Tag Archives: rachel wall

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.

My new role with the Ladies Who Latte networking group

I am very privileged to have been asked to become the Leader of the Ladies Who Latte networking group for Folkestone and Hythe, Kent.

We all know how important networking is to your business and if done correctly you will see a significant growth in your business (read my networking tips). It can be quite daunting when you first start out and that’s why I have always loved these meetings as they are so supportive and friendly and I come away from each one feeling completely motivated and like I can achieve anything in my business! 

Ladies Who Latte because there's no point being fabulous on your own!

Because there’s no point being fabulous on your own!

Ladies Who Latte is a national network with over 50 free meetings a month all over the country and the concept is simple, you turn up grab yourself a coffee and network. I have been attending my local group for just over three years and have learnt so much from the other inspirational business women as well as making some wonderful friends along the way.  As a leader, my role is to support women who would like to start their own business or grow an existing one offering friendship, advice, contacts and business leads.

In 2007 Sharon Connolly set up Ladies Who Latte after a career change and seeing a gap in the market for ladies networking at a ‘mum’ friendly time.  The meetings are therefore child-friendly and during the school holidays, Latte groups can still run with children welcome.

One year after setting up Sharon asked “Networking Queen” Mary Flavelle to hop on board and assist with the running and promoting of the organization which continues to thrive and grow. Sharon has since relocated to Singapore where she has also introduced LWL.

Sharon says: “We have amazing success stories of women making connections and being given opportunities that they could never have dreamed of finding on their own. We are women with imagination, drive, enthusiasm and hope and we are enjoying sharing out success because It’s no good being fabulous on your own.”

I’m very much looking forward to helping the women in my area grow their businesses.  If you’re interested in Ladies Who Latte you can find a group in your area or join Folkestone and Hythe

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.

What’s the difference between marketing and selling?

difference between mark

I often get asked “what’s the difference between marketing and selling?” and potential clients often call asking if I can carry out sales calls and work on commission as they have seen that I specialise in marketing.  As you will see the two, although closely linked, are in fact very different processes, here I will explain why….

Selling and marketing are complex and complete books have been written on both so this is a very short explanation!

In a nutshell the marketing process is what takes place before you actually get to the buying process. For example you have seen on TV, in the paper or read on social media that Currys have a fabulous new television in store. This is part of the marketing process – it promotes the product or service. You decide to visit Currys where a sales person tells you all about the benefits of the television informing you through personal communications. You go to the checkout and purchase the TV – this is the selling process, the salesperson has persuaded you to actually buy it.

Marketing is about understanding your customer and anticipating their need and is well researched, identifying specific target audiences (i.e. the target audience for a business selling prams will include pregnant mothers and new parents). It provides strategic direction helping to attract that key customer to the business. The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as:

      “..the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying
       customer requirements.”

Selling, on the other hand, involves a more tactical approach by finding prospects, persuading them to buy and keeping that customer happy.

As you can see there is a lot more to marketing than people think and it should be the driving force of any business. This includes having a marketing plan that dovetails with your overall business plan.

If you need help with your marketing or to write your plan then give me a call for a no obligation chat on 01303 647101 or email rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk

For more free marketing tips follow Lighthouse Virtual Assistant on Facebook.

Trial Lighthouse Virtual Assistant for FREE!

Trial LVA for the day!

Trial LVA for the day!

If you’re ready to save yourself some time and money then this trial is for you!

For many people working with a virtual assistant is a completely new concept and you may be a bit unsure how a VA can assist with reducing your daily workload and helping you save time and money.  With this in mind I am currently offering two hours of my time for FREE so that you can get an idea of the benefits I can provide for your business.

I specialise in PR and marketing so perhaps you’d like a press release written to promote your business or a newsletter template set up that you can email to all your clients?  I also provide an array of admin support so could carry out some word processing, create a professional invoice or set up a database to manage your client contact details or your budget.  See my full list of services to find other areas I can help you with and if you need something that’s not mentioned please do contact me as I may still be able to help you.

Feel free to find out a bit more about me before we work together or view my LinkedIn profile.

So if you’re ready to let me reduce your workload saving you both time and money just quote ‘Trial LVA for a day’ when you contact me and we’ll get cracking!  Terms and conditions do apply and these will be emailed to you.

Offer ends 31st January 2015.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for a free no obligation chat on 07975 864093 or email rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk

 

 

A visit to the Kent 20/20 Vision Live Event

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Yesterday was a busy one here at Lighthouse Virtual Assistant as I attended the Kent 20/20 Vision Live event at the Kent County Showground in Detling.

This is a fantastic event where businesses have the opportunity to showcase their products and services whilst networking with other companies to help them prosper and grow.  This year the theme was ‘Innovate to Grow’ to recognise the key role innovation plays in a business.

There were just under 300 exhibitors at the event with speeches from Will Whitehorn, former Brand Director at Virgin Group and President of Virgin Galactic and Edward Perry, Co-Founder and CEO from the COOK chain who have reinvented the frozen ready meal market.

Workshops were also available throughout the day including Business Fire Safety from Kent Fire & Rescue and How to Become a True Social Business from Zoodikers Consulting Ltd.

If you’ve never been before it’s definitely worth it, the event is held annually and you can attend for free or pay to exhibit.  More information can be found here.

The event was extremely well organised and I know from previously exhibiting there that a lot of hard work goes into it, so congratulations to all involved.

Working with Lighthouse Virtual Assistant in seven easy steps

Lighthouse Virtual Assistant business cardsFor most people working with a virtual assistant is a new concept so for my blog this week I thought I’d run through how I work and how using my services can help your business.

A virtual assistant (VA) can come from a variety of business backgrounds with an area of expertise (mine is PR and marketing). For more details on my work background click here.

I work for charities, businesses or individuals to help reduce their daily workload and use a range of methods to achieve this including email, Skype, phone and the internet.

The advantage of working with Lighthouse Virtual Assistant is that you do not need to provide me with any office space or equipment as I work remotely from my own office and you will only pay for the work that I actually carry out. I also use an hours tracker which provides a detailed report of the hours worked and can be emailed directly to you.  My independent contractual status also means you do not have the responsibility of providing me with employee taxes, benefits or insurance.


Once you have decided that working with me is the way forward then the following steps can take place:

  1. If you know precisely which of my services you can utilise you’re more than welcome to send me an email with your requirements
  2. If you need some guidance to identify how I can help free up some of your time I am happy to have an informal chat on the phone
  3. Once we’ve established your requirements I will send you a quote summarising the work required and the cost to carry it out
  4. If you’re happy with the quote I will send you my contract along with my Terms and Conditions which must be signed by both parties
  5. Once the work is carried out to your requirements I will return it to you as agreed in the contract (email, courier, post etc.)
  6. I never take on any work that is outside my area of expertise (I have lots of contacts that may be able to help you if I can’t) or that I feel I cannot complete in the requested time-scale
  7. All new clients receive a 10% discount

If you are ready to lighten your workload by utilising Lighthouse Virtual Assistant and get back to focusing on your core business then please don’t hesitate to contact me via the website, email rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk or phone 07794 358497.

 

Would you take your dog to work?

Tails in the workplace

We all know that a dog is man’s best friend but would you trust him (the dog not the man!) at your place of work? I have grown up with dogs in the family and have missed not having one into my adulthood.  As a strong advocate of dogs I know a lot about them, most of us know they are great to help us exercise, are loyal, great company and put a smile on our faces. I wasn’t fully aware, however, of how they can help ease stress. 

When my son was very poorly in hospital I didn’t think I’d ever see him smile again until onto the ward strolled a beautiful golden retriever dog called Narla.  She came up to my son with her wagging tail and lovely big brown eyes and my son instantly stroked her and smiled!  It was the happiest I’d seen him in a long time and I believe she genuinely helped him to feel more cheerful.  Even the rest of family felt lifted by Narla’s visit.

 Look at that Smile! (Photo copyright of Lighthouse Virtual Assistant)

We learnt that Narla (named after Aslan’s daughter from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe) was a PAT (Pets As Therapy) dog.  She was one of the many dogs from the national Pets As Therapy Charity who goes into hospitals, nursing and care homes and special needs schools. They also work with stroke patients, people who may have dog phobias and even help children to gain more confidence with their reading in the classroom environment.  The dogs give people a chance to stroke, talk and hold one of these lovely natured animals.

At the time of meeting Narla we didn’t have a dog but have since gained two extra four legged, fluffy family members and my son and daughter both have a very special bond with them. For me, just walking our dogs daily before I start work really helps set my mind on the tasks ahead for the day.

I started to wonder, after my chance meeting with Narla, how dogs could help stress levels at work especially in today’s world where everything seems so fast paced.  After a bit of online research I found an article about a study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health and Management which discovered that job satisfaction increased when dogs were allowed to be present in the workplace. 

Randolph Barker (great name, very apt!), lead study author and professor of management at the VCU School of Business, said dogs can make a positive difference in the workplace: 

“The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms.”

My two love the fact they can lounge around in my office all day!

      My two love the fact they can lounge around in my office all day!

Prof Barker said having dogs around the workplace may contribute to employee performance and satisfaction.

And he reported positive comments from employees such as “pets in the workplace can be a great bonus for employee morale”, “having dogs here is great stress relief” and “dogs are positive; dogs increase co-worker cooperation.”

Obviously dogs at work are not always appropriate depending on the environment and they need to be well behaved – you don’t want him mistaking your bosses favourite pot plant for his toilet! But it is interesting that people feel animals can help us in boosting morale and reduce the impact of everyday stresses.  I’m certainly won over after meeting Narla!

Find out more about Pets As Therapy Charity and Professor Barker’s research.

 If you’re not fortunate enough to take man’s best friend into your office see if I can help ease your stress levels by reducing your daily workload.

Update: After writing this blog I tweeted it and the Pets as Therapy Charity kindly re-tweeted and gave the response below – such a pleasure to help a great cause:

Pets as therapy

 

Boost your business with better internal communications

Internal communication is directed at people that already know about your business but communication with all staff within a company is absolutely key to its success.  If your employees don’t know, understand or believe in your business how can they help you deliver your objectives?  It is also, I believe, essential in enhancing staff morale.

With the fast development of technology today employees can work from practically anywhere using the internet and mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and smart phones.  Although these can enhance effectiveness by reducing travel costs  and saving on office space for example, it also has the disadvantage of potentially isolating staff if internal communications is not carefully considered.

The main purpose of internal communications is to inform employees about strategic direction, how they play a part in this and motivating them to deliver these goals. There is the obvious initial training that staff receive when they join your company but keeping constant communication flowing is a must.  For example if you launch an advertising campaign your entire staff not only need to know it’s happening but also why it’s happening and what you want to achieve from it so they can help in it’s delivery.  Otherwise the entire campaign may be compromised and render the advertising unbelievable and therefore non-effective.  Imagine you launch a campaign telling your customers how proud you are that you answer your phones within five rings and that they will never get an automated service.  You don’t however tell your staff who then don’t answer in this time and customers then become angry as they feel they have been lied to.  You risk your customers taking their business elsewhere and that money you’ve spent with good intentions on the campaign going down the drain.

So how can you enhance your internal communication?  There are very simple methods such as:

  • Organising open days and inviting relatives and friends of your staff which will create goodwill amongst of your employees
  • Team meetings on a weekly basis
  • An internal newsletter that can be placed on a noticeboard or emailed (as long as it will be read!), Mailchimp is a good tool for an email newsletter
  • Presentations – these may be useful to highlight strategic direction or organisational change and how the staff can help you achieve these
  • Social activities such as team building days – these are a great way to boost team morale
  • Staff training – this gives employees the chance to learn new skills and discuss them together whilst at the same time increasing team spirit

The other tool that I recommend is the intranet, an internal website that only staff can access via a password and where all matters of internal communication can be stored and shared. It does rely on being kept up to date but is worth the time if used correctly.  It’s a great tool however large or small your business is whether you have staff spread over a wide geographical area, are a big company based over several sites or even if you’re a small business that wants to share their information from one place.  You can share so much including:

  • events
  • policies
  • press releases
  • discussion forums
  • newsletters
  • annual reports
  • marketing campaigns
  • online training

You can request a company to build a site tailored to your needs or you can buy off the shelf sites which may keep costs down.  If you would like me search for a suitable host for you feel free to drop me an email rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk

Other communication methods such as instant phone messaging is becoming more popular and are used today by schools, doctors and opticians. Facebook could also be used as another communication tool with your staff but remember these sites are often open to public viewing unless set up as closed groups.

If you use any internal communications that you have found really effective please email me or comment below as I would love to hear your thoughts.  If you would like any support with your internal communications please contact me for a no obligation chat.