business management

How to Write a Newsletter That People Will Actually Open

Newsletters are a great way to stay connected with your customers and audience. They can pack a valuable punch if done right. Don’t miss out on an excellent opportunity to inform, entertain and plug a CTA. So how do you write an influential newsletter that won’t just end up in someone’s delete box or, worse, spam box? 

Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  1. Try to keep to one topic per newsletter. Newsletters read better when there is a purpose. Yes, you have all kinds of events, news, things to promote, etc., happening at all times. But, if you have a cohesive theme. Your newsletter will stand out. Try to keep each month/quarter streamlined. 
  1. Try to keep a ratio of 90% educational and 10% promotional. Newsletters need to provide value. People are going to be more inclined to open your newsletter and read it if they think they are going to learn something new. 
  1. Your subject line needs to be killer! Keep it short, keep it funny, be creative and make it different for each newsletter you send. And don’t make it spammy. Don’t include words like ACTION, OPEN NOW, ACT NOW, LIMITED TIME. People get hundreds of emails daily, and spammy comments are annoying. 
  1. Pick one Call To Action (CTA). Focus on one, don’t overwhelm the reader, or honestly, ask too much of a person’s time with having all these CTA’s bogging down the newsletter. Please keep it to one. Trust me. 
  1. Keep design and copy minimal. Newsletters can feel cluttered. You want to stay clear of that. Keep your copy concise and leave plenty of white space. Keeping the copy minimal will give your readers a taste of your content, and hopefully, they will want to learn more by heading to your website. And white space is key to keeping the look of the newsletter clutter-free. 
  1. Make sure your newsletter can be easily read on mobile devices. You know folks are catching up on email on their commute, lunch break, at the gym, etc. Make sure the design works for both desktop and mobile. So break up the copy, use bullets, use a zigzag pattern with alternating copy and pictures, and don’t forget to make the headline big and bold. 
  1. Don’t forget to make your newsletter easy to unsubscribe. Give the reader the option to unsubscribe easily; otherwise, for sure, your email is heading to the spam box! 

So now that you have some great tips on making your newsletter look good, how about a few ideas on what to include. Try adding new blogs; maybe you have a webinar coming up to promote or add the link to the webinar that just passed. Promotions, discounts, company news, testimonials, how-to-guides, phew! The options are endless. 

So go ahead, have some fun with it. Keep it tidy and informative. And let us know if you still need help writing and designing killer newsletters. We are here for you. http://www.lifebydesignvs.com

business management, small business, social media management, virtual assistant services

4 Important Tips On How To Effectively Market Your Webinar Online

What is a webinar and why is it important for your small business? A webinar is an online event that is hosted by an organization/company and broadcasted to a select group of individuals through their computers via the Internet. 

So why is this important? 

The biggest reason is that you can provide a ton of value to your audience that videos and static marketing just can’t do. You can keep your audience engaged for hours and have interactive interactions with them through questions, answers and comments. You have the ability to reach hundreds or thousands of potential customers from all over the world, without having to leave your home or office. This is huge! This is why I think webinars are one of the highest converting forms of marketing. 

So now you know what a webinar is and why it is such an important part of marketing, let’s talk about promotion. How can you successfully promote your webinar online to get the biggest return on your investment (ROI) and make the biggest impact to your business. 

Check out these tips to drive demand and registration for your next webinar. 

Tip 1: Email, email, email. Email marketing is proven to be successful at driving up demand for your webinar. You are going to want to send out your first promotional emails 3-4 weeks prior to your webinar and increase email frequency one week before the event.

Tip 2: Be active on social media. Being active in relevant groups, engaging with your audience and commenting on posts of similar industries makes your target audience know you are involved in the conversation and conscious of the online community. So let’s run through some social platforms to get an idea of how to promote on social media. 

  • Twitter – Tweet often about your upcoming webinar and use relevant hashtags (don’t forget to pick a specific hashtag for your webinar).
  • Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn– Schedule promotions on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Be sure to use high-quality imagery, fun content, and a strong call to action (CTA).
  • Groups and Forums – We don’t want you to be spammy, but if you’re an active group member, spread the word about your upcoming webinar in relevant groups and forums.

Tip 3: Make it a regular series. A regular series can help build momentum. Your audience will most likely sign up for the whole series, rather than just one or two of your webinars. 

Tip 4: Clean up that registration page. You want a simple and engaging registration page without too many fields to fill in. Only include fields that are absolutely necessary to fill in like name and email addresses. You should also strive to include a video. Including a video can increase your chances of conversion rates enormously. And lastly, highlight the benefits. Tell your audience why they should register and what they can expect to learn/gain from attending. Just remember to keep it short; nobody likes a long registration page.

I hope these tips help you have a successful webinar. Just remember how important it is to promote it. Always keep your audience in mind while you make up your promotional strategy.

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you plan your webinar and execute promotion please reach out here for a free consultation. 

Life By Design Virtual Solutions: Let us do the busy work so you can get back to doing what you love!

business management, sop creation

How to Prepare Your Business for Hiring a Virtual Assistant 

Previously, I have written about signs that it might be time to scale up your business (5 Signs It’s Time to Scale Up Your Small Business). Once you’ve made the decision to scale up and are ready to hire more help, there are a few things to consider to allow the most success for both your business and your new hire. 

Many small businesses choose to hire a virtual assistant rather than a salaried employee. 

What is a Virtual Assistant (VA)? A VA is generally self-employed and provides professional, administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients remotely from a home office.  In short, a virtual assistant can help elevate things to the next level for you and your business. 

Bringing on new team members is always a bit daunting. Mistakes can happen and skills need to be learned. But, that is how to truly scale up, by creating a great team. So, how do you prepare your business for an incoming VA? Here are 4 steps to implement or consider. 

  1. Document everything and create Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s)!! 

When I say document everything, I mean document everything. Write down each task you do step-by-step and add them to your company manual or SOP. You can even make short videos explaining these tasks (we use Loom for this). Heck, you can have your new VA help with this! 

  1. Consider what you want to outsource? What can you delegate

Start with the easiest tasks you can delegate. It takes time to train, so start small. You should focus on the most important things to your business, and try to delegate the rest. There are a considerable number of tasks VA’s can do, even just starting out. Depending on what you do, of course, some options that a VA can do right away are taking calls, managing emails, and customer service. With a little guidance, VA’s can take over marketing and social media, web design and maintenance, content creation, and tons more. The list is really endless, you just need to be clear on what you want them to do and what you don’t want to do. 

  1. Think about ‘what are my expectations and how is the best way to communicate?’

Setting up your expectations from the beginning is part of any successful working relationship. Decide if you want your VA to be available a certain amount of hours per week and what those hours could look like. Do you need them to be available to handle incoming calls from 9am – 11am EST? Communicate those criteria clearly. Determine which tasks take priority over others and relay that. If you have maintenance tasks or recurring tasks, set those expectations as well.  

Speaking of communication, determine what will be the best way to keep in touch with your new VA. Decide on your preferred form of communication, along with your work hours, your availability to respond to emails, attend meetings or take phone calls. Are there other people on your team that should be included in all, or some communications? Decide on who these people are and make them aware so that they are not caught off guard by an email from your virtual assistant.

  1. And lastly, consider what resources will my VA need to be successful.

Your VA undoubtedly comes equipped with many tools and resources. Some of these may or may not work best with you and your business. Whatever tools and resources you are already using, make sure your VA has a list of them and relevant log-in information. Oftentimes you may have a task and you don’t have the tools yet. Your VA can help with that! 

With any new hire, there is prep work involved. But, if you can get some things in place before you onboard your new VA, things will be much more streamlined. Once you establish tasks, expectations, communication, and resource needs you will be on your way to upscaling your business! 

Need help with SOP’s? How about any of the services listed above? Please click here to set up a Free Discovery Call.

Mindset

Mindset Matters

Becoming is better than being.” Dr. Carol Dweck

At this point, everyone has heard of mindset and how a positive mindset is imperative to creating a successful business. But, recently, I have been digging deeper. I watched a TED talk by Dr. Carol Dweck about Growth Mindset. 

Dweck identifies two mindsets:

“In a fixed mindset people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success — without effort.”

and

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work — brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

Your mindset plays a critical role in how you cope with life’s challenges. This is why a growth mindset is imperative for starting and growing your business. A growth mindset is adaptable to the rapid changes in today’s business environment. 

So, do you have the traits of having a growth mindset? Here are some defining characteristics.

Self Belief

People with a growth mindset truly believe in themselves. They believe that they can overcome whatever life throws at them! Once they overcome these challenges or setbacks, they will understand why they were there. This is learning from your experiences. 

Passion for Learning

People with a growth mindset have a desire to keep learning. Their goal is to improve their knowledge as much as possible. They want to become an expert in their field or industry. At the start of a new day, you see it as a new chance to improve your knowledge and learn something new. 

Actions Counts

People who perform at their best are those who start small even though they dream big. They understand that they need a starting point, but from there they can take action. In acting and doing, the point is that they use their growth mentality to strengthen their awareness.

By doing, they can apply their knowledge and it is this conscious practice that makes them successful. To start a business or make it grow, one has to act, which can begin at any time throughout the process. 

Self-Discipline

People with a growth mindset have a different thought process than others. When it comes to being successful and getting what they want, they are aware of the fact that they have to work on it to achieve it. They have a great degree of self-discipline.

This commitment allows them to focus fully on the ultimate goal. As a result, their efforts and determination enable them to succeed and get to where they want to be. They don’t waste time proving they can, they go beyond their basic skills and find a path to success with a positive attitude. Again, they strive to always keep learning and be the best they can be!

“Individuals in a growth mindset don’t simply look for challenge, they blossom with it. The greater the challenge, the more they stretch.” K. Orient

Do you have traits of having a growth mindset? 

small business, social media management, Social Media Marketing

Work Smarter, Not Harder: How to Repurpose Your Social Media Content

Do you find that coming up with fresh social media content is starting to wear thin? Trying to stay up on trends and algorithm changes can start to feel like a full-time job, amiright? While keeping up-to-date on trends IS a good idea, you can repurpose old content and make it fresh again, if you are tight on time or running out of creative juices. Here are 6 tips on how to repurpose your old content into new content. 

  1. Evergreen blogs. Certainly you have blogs that are seasonal or time specific, but you probably have blogs that can be posted no matter what month or season it is. This is referred to as “evergreen,”meaning it’s not time sensitive. That great blog you wrote in July? Why not give it another chance to have folks read it in February. You can introduce it to people who missed it the first time around. 
  2. Speaking of blogs, you can always use the content you blogged for social media posts. For example, you can pull quotes from it and put them over a graphic you have previously created, or on branded pictures from your website. You can pull captions from it also. Boom, social media content at your fingertips.
  3. Another use for a blog is to turn it into a podcast. Everyone is in the podcast game these days.  This is a no-brainer to use your blog content as audio content!
  4. Make a GIF. Do you have great, well performing videos? There are tons of free GIF maker websites out there to transform your video into a fun GIF. Give it a try!
  5. Most people have a niche and they post within that niche. You can compile a bunch of your content, graphics, surveys, and other similarities into a small E-book that your followers can download. Hint, this is a great way to compile an email database as well.
  6. Throwbacks! TBT is still a thing! Get on board, find that post from 4 years ago and see how it holds up today. You might get a laugh, and you’ll certainly get engagement! 

Repurposing content not only helps save time (and brain energy), but it also reinforces your brand.  It also gives your followers or new followers a chance to see content they might have missed the first time around or never saw because they just discovered you. And of course, repurposing also reinforces SEO.

Social media posting is very time consuming, especially across multiple platforms and certainly because the rules are constantly changing. Many small business owners (and all large business owners certainly) outsource their social media to another company, like a Virtual Assistant agency. Outsourcing social media is one way to cut the stress of keeping up with trends and worrying about keeping your content fresh. Life By Design can help. We can come up with a strategy to keep your brand at the forefront, create graphics and captions, as well as keep an eye on metrics to see what is working and what needs to be changed up.  We offer packages for every budget. Let us help you with the time consuming stuff, so you can focus on doing what you love.

organizational behavior, small business

8 Spring Cleaning Tips for Small Businesses

Even as some cities and states across the country are still seeing snow (!!), most everyone has Spring flowers on the brain. And along with those flowers, Spring Cleaning comes to mind!  Here are 8 quick tips to get your small business tidied up for the new season.

  1. Clean out that inbox! Millions of emails are sent out every day. And even though you probably aren’t personally getting a million emails a day, they can really pile up if you aren’t keeping tabs on them. A lot of us get a bunch of spam and junk emails, which can overwhelm your inbox and cause you to miss more important emails. I promise you will feel so light and free once that inbox gets sorted!
  1. Review your goals. Spring is a time of renewal, a fresh start. It is the perfect time to review your business goals. You can reassess your goals for the year, determine if your routine is working and take another look at your business plan to ensure you’re still on track for the year. Now is a good time to make any adjustments to things that just aren’t working for your business. 
  1. Clean up your website. If you are like me, then your website to-do list has been gathering dust. Now is a good time to make those edits, swap out those graphics and update your online portfolio. 
  1. Update your social media profiles. Check out your profile pictures and bio. Do they need freshening up? Are they still a good reflection of your brand? Now is a great time to make those adjustments. 
  1. Review your business plan. Once a year is a good standard for reviewing your business plan. In order for your company to grow you need to have a good solid foundation of a business plan, and that means tweaking and adjusting as you grow and change. 
  1. Give your clients a review too! Renew, refresh! This goes for clients as well. Organize your contact list into current clients and leads. Then assess the client list. Are they a good fit for your company? Do they pay their bills on time? Can you see your company growing with these clients? This will also put you in the mindset to think about what clients you want to attract moving forward and which you would like to steer clear of. 
  1. Upgrade! If your budget allows you to, this might be a good time to upgrade some of your free versions of software into versions with more functions. Upgrading can improve your business’s workflow and efficiency and ultimately, profits. I’ll throw this tip in here too, make sure you are updating all your programs too! Otherwise you may be vulnerable to viruses.
  1. And lastly, give your actual office/workspace a proper clean. Disinfect and clean your electronics, and desk. Ditch all the junk paper mail and receipts you have been collecting (even better, go paperless!!). And maybe throw in a nice plant or flowers for added freshness. 

Get to it! And as always, please reach out to our team at Life By Design Virtual Solutions if you need help with organization, project management, administration and more.  We can help your small business get organized and systemized! 

small business

The Importance of Email Marketing

Email marketing is a cost-effective direct marketing strategy used to create connections with your customers and audience through email campaigns. Emails can be promotional, informational, or serve a specific purpose. Email marketing campaigns are usually sent out to a large contact list that has subscribed to receive promotional emails from your business. You can use email marketing to promote deals, updates on your business, call to action, etc. While many may think that social media is the only relevant digital marketing tool these days, email marketing has not lost its relevance and effectiveness. 

According to Sendinblue: 

  • In 2020, there were over 4 billion global email users. 
  • 80% of Americans check their email at least once per day, with nearly a quarter of them checking their personal email several times a day.
  • 62% of consumers ranked email as their top preferred communication channel with small businesses. 

Through email marketing, you can stay in contact with your audience, build brand awareness, gain valuable customer data for more intentional and meaningful customer touchpoints, create personal experiences, and get the highest ROIs. 

To create the best email marketing strategy, we suggest following these steps: 

  • Set email marketing goals
  • Pick the necessary email marketing tools
  • Determine the target audience
  • Identify the appropriate list building tactics
  • Divide your mailing list into segments
  • Identify the types of emails to send
  • Create a schedule for sending emails
  • Format the email content
  • Optimize your emails
  • Conduct split-testing
  • Monitor email performance reports

Email is the most prominent form of communication and practically everyone with internet access has email. It has never been easier for you to get in touch with your consumer base in real time. Taking advantage of this affordable tool can boost awareness for your business and help you grow your community. Not only can your customers receive info about discounts, specials, new products, and more, they can share and forward those emails to anyone they’d like and grow your business by word of mouth. 

If you’re looking to optimize your email marketing strategy or you’re ready to start utilizing this tool for your small business, our team of Virtual Assistants can help you with this process. Our VA’s have experience in various platforms of email marketing campaigns and can design and automate all of your emails to your list of contacts. 

Check out our email marketing packages here → https://lifebydesignvs.com/services/ We have options for every budget. 

Sources:

business management

Women’s History Month: Celebrating Women in Business

“A confident woman, a woman who truly knows her worth and her power, is a force to be reckoned with.”

– Mandy Hale.

We, at Life By Design Virtual Solutions, a proud, woman-owned and women-run business. So, it’s only fitting to highlight that March is Women’s History Month.

Since 1987, we have honored women during the month of March for the contributions they have made toward history, culture, and society. We are honored to recognize those who have successfully challenged the discrimination women face as entrepreneurs and as members of the paid labor force.  Women have always worked hard, but often their work has been undervalued and underpaid. Times have changed. 

Women entrepreneurs challenge the discrepancies that women face in the labor force every day by driving innovation and technology and placing small businesses on a global competitive playing field. Now that is something to celebrate!

Women-owned businesses employ 9.4 million people in the US according to Business Wire publication ( shorturl.at/hnvT1 ). That is 13 million new businesses and 9.4 million employees! Incredible! This means that women are fueling the economy and the economic impact is undeniable. According to CNBC (shorturl.at/swzPR), women-owned businesses generate an annual revenue of $1.9 trillion. There is no doubt that women-owned companies are performing better than they have at any other time in U.S. business history. Exciting News!

The number of women-owned businesses has increased by almost 3,000% in the period 1972–2018 (shorturl.at/bcxFS). It’s important to mention that women-owned and minority-owned businesses were only tracked starting in the year 1972, but this new data shows not only the remarkable impact women entrepreneurs have on our economy when it comes to creating jobs and generating revenue, but also the growing role of women-owned businesses in our communities. 

As Michele Obama says, 

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.” 

The US ranked one of the top global powerhouses for female entrepreneurship according to CNBC (shorturl.at/vACFP). The global pandemic has affected women in business at disproportionate levels. This has led women business founders to look for new ways of working, including tapping into new business opportunities and switching up existing models, like going digital. 

One of the reasons women are leading the pack in new business, is the way they are approaching how to actually run a business. Many women are putting a focus on work-life balance, respect, collaboration and compassion for their employees.  The Future is Female. There is no looking back. 

“Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”

– Michelle Obama.

blogging

 5 Signs It’s Time to Scale Up Your Small Business

Being busy is tough, but it’s also exciting. Being busy means you have created a product or service that people love. Well done! You should be proud. 

One of the biggest downfalls with being busy is the inability to keep up with the demand. As a result, you could lose customers or your reputation. Obviously, you don’t want all your hard work going down the drain. 

So, how do you know if it’s time to expand your business or hire help? There are signs that just might be telling you it’s time to scale up your business!

What is scalability?

Scalability is the process of maximizing the resources your business already has and creating exponential growth and leverage. It means more business and more profits.

Here are 5 signs to look out for when deciding whether to scale your business.

  1. Repeat Clients: The first sign is that your business already has a steady stream of clients and new clients might be waiting in the wings. A steady stream of clients means that you provide a good service or good product and that you are doing that consistently. Also, a steady stream of clients means that you are bringing in stable revenue. 
  1. Turning Down Business: This is a big one! If you are turning down business or potential clients because you don’t have enough time in the day, inventory or staff, then it’s time to scale up. You don’t want to turn down business opportunities that can affect your reputation. You just need to focus on creating the systems to scale up your business. 
  1. Steady Revenue: Take a look at your expenses. Are most of your expenses predictable?  Are they mostly used for maintaining your operations? Do you have regular money coming in that covers all your bills and your salary? Then it might be time to scale up.
  1. Strong Team: Do you have a GREAT team? Awesome! But at times it feels a little graceless? This could be a great sign that it is time to scale up. You are proud of your team and all they can accomplish, but now is the time to set up systems so your strong team can be even more efficient and successful. Once you get the right systems and procedures in place, you can have full confidence in your team and delegate more smoothly. 
  1. Clear Goals: You know what your goals are. The last sign to help you decide whether it’s time to scale up is that you have a clear idea of where you want your company to go. What are your ultimate dreams?  If you are still focusing on the day-to-day, the “just get through today” mindset, you might not be ready yet. But, if you have your sights set on the future and where your company could go…..then it’s time to scale!

This can be a crazy time in your small business. Taking the next step can be daunting. But with the help of a great Virtual Assistant team, like Life By Design Virtual Solutions, you can achieve your dreams. Virtual assistants can take some of the load off your shoulders and allow you to focus on how and when to scale your small business. 

Live your life by design, not by default!

blogging

Thinking of Joining the Great Resignation?

The topic of the Great Resignation is all over the place. People are talking about it on social media, on the news and with their friends and colleagues.

The global pandemic has influenced how people work and has allowed them to reassess the joy they may or may not find in their work. Many people have been rethinking their careers and that is forcing companies to adapt and rethink how they operate. 

After nearly two years of many people working from home, many have figured out that it works better for their lives. People are discovering they don’t have to tolerate a long commute, can spend more time with their families and now have time for themselves.

Many companies are finding out that forcing their employees to return to the office has caused backlash and people are quitting in droves to fulfill their passions, or continue working from home. 

Are you considering leaving your job to work from home? Here are some things to consider

Flexibility and work life balance: What are your priorities in life?

Think about what matters most to you and how work fits in with the rest of your responsibilities.

For example, you might be more productive early in the morning and wish to work early hours and have afternoons free to pursue a hobby or spend time with your children. 

Do you still want to work in the same industry?

Many people are rethinking their whole career. People are not being fulfilled with long hours and low pay. Doing something you are passionate about has become increasingly appealing.

Although the prospect of changing industries can be daunting, many of your skills can be transferable. By switching industries you can learn new skills which can be very valuable long-term. 

Could Self-Employment be right for you?

Something worth considering is working for yourself. The Great Resignation has shown a boom in entrepreneurship as many people prefer working for themselves rather than for someone else.

People are moving in droves into the entrepreneurial sphere. Finding their passions, living their dreams, making their own rules and hours is very enticing right now. Before deciding whether to become a contractor and work independently, you need to consider:

  1. Do you enjoy having the structure and rules of a company?
  2. Do you enjoy working as part of a team?
  3. Do you enjoy being independent and making your own decisions?
  4. Are you a risk-taker or do you prefer more job security?

Depending on your answers to these questions, being self-employed may or may not be the best fit for you. 

Are you interested in being part of the Great Resignation? Or perhaps you have already joined the Work Revolution!

We can help!

We are a team of entrepreneurs living our lives by design.  We specialize in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs with day-to-day tasks designed to help you do the things you love.

The team at Life By Design Virtual Solutions can help you with social media to boost your product or business, with general administrative duties to make your life easier, and email marketing to get the word out about you and your business!

Reach out today and ask about our packages: http://www.lifebydesignvs.com.

If you are still considering a career change or just want to continue working from home, you can sign up for our course The 6 Figure VA (http://www.geneanroberts.com/) and learn from the pro’s how to start your own business as a Virtual Assistant.

Live Life by Design, not by Default!