Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How Do You Treat Your Best Customers?

Seth Godin says, "Your best customers are worth far more then your average customers." Why is that? Your best customers are more likely not only to purchase more product or more often, they are also more likely to refer you to others.

So instead of trying constantly to get new customers, why not focus your marketing strategies on your existing best customers? Most of my new business comes from word of mouth referrals from existing clients. So that's where I focus my energies. Make it easy for them to refer you and give them a nice thank you.

How do you treat your best customers?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Partner with Your Customers

Another 'Walk the Talk' tidbit: "Build partnerships with your customers by under-promising, over-delivering, and following-up to ensure they are satisfied. Solicit their input on how your products and services can be improved."

You'll find that as you put this into practice, your clients will voluntarily refer you to others. By soliciting their opinions, they feel important. Of course it's necessary to implement suggestions if appropriate. If you never apply any suggestions you receive, your customers will feel unappreciated and look somewhere else to take their business.

How do you follow up with your customers?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Watch the Horizon

As the new year approaches, watch the horizon. What I mean is look ahead to where you want to be and plan how you are going to get there. Don't get so wrapped up in the now that you don't plan ahead.

Too often we work in the now, putting out fires so to speak. If we just take a little time to plan, to look ahead to the horizon, we won't have so many fires to put out.

It's important to look ahead in order to successfully grow your business. Reach out for something more this year.

What's on your horizon?

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Journey in 2009

I'm looking forward to my journey this coming year. As I look back on 2008 I see my journey has taken me from a very good starting point to running the race full speed ahead. The journey in 2009 will be to continue to run that race and gain even more speed.

In order to speed my journey along, planning is needed. Taking time to write down the year's goals and action plans to achieve those goals is vital. My plan includes taking time each month to review what's working and what's not working so I can focus my energies in areas that will continue my journey down the right path.

What are you doing to speed up your journey in 2009?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Walk the Talk Tidbits

The mission at is to provide you and your organization with high-impact resources for your personal and professional success.

I have a booklet called "144 Ways to Walk the Talk" and I'll be sharing tidbits from it now and then. On page five of the booklet, item #19 is "Deliver what the customer actually wants rather than what you think they ought to have. If you're not sure what they want, ask!"

One way to find out what your customers want is to use a simple survey to find out. A great online survey tool can be found at Survey Monkey.

What do your customers want?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Making Promises and Keeping Them

Next up on Seth Godin's list of What Every Good Marketer Knows is "Making promises and keeping them is a great way to build a brand."

What does that mean to you. To me it means keeping my word no matter what - even if I lose. Of course it's best not to promise what you can't deliver. It's even better to under promise and over deliver. This builds a trusting relationship with your customers and you'll find that your customers refer you more often.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What Do You Tweet About?

What do you use Twitter for? Here are a few things people Tweet about:

Interesting observations about life
A good book you just read
New blog posts
Something funny
Personal news
Inspiring thoughts
Professional news
Work day details
Business challenges or solutions
Family life

There's also great resources to be found at the Duct Tape Marketing blog regarding Twitter.

What do you Tweet about?

You can follow me on Twitter.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Just For Fun

Friday, December 19, 2008

What Every Good Marketer Knows

Seth Godin has a "What Every Good Marketer Knows List". I'd like to share something from that list here every once in a while.

First up: "Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk."

I'm sure you realize how true this is when you think about how much junk mail and spam you receive every day. Usually we just throw that stuff out or delete it without a second thought. But if you are expecting some information from a business and it relates to you and your needs, you are much more likely to pat attention.

What can you do to make your advertising personal and relevant?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Marketing Your Business with Video

Video online is gaining in popularity. You can use video to market your business. Use a video to let your prospects know what you do. Short videos may capture a prospect's attention better than the written word. You can also use videos to show how your processes work.

Video Sharing Websites

* Google Video
* MSN Video
* Ovi Share
* Yahoo Video

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day

Today is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day.

As a chocolate lover I just had to promote this. Too bad tonight I'm already making pumpkin pies. I wonder how they would taste with chocolate drizzled on top?

What will you put chocolate on today?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Build Your Business in Any Economy

The economic pendulum swings: first one way, then the other. When it settles to an acceptable spot, everyone heaves a sigh of relief. What can you do to ride out these swings so that your business can operate successfully? Three simple steps are:

1) Target your consistent buyers.

Your business has clients who need what you offer - no matter what the economy is like. Target your marketing efforts to them specifically to increase buying frequency. Then target prospects who need what you offer.

2) Educate your prospects and clients.

All your marketing materials should educate your prospects and clients. Give them valuable information they can use, whether or not they can use your services. Who do you think they'll call when they are ready: the person they found in the yellow pages, or you - the person who gave them all that free, valuable information?

3) Offer solutions to help ease their pain.

Once you identify your market's 'pain', offer solutions that provide relief. Then position your marketing to attract those people. Try to be very specific and focus on one particular issue and the solution you provide. When your service can provide a real solution to a pressing problem, you'll have no problem attracting business.

There are other things you can do to recession-proof your business. A great resource is Guerrilla Marketing. (

What steps have you taken to build your business in this economy?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Asking for a Testimonial

Have your clients said great things about you, perhaps in an email? Why not gather a quote from an email and ask your client if you can post it as a testimonial on your website and in your marketing materials?

Sometimes solopreneurs hesitate to do this thinking they are asking a favor or being pushy. Yet the testimonial is already written and you are only asking for permission to post what your client has already said.

Many of the testimonials I have on my website and in my marketing materials are direct quotes from client emails. I've never yet had a client refuse my request to use their quoted email as a testimonial.

How do you get testimonials?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Basic Do and Don't of Facebook

Facebook can be a great tool for networking and marketing yourself. Here are a few simple things to do and not do.

1. Complete an accurate profile, including a professional looking photo.
2. Be polite.
3. Be authentic.
4. Share quality content.

1. Share anything you wouldn’t want your future client, partner or employer to see.
2. Send out meaningless messages to people you don't know.
3. Do anything you wouldn’t do in real life.
4. Never break the rules of etiquette.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Promoting an Event

One of my tasks as a virtual assistant is to help promote events for businesses. One event I'm promoting now is Indie Seminars. This seminar will help writers and musicians move from hobby to business, without losing their artistic edge.

There are many ways to promote events online at little or no cost. They include:
Regular blog posts
Press Releases
Online newspaper notifications
Article submissions
Social Networking Sites

Another tool is Event Brite, an online event registration service.

What do you do to promote your events?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Where Guerrillas Market for Free

My Guerrilla Marketing Weekly Intelligence Tip included the following from Jay Conrad Levinson.

They post signs in places where there is high visibility and no cost:

In front of their own business
In front of neighboring businesses
Subway stations
School offices
Senior recreational facilities and retirement homes
College dormitories -- in the community area, hallways and bathrooms)
Fraternities and Sororities
Other local community clubs and organizations
Apartment buildings -- in laundry rooms)
Community activity centers
Grocery stores
Shopping malls
Car washes
Condominium complex party centers
Hotel and motel lobbies
Utility poles
Military cafeterias and recreation centers
Counters of public places
Meeting convention centers and rooms
Construction walls
Union halls
Chambers of commerce
Medical or professional offices
Roller rinks and bowling alleys
Waiting rooms at auto repair and tire shops
Liquor and convenience stores
Company bulletin boards of friends and family
Tourist information centers
Highway rest stops
Their cars -- featuring a compelling sign, parked in a conspicuous place
On the fences outside a construction site

That's where guerrillas market for free. Where they market close to free?

College and high school newspapers and yearbooks
Classified services on the World Wide Web -- many are free
Classified services on commercial online services -- many are free
Local entertainment and tourist magazines
Community group and association newsletters
Small, local newspapers
Chamber of Commerce publications
Radio talk shows -- by appearing as a guest or calling in
A lingerie store owner stenciled small messages onto the sidewalks of New York, with provocative sayings like, "From here it looks like you could use some new underwear."
Projected at night onto the side of a building.
On your voice-mail message, but please keep it brief

Where have you marketed for free?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How Do You Show Appreciation to Your Clients?

Showing genuine appreciation for your clients contributes to word-of-mouth referrals. There are many different ways people show appreciation for their clients. They may send a card on a special day, a small gift, a gift card, or some other incentive.

I like to send a handwritten note of appreciation to my clients tailored to them individually. I try to keep cards handy so I can jot a note and send it off whenever the mood hits me. Recently a friend of mine started creating unique note cards from pictures she's taken and then adjusted in Photoshop. I used these to send a note of appreciation to my clients.

How do you show appreciation to your clients?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Using Facebook to Market Yourself

Using Facebook to market your business is becoming more popular. It's not just for your kids any more. Here are some statistics regarding Facebook from Hubspot:

• Over 120 million active users
• Adding 250,000 new users each day since Jan 07
• 4th most trafficked website
• Most trafficked social media site
• Top Social Search Engine
• More than 55,000 networks
• More than half are outside of college & the fastest growing demographic is 25 years or older

Learn more about how you can use Facebook at

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Building Client and Referral Communities by John Jantsch

This is a reprint of an article by John Jantsch

Two of the most important words in the marketing world are Content and Contact. I think the best lead generation is done by providing tons of great content-the best lead conversion is done by providing the right kind of contact. Put content and contact together and you not only have a powerful business building strategy, you have a customer loyalty and referral generating machine.

In my opinion, the best way for small business owners to take advantage of the craving for content and contact is to form communities around products, services and ideas. I think this idea is really at the heart of the unreal growth of social communities like LinkedIn and Facebook. People are desperately looking to connect.

Helping people connect in business terms may not be exactly the same as helping teenagers connect online, but the principles bare a striking similarity. The following examples illustrate some easy ways to help prospects and clients gain a deeper connection with your organization.
It’s just lunch

I have experienced some pretty fascinating results every time I have brought groups of clients together, even to share lunch. Business owners are starved for contact with their peers-the daily grind just makes this too hard to find. Facilitating this is a great service that any business can offer.

Peer to peer education
Current clients are probably more prepared to explain the value of your service to a prospect, including the limitations. Hold "focus groups" made up of several existing clients and several prospects. Let the current clients explain, in a non selling environment, what your service has meant to them, what could be better, how to get more from it. Sit back and learn.

Natural word of mouth marketing
When you deepen a relationship with a client by opening up your contacts and clients to them, you will find that they will begin to naturally (not sales motivated) talk about what you do that matters to them. You cannot purchase that kind of conversation.

Resource director

Bringing client or other resources together and allowing your clients and prospects to take advantage of those resources is a great way to build community and loyalty. Hosting lunches or even teleseminars with other leading experts is a great example of this type of community building.

Referral communities
What if you put together a group of like minded businesses, all focused on the same target audience, and you created a local online community, including a blog that each member of the referral group contributed to. This group could easily generate and educate leads in a way that would allow everyone to win. A semi-formal referral and co marketing strategy is that you would need to make this take off locally.

Creating client and referral communities is very satisfying way to build a business. The pressure that some business owners feel from the need to sell is virtually eliminated. Any business or independent professional that takes community building on as a primary marketing strategy and then sticks with it, can dominate an industry.
~ ~ ~
John Jantsch is a veteran marketing coach, award winning blogger and author of Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide.

He is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing small business marketing system. You can find more information by visiting

Monday, November 24, 2008

4 Online Marketing Tips

1. Social Networking - Social networking is the rage right now and more and more people are using social networking sites to connect and build business relationships. There are many out there and they can be addictive and time-consuming. I suggest joining LinkedIn and Facebook and perhaps one more specific to your industry. Create an effective profile and start building relationships.

2. Blogging for Business - Again, more and more businesses are blogging. Yes, it can be time consuming. By scheduling a regular time to blog, you can increase traffic to your website and connect with your target market.

3. Ezines - Create an email newsletter and send it out regularly. Too often businesses are not consistent with this and lose subscribers. Commit to sending your newsletter out on a consistent schedule and you'll build credibility.

4. Articles - If you write an article for every newsletter you publish, you can then submit it to article directories and increase exposure for your business even more. This helps get more web site traffic and higher search engine rankings.

What other online marketing tips have you used?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Building Loyal Customer Relationships Online

Building customer relationships is key to word-of-mouth referrals. Once your clients trust you and believe in your services, they willingly promote your business to people they know. So what are some ways you can build loyal customer relationships online?

One way is to write articles and give away some of your information. Give your prospects a reason to trust you by giving them something of value for free. Then watch them line up to purchase your services. You can also give them a free report, e-book, video, or audio to download when they sign up for your newsletter. Once your prospect learns more about you and your business in this manner, the more likely they are to feel a sense of trust in what you have to offer.

No one wants to get continuous sales pitches about why they should buy from you. However, prospects love to get tips, advice, and information. Communicate valuable information to prospects and build their trust in your expertise. Find out what your prospects want and then create marketing messages that appeal to those wants.

Repeat customers spend more than new customers. So stay in touch and give your customers something of value. Send a coupon or a notice of a special event. Send tips or a special report with information they can use. Keep in touch with your customers and they will be back.

What have you done to build your customer relationships online?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Give It Away

Do you want more customers? Consider giving them something for free. HotMail did this and attracted more than ten million customers for its free email service. Now it is supported by advertising. By ending each free email from the sender with an offer for free email for the recipient, HotMail used the ultimate in word-of-mouth advertising.

Yes, there will be those who sign up for your freebie and then you'll never hear from them again. But many will be impressed by your quality, service and commitment and they will become lifelong customers.

Do you do business with companies that gave you something for free? Why not make a list of things you could give away for free and then give it a try. It could be as simple as creating a free report that you give prospects when they sign up for your newsletter.

What can you give away?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Marketing Your Book

More and more authors are looking for ways to market their books using the internet. There are several strategies that can be used: online press releases, blogs, virtual book tours. Many authors are utilizing the services of a virtual assistant to help them with their online marketing.

One more resource to add to your list as an author is Indie Seminars. This seminar was created to assist authors in moving forward with their business. Successful authors will speaking and presenting workshops at the seminar March 28, 2009 in the Greater Sacramento area. For Early Bird Specials, Register Before Midnight 31 December 2008.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Show a Little Kindness

Thursday is World Kindness Day. You can learn more about it here.

My question is, why don't we show kindness all the time? Why do we need to choose a specific day? Shouldn't our nature be to do what's kind to begin with?

I suggest we take some time to think about how we can show kindness each and every day. Go ahead and do something special on November 13th to show kindness. Then make it your resolve to do something kind every day.

What act of kindness will you do today?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Build Your Referral Network

I recently read a great post by Realtor Phil Greely at Biznik. He talks about specific steps to take to build your referral network. Read his article
An Approach System to Build your Referral Network.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Winner of the e-book Online Marketing Tools for Today's Small Business

On Monday my blog was a stop on Rita Cartwright's virtual book tour. One of our visitors was chosen at random to receive a complimentary copy of her e-book, Online Marketing Tools for Today's Small Business.

And the winner is.....John Furst. John gave us permission to publish his review of the book.

"The e-book gives a complete introduction to the various techniques for advertising your business on the Internet. And the resource section provides you with all the links you need to get started quickly. The beautiful thing about the way you have structured the e-book is that you can subsequently publish e-books that go in depth
with every chapter. Thanks for the gift. I appreciate it." - John

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thank you for joining me for Rita's virtual book tour

I want to thank those of you who participated Monday in Rita's virtual book tour as she promoted her new e-book, Online Marketing Tools for Today's Small Business. I had visitors both at this blog and my other blog, Awesome Assistant (Sue Canfield) Virtual Support Services.

We hope to host more authors as virtual book touring becomes more well known.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Virtual Book Tour: Interview with Rita J. Cartwright

Rita recently released her e-book, Online Marketing Tools for Today's Small Business, and is taking a virtual book tour. Today, she's stopped by my blog.

SC: Why did you write this book?
RC: My goal was to create a handbook, which entrepreneurs and small business owners can refer to when they are searching for online marketing tools and/or new marketing ideas. I wrote it for new entrepreneurs and small business owners, as well as for those who have been in business a while.

SC: Tell me about yourself
RC: I’m originally from Arizona and now reside in California. I earned my bachelor’s degree (with Magna Cum Laude honors) from Arizona State University when I was 44 years old. After graduation, I couldn’t find a job; therefore, I decided to start my own business offering online word processing services, which was 6 years ago. At that time, I was not aware of the virtual assistant industry, which I am now a member of. So, I guess you can say I was ahead of the curve.

SC: What qualifies you to write this book?
RC: Approximately 2 years ago, I started maintaining a blog and writing articles in order to implement the article marketing strategy. (I talk about using this strategy as a marketing tool in my e-book.) Also, while attending college, I learned how to write. I had to write. I remember my English professor saying I should be a writer, because he thought I had the skills. I didn’t take him serious. I was just trying to get through college.

In regards to the subject matter, my background and education in marketing and my experience from operating an online business provide me with the necessary qualifications to write this e-book on the topic of online marketing tools.

SC: How long have you been an entrepreneur?
RC: I have been an entrepreneur since October 2002. Although I started out as a small business owner, I have become an entrepreneur. There are differences between entrepreneurs and small business owners. In fact, I wrote an article on the differences. It is titled, “Are There Any Differences Between an Entrepreneur and a Small Business Owner?” Ezine Articles is one of the article banks where you can find it.

SC: What is the e-book about?
RC: This e-book contains information on various online marketing tools, along with some examples and in-depth descriptions of the tools. There is also a resource section that lists websites where you can find the online marketing tools, including “live” links to the websites. The resource section will save your readers a lot of time in Internet research when they are searching for information on online marketing tools.

SC: What do you want the readers to get out of this e-book?
RC: I wanted to provide those readers, who have a shoestring marketing budget, with information they can use in their online marketing plan or, at least, generate new marketing ideas. Most entrepreneurs and small business owners do not have a large marketing budget. The marketing tools I discuss costs little to no money.

SC: Can we look for more books from you in the future?
RC: Yes. One of my clients, who is a coach of Christian leaders, and I are currently working together on an e-book. It will be geared towards Christian leaders and Christian virtual assistants. So be on the lookout for that in the near future.

SC: How can the readers contact you if they have any questions?
RC: Your readers can reach me at 760-631-1335 or toll free at 866-651-3073 or send me an e-mail at

SC: How much does your e-book costs?
RC: Only $3.98.

SC: Where can the readers purchase your e-book?
RC They can click here to purchase it.

SC: Rita, thank you for stopping by my blog on your tour.
RC: You are very welcome. Thank you, Sue, for having me.

Rita J. Cartwright
is a Virtual Assistant and owner of RJ's Word Processing Services and has been in business since 2002. In 1998, she received a Bachelor's of Science degree in Marketing from Arizona State University with a minor in Spanish. She is also a member of Virtual Assistant Networking Association and Oceanside Chamber of Commerce. In order to offer her clients quality service, Rita continues to enhance her skills through various teleseminars and webinars, as well as network online and offline with fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Rita’s background in marketing and experience in conducting her business online qualify her to write an e-book on the topic of various marketing tools and strategies. Having to operate on a shoestring marketing budget, provided her with necessary knowledge and skills, which were required in order to implement these same strategies into her online marketing plan. For more information on RJ’s Word Processing Services and Rita, please click here.

Summary of e-book: Entrepreneurs and small business owners in any industry can use this e-book as a reference guide. Whenever you need fresh online marketing ideas or need online marketing information, you can refer back to this e-book. Nowadays, we are so overwhelmed with information, Rita wanted to simplify the search for online marketing techniques by organizing some of that information together into one location, her e-book. Pick up your copy today at the low price of $3.98.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Consistent, Persistent Effective Marketing

Have you tried blogging, article marketing, social networking, and other marketing techniques? Do you feel that none of them worked? Too often a small business owner tries a marketing technique, such as social networking, and thinks that one month of social networking will bring in all kinds of new clients. When that doesn't work, they try blogging for a few weeks. After little or no response, they then turn to article marketing, and the cycle repeats.

Rapidly moving from one marketing technique to another and hoping that each one will provide all sorts of new clients is not consistent, persistent effective marketing. To be effective in marketing your service or product, you must have a plan in place to use a variety of techniques and then be consistent and persistent in using them. Effective marketing takes time.

Each marketing technique you use should drive your target audience to your website. You need to be sure that your blog posts, articles, and social networking profiles all aim at your target audience and have links back to your website.

What happens when a prospect visits your website? Do they land on the home page, read a paragraph or two and leave? How can you turn them into a lead? Once a prospect finds your website you want them to give you information and permission to contact them again. A great way to do this is to have a newsletter sign up on your home page. Offer your prospect something of value in exchange for signing up. It could be some sort of free report or discount on a future purchase.

Now that your prospect has signed up for your newsletter and you have their email address, you need to have an effective, consistent follow-up plan. You can't expect to send one newsletter and get a paying client. Set up a system to stay in touch on a regular basis and offer valuable information to your prospects about you and your business.

It is important to use a variety of marketing techniques. It does take time to turn leads into clients. That's why it is important to be consistent and persistent in your follow-up and not to give up on one technique too soon.

Let me help you put together a consistent, effective plan to market your service business.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

3 Ways to Re-purpose Your Articles

1. Compile your "Top 10 Tips" articles and create a tip booklet. Offer it as a complimentary gift when prospects sign up for your e-zine.

2. Repost your articles on your blog.

3. When you go to networking events or speaking engagements, handout reprints of your articles. This is less likely to be thrown out than a flyer or brochure.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

7 Key Marketing Skills

1. Build your permission-based contact list
2. Contact your list regularly
3. Have an engaging website with fresh content
4. Engage in marketing activities on a regular basis
5. Follow up with prospects
6. Turn prospects into clients
7. Get testimonials from satisfied clients

How can I help you get started?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Join me next week on Rita's virtual blog tour and enter to win a copy of her e-book

Next week on Monday, November 3rd, Rita J. Cartwright will be stopping by my blog on her virtual book tour to promote her new e-book. Join me and comment or ask a question to be entered into the random drawing to win a copy of her new e-book, "Online Marketing Tools for Today's Small Business".

Rita J. Cartwright
is a Virtual Assistant and owner of RJ's Word Processing Services and has been in business since 2002. In 1998, she received a Bachelor's of Science degree in Marketing from Arizona State University with a minor in Spanish. She is also a member of Virtual Assistant Networking Association and Oceanside Chamber of Commerce. In order to offer her clients quality service, Rita continues to enhance her skills through various teleseminars and webinars, as well as network online and offline with fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Rita’s background in marketing and experience in conducting her business online qualify her to write an e-book on the topic of various marketing tools and strategies. Having to operate on a shoestring marketing budget, provided her with necessary knowledge and skills, which were required in order to implement these same strategies into her online marketing plan. For more information on RJ’s Word Processing Services and Rita, please click here.

Summary of e-book: Entrepreneurs and small business owners in any industry can use this e-book as a reference guide. Whenever you need fresh online marketing ideas or need online marketing information, you can refer back to this e-book. Nowadays, we are so overwhelmed with information, Rita wanted to simplify the search for online marketing techniques by organizing some of that information together into one location, her e-book. Pick up your copy today at the low price of $3.98.

Why Use Email Marketing?

I recently attended a workshop hosted by Constant Contact about the best practices of email marketing. With so many spammers, many wonder if they should use email marketing. Once you put into practice the 'best practices' of email marketing, it can be a very fast, easy, inexpensive and effective way to market. Some statistics about email (source: AOL Email Survey - July 2008) are:

46% of email users say they're "hooked" (addicted to email)
51% check email 4 or more times a day
69% of email users say they have multiple email accounts
62% check work email over a typical weekend
50% check email while on vacation

So people still turn to email to find valuable information. There are reasons to use email marketing? How can it be used most effectively? That's another discussion.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Referral Marketing

Word of mouth referrals are an excellent way to increase your business. Many small businesses could increase referrals by the way they market. Just what is referral marketing and how can you implement it in your business?

Clare Price of Brand Vantage Inc. will be presenting the topic "Referral Marketing" at the next meeting of the Northern California Association of Entrepreneurs. It will be Monday, October 27, 2008 at 6:00 pm in Roseville, California at Corrina's Dessert and Coffee, 9205 Sierra College Blvd, Ste 100. Everyone is welcome. There is no charge; we only ask that you make a small purchase at the venue to help support the local small business owner.

Join us in the conversation and find out how you can implement referral marketing in your business.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Turn Your Articles into Income-Producing Products

1. E-Book: Compile your articles and put them in e-book format. You can give it away for free or offer it at a low cost.

2. E-Course: Organize your articles into a logical sequence and then set up a free 3-day e-course and at the end of the e-course ask your subscribers if they'd be interested in continuing the course for a fee.

3. Create a membership club and charge a monthly fee for your articles, resources and newsletters.

4. Use your articles as an outline for teleseminars that people pay to listen to.

5. Expand your articles into special reports and then sell them.

6. Expand your article into a book.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Win a free copy of "Online Marketing Tools for Today's Small Business"

I will be hosting Rita J. Cartwright on her virtual book tour to promote her e-book "Online Marketing Tools for Today's Small Business" on November 3, 2008. Rita has agreed to give away a free copy of her e-book. Here's what you need to do to enter to qualify to win the free copy.

1. Visit my blog on November 3, 2008 and post a comment or question for Rita.
2. On November 4, 2008, we will pick at random (using one email address from all who posted a question or comment.
3. The selected winner will be announced in my blog November 5, 2008 and Rita will contact you to find out where to send your free copy.

So make sure to stop back by November 3rd, post a comment or question, and be entered into the drawing for a free copy of Rita’s very informative e-book, "Online Marketing Tools for Today's Small Business."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Are They Requesting Your Product?

A friend of mine loves her hobby. She take photographs and then plays with them and creates beautiful note cards. Now she doesn't want to run a 'business' and so can't actually market her hobby. But if someone asks, she'll sell you her note cards to cover her expenses.

She recently gave a service provider a gift of a set of note cards. The service provider liked them so much that she asked my friend if she could buy some. Here's someone requesting her product and she's not even marketing!

Imagine if she took the time to use free online marketing tools to promote her product. If they are requesting your product, maybe it's time to ramp up the business and take advantage of some free online marketing tools.

Contact me to learn more about free online marketing tools and how to use them.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Virtual Book Tours

I'm learning about virtual book tours. This blog will be one of the stops for author Rita Cartwright's virtual book tour on November 3rd. Rita has recently released her e-book Online Marketing Tools for Today's Small Business. You can read more at her blog.

Watch for more information about virtual blog tours in the future. And visit us again on November 3rd to learn more about Rita and her new e-book.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Special: Introductory Blog Package

Recently I've been able to help several clients create and set up systems to maintain their blogs and promote them. I've had other VAs ask me for this information too.

This Introductory Blog Package includes a 2-page Blogging Basics report that discusses why you should have a blog, the benefits, 3 Keys to Successful Blogging, and 5 ways to promote your blog.

The package also contains a 3-page report, Blogging: Beyond the Basics, that addresses finding the time to write, what to write about, creating quality content, and more.

The final 2-page report, Blogging: The Advanced Stage, gives you more ideas on how to get more traffic to your blog. The package also includes a questionnaire designed to help you get started with blogging.

I will be offering this package to clients (valued at $49.95). However, as a special introductory offer, I am offering it at a discounted rate for only $29. If you would like to purchase this introductory blog package at this special discounted rate, please email me directly at and in the subject line type: Intro Blog Special.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Do You Have a Marketing Plan?

Many solo professionals do not have a marketing plan. A marketing plan can outline the goals you want to reach and how to reach them.

In order to reach your goals, you need to know what they are, have a plan to reach them, and be able to tell you've achieved them. Too often solo professionals wonder what they need to do next, which task should they concentrate on next. When you have a written plan, you'll know exactly what step comes next.

Do you know if your last marketing efforts worked? Did you get the results you expected? With a marketing plan, you'll be able to track your results and see what's working and what may need adjustment.

A marketing plan can be refined as you go along and your needs change. As you get a clearer idea of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and how to do it, you can update your marketing plan.

Make your business more effective and successful. Let's work together to create a marketing plan that works for you.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Writing Articles to Build Customer Trust and Confidence

1) Write consistently.
Just writing one or two articles won't establish you as an expert in your field. Schedule to write and submit at least one article a month.

2) Be authentic.
Write about what you really know and be yourself.

3) Connect with readers on an emotional level.
Most people buy based on emotion, not based on logic. So find a way to connect emotionally. Telling stories about yourself is one way to do this.

4) Provide proof.
Give your readers case studies or testimonials to show the results.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Getting Started With Your Blog

Recently I've had a few clients that wanted to start a blog and weren't sure where to start. So I helped them create their blog and setup a system to maintain it on a regular basis. They are very happy that they now have a blog and that it doesn't seem so overwhelming to maintain it.

The biggest concern seems to be finding the time to post entries and deciding what to write. Since they already had written marketing materials, there was a beginning. Then we set up a plan for them to set aside a certain amount of time once a week to create the entries and schedule them to post.

Another concern was how to make sure the world knows about their blog. So we submitted the blogs to several blog directories. And of course I'll mention them here.

Andrew Rogerson - Certified Business Broker
On The Right Track Life Coaching

Do you want to start blogging and need some help getting started? Contact me and let's work on it!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Write an E-book to Promote Your Services

One way to promote your services is to write an e-book. It doesn't need to be difficult or time-consuming. Just pick a subject you are knowledgeable in and are passionate about. This is also a way to become known as an expert in your field.

If you've already written articles, try expanding them and putting them together as a basis for your e-book.

Once you've written your e-book you can sell it, give it away, or offer it as an incentive. This is a great way to get people added to your mailing list. When they join your list, they get a complimentary copy of your e-book.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tips for a Great E-Newsletter

1. Send it out at a consistently (i.e. the first Wednesday of each month). Readers appreciate knowing when it's coming.

2. Create an striking title that will prompt your readers to open it.

3. Use a table of contents so readers can easily find the topic they want to read.

4. Be sure your newsletter is full of useful content.

5. Keep it simple and easy to read.

6. Ask for feedback, replies to a survey, or ask your readers to enter a contest. Readers want to be engaged.

7. Be sure you are compliant with the CAN-SPAM act by including a link to unsubscribe with each email you send.

8. Include all your contact information, including a physical address, website and phone number.

9. Invite readers to forward the newsletter to a friend.

10. Think about what you can do so your readers will look forward to receiving your newsletter and then do it.

If you need help creating and sending out a newsletter, contact me. I'd be happy to help you!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Create a Benefits List

One simple marketing tool a service provider can use is a benefits list. Maybe you've listed in your brochure or on your website two or three main benefits of using your service. But sit down and think about all the benefits you offer. Then create a simple, one-page document you can hand out and post on your website.

This list should not be all about what you do. Rather it should be a detailed list of how your customer or client will benefit from using your services or product. What's in it for them?

Do you have a benefits list? Let me help you create one!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Learn more about using a virtual service provider. is a relatively new social networking site for virtual workers. If you are a virtual worker or are looking for one, this is the place to go.

View my page on

Monday, September 29, 2008

Become An Expert - Write An Article

If you’d like to become known as an expert in your field, writing articles is a great way to do that. Just start writing about what you know. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, but should be informative.

Your article should end with your bio with all the pertinent information such as your name, your website address, and email address. Offer your article for reprint as long as all your contact information and links are included. Then start submitting them.

Here are a few places you can submit articles at no charge:

Article Alley
Article City
Go Articles

If you’d like help creating and submitting articles, please contact me.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Inc. Magazines Strategies for Tough Times

We just received our October 2008 issue of Inc. magazine and the special report on page 37 is "Strategies for Tough Times". The articles points out five ways to save money. We found it interesting that a virtual assistant can help a small business implement 60% of the five strategies listed. Here are the strategies in which the services of a virtual assistant can be used.

1. The first strategy is to send your employees home. This discusses telecommuting in order to save on office space and rent. Using a virtual assistant means you don't have to pay for office space or even for taxes and benefits, since a virtual assistant is not an employee.

2. The next strategy is to share your staff. Perhaps you only need someone part-time and so that person could be shared with another company that only needs their services part-time. Again, a virtual assistant does this very thing. Several business owners can utilize their services and pay only for the time they need an assistant.

3. Do-It-Yourself Marketing. The article mentioned one company using a blog for marketing. Many virtual assistants help small businesses setup and maintain a blog.

If you are a small business owner looking for strategies to help you during these tough times and want to implement one or more of these strategies, contact me and let's see how we can work together.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Helping a Client Create a Blog

This week I was able to help a client create their very first blog. Within a very short period of time we were able to create a nice blog that reflects the look of his website, post a couple of entries, and find his blog in a Google search within the first 3 pages after only two days.

Another prospect contacted me this for help with her blog. She set it up months ago and hasn't touched it since. I hope to help her maintain regular blog entries so she can maintain contact with her client base.

Many find starting a blog to be overwhelming. If you're not sure where to start, contact me and ask about my complimentary report: Blogging - The Basics.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Coaches - Increase Your Business

Are you a coach who wants more business? The Coaches Training Institute's Co-Active Network is a universal gathering place for coaches. Here you can ask questions and get answers, network with other coaches, advertise your services.

If you are a coach who needs help marketing your services online to increase your business, I can help you with blogging, your website, email marketing campaigns, updating your networking profiles, and more. Let me know how I can help you. Call me at (916) 390-2262.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Using Linked In to Connect

Earlier this year I created a profile on LinkedIn and started answering questions. It didn't take long before someone read one of my answers, found it interesting, and wanted to connect with me. That's how I met Mindy Krueger. Mindy and I connected on LinkedIn and enjoyed each other's comments so much that we connected by phone and eventually by email and snail mail.

Mindy is a relationship building consultant and independent distributor of Send Out Cards. Her website is here. She also has a blog. The connection we made initially through LinkedIn has been very valuable to us both. We've asked each other's opinions on our businesses and received valuable feedback from each other.

When I have a new idea and want an honest opinion, I ask Mindy. She's let me email her information about new aspects of my business and her comments have helped me fine tune what I'm doing. I've been able to mail her marketing materials and get her constructive feedback so I can improve what I do. She asked me about her business and what suggestions I had. So LinkedIn has proved valuable to me just in this one connection I made.

I hope you visit Mindy's website and read her blog. Have you made a valuable business connection on LinkedIn? I'd love to hear about it!

"The cost of traditional marketing methods can be a little daunting for a start-up business. Your plan utilizes much of the free marketing available if one is just willing to commit to a consistent plan." - Mindy Krueger

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blogging Basics and Beyond

Are you intimidated by the idea of starting a blog for your small service business? I have created two reports to help you get started with the basics of blogging. After you fill out a simple two-page questionnaire about your business and what you want to achieve by creating a blog, I'll provide you with my two reports and a Blogging Basics Plan with detailed strategies to help you start, maintain, and promote your blog.

Contact me for your complimentary questionnaire (Valued at $25). Based on your answers, I will provide you with a complimentary quote for your Blogging Basics Plan. Visit my website at Awesome Assistant and fill out the contact form for more information.

Marketing During Difficult Economic Times

1. Have a written marketing plan. This is a plan to implement specific marketing strategies. Many service providers don't have a plan at all. You need specific strategies designed for connecting with new prospects and converting them into clients.
2. Accelerate your marketing. Many businesses cut back on marketing during difficult economic times. By accelerating your marketing, you will be more visible. This doesn't have to be expensive. Relatively inexpensive ideas are: networking, speaking, events and teleclasses.
3. Work on your mindset. Negative circumstances can make you panic and avoid taking action. Find a way to change your thinking so you can proceed with a positive frame of mind. Be proactive.
The key to marketing during difficult economic times is to work at adding more value. Provide proof that your services are a wise investment.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just Do It!

Have you put off starting a blog or sending out your email newsletter because you're too busy, don't want to ask for help, or are afraid of giving someone else control? Just do it!

Sure, we think we can do it all ourselves, are afraid to give up control, are comfortable where we're at. But think of all you could get done once you make the decision and take that first step. You may need some help and guidance. Don't be afraid to ask.

What do you want to do but have held back from starting? Ask me how I can help!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Do you have a website?

Are you an independent service provider without a website? Sometimes solo professionals feel they just don't need a website: it's too expensive, too hard to maintain, they have enough business already. But in today's market, a website is an important tool to have - much like a business card.

A simple website can be easy to maintain, inexpensive, and lends credibility to your business. More and more people search for service providers online. If you don't have a website, you are losing out on business. It's also an easy way to stay in contact with clients. You can refer them to your website for your monthly specials or new information in your industry.

To find out how easy and inexpensive it can be do get a website done, just give me a call. My husband and I love to help solo professionals create an online presence at an affordable price. Call our toll-free number (877) 771-7746 to discuss how we can help you.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Self-Promotion and Your Blog

As a solo professional you are looking for an simple, inexpensive way to promote your business. That's why I encourage you to maintain a blog. It's an easy way to keep in contact with clients and prospects. You can create a blog such as this one at no cost to you but a little time.

Use your blog posts to discuss issues relevant to your industry and business. Provide valuable information your clients and prospects want to read so they'll come looking for you. Ask for comments and start an interchange of communication.

Ask me how I can help you start and maintain a blog. Then let's have some fun.!

Friday, September 12, 2008

How do you feel about hiring a virtual assistant?

Many solo professionals and small business owners feel they could use some help but can't afford to hire anyone. Is that how you feel?

Hiring a virtual assistant could be the answer. Get all your questions answered about how a virtual assistant can help you in your business, how to find the right one, and why using a virtual assistant can increase your productivity.

Attend the Organized Habits Teleseminar on Wednesday, September 17th at 4:00 pm (PST).

Sign up now at for only $19!