Image is Everything!

by : Janice Byer, CCVA, MVA

Marketing is an integral part to any business, especially for a Virtual Assistance who has to rely on a professional and creative image. How you get the word out about your VA service can have a tremendous impact on the success of your business. Just throwing together a business card or brochure to hand out, or a quick website is not enough. You need to create a marketing strategy, one that will portray you as capable of creating an image for your clients.

Your marketing strategy is all about creativeness and communication. How you communicate your message will have an effect on how you are perceived in the minds of your customers. If your own marketing material is not enough to get the attention of your potential clients, or if they have a negative perception, then how can you expect them to have confidence in you being able to help them with their needs?

Having a clear idea of what drives your customer to buy can help you to communicate to them why they need your services and how you can create and maintain their image.

So how do you go about making sure that you are saying the right thing and portraying the right image, and that your potential client will keep you in mind?

1. Determine the objective of your marketing material. What do you want to accomplish with this piece of advertising? Do you want your client to call you for further information, do you want them to cash in a coupon or to bookmark your website for future reference? Give them a directive.

2. Decide who will be your target market. Are you trying to sell to a large corporation or to the mother of small children? ‘Who’ is going to buy from you is ‘who’ you need to focus your message on.

3. Compose a positioning statement. In a single sentence convey exactly how you want your customer to perceive you, something that will stick in their mind. (ie. “We specialize in word processing.....")

4. Now, add a primary benefit to that sentence. (ie. “ you can get experienced help when you are short staffed or overloaded...")

5. And then, throw in a supporting benefit. (ie. “...saving you time and money on your staffing needs.")

6. Now, work with this sentence to get your main message across. If you only had space for one message, what would it be?

7. Add any other supporting messages that will convey the benefits of having your product or service. (ie. “No need to provide equipment. We do everything in our office.")

8. Give your customer an opportunity to provide a desired response. How do you want them to react to your communication? (ie. “Wow, this is a great service that will save me money" or “I could really use this service to get a handle on things.")

9. Make sure to project the right tone in your communication. Use a number of adjectives to describe your product or service, expressing how you want to be regarded. (ie. professional, innovative, exciting, friendly, newsworthy, creative, etc.)

10. Last, but not least, consider how you are going to execute your message. Does it fit best on a 3-fold brochure and what kind of paper do you want to use? Do you need a tear-off coupon on it? Does your message fit best on one page of a website or several pages? How are you going to turn your marketing strategy into hard copy or virtual copy?

All in all, you are designing and executing your marketing strategy to attract potential clients and to show them your creativeness and capabilities. Always have them in mind when putting ideas down on paper or on the web. What you think is appealing may not be appealing to your customer. Ensure that your message will catch their eye and impress upon them that your service can make their lives so much easier in more ways than one.... and better than your competitor!