the house chores, working on the dinning table with my laptop, running to hide from kids to work without getting disturbed etc., Now I understand the woes of work-from-home mommies.

The finer part is that I don't have to run on the road and under the subway to board a train in the morning to go to office, in time. I don't have to weave my way among the crowded platform and on the road. People walk so slow, that at times I had to control myself from bursting in anger. I don't have to undergo the difficulties of finding a share-auto that goes to my place of living in the evening. I don't have to worry about the drunkard men that roam around the Pallavaram railway station road. I once had a very bad experience with a drunkard. I was touched at the back from behind me. The most finer part is that I don't have to work with as well as sub-ordinate men who are less capable than myself.

I wasn't posting blog posts regularly earlier. Now I have enough time to write at least one blog post a week, both in my personal blog as well as in my professional blog.

Thanks for stopping by. Please come back to read my new posts. I would like to connect with you, if you are a Virtual Assistant. Please leave your social media profile links in the comment. Let us make a team of VAs.

Apr 15, 2015

Do you know how to submit proposals and quotes?

Last week I received an email from a designer who claimed that he has 17 years of experience.

I sent an email asking for his charges. And this is what I received. Read the last sentence in the below image.

I thought he misunderstood my email and sent another email stating that this inquiry is NOT for printing order.

I could see that he has copied and pasted the same previous information that he gave me in his earlier reply. 

Now, I have learned that there are freelancers who don't know how to submit proposals and quotes.

If you have any ideas, suggestions to send to this person then please leave them below in the comments. It would definitely help new freelancers. 

Mar 30, 2015

Internet Marketing Strategies - SEM

How to use Online Ads to bring quality leads to your website?

SEM - Search Engine Marketing is that part of Internet Marketing where you pay to the search engines to display YOUR ads when people searches for your business.

Since Google is the major search engine that people uses to search anything in the virtual world, let us see how using Google Ad words campaign would help you to bring leads to your business.

See the image below to understand how your paid ad would be shown on the Search Engine Results Page -SERP.

SEM - Google Ads results

How can you use Google Ads feature to prepare your advertisement?

  • YOU design your ad. 
  • YOU decide the 'keywords/search terms' to which your ad should appear in the SERP
  • YOU choose the amount that you would want to spend on your ad
  • YOU pause and tweak your ad at any time
  • YOU choose when your ad would run and when it would stop running
  • YOU choose your target audience

How can you make sure your Ad would bring leads to your website?

It all depends on 
  • the best 'search terms/keywords' YOU choose
  • your ad being shown on OTHER relevant search sites YOU choose
  • your ad on relevant 'non-search sites' YOU choose

How would Google decide about showing your ads on the Internet?

If the same keywords, same search sites and same non-search sites are chosen by many advertisers then Google choose to show your ad based on 
  • the amount that you are spending on the ad 
  • quality of your ad and the quality of your website
  • format of your ad 

How much would it cost you if you want to run your ad on Google?

As I have mentioned before, you choose the amount you spend on the ad. You can choose a daily budget until your learn the performance of your ad and then you can keep adjusting the budget.
You pay only when a visitor
  • click the link to visit your website
  • click the call button to call you
  • click the download button to download your app or any ebook etc
  • perform any CTA - Call To Action

You pay nothing to Google when your ad gives you no results.

Now that you have learned about using Google Adwords campaign, you can start trying the Google Adwords feature here. I would like to know how well your ad performed and whatever you have learned from your experiences.

If you need help on setting up your advertisement, help on monitoring your advertisement and help on ensuring that your ad is shown at the right time, right place and to right people then please write to me.

Mar 25, 2015

Internet Marketing Strategies - SEO

How to bring quality leads to your website?

Online Marketing Strategies

You have a very dynamic and responsive website that looks great with colorful pictures and backgrounds. You have spent your money on building such a great website. In spite of having the best designed website, you are not getting quality leads or hits on your website. You don't get even quality inquiries from your website.

If you are looking for help desperately then go on and read further to see whether you are actually following these strategies to drive traffic to your website.

The main Strategies to drive traffic to your website are SEO, SEM, SMO.

SEO - Search Engine Optimization
SEM - Search Engine Marketing
SMO - Social Media Optimization

Lets see how SEO can help you bring visitors to your website.

What is SEO and why would you even do it to get business leads?

I will give you a very simple real time example.

If you want to buy an AC this summer for your home, what would you do?

Won't you call your trusted friends and relatives to ask for their suggestions? Won't you visit the local AC dealers and get a quote from them? Compare the quotes, features and offers before deciding to buy one?

If you are an internet-savvy person, then won't you also go online and search for the best AC to buy, the best AC dealer in your neighborhood and reviews on AC dealers, to find out the best brand with the best features at reasonable price and find the most positive reviewed dealer(s)?

I would definitely do both - call my friends and ask for their recommendations as well as search the Internet before making a decision to buy a particular brand from a particular dealer.

What would you do if YOU are an AC dealer that has a website?

Won't you want your website to get listed at the top in the search results, if the buyers search for the 'best AC to buy', 'the best AC dealer in Chennai' and 'reviews on AC dealers'? We, the Internet Marketers call those search words as "the keywords".

To bring your website to come up in the search results, you need to optimize your website for the Search Engines, which is called the Search Engine Optimization. Search Engines are nothing but search websites like Google, Bing etc that people uses to search for anything in the Internet. So you should tweak your website in such a way that your website comes up in the search results when people search for your product and/or services.

How can you tweak your website?

Two important factors that you should use to help search engines find your website are the on-page optimization and the off-page optimization.

What is On Page Optimization?

You have to check whether the stipulated settings are applied to your websites, for the search engines, to list the website in the search results. In other words, you have to see whether every page in your website is optimized for search engines to find it easily. You can find more information here - On Page Optimization.

What is Off-Page Optimization?

You have to see that your website gets more exposure in the Internet World. How can you do that? You can find all the important information from here on Off-Page Optimization

But you know that your competitors would also optimize their websites for Search Engines.

How can you compete with them?

Lets see the similarities between competing in real time and in Internet. How would you compete in real time? By providing good customer service when they walk-in, good after sales service, good follow-up service. The same goes online too. When a visitor visits your website, they should get all the information about your product and service that would help them to decide to buy from you. So your website should have great content that is full of information about the AC, its uses, its life time, your quick after sales service etc etc. You should provide them with enough information in your website that would make them to trust you. Building trust with your customers goes a long way in doing business online as well as in real time.

If you are not getting enough inquiries from your website and/or if you don't know how to provide great content in your website and/or if you want to know whether your website follows these optimization strategies, then please write to me. Let us work together to improve your business online.

Aug 10, 2014

Marketing Mistakes on Your Fan Page

Facebook is a fantastic web promoting space where you could, without a doubt, promote your business to get committed customer base for your brands and items. Meanwhile, it is also a space where you could very easily spoil your trademark unintentionally. So, be aware of these simple but very common blunders that you could avoid while advertising or promoting your business on your Facebook Business Page.

  • Do you post irrelevant news that are not related to your business?
  • Do you ask your friends to tag their friends on the pictures?
  • Do you post cute and funny images just for the sake of getting shared?
  • Do you sell your business everyday and in every post?
  • Do you use too much technical jargon in your posts?
  • Do you monitor your Page constantly?
  • Are your posts are two way interaction?
  • Do you offer too many freebies?

  • Do you post irrelevant news that are not related to your business?

For example, do not share news or events that talk about paranormal activities in a Page that is meant for computer sales and service. It might make your fans click on it and come to your blog to read the story. But potential clients who look for information on computer sales and service would not click on the post to come to your website. Some might even "Unlike" your page when they see repeated irrelevant posts in your Fan Page.

  • Do you ask your friends to tag their friends on the pictures?

Some of us do this to get the number of fans growing. It does help, though, until your friends get a negative response from their friends or a negative comment to not to tag them in the future images. It actually defeats the purpose of having dedicated audiences and potential clients in the fan page. 

  • Do you post cute and funny images just for the sake of getting shared?

Who wouldn't want to get their posts to be "Like"d and "Share"d? People do like cute and funny images. But they can be posted in your personal profile for your friends to Like and Share. Posting them in the Business Page to just to get them shared may result in losing your potential customers.

  • Do you sell your business everyday and in every post?

I feel tired of  the emails asking me to buy this and buy that everyday. I have stopped responding to emails that ask me to give my email id to download an ebook. Because I know once I give my email id to get the link in my inbox to download an ebook, I automatically become a subscriber to receive their sales pitch almost everyday. I make it a point to unsubscribe myself once I download the ebook or a video that has very important information that could help me in my business. The same way, if you keep selling your business in every post that you share in your Fan Page, you will lose your fan base. 

  • Do you use too much technical jargon in your posts?

Unless people are very passionate about the products or services that they use, they are not interested to know the technical and scientific terms of them. Common man don't understand the technical jargons. He like and understand contents or posts that use simple words. Using more technical terms in the posts and contents would make fans lose interest in your business. 

  • Do you monitor your Page constantly?

Its not uncommon for a small business to make mistakes. And not all customers can be satisfied. So be ready to read negative comments about your business or service from a dissatisfied customer. Responding to them immediately is your responsibility. You can always apologize for their experience and ask them politely to write to you directly. Try to straighten it out as quickly as possible and request them to post a line of appreciation for your immediate response.

  • Are your posts a two way interaction?

Let the posts be not too monotonous. Two way interaction between you and your fan base will always help your business to grow.

  • Do you offer too many freebies?

Giving away too many freebies to your fans will NOT help your business to grow in the longer run. You will only get fans that are looking for giveaways & freebies and not dedicated customers.

If you have a fan page and if you want to build dedicated client base, then please see that you don't make the above mentioned mistakes. My best wishes! :)