Category Archives: Marketing

The Lighthouse Virtual Assistant Can I Pick Your Marketing Brain Workshop

Can I pick your marketing brain workshop

Please join me for the Lighthouse Virtual Assistant Can I Pick Your Marketing Brain Workshop.  As busy business owners, we can’t be a master of all skills but marketing is an area that, if you get it right, will really help your business grow.  All businesses, no matter how small, should have a working marketing plan that sits alongside their business plan.

The aim of this workshop is for you to be able to have your own marketing plan that you can take away and implement immediately.  I am also going to give you some fabulous social media tips and advice looking specifically at Facebook and Twitter as these are the two platforms that I get asked the most about.

So if you are just starting your business or have been up and running for a while then this workshop will give you the tools to learn how to promote your business pro-actively and bring in new clients.

The workshop will cover the following:

  • What is marketing and why is it important to your business?
  • What is the difference between marketing and advertising?
  • What is PR and branding?
  • Identifying your ideal client
  • Your unique selling point
  • Competitors
  • Your marketing tools
  • Social media (general advice)
  • How to evaluate your marketing
  • Facebook and Twitter – how to set up an account, the difference between a business and personal page, tips for when and how to post (including scheduling), hashtags, statistics and how to use them, content ideas, how often to post.

When: Wednesday 23rd May 2018

Where: Berelia Limited, 2nd Floor, Market Square, Dover, Kent, CT16 1LZ

Time: 9.30am-1.30pm

Cost: £35 per person

Please read: Places are only secure when full payment has been made and places cannot be reserved without payment. Places are non-refundable.  To book your place please click the ‘buy now’ button below:

The workshop on the 23 May has sold out.  I will be running further workshops and if you’d like to be put on the waiting list please sign up and I will send you details.

Got a question? Email rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk

Read more about Rachel’s experience.

Changes to the Facebook newsfeed

What the changes to the Facebook news-feed mean for your small business

Over the last month, you will have seen online that changes are being made to the Facebook news-feed.  In a nutshell, the plan is to fill your personal newsfeed with more content from family and friends and less with public content.

This is great as a personal user but not so great for us as small businesses. However, there are things that you can do to make sure your page is still seen as much as possible in people’s newsfeeds.  Watch my video or read below for advice on how to overcome the changes:

  1. Make your content engaging
    Make sure that your content is engaging (you should be doing this anyway).  So rather than posting ‘salesy‘ posts think about what you can give your followers that will help them.  This way they will be more likely to like, comment and share your post.
  2. Set aside a budget for adverts
    You will need to put aside some funds for Facebook advertising in your marketing budget. This is not all bad news as the adverts are reasonable price wise and you can really drill down to target your ideal client with criteria such as age, gender, location, behaviours etc.
  3. Plan your content
    Schedule your content in advance, this way your content will naturally be more engaging and structured
  4. Use Facebook Live
    Live videos are great as people really seem to like interacting in ‘real time.’ Just make sure you have great wi-fi and remember it doesn’t need to be a Steven Speilberg production!
  5. Join other social media platforms
    Get out there on other platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn so that your business can be found easily – if you need help with these platforms pop me an email as I offer one-to-one tutorials
  6. Set up a Facebook group
    Depending on the type of business you have a Facebook group may work well and is a great way to interact with tips and advice
  7. Check your statistics
    Keep an eye on your Facebook statistics so you can see which times and days your followers are online and gage any drop in interaction from the new changes
  8. Set up the ‘see ‘first’ notification
    On your personal newsfeed set up the pages you enjoy the most so that you see them first in your newsfeed.  For example I have Sky News so I can see their content first when I log in (watch my video to show you how to do this)
  9. Help out other small businesses
    And finally don’t forget to help other small bsuinesses by liking, sharing and commenting on their posts so that it helps them to get seen in the newsfeed.If you would like help with any aspect of your social media then pop me an email for a free, no obligation, consultation to see how I can help.

    You can also follow my Facebook page for free marketing and business tips.

Newsletter ideas for your small business

7 ideas for your business newsletter

Why use newsletters?

Newsletters are a great way to connect directly with your target audience. This type of e-marketing builds relationships and trust with both your current and potential clients and is a great way to keep you at the forefront of their minds should they need your service or product. Building an email list is crucial to building your small business so have a sign up link on your website and share this across your social media platforms.

There is some great software about to help you make your newsletters look professional, I personally use Mailchimp as I find it very easy to use.  It gives you templates to work with, statsistics once you’ve sent your campaign and is free up to a certain number of subscribers. It also makes sure your emails comply with the spam regulations and gives people the option to unsubscribe should they wish.

So now you undertsand why you should be sending newsletters (see my more detailed blog about this) and how certain software can help you make them look fabulous, what on earth do you write about?! This seems to be a real problem for people and they feel that people just won’t be interested in what they have to say.  If people weren’t interested they wouldn’t sign up, so don’t disappoint!  Here are just a few of my ideas to get you started writing and remember: don’t get carried away and send people a daily email as people will unsubscribe.  I only send my newsletters once a month but it will depend on the industry you work in as to how often you need to pop into people’s inboxes.

7 ideas for your newsletter topic:

  1. A how to
    Show your audience how to do something so that they gain value from your advice.  Could you tell them how to write a policy or share a video on how to make that perfect flower arrangement?
  2. Case study
    Give an example of a certain problem or task that you have solved for your client and how doing so has helped their business – have you helped them reduce their costs or brought them new customers?
  3. Employee profile
    Tell your clients about your staff members, this makes you look human and helps your customers get to know you and your team better.
  4. Business news
    A newsletter is a great way to share news about your business such as new staff, an award you have won or your new office location.
  5. Questions and Answers
    Have a Q & A newsletter. If you get asked the same questions often then chances are lots of people are wondering the same thing, address these in your E-Marketing.
  6. Giveaways
    These don’t need to break the bank but can be a great way to increase engagement and give those that have taken the time to sign up to your newsletter an exclusive little something back to say thank you.  Ideas could include a promotional discount, free product, or entry to a raffle.
  7. Testimonials
    You can’t beat a recommendation from someone else so when you get these make sure you share them via your newsletter.  If you can, use a video as there’s nothing better than actually seeing the ‘real’ person behind that testimonial.

These are just a few ideas to get you started, I’d love to hear your own suggestions so please do leave me comment below.

If you don’t have time to write your own newsletters then get in touch and I can do it for you!

Contact Rachel:
Phone: 01303 647101
Email: rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk

The Reverse the Tide team

Exciting new project – Reverse the Tide

A new venture

I’m really excited to tell you about a new project that I’m involved with, along with some other fabulous business owners, called Reverse the Tide.

Reverse the Tide is aimed at business owners from all over the world who want to develop their skills and collaborate with others in order to grow their own business.

We are currently building a website which will become a complete hub for advice, resources and support.  It will include some free resources as well as a members’ section and will be available on a smart phone, tablet and laptop making it accessible globally. 
 
To accompany the site there will be a Facebook group to enable the members to network and support each other.

Meet the team:
 
The founder of Reverse the Tide is Sally Marshall from Marshall’s Consulting. The rest of the team comprises:  
 
Mark Smallcorn – IVQ Designs
Dom Bradbury – The Love Social Co.
Pete Bresser (credit for above photo to Pete) – Bresser Photography and Digital Media
Mike Hacker – Hax Media
Gavin Munnings – Stonk Creative
Jon Pankhurst – Splat Web Works
Rachel Wall – Lighthouse Virtual Assistant

More details about the launch date and future plans will be published on here as things progress.  In the meantime you can get involved as I’m looking for bloggers to contribute to the website, a great way to help other businesses and promote your own at the same time. If you are interested then please email me: rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk and I will send you more details.

Tips to make your website wonderful!

Regardless of the type of business you run you need to have a website to showcase your products or services.  I don’t think it is possible to do this effectively on just social media so would recommend that you look at WordPress.

What is WordPress?

WordPress launched in 2003 with a single bit of code to enhance the typography of everyday writing and with very few users. Since then it has grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used on millions of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day.

 

WordPress is simple to use and free

WordPress is simple to use and free

You are free to use it for anything from your hypnotherapy business to a shop selling the latest fashion and all without paying anyone a license fee.  It is extremely easy to use and I love the fact that the blog tool means you can always have fresh content on your site which is great for those Google rankings!

Get my tips to make your website look wonderful and your customers wanting more:

  1. Keep it simple
    Don’t over complicate it.  Make it easy for the user to find what they need.  I’m not a huge fan of all the pop-up banners that ask you to sign up for this and that as it annoys me when I’m trying to read an article and then I end up just closing the site but this is of course up to you.
  2. Stay true to your branding
    Make sure that your branding is obvious, it should link up with how your business looks everywhere else: social media, business cards, vehicle graphics etc.
  3. Talk to your ideal client
    You should have a straight forward home page that is aimed at your ideal customer. Make it clear what you do, how you do it and how your ideal customer will benefit from it.
  4. Show some of your personality
    Have an ‘About Page’ that allows the potential customer to get to know you and let your personality shine through.

    Keep your content fresh to help with your Goggle ranking

         Keep your content fresh to help with your                                      Google ranking

  5. Give clear contact details
    Make a contact page so that it’s easy for people to get in touch, include your phone number and email address.
  6. Build your list
    I’ve talked before about building your list so that you can send emails to current and potential clients.  It’s a great idea to build this list through your website and you can do this by including a newsletter sign-up, free download or to get a copy of your new e-book.
  7. Have a FAQ page
    If appropriate have a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page so that people get an idea if you can help them before they contact you directly.
  8. Use a call-to-action
    Include a call-to-action on each of your pages – this is what you want the user to do next, do you want them to call you, go to your shop, email you?
  9. Include videos
    Include videos where you can as this will really help with your Google ranking.  For example, I have a video testimonial from a client on my homepage.
  10. Display testimonials
    Don’t forget to have a testimonial page from all your lovely clients, people like to know what others say about you.

    Check your site regularly to make sure your links work

      Check your site regularly to make sure your links work

  11. Track your statistics for your marketing
    Install Google Analytics so you can track how people are finding your site and what they do when they get there.  Use this information when planning your marketing.
  12. Keep your site updated
    Lastly and most importantly keep your website up-to-date.  WordPress is fantastic for blogging so do it regularly to keep your content fresh and remember to share your blog on all your other marketing platforms (Facebook, Twitter).  Check monthly that all your links still work.

Have a look around my site and feel free to leave me your feedback, it’s always great to know what you think.

If you need help with your WordPress site then drop me an email for a free consultation rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk

Tips to create a fab video for your business

Why use videos?

A video is such a great way to inject your personality into your brand.  It shows the real you, the way you talk, smile, explain things. People buy from those they like and trust and a business video will help establish these traits enabling you to connect with your audience. Once someone gets a ‘feel for you’ they are more likely to buy from you. Here’s an example of one of my videos:

Videos on your business website will help you achieve all of the above but will also push your site up the Google ranking making it easier for potential customers to find you. Remember your video doesn’t need to be a Steven Spielberg production so you need to get over that fear of talking to the camera and what you look like and get yourself out there!

To give you confidence here are my tips to get you started:

1.   Work out what you’re going to say and pop a few bullet points on a post-it-note

You can buy an external mic like this online

You can buy an external mic like this online

2.  Make sure the location you are recording in has good lighting and is quiet.  I find it best to have my laptop slighter higher as well so you’re not looking down (this can be quite unflattering!)  You may also need to buy an external microphone (like the one I have in the picture, which I think costs around £10 online)

3.  Look presentable.  I’m not suggesting you go and have a make over but it’s important to look professional

4. Use your video  software on your computer or I also use screenomatic which is great for screen sharing. Place your post-it-note with your bullet points just under the camera to prompt you so you don’t forget what you’re saying

Use a post-it-note with bullet points on to prompt you

Use a post-it-note with bullet points on to prompt you

5.  Speak slowly and relax, remember not to use industry jargon – if you’re not happy you can re-record!

6.  Watch the video back to make sure the sound and lighting is okay and that the background behind you looks professional (no snoring dogs or an untidy desk!)

7.  Include a call to action – what do you want your viewers to do after watching your video

8.  Get sharing!  Pop your video on your social media sites, website and YouTube Channel.

9.  Most of my clients look at me in horror when I suggest they create a video and say they wouldn’t know what to talk about.  So a few ideas include: a tutorial on how to do something, showing how a product works, introducing a member of staff or a virtual tour of your shop.

Pop over and subscribe to my YouTube Channel to get some more ideas and free marketing tips.

 

Do I need a business Facebook page?

Facebook now has 1.5 billion users and so promoting your business on this platform can be a smart move but people ask do I need a business Facebook page‘ or can I just use my personal page?

Firstly, as I always advise, make sure that Facebook is the correct platform for your business.  Is it where you are most likely to find to your ideal client?  If it is then setting yourself up on Facebook is a great way to build relationships with current and potential customers.

I feel very strongly that you should have a business Facebook page separate to your personal one.  Firstly it makes you look more professional – who wants their clients to see them in the pub or tagged in a slightly offensive meme! I will never friend request a business as I don’t want someone I don’t know to see all my personal details and so this is a sure way to lose any potential ‘likers.’

My Facebook page

Lighthouse Virtual Assistant Facebook page

One of the other huge advantages of having a business Facebook page is that you only get the ‘insights’ button with it.  This is how can you can track how effective your posts are, when you should be posting and other fab marketing tools (see my Facebook blog to get more tips).  To not track your marketing efforts is a waste of time.

It's crucial your customers know where to find you

It’s crucial your customers know where to find you

Your business page also gives you the opportunity to list your contact details, which is obviously extremely important, and you can link to your website, include a call to action and now even list your individual services.

Facebook also penalises you by not showing as many of your posts in news feeds and can even shut your page down if using your personal page as a business one.

So if you’re thinking of setting up on Facebook make sure you get a separate business page.  I offer one-to-one tutorials (the social media stress buster tutorial) to show you how to set up and get the best from your social media, as well as managing client’s platforms so if I can help you please email: rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk You will also find Lighthouse Virtual Assistant on Facebook.

Christmas marketing tips

Christmas marketing tips for small businesses

It’s that time of year again!

As Christmas approaches people urgently shop to try and find the right present for their loved one and enough food to feed an army! No matter what type of business you run you can take advantage of this to help boost your sales.

So to help you plan ahead I have listed below some of my tips on how to create your Christmas marketing campaign:

1. Target the right people
Remember that even though it’s Christmas you still need to make sure you’re targeting the people most likely to buy from you, so think about where they will see your Christmas campaign message – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, newspapers etc.

How can your product or service save people time during the busy festive period?

How can your product or service save people time during the busy festive period?

2. Think convenience
At Christmas time everyone is extremely busy so convenience is a must. Think about how your product or service can save people time during this busy period. Could you offer to organise Christmas business parties? Could you promote how easy it is to buy from your online shop to avoid the crowds on the high street?

3. Use the same Christmas branding
Make your branding ‘Christmassy’ and use this across your campaign including your social media cover pictures and email marketing promotions. The graphics software Canva that I’ve talked about before is great for doing this.

4. Say thank you 
Could you give your customers something as a Christmas gift to thank them for their loyalty and custom over the year? Perhaps a discount voucher or a product to try for free?

thank-you-515514__180

Send your clients a thank you for their custom over the last year

5. Remind customers of important dates 
Remind customers that they only have a certain number of days to buy:  ‘3 days left to buy to guarantee Christmas delivery.’

6. Reduce stress for your customers
Can you offer a product or service that can help reduce stress over the Christmas period? Here are a few ideas:

~ offer a Christmas card writing service
~ if you work in the massage therapy industry how about offering foot massages at busy shopping centres?
~ if you’re a cleaner you could promote that you’ll get houses spic and span for all those visiting relatives
~ a gardener could offer to help set up a beautiful Christmas display in the front garden.
There are lots of ideas that you can offer depending on your business.

7.  Late night shopping  
If you own a shop you can tie in with the late night shopping events that often happen at this time of year. Offer a gift wrapping service or a special Christmas discount.

8. Promote offers
Don’t forget to promote your Christmas offers across your social media platforms, in a blog and to those who have subscribed to your email list.

Make time for yourself this Christmas and automate tasks where you can

Make time for yourself this Christmas and automate tasks where you can

9.  Look after YOU!
It’s so important to look after yourself and take time out when you run your own business, so my last Christmas marketing tip is to make sure you automate your tasks where you can over the holiday period and take time out for you.  Schedule your social media for example so you can go and have a wonderful relaxing time with your family.

If you need help to keep on top your Christmas workload or need a hand with your seasonal marketing campaign then pop me an email.

 

Wishing you a very relaxing Christmas,

Signature one

Tips for creating great email marketing content


Creating great email content

My recent blog looked at the importance of email marketing and why you should be doing it to help get you more clients.  Building trust and relationships with your current and potential clients is what will make them more likely to buy from you in the future and this form of marketing helps to do this. In this blog I give you some tips on how to make your content fabulous so that your customers keep coming back for more!

  1. Keep your content nice and simple. Don’t use industry jargon that your audience may not understand. Try and relax the way you write, make it a bit more informal like you’re writing to a friend.

    Use a call to action so your subscribers know what you want them to do

    Use a call to action so your subscribers know what you want them to do

  2. Keep the sub headings within your email/newsletter punchy – business owners are busy so your simple text will allow them to scan over the content quickly.
  3. Use a call to action – what do you want the reader to do after they’ve finished reading your email? Do you want them to sign up for more? contact you?
  4. Know your target audience (yes that one again!). The more you know about those on your list the more you can tailor your content to them so they want to know more.
  5. Make sure your content is up to scratch – it’s all very well sending an email that looks pretty but if the advice and information within is poor people will unsubscribe.
  6. If you’re promoting an offer include a deadline so that people only have a certain time to claim it.  This makes people act quicker on taking up your offer rather than thinking ‘oh I’ve got loads of time to
    Proof read your content

    Proof read your content

    claim that as there’s no deadline’ and then they forget about it.

  7. Make sure you proof read your emails so that your content looks professional. Perhaps get someone else to read over them for you.

If you would like some help creating your emails and newsletters then this is a service I offer to my clients.  Contact me for your free consultation to see how I can help you.