Virtually Here owner Jacqui Davis talks outsourcing for the highest impact for your business—and those hidden, little known services that can reap huge benefits for you going into 2017.
Jacqui: Bookkeeping is the number one task our clients outsource. Just think how much time you would save if you stopped wrestling with the numbers and handed it off to an expert.
Number two is follow up—following up on leads, following up with phone calls and emails and clients. Follow up! Outsourcing your inbox is an incredibly high impact way to give yourself breathing room as an owner—and you guarantee that the important things and people will be responded to instead of falling through the cracks.
One thing people never realize is that VA’s can answer phones remotely. You can have a VA answer all of your calls, all the time, or just cover certain hours for you.
I think the biggest thing people don’t understand about Virtual Assistants is that a lot of what they’re doing in their office can be done remotely. You don’t need someone live and in person. People don’t get that concept because they haven’t seen it in action. Even if you think there’s no way you can outsource your system or administrative tasks, between new software, cloud capabilities and the internet, there is virtually nothing you can’t outsource to a Virtual Assistant.
Jacqui: Something business owners tend to forget they should be doing regularly to develop their business is automating their processes. Looking at their operational effectiveness or doing an organizational review, making sure their backend is set up in the most efficient way and setting automation software or databases up to do that.
I also think people don’t realize how much blogging can actually do for your business and your SEO. The pluses of outsourcing your blog are that it’s one more thing off of your plate and you’re handing it to professionals that know what keywords work for your industry, can handle the technical aspects and present your brand in a great, consistent light. And it doesn’t have to be every day or multiple times a week like hard-core bloggers or big media sites—Virtually Here does two posts a month on our small business blog.
Jacqui: I think the one Graphic Design element everyone knows they should care about is obviously logos. But it’s more important than people think. You have to get your brand across. Logos and branding—your branding needs to be the same across everything. Your logo should be on everything, your tagline should be on everything, and that branding is how people recognize you. I plastered Virtually Here’s tagline “Your One-Stop Virtual Shop” over every piece of marketing I did for years—now that’s how people recognize me, because I’ve said the exact same thing about my business over and over again.
I think something people are starting to forget about is having really good marketing materials, like having a tri-fold, or a promotional item, or something that has your brand on it that people can physically touch and take with them. A graphic designer can help you do something unique and creative for your business.
Jacqui: IT has always been a struggle for me. So for me personally, the most impactful IT thing I have ever done is having Rob Rains (of Wicked Easy IT) on call. Being able to call and say, “My computer’s broken—fix it right now.” Having Rob on call has been a lifesaver.
Making sure you have an IT person to reach out to is a great investment. For small business owners, run the numbers—should you pay a little every month to have help at your beck and call—or go to Apple after a catastrophe, and then be charged $6,000?
I think something that people forget—it’s in the back of their mind, but they don’t think about it, and it should be at the top of their mind, is backing up. There are days when I think if one more person calls me and tells me they lost something because their computer crashes, I’m going to scream at them! Do your backups—if you don’t know how, get an IT expert to come in and set up automatic backups. It’s not worth the pain and expense of losing everything.
Jacqui: Email marketing is the best way to reach your clients, to get promotions out and keep your business front of mind with your target customers. Even if they don’t read your entire newsletter or respond to every call to action, having them see your business’ name in their inbox every week or so is going to make them remember you. And that’s worth its weight in gold.
A really hidden marketing area is Search Engine Optimization. We really do look for everything online these days—you need to use the best words to describe your business so that people find you online, not your competition.
Jack Humphrey actually does a free SEO audit report for our clients—that’s an analysis about how well you’ve integrated industry and location keywords into the copy on your site and what you can add to potentially improve your search engine rankings. He’ll write it out for you and explain the things he thinks will increase your SEO and you can decide at that point if you want to hire him to do it for you, or tackle it yourself.
And I have to talk about Video. Video on the web, on your e-mail marketing, on your social—you need to have it. You don’t even have to use videos you make. You can share videos on your social media that are helpful or in line with the content you talk about, that your customers are interested in.
Jacqui: You have to be posting consistently and you have to be posting a mix. You can’t always sell, because people just won’t listen to that anymore. You have to vary your content, but stay on message.
Some people don’t know how to do images on Facebook and make sure they’re the right sizes. That’s how you get those funky, weird looking photos that don’t fit. It’s just a real stink bomb in the presentation of your business. (If you don’t know how to make your photos look good on social media, go here.) That really bothers me, because I know it’s so easy to fix.
A common pitfall once people get on social media is that they don’t look at their analytics. Nancy Wolff Leary works with social media and does analytics; she’s amazing at analytics. If you don’t look at your social analytics, you don’t know what you’re doing right or wrong. It’s how you find out the ROI for what you’re investing in social marketing—there’s no point in investing in something and then ignoring the results.
Jacqui: I don’t know how to nicely put this, but the benefits of using something like WordPress versus a drag-and-drop website builder is instrumental because you have much more control over the design and SEO, which is a very big thing for small businesses. It may require a bigger investment from you, but it’s worth it to have someone create your site in WordPress—not just for the customization, but for the behind the scenes functionality.
Another website thing people don’t realize a lot is making sure their website is mobile optimized. If you don’t know if your site is mobile friendly, get on your phone right now, look up your website and see if it looks good. Can you can read everything and navigate it without getting frustrated? If you can’t, a web developer can make changes to the backend of your website so your customers can see and use your website on their phones.
Call Virtually Here today to get the best outsourcing for your small business!