You’ve done it! You found a detailed guide and followed it to the letter and now your business is up and running, except for one aspect: clients.
When starting off as a virtual assistant, it can be hard to land your first clients. These first clients are very vital to your success as a freelancer, as they will give that much-needed motivation to keep going. Once you have your virtual assistance services package(s) created and ready to sell for yourself or on the marketplace, it’s time to start marketing them!
Here are some of the best ways to promote your virtual assistance business and start getting clients.
1. Leverage the Power of Content Marketing
To grow your virtual assistant business, you need to attract the right prospects to your website. To do so, you need to tailor your content strategy so as to be found by them.
Leverage the power of SEO and content marketing to attract prospects to your business website. This means creating powerful content around keywords such as
- Hiring a VA
- How to scale your online business
- Virtual assistants for (your niche)
- Things to consider when hiring a VA
- How virtual assistants can help small business owners to scale
- Working with a virtual assistant
- Where to find a virtual assistant
- Tasks to delegate to a virtual assistant
- Why you need a VA etc.
You also need to ensure that your content is professionally written and edited before posting on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. This will ensure that people are not turned off by sloppy errors, which can be distracting when trying to read a post with lots of grammatical mistakes. You don’t want potential customers leaving in droves because they feel like this reading experience is too difficult due to grammar.
2. Know Where to Look
The easiest way to find your first few clients is perhaps scouting for jobs in freelance marketplaces.
Upwork is a goldmine. Here clients post jobs and freelancers bid on them. There are several categories, so you want to be filtering jobs to only show you those under virtual assistance, or better still search for specific keyword. If you help clients with WordPress, then you can try ‘WordPress maintenance,’ Website management,’ etc. You can now list your services as Catalogs and clients can purchase directly without having to post a post offer.
Job Boards: You can find great virtual assistance jobs in freelance and VA job boards. There are several options including VAInsiders and Flexjobs. Some are free while others require you to pay a subscription. After you find a job post that interests you, go ahead to draft a description that is super tailored to your prospect. Show them how much value that you can bring in as a VA and point them to where they can see some of your works or read testimonials.
3. Build Quality Links to Your Virtual Assistant Website
Your end game is to have clients coming to you, instead of having to hunt them down, literally. To achieve this dream, you need to be discoverable on Google, for major ready-to-buy keywords. To rank for these keywords, you need quality backlinks from reputable websites. Now, when it comes to building links, there are several ways to go about it. But I personally recommend two methods:
Guest posting: This is perhaps the easiest but demanding approach to landing quality links. You have to identify the right popular blogs that accept guest posting, find topics that match their audience but make sense to your virtual assistance business and pitch these ideas to them. Once you’ve been given a go ahead, you then proceed to create exceptional content. Remember everything online is empathy. Create something that is worth someone’s else time. It doesn’t have to be mind-blowing, but that should be your aim, whether you are writing for others or producing for your own blog. Within the post, link naturally to one or two of your posts.
For instance, you can write a guest post on How to become a virtual assistant, and link to your article on 7 things to consider when hiring a virtual assistant.
In your author bio, you can link to your website or service page.
Respond to Haro Queries: Help a Reporter, Haro, is a great tool that you can leverage to build quality backlinks to boost your Domain Authority. Most of the reporters work for big publications so you can easily land a link from giant websites that you would have a challenge pitching guest posts. All you have to do is to respond to queries that make sense to your business. For instance, queries like challenges of working from home as a mom, finding clients online, etc.
4. Double down on Local SEO
Whereas dominating global search can take you years, local searches might not be that competitive even for new Vas. Start by creating and updating the Google My Business page and listing your business in all relevant local directories, ensuring that your listing info is accurate and consistent across the web. Next, create dedicated pages for local search queries, e.g., Virtual Assistant in Boston. Some clients prefer virtual assistants in their time zones, especially if you help clients with services that require direct collaboration with clients, for instance webinar assistance. So, use this to your advantage.
5. Focus on One Social Platform
As tempting as it is to want to be everywhere, you don’t have the manpower, at least when you’re starting out. Spreading yourself so thin will only affect the quality of your interaction, and hence the growth. Instead, opt for one social media platform that you know your ideal clients frequent and establish yourself there. And not just the whole platform, but rather the features of the platform that allow you to grow your presence.
To show you what I mean, here are examples:
- Facebook groups: Identify 2-3 best VA groups that bring together both Vas and business owners. You’ll continue learning and sharing tips and even land clients occasionally.
- Facebook groups: Identify 2-5 groups that bring together your ideal customers. For example, Small Business owners, SaaS Entrepreneurs, Speakers and Coaches, Digital Products Entrepreneurs. This will be determined by the clientele that you serve
- LinkedIn profile: Grow a following by posting content that help solopreneurs and small business owners to accomplish more while doing less. Engage with the community that you want to appeal to without really selling.
So, if you choose Facebook, you have an option to use Groups or Pages. Don’t do both. Determine one that works for you and grow it like crazy. By now you should know that Pages are no longer Facebook’s darlings, and you will need tones of followers before you can see some engagement. So, your best shot are Facebook groups. And not 101 groups as you cannot possibly engage in all of them. Go for quality here.
The same goes for LinkedIn. Are you better off growing your profile or your company page right now? If you have a dedicated team, then you can do both, if not, you can get clients way quickly by building a personal brand there.
6. Start Narrow and Expand as You Grow
Don’t do it all. That’s the fastest way to crush and burn, believe me. Start niched and stay niched as long as you can, until you have the means to expand to other services. Choose one are, one clientele and one industry that you can best serve, with the skills you already have.
Let’ say you want to offer WordPress maintenance service as a VA but also believe you could do content management side of blogging. Before jumping right in, first take a step to assess your skills and the amount of work that each entail. WordPress maintenance will require you to fix errors, upload already written content and make design changes as well as updating themes and plugins. Most of these tasks you can actually streamline.
Now, introducing blog management changes the scope of your operation, cause now part of your time will be spent on topical research and content development. From the face value, these two services may appear similar and so make sense to package them together, but in reality, their dynamics are essentially world apart.
7. Create Engaging Marketing Assets
Develop and use your marketing assets. As a Virtual assistant, you need to be posting regularly on social media. The content should be a mix of educational and promotional content. Make use of visuals. You can use a tool like Canva to create various graphics for various channels, ensuring that your branding is consistent.
8. Help other virtual assistants.
While the strategies that I have discussed in this article aim at reaching your potential clients, you can actually land quality clients by simply helping other Virtual assistants. Kindness, as we know it, have a ripple effect. The best way to help other virtual assistants is to build a community of Vas and foster a sense of belonging. Make everyone feel at home and be genuinely invested in seeing them succeed. In the community like a Facebook group, you can:
- Encourage people to share their productivity hacks, wins and challenges
- Share the strategies that help you get clients and how you go about each
- Share your story, personal wins, and losses
- Do live calls where you get to interact with your group members, and answer their questions as they ask them
Clearly, running a successful Facebook group is work in itself, so before you implement this strategy you need to have a big picture. Apart from helping Vas get clients, you are building a network of your ambassadors who will be more likely to buy your digital products as you have proven to them that you not only know your stuff, but that you put your heart and soul into whatever you do, whether free or paid.
Another way that you can help VAs is starting a blog around Virtual Assistance topics. While with your portfolio website you are publishing content that is aimed at bringing clients, this new blog will be primarily about becoming a virtual assistant, running a VA business, and finding clients online. So, if you can keep them separate the better.
If you feel like it, you can go ahead and set up a niche-specific VA forum while at it. Just know that the more channels you have, the more work you are piling up and so less time of actually working with clients. The main reason you started Virtual assistance business was to make money and support your family and fund your other dreams. Check up with yourself once in a while to ensure that you’re still on course.
Now, as your community grows, some of the members will just be there to find freelancers, while former freelancers might have had their businesses booming, and so they start hiring from the group. You may also land partnerships with other entrepreneurs, and this can have a huge impact in your VA business.
9. Talk Clients into Your LinkedIn Inbox Simply by Being Awesomely Generous
LinkedIn is a lead generation powerhouse, not only for established businesses, but also for solopreneurs like you. If LinkedIn is frustrating for you, that’s likely because you are treating it like any other social media platform. It isn’t. Your audience here are learned professionals who appreciate rare-to-find information, honesty as well as vulnerability.
One word. Be authentic. LinkedIn groups aren’t as effective as Facebook groups, but your profile is ten times better. The key here is to build a following that is genuinely invested in what you are sharing. Since you are a virtual assistant, you want to attract prospects who fit your Ideal Customer Profile.
But even before you do anything, you need to ensure that your profile isn’t working against you. Take time to optimize your LinkedIn profile. Potential clients will visit your profile, scan through your profile description, and decide there and then whether there’s going to be a future partnership with you or not. While you want to ensure that keywords such as Virtual Assistant appear in your bio, you need a copy that talks into the heart and soul of people.
It’s okay if you are not a savvy copywriter. But don’t use that as an excuse to having sloppy copy. What I would suggest is to find some of the Virtual Assistants that are killing it on LinkedIn and analyze their profiles. See how they word their copy. To take this to another level, expand your search to include other freelancers, such as Freelance writers and copywriters that are using LinkedIn to land clients. Find out what makes them tick, why is their copy exceptional. This 2–3-hour deep research will not only help you perfect your description, but it will also give you an overview of how others are building their network on LinkedIn
The final thing I would suggest is to decide how to use content to build a following, targeted following, instead of relying on just sending and receiving connection invites. Use content to serve both your prospects and other virtual assistants. Thus, a mix of how to hire assistants and how to become a VA sorts of contents are necessary here. However, more importantly, bring in your voice, your angle, your story, your positioning.
The next thing you want to Use LinkedIn to generate quality leads for your VA business. I suggest you start by finding successful Vas on the platform and analyze their profiles to see what they are doing differently. Also, if you have a VA business, make sure that you create a company profile for it as well.
Your content and your profile should convince prospects who are not even prepared to hire a VA to initiate a conversation with you that may see you closing down the road.
10. Revamp Your Website
We’ve been talking about driving prospects to your website, but this will mean nothing if you have a poorly designed website that have items all over the place. When building a website for your virtual assistance business, stick to minimalist design. Only showcase what is necessary and have a clear and easy navigation.
Your branding also needs to come out. Choose your brand colors and be consistent on how you use them.
Of vital importance is your copy. Don’t wing ‘it. Write and rewrite your copy until you find an angle that speaks to the heart and soul of your prospect. The good news is, you can find virtual assistants that have great portfolio websites and see how they word their content. You can then use this as an inspiration for you.
The truth is, finding clients for your virtual assistance business isn’t as difficult as it might seem in the beginning, but it does require a complete paradigm shift in how you approach the freelancing world. As I love to put it, it has its days.