Infopoint Virtual Solutions

How to Find the Perfect Virtual Assistant for Your Business

Virtual Assistant, Tips & TricksKristin RumianComment
How to Find the Perfect Virtual Assistant for Your Business

Owning your own business is hard enough without having to burn energy on smaller tasks that can be outsourced.  If you feel burnt out, stressed out and feeling like you don't have enough time to complete all of your tasks, it might be time to find a Virtual Assistant for your business.  

While you may be tempted to hire an overseas Virtual Assistant who charges $2-$5 per hour, please be aware that those Virtual Assistants may not be the best choice for you and your business for the reasons noted below:

  • English is not their first language, so it will be hard to communicate with them
  • Their skillset isn't as extensive as United States Virtual Assistants
  • Your work will (most likely) not get done as quickly and efficiently as if you hired within the US

But where do you find Virtual Assistants and how do you find that perfect Virtual Assistant for your business?

Honestly, in order to find the perfect Virtual Assistant for your business, you need to do some homework and research.  There are tens of thousands of Virtual Assistants in the United States and each has their own areas of expertise, niches, and personalities.  You're going to need to find a Virtual Assistant that:

  1. Has the expertise and knowledge to complete tasks for your business
  2. Has a personality that works well with yourself and your business
  3. Can get your work done in a timely manner 
  4. Have rates that fit within your budget

Where Can You Find Virtual Assistants?

Twitter - Virtual Assistants constantly hang out on Social Media, so tweeting that you are looking for a VA can yield many results for you and your business.  Once you get a few responses back from VAs you can begin the process of visiting their websites, reading about what their areas of expertise are and asking the potential VAs the questions you need to ask them.

Facebook - Facebook is probably one of the best places to find a Virtual Assistant because of the groups.  There are tons of groups out there that focus both on Virtual Assistant networking and job postings for VAs.  Groups will allow you to read through some threads to see if you can find a VA that fits your business or you can post a thread stating that you're looking for a VA and weed through the responses that way.  Facebook is a much quicker process than Twitter and a place where businesses and VAs both find success.

LinkedIn - LinkedIn is similar to Facebook in that you can join VA groups and post that you need a Virtual Assistant.  LinkedIn is more geared to professionals, so you may want to use it in conjunction with Facebook in order to get more options and possibly find a better fit. 

Virtual Assistant Sites - There are some websites such as VA Networking and IVAA that have listings for Virtual Assistants.  There you can see photos of potential VAs, read about their past experience and expertise, and figure out from there which VA will suit your business the best.

Google - Another option is doing a simple Google search for VA's in the specific field that your business falls into.  You will be able to see results from all Virtual Assistants that match your search, view their websites, read about them and their experiences and contact the VA(s) that you feel fit.

Networking - If you know any other business owners who have hired a Virtual Assistant, ask for recommendations. Your colleagues would have worked with their VA for an extended amount of time, they can give you honest feedback about the way they work and you can know, first hand, how their services are.  

UpWork & Similar - Websites such as UpWork can help you to find a Virtual Assistant but be aware that a lot of VAs on this website are international.  As stated above, it's much better to hire a VA from the United States to prevent any language barriers, misunderstandings or the VA not understanding the work that needs to be done.  Yes, international VAs can be cheaper, but the quality of work will be very low.

What Happens Once You Contact a VA?

Once you contact a Virtual Assistant they may either want to schedule a phone consultation or they may send you a questionnaire via e-mail.  Make sure you tell them important details about your business, the specific tasks that you are looking to be completed and ask any questions that you feel fit.  

If the Virtual Assistant's rates are too high for your budget, you can try to see if they will work with you.  There are some VAs out there who are willing to work with a business's budget and tweak their rates while other VAs have their rates 100% set in stone.  Be respectful of the Virtual Assistant and their rates, VAs price themselves the way they do because of what they can offer their clients.  A beginner VA might have lower rates because they're just starting out while a well-seasoned VA will have higher rates since they can offer more to their clients.  

Make sure you ask the VA about their availability because you don't want to be blindsided if they can't complete a task within a deadline that you need something to be completed.  Some VAs work with many clients at a time while other VAs limit themselves to just a handful of clients at any given time.  If your tasks will take more time to complete, you will want to find a VA that doesn't have too many other commitments so your work can get done on time.  

This might sound pretty cliche, but you will just know when the right VA comes along.  Their personality will work very well with yours, they will have enough time in their schedule to complete your tasks and they will have the right area of expertise in order to complete your tasks correctly.  

If you are currently looking for a Virtual Assistant, why not set up a free consultation with Infopoint Virtual Solutions?  I have been a VA since 2005 and have successfully helped many clients with business tasks that they needed outsourced!  Contact us now!

Website Mistakes You're Making

Tips & TricksKristin RumianComment
website mistakes you may be making

No Clear Navigation

Having clear and user-friendly navigation on your website is key.  You want your visitors to explore your website and not get frustrated that they can't navigate to what they're looking for.  The best way to do this is to put your navigation at the top of the page or in the sidebar so it catches their eye when they first happen upon your site.  Remember, not only internet savvy individuals are using your website!

Hidden Contact Information

Your contact information is the most important part of your website.  You want your customers or clients to be able to see your location (if you have a brick and mortar location), your phone number and your e-mail address.  You don't want them to have to hunt for your contact information that is behind a "Contact" link.  Contacting your business should be easy and straight forward.

Not Having Enough White Space

If your website is too cluttered it won't be appealing to the eye and will probably make most people click right off.  It's important to have a very aesthetically pleasing website with enough white space so that your website doesn't look cluttered.  Your website should also look clean on mobile and other browsers too, so test them out!

Not Linking to Social Media Platforms

There are two parts to this one.  Firstly, you need to link to your Social Media platforms.  You want your website visitors to follow you on all of your platforms.  Secondly, you should have social share links integrated into your posts so that your visitors can easily share a post right from your blog.  Social Media is one of the best ways to get exposure, so you have to make it easy for others to share your post if they find it interesting.

Not Having a Search Box

This is up there with not having clean navigation.  Certain visitors might want to find a specific post, service or product that you offer without having to look through your entire blog or website.  If you have a search box on your website, your visitors will be able to easily search what they're looking for and find it quickly.  

Not Updating Your Blog

Having a blog is very important to your business and having a consistently updated blog is even more important.  You want your posts to be interesting and informative to the reader so that they leave your blog with the value that you provide.

Poor Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is extremely important since that is what gets you organic search traffic.  Some main aspects of SEO that can make a big difference is adding keywords into your blog URL's, adding keywords into your H1 tag, using carefully researched keywords in your blog posts and also in the title of your blog posts.  Those small changes can make a difference in the amount of organic search engine traffic that you receive to your site.

Long Load Times

If your website takes longer than 5 seconds to load, it has a long load time.  While some people might allow the page to load in one tab while they work in another tab, this is not typical.  Personally, if a website takes too long to load, I will leave that website.  Believe it or not, Google takes load speed into consideration while ranking within their search engine.  You could have the best-optimized website that loads slowly and Google will probably rank you lower than another website with amazing load time and less than perfect optimization.

Do you want a free website audit and consultation?  Please contact us and we can chat!

 

 

 

How to Achieve Inbox Zero

Business ProductivityKristin RumianComment
how to achieve inbox zero

Everyone knows that when emails pile up in your inbox, so does your stress level.  Trying to take control of your inbox or finding an important email in your thousands and thousands of e-mails can sometimes feel like a job in itself.  The trick to reducing some of your stress and the first step to getting your inbox organized is clearing out your inbox; which I know is easier said than done.

I finally started to tackle my email inbox a few months ago and have been able to achieve Inbox Zero every day since.  I will let you in on a few tips that helped me to begin to get organized:

 

CREATE FOLDERS

Creating folders within your email box will allow emails to have a place.  I create folders with categories that most of my emails fall into.  I also create the following folders: (Note, I use the exclamation points because this will allow these important folders to show up at the top of your folder list.)

!IMPORTANT - This is where all of the important emails go that don't require immediate attention but that I still need.

!REPLY NEEDED - This folder is for emails that I have to reply to as soon as I get the chance.

!AWAITING REPLY - This is for emails that I am waiting for a reply from but I still want quick access to.  Once I receive a reply and once the email communication is closed, I will move the email to the appropriate folder.

Once you create your category folders and the other important folders above, you will begin to realize that every email in your inbox can easily be organized. 

 

CHECK YOUR EMAILS MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY

If you're anything like me, you continuously get both random and important emails throughout the day.  If you plan to check your e-mail in the morning and then again at the end of your work day, you will get overwhelmed when you see the amount of mail in your inbox.  Since I started to get organized I now check my emails at least 3 times a day.  This will allow you to quickly organize the emails that you receive throughout the day into the categories/folders that you have created.  This will allow you to have less mail to check at the end of the day.

 

UTILIZE EVERNOTE

Evernote is a great tool that can definitely keep you organized, but one of my favorite features of the app is the fact that you can send an email directly into Evernote by using the email address that they assign you.  Within Evernote you are able to create Notebooks (folders) that you are able to send an email directly into.  The best part is, you don't even have to open the Evernote app to organize your emails.  You can easily tag them with a hashtag (i.e. #business) and by using an @ sign to designate what notebook (or folder) that you want the emails to be organized into.  Evernote can be a very helpful tool to use within your business or even to use to organize your life.

 

UNSUBSCRIBE IF POSSIBLE

If you're like most business owners, you probably subscribe to more than a few newsletters that you thought would be useful at the time you subscribed.  You may realize now that you either:

  • Don't have time to read the newsletters
  • Don't feel that you need to actually be subscribed to that newsletter anymore

If either of those two describes you and some of the newsletters that you subscribe to, utilize the unsubscribe button.  I used to be the one that kept the newsletters around just in case I need the information contained in them one day.  Doing this will just add to your clutter and will continue to stress you out.  Just remember that you can always re-subscribe to the newsletter in the future if you feel that you need it again.

If you don't have time to weed through and categorize your inbox, let's talk!  Infopoint Virtual Solutions can easily clear through and categorize your inbox for you in half the time it might take you to do it!  Go ahead and contact us for a free consultation!

How a Virtual Assistant Can Help You Manage Your Blog

Virtual AssistantKristin RumianComment
how a virtual assistant can help you manage your blog

Blogging is very important to any business but it could definitely be time-consuming and very difficult to maintain as a busy entrepreneur or business owner.  I've seen so many business owners whose blogs ended up like an abandoned ghost town because they've let their blog fall to the wayside.  Unfortunately, that is a very bad idea since blogs are such an important part of marketing your business.  

A Virtual Assistant can be an asset to your business and your blog because they can take the wheel and navigate your blog back to success.  Let me give you an idea of just what a VA can do for your blog.

Maintain Your Editorial Calendar

An editorial calendar (or content calendar) is a way for you to plan out your blog posts for the next 1-2 months.  I personally feel that an editorial calendar is important because it will ensure that you have enough content for the next 1-2 months and it will also allow you to see what is coming up next on your blog.  

While editorial calendars are very essential to any blog they can also be very hard to maintain depending on how detailed you go with your calendar.  A Virtual Assistant can take control of your calendar and schedule posts for the month, mark posts as draft/scheduled/posted or moving blog posts around if you feel the need to change a date.

Write/Proofread Content

Writing blog content can sometimes seem like something that can be put off while you run the other aspects of your business.  Let me be the first to tell you that if you put off that blog post it will never get written.  A Virtual Assistant can create content, write that blog post for you or even proofread a post that you've already written.  They can make sure that your post flows well, has correct spelling, grammar and punctuation so that you don't end up with a messy blog post that your readers won't want to read.

Market Your Blog

Every blog post should be promoted no matter how short it is.  This will bring more visibility to your blog and it will also let your readers know that you have a new blog post for them to read.  Let a Virtual Assistant help you promote your blog on social media so that you can direct traffic to your new, amazing blog post.

Optimize Your Blog

By now every business owner knows how important SEO (search engine optimization) is to your blog and business.  Everyone wants to see a good amount of organic traffic to their website and blog but most business owners don't know how to accomplish getting their site indexed well in the search engines.  A Virtual Assistant who specializes in SEO (Just like Infopoint Virtual) will be able to assist you in optimization.  They will be able to go through all of your blog posts to make sure that they are all optimized properly so they can be indexed in the search engines.  Once your blog posts are optimized, watch that organic search engine traffic roll in and watch your visibility grow.

Take Care of the Technical Aspect

A Virtual Assistant can take care of the technical tasks of owning a blog such as updating Wordpress, updating plugins for your blog, etc...  These tasks may seem small and mundane, but they are essential for the upkeep of your blog. 

Take Care of the Administrative Aspect

Keeping up with blog comments is an essential part of good customer service, especially if the commenters have a question for you regarding a product or service.  This may be hard for you to keep track of on your own, but a Virtual Assistant will be able to keep on top of this and get those comments managed in a timely manner accurately!  This will help with your engagement and your customer service rating for your business.  

Now that you see what a Virtual Assistant can do for your blog, maybe it's time to consider outsourcing one for your business.  Let's talk!  You can get a free 30-minute consultation with Infopoint Virtual Solutions so we can find out what would work for you and your business.  Contact us now to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.

Tips for Marketing Your Business on Instagram

Social MediaKristin RumianComment
Tips for Marketing Your Business on Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms because it promotes visual sharing instead of text heavy posts.  The population of internet users absolutely love anything visual because it is pleasing to the eye and easy to scroll until something catches the eye.  If you perfect your photo abilities and keep everything neat and beautiful, you will have success on Instagram,

Branding

This may sound like common sense, but you'd be surprised how many businesses I see that do not have strong branding across their website and social media platforms.  The first and most important tip that I can ever tell you is to keep your branding consistent among all platforms.  Your business name should be your user name (or some slight variation of your business name), your profile photo should be your logo and you should keep as true to your business voice as possible while posting.  In a world where user names can be similar to one another, you want your audience and your following to know that your Instagram is, in fact, your Instagram.  

Use Hashtags

Hashtags are everywhere and Instagram is no different.  Using hashtags on Instagram is very important because that is the main way that new followers find you.  Remember to use popular keywords that are low to medium competition for your hashtags.  (You can do some research on these keywords through the Google Keyword Tool)  

I also suggest that you take advantage of the trending topics on Instagram.  You can find them on the "Search" page and these can really help your marketing efforts.  If there's a trending topic that you feel you can post about, go ahead and do it!  It might bring you some new visibility that you wouldn't have had otherwise.  Even though this might divert from your business, every so often it's okay to make posts that aren't generally about your business.

Engagement

Just like with every other social media platform, engagement with followers is important.  If anyone has a comment or question that they reply with, go ahead and answer them.  If someone direct messages you, write back to them as soon as you possibly can.  I also suggest that you comment or like some of your followers' photos as well, this gives more of a personal touch and shows that you care about them.  

Theme Your Photos

On Instagram, aesthetics is key.  Make sure that your photos flow together, look attractive and have similar coloring.  You want everything to look very pleasing to the eye and coordinating so your main profile page looks professional and beautiful.  Filters and Instagram's photo editing tools are key to helping theme your page.

Utilize Photo & Video Posts

Using both the photo and video post options will help to give your page a little more of a personal touch.  Post a video of one of your products, a behind the scenes in the office or even just a quick tip that you think your followers would be interested in. Be creative, have fun but still be professional and keeping to your brand's voice. 

Add in Your Lead Magnet

Lead magnets are an amazing way to capture those e-mail addresses that every business owner is after for their newsletter.  Even though you can't link an actual clickable link within Instagram posts, you can still post your lead magnet.  The way to do this is to put the link to your landing page in the "link" field of your bio and once you are creating your Instagram post, add your blurb/pitch and add "LINK IN BIO" to the end of your post.  This way, if someone is interested in the lead magnet that you are essentially advertising on your Instagram, they are able to go to your bio and click right onto your landing page. 

Run a Contest on Instagram

As with every other social media platform, running contests on your Instagram page can drive a lot of traffic depending on how you approach it.  Unlike Facebook (who has lightened up on their policies for giveaways and contests), Instagram doesn't have too many rules.  The only main rule you need to follow is to add a disclaimer that the promotion/contest/giveaway is not sponsored nor endorced by Instagram itself.  

Some contest ideas could be:

  • Asking your followers to:
    • Like your post and follow your instagram to win
    • Tagging a friend in the comments section to win
    • Take a selfie with your product and tag you to win
    • A "Caption This" contest

And so on...

These are just some of the more popular and effective ways to market your brand or business on Instagram.  In order to market yourself on a platform like Instagram or Snapchat, you just really need to be strategic and creative.  

How You Can Stand Out on Social Media

Social MediaKristin RumianComment
how you can stand out on social media

There are millions of users on each and every social media platform per day and that equals to twice as many tweets, posts or pins that get sent out.  It may seem virtually impossible to stand out among all of the others on social media and may seem even more impossible to stand out among the top influencers in your niche, but you can do it.  It only takes one person to share your social media content to really bring visibility to your brand, so you need to know just how to stand out among the other posts in someone's social media feed.  

Be Social on Social Media

It's easy to send out a few tweets or posts per day and go on to do your other work, completely forgetting about your social media networks until the next day.  Unfortunately, the set it and forget it mode doesn't work if you really want to stand out from your competition.  Audience engagement is the key to success here.  It's important to turn on your social media notifications so you will be able to see if someone comments on one of your posts.  

If your audience asks you a question, answer as quickly as you possibly can.  If your audience comments on a post, comment back even if it's just with a quick, "Thank You".  You need to build relationships on social media and engage with your audience so that they know you care and so that they know there is a face behind that brand.  Your followers want someone to care about them and they want to know that you know they are there. 

Add Value

Adding value is essential for any brand to succeed.  Whether you add value through your website, blog posts or social media, you need to give your audience something that will be useful to them; something that they need.  There are a few ways that you can provide value to your audience:

  • Anticipate problems or questions that your audience may have and offer tips.  
  • Provide outstanding customer service on social media and go above and beyond.  If you see someone asking a question about your business, go ahead and answer it.  Even if their question is directed to the general public and not specifically directed towards you, take the initiative to reply back to them.
  • Provide your audience with other resources other than your own to aid them with any questions or comments that they may have, even if the question isn't necessarily about your product or brand.  
    • For example - You're browsing your feed and you see that one of your followers is having a problem with the battery life on their iPhone.  Now your business has nothing to do with iPhones or their batteries, but you know a great article about battery life.  Provide that value and reply to them with a link to that article.  
  • Ask your audience for their input about a launch, new product, new service, etc...  People absolutely love to have a say in the R&D process.  Let them feel like they're involved, let them feel like their input makes a difference in the product.

Keep Up with Social Media Trends

Every smart social media marketer knows that you have to keep an eye on the trends every single day.  You can quickly find the trends for the day on Twitter and Facebook by looking on the sidebar of each platform's page.  Browse through the trends to see if any of them fit your business or a product that you currently have.  If anything strikes your fancy, go ahead and use one of those trending keywords or hashtags in your post.  This can possibly bring a lot more visibility to your business or brand by just a simple post with a trending keyword or hashtag!

Add a Visual Element

If you browse through your feed you will probably see mostly posts that are all text based.  There may be a few that have photos, but not many.  Most people are visual and are interested in anything visual, also visual posts stand out more predominantly on social media feeds.  You should definitely incorporate a photo or infographic into your social media posts so they will be eye catching and will have a better chance of being seen.  The photo could be a behind the scenes photo, an exclusive photo of a product or the header image from your new blog post.  Go ahead, try it!

Know Your Audience

I wrote about finding out who your target audience is a few months back and that is the topic of this bullet point.  You need to know who your audience is and you need to find out what they want.  One tip to finding out what your audience wants is to look at your trends on your social media networks.  What posts are getting the most likes or replies?  That's most likely exactly what your audience wants.  This takes some trial and error, but once you figure out exactly what they want, you will be on a roll.  Another way to find out what your audience wants is to do a little R&D.  Poll your followers and ask what they want.  Do they love when you post videos? Tips and tricks? Behind the scenes photos?  This will help you to know exactly what they want so you can deliver.

 

How Can You Use Snapchat to Promote Your Business

Social MediaKristin Rumian1 Comment
how to use snapchat for business

According to HootSuite, Snapchat has over 100 million daily active users and over 400 million snaps being sent every day.  As much as Snapchat may seem like an app that's solely for pre-teens and teenagers, according to HootSuite statistics, the largest age demographic on Snapchat is 18-24-year-olds.  This age group makes up 37% of Snapchat users.  Ages 25-34 make up 26% of users and ages 35-54 make up 12% of Snapchat's users.  That's pretty eye opening and definitely isn't what I was expecting the demographics to be.  

In fact, many companies are embracing Snapchat as a channel for Social Media Marketing because it can reach many users within their target demographic and Snapchat provides a sense of exclusivity.  Those who market through Snapchat have the advantage of the exclusive nature of the seconds a user has to see a photo or a video.  It makes your audience feel like they are a part of a special club and therefore, they will feel like you value them as a person instead of a number.  Here are some ways that businesses can use Snapchat for promotion.

Exclusive Content

As I said, Snapchat provides a sense of exclusivity and that's why you should share exclusive content that users of your website or other social media channels may not see.  You can post behind the scenes photos of your manufacturing plant, office, workers, etc... Or even show some new products or collections before the official launch.  

Contests or Offers

You can run exclusive Snapchat contests for your audience, just as you may run contests on your other various social media accounts.  Here are some ideas of types of contests that you can run on your Snapchat:

  • Scavenger Hunts - Give followers an item that they have to snap to you and the first 1-3 could be winners.
  • Caption This - Have users snap back captioning a photo that you provide.  Pick the best captions to win.

Or you can come up with your own contests!  You can also snap exclusive coupon codes or offers to your Snapchat audience.  If they capture the code in the 10-second allotment for the post, they can enter that code on your website for an exclusive discount.

Engagement with Audience

You can engage with your audience by asking them to Snap you questions for a Q&A and you can feature their snap or snap video before your answer to their question.  You could also ask your audience to snap you a picture with one of the Snapchat filters and you could choose the best or funniest ones to feature on your Snapchat. 

Paid Snapchat Advertising

If you have the money in your budget, Snapchat offers paid advertising.  Actually, Snapchat offers a plethora of paid advertising products.  The best website to learn about these products is right here on WalarooMedia's website.  Snapchat's paid advertising starts at $3,000 and goes up depending on what paid product you choose to market your business with. 

Promote Blog Posts

You can always promote your blog posts through Snapchat by simply creating a snap video letting your audience know that you have a new blog post up.  Unfortunately, Snapchat doesn't allow clickable links in their snaps but you can always let them know that the link to your blog or website is in your bio or simply just state the website address.  This is what many bloggers, YouTubers or businesses do.

Use Fans as Influencers

A smart way to market your website or brand through Snapchat is to use your fans as influencers.  Simply put out a blog post or snap video asking your fans to make a snap or snap video using your product or talking about/promoting your product.  You could use this technique as a contest or simply offer a coupon code or offer to those who promote your brand or business.  You can send the coupon codes exclusively through the messaging feature on Snapchat.

How to Maximize Your Facebook Reach

Social MediaKristin RumianComment
how to maximize your facebook reach

Social media marketing is everywhere these days and for good reason, social media marketing is like a digital form of "word of mouth" and it can reach tens of thousands of new viewers if you know how to market correctly. For many businesses, Facebook is the preferred social media platform for advertising since it's a platform that almost everybody utilizes but how do you maximize your Facebook reach for the best return on your time investment?

On Facebook you have paid reach and organic reach, both are equally important to the success of your Facebook page, however, most people are more concerned with the organic reach since it is the no-cost way of marketing.  Organic reach means getting views on Facebook through non-paid avenues such as search engines, a post being on someone's newsfeed and also by someone sharing the post on their newsfeed. Many businesses claim that lately their organic reach is going down by the day, and it very well might be.  Facebook, along with many other social media platforms, constantly change their algorithms and that's why it's important to stay up to date with the most current information. Secondary to that, every platform favors their paid advertisers for obvious reasons; they make money from it, and that's why we have to use what we have to maximize our reach - our current Facebook fans.   Below I will share a few ways to maximize your organic Facebook reach so you can get your posts and page out to people without paying anything!

Upload Videos on Your Page

Most people are very visual and will opt to watch a video over reading text, this is why uploading videos to your Facebook page in the form of posts will stop your audience from scrolling past your post in a newsfeed and will entice them to watch the video.  Personally, if I see a video in my newsfeed, I am more inclined to watch the video over reading a very text-heavy post.  There are different types of videos that you can upload, but some popular ideas are:

  • Behind-the-scenes videos
  • Tutorial Videos
  • Instructional Videos
  • Informational Videos

Another idea would be to do a Facebook Live session.  Facebook Live sessions not only catch the eye of your audience when they're scrolling through their newsfeed, it also allows your audience to interact with you and see the personal side of you and your business.  This will increase your engagement as well as your organic reach.  

Offers and Coupons

There is one thing that is common amongst almost all people, and that is that everyone loves a deal.  One of the best ways to grab people's attention and keep them coming back is to offer something that is of value to your audience.  It could be a free download, a free course, a coupon, a deal that they can claim within a certain amount of time or even a contest.  Facebook has most recently changed their policies about contests & giveaways to make them more accessible to everyone and easier to conduct.  

Create Amazing & Shareable Content

Even though I mentioned how important it is to share videos for those who are visual, content is still king.  It's very important to mix up what you share on your Facebook page so your audience doesn't get bored.  Sure, videos are easy, fun and informative, but sometimes good old content is what your audience wants.  Create amazing and informative posts that your audience will want to share.  Share a new post that you have on your blog, share an interesting article that you recently read that is related to the content that you create, write a post that may solve a problem or answer a question that your audience may have.  Be fun, be personable but overall; be informative. 

Engage With Your Audience

Engagement is important because you want your audience to know that there is a person behind your brand.  If they have questions or comments, always respond to them when you have the time to.  Questions or comments may be in the form of messages or even replies on the page, so keep an eye out in your replies for any questions that may need an answer.  I also suggest to ask your audience questions so they can start a conversation.  If you have the time to, weigh in on the question yourself or reply to some of the comments.  If you engage with your audience, they will feel like you are giving them attention and they will know that you care about them as a person and not just a number/statistic.

SEO & Hashtags

Hashtags used to be something that only Twitter users would use, but in the past few years, hashtags have also come to be popular on Facebook.  If you optimize your Facebook content using keywords that people may be searching for within Facebook search and if you use hashtags that describe your content, more people will be able to find your content. 

Start a Facebook Group

People absolutely love to engage with others in Facebook groups and sometimes groups can be very informative and helpful.  If you have a Facebook business page, you are able to create a Facebook group that is connected to your page.  When you're creating a group, make sure that the niche of the group is associated with the niche/topic of your business page, this will ensure that those who join the group are also interested in what you have to offer.  Once you have members in your group you have the option of posting on the group from either your business page or your personal page.  Make sure that you always post as your business page so your group's members will be able to see and click through to your page if they are interested.  The best part is Facebook groups pretty much market themselves.  I would suggest adding a link to your group on your website, but other than that people are searching for groups everyday and will easily be able to find yours in a search.  Just make sure that the name you choose for your group describes what your group is about and is different than the other groups on Facebook.

Know Your Audience

I know that you probably know who your ideal business avatar is but what does your audience on Facebook want on your page?  Well, this may take some time, trial and error, but it is possible to figure it out.  Take a quick look through your Facebook page statistics and try to find out what they enjoy the most.  Are they posts that are infographics? Are they posts that contain images or videos?  Are they Facebook Live events?  To accomplish this you can even do a split test and post videos on (let's say) Mondays and Wednesdays and informative posts on Tuesdays and Fridays.  From there, you will be able to see which group of posts performs better; is it the videos or the informative posts?  This will begin to help you see what your audience wants, enjoys and expects from your page.

Creating an interested and engaged audience on Facebook takes time and a lot of effort on your part, but once you have that audience it will feel very rewarding and humbling to see them engaging and enjoying your posts.  

What are some ways you maximize your reach on Facebook?

Why It's Important to Take Time for Yourself

Business ProductivityKristin RumianComment
why taking time for yourself is important

As entrepreneurs or business owners, we know how important productivity and hard work is for the success of our business.  We tirelessly sit at our desks day in and day out and put all of our concentration and energy into the inner workings of our businesses; sometimes we sit at our desks for a lot longer than we should and we end up mentally, emotionally and physically tiring ourselves out.  Trust me, I know the feeling. As much as we need to work on our businesses, we also need to take time for ourselves so we can relax, recharge and continue to put our all into our work. 

Constantly working extra long hours can cause stress in your life.  Whether it's stress over business or stress because you don't have the time to spend with your family, it's still stress that can take over.  Stress is bad for many reasons, it can cause high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety or even lower your immune system making you more susceptible to colds and the flu.  Stress unknowingly can completely wreak havoc on our bodies and our lives and that's why it's important to get rid of the stress we feel.  The best way to get rid of the stress that we feel is to take care of yourself. 

Hire a Virtual Assistant

I know taking time off work and having some "me time" is easier said than done when you're running or just starting up your business, but it's something that we all have to learn to do. If you're a more established business or have the financial means to outsource to a Virtual Assistant, that's one of the best ways to get some work off your plate so you can have more time for yourself and your family.  A Virtual Assistant can take on those tasks that are stressing you because they are professionally trained in a plethora of fields and can get the tasks that you delegate to them done quickly, efficiently and professionally.

Don't Work Yourself Too Hard

Working yourself too hard will cause you to emotionally and mentally exhaust yourself.  I know it's hard to "not take your work home" when some of us may work from home, but it's important to set work hours and stick to your work hours only.  It's very tempting to pick up your laptop at ungodly hours of the night and start getting work done or picking up your phone or tablet during dinner to answer an e-mail, but you need that time after work for yourself.  Disconnecting yourself is the best way to go when work is over.  Instead of picking up that laptop or phone, spend time with your family, take a few hours to watch TV or just plain relax -- you deserve it.

Take Short Breaks

It's also advisable that throughout your work day you learn to take some shorter breaks in order to regroup and stretch your legs.  While this isn't really "me time", they are breaks that can clear your mind and allow you to be more productive when you get back to the office.  You may even go for a walk and find some random creative inspiration that can help you to come up with new ideas.

Plan Head

Taking time off for a family vacation is hard when you're running a business but it is possible.  It's important ot track the cycles in your business; when you have the most business and when you can afford downtime like a vacation.  Once you track the cycles in your business and pinpoint when your slowest times are, it's important to plan ahead so you have everything covered while you are away.  Make sure you have someone to assist the running of your business when you are gone and make sure they know how to contact you in a business emergency situation.  If you plan ahead, you can definitely go ahead, have that vacation and have a wonderful time doing it.

Maximizing Productivity

When you are able to take a break and take time for yourself, you actually maximize your productivity when you get back to the office.  This happens because allowing yourself to relax will recharge your body and mind to get the creative juices flowing again.  When you're just sitting at a desk 365 days a year you lose touch with your business and what's the most important because you're constantly doing the same things over and over again.  Your body and mind go on auto pilot and you can't continue to give it your all because you've exhausted yourself. 

 

Different Types of Learners and the VARK Model

LearningKristin RumianComment

People love learning new things, that's a fact, but did you know that there are a few different types of learners?  Everyone learns and absorbs information differently and the way that you learn describes the type of learner that you are.  There is a model called the VARK model that was created by Neil Fleming in 1987 and this model describes the four main types of learners.  Visual, Auditory, Reading and Kinesthetic.  

 

Visual Learners

Visual learners respond best to material that is presented in:

  • Maps
  • Charts
  • Diagrams
  • Images

Visual learners can easily visualize concepts, plans and can easily be creative to solve different types of problems.  They can also look at situations and problems in different and creative ways that other people may not be able to see.  This will help them to easily problem solve and problem solve in different ways.  

Visual learners can easily use maps to navigate and have a great sense of direction.  They usually use landmarks in order to navigate and/or give directions.

 

Auditory Learners

Auditory learners respond best to material that is presented in:

  • Lectures/Speeches
  • Music/Recordings
  • Spoken Information

Auditory learners may prefer audio books over traditional books and may read traditional books aloud in order to absorb the information.  They also follow spoken directions very well and are able to remember a particular conversation with crystal clarity.

These learners absolutely love to be in the classroom and absorb information given in lectures very well.  Do you remember the one kid in class that could listen to a lecture, never study and ace a test?  They were probably auditory learners.

 

Reading/Writing Learners

Reading/Writing learners respond best to material that is presented in:

  • Books
  • Documents
  • Websites
  • Notes

Reading/Writing learners learn best by having information spelled out in black and white right in front of them.  They can also learn best by writing notes from a lecture or writing notes from a book.  They may repetitively write notes in order to study and absorb the information.  

These learners most likely love to read and may be book worms. 

 

Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners respond best to material that is presented by:

  • Experiments
  • Physically doing something
  • Hands-On learning

Kinesthetic learners (or physical learners) learn best by actually doing.  They will absorb information by doing an experiment or actually doing work in the field that they are studying. They need to be hands-on and need to be actively doing something while learning.  Kinesthetic learners are brilliant individuals and are mostly: Doctors, Surgeons, Dancers, etc...  

 

There is no right and wrong ways to learn since everyone learns in their own way and at their own pace.  Better yet -- you can actually be a combination of one, two or three of these learning styles, depending on how you learn best.  I, for one, am a combination between a visual and reading/writing learner.  I learn best by seeing material presented in front of me in diagrams or images but I also learn best by reading and writing something down.  I've always been the one to take tons of notes either in class or while I'm learning new material online...I have many notebooks with many notes on different topics and that's the way that I absorb information best.  

There are many different online quizzes that can tell you what type of learner you are, but this one will give you the percentage score for each of the learning styles.  Check it out if you would like to learn what type of learner you actually are!  The results may surprise you!

 

 

The Inspiration Behind Building My Own Business

Virtual AssistantKristin RumianComment

While I love to write informative posts that will hopefully fill you with new knowledge, I thought I would get a little personal here and explain why I started Infopoint Virtual Solutions.  I thought I would give you a little more information about me, my motivation and what keeps me going day after day. 

I became a first-time mother when I was twenty years old and my oldest daughter was born 8 weeks prematurely.  Due to her being born prematurely, even just 8 weeks, she ended up being a very high needs baby that needed continuous care for the first year of her life.  I was a single mother, I didn't have a job and (because I'm a very independent woman) I didn't want any help from my family.  I wanted to do it all on my own,  but I just didn't know what to do.  

Since she was very high needs, I couldn't go out and get a job even though my mother offered to take care of my daughter.  I wanted to be there for her, I wanted to be the one to take care of her and I wanted to be the one to provide for my little family but I just wasn't sure how I would do that.  It seemed like an impossible feat, but I was determined to make it work.

I started to do research on jobs that I could do from home and came across the term Virtual Assistant.  The more research I did on being a Virtual Assistant, the more I loved it and knew that it was something that I could actually do.  I did as much research as I possibly could do and even subcontracted with Apple computers through a company that outsourced for them.  I answered phones, submitted orders, assisted with customer service and loved what I was doing -- I knew that I wanted to become a Virtual Assistant for the long term.

Even though I loved being a VA for Apple computers, I wanted to do my own thing.  I wanted to be my own boss, I wanted to reach a wider range of businesses that I could help and I wanted to do more for them.  I reached out to a family member who had his own business and knew more than I did, at that time, and we worked on building Infopoint Virtual Solutions.  

IPV started out being called Universal Web Design & Assisting and we worked with some smaller clients on a trial basis.  I mainly did a lot of webdesign for Blogger blogs, some Wordpress blogs and basic websites, calendar and e-mail maintenance and freelance writing.  I loved what I was doing and continued that for a few years until Social Media became the new norm for everyone.  

Once Social Media really took off as the best free way to market yourself and your business, I started spending hours and hours researching, reading, taking notes and finding out all of the information that I possibly could about it.  I ended up taking a few months off from my business due to family illness and also wanting to revamp my business, websites and services.  I took those few months to really re-brand myself and my business and re-think everything that I wanted to offer my prospective and current clients.  

We reopened as Infopoint Virtual Solutions in 2009 and we've been going strong ever since.I absolutely love the clients I've worked with, the work I've done for my clients and I love that I can help businesses, other Virtual Assistants and bloggers/small business owners from my home office while still being with my family.  I'm so happy that I was able to be with my girls all of their lives, I'm happy I've been able to see them grow up, support them from day one and also be a role model for them.  I've taught them, through my trials, fails, errors and mistakes; that they can do absolutely anything they want to do if they just put their mind to it.  I've taught them to never give up and I've taught them to be true to who they really are.  If I didn't do all of that, I wouldn't have this business today.  It was a venture that tried my patience, caused a lot of frustration and discouraged me often, but it was all worth it. I love what I do and I wouldn't change it for the world.  

I hope that Infopoint Virtual Solutions continues to grow and continues to help others for a long time to come.  It's what I love to do and it's what I do well.  I'm always reading, learning and taking new classes to further my skills...I believe that no one is perfect and everyone can use new knowledge.

Thank you for listening! 

How to Keep Your Customers Happy

Tips & TricksKristin RumianComment

Keeping your customers happy is a very important part of any business.  In order to keep them coming back and spreading the word about your business, you want them to absolutely love you and love the products & services that you provide them.  But just how can you keep your customers happy and coming back for more?

Good Customer Service

Having good customer service is incredibly important.  If your customers have a question, concern, problem with their product or service, etc... You want them to know that they can always contact you for assistance.

  • Offer your customers a variety of ways to contact you such as: E-mail, Phone, Interaction through Social Media, (possibly) Online chat, etc...  
  • Make sure you let your customers know how long your approximate response time is to e-mails or Social Media
  • Once you receive an inquiry, make sure that e-mail, voice mail, Social Media message, etc... is answered in a very timely manner.  The usual turnaround time for a response is 24-48 hours unless you are very busy and receive many inquiries.

Once you are ready to answer your inquiry, make sure that your response is personalized, polite, tailored to the person who is contacting you and thorough.  If they ask you a question about a product or service, answer them and give even more information.  Offering too much information is better than not offering enough information.  This will make the customer feel at ease and it can possibly answer even more questions that they may have. 

 

Social Media Interaction

Interacting with your customers through Social Media will help them know that you care about them as a person and not just them as a customer.  You want them to know that you care about what they have to say.  

If you're browsing through your timeline and see that a follower (customer or potential customer) posted something interesting, reply or like it.  Even if it has nothing to do with your business, take the time to show them that you care.  

If you see that a customer posted something about your company, comment back!  If it's a compliment, reply thanking them for complimenting your business.  If it's a problem that they are having, reply and ask what you can do to help them or their situation.  Social Media is a simple, easy and quick way to get to know and help your customers.

 

Listen to Your Customers

You can do this in a few ways:

  • Posting a question or poll on Social Media
  • Asking your customers to provide input for a product or service
  • Putting together a focus group
  • Send out a survey
  • Post a poll on your website or blog

Once you have responses or feedback, take the answers into account and follow through.  Your customers are the most vital part of your business because they are the ones who are the consumers or clients of your product and services.  Listening to your customers will make them feel like they are a part of your business.  

 

Post Helpful & Engaging Content

I am a big believer that every business & company should have a blog.  Blogs help you to market your business, get more visibility, prove that you are an expert in your field and can both entertain and help your customers through your blog posts.  

Make sure that you post great content on a regular basis to keep your customers & readers engaged and coming back.  Being consistent is the key to a successful business blog!  Your content should be a good mix of informative, helpful and entertaining/interesting.  Post about your new products & their uses, post information about a new trend that is within your industry, write an entertaining post about something that is going on within your industry or just write an informative post that will answer a question or questions that they may have.

 

Be Very Transparent

Make sure your customers know everything about your business, products and/or services.  Let them know exactly what they're getting, when they should be getting it or exactly how your services work.  

Example: When a client contacts me to ask about a certain service, I respond to them by mapping out exactly how I perform my services.  I let them know the entire process from the free consultations that I offer, to how I plan to help them, to the delivery of my services.  I give them a very realistic timeline of how long a project will take and I also let them know my fees associated with that service.  I am very clear and consist when I respond to them so that they feel comfortable in knowing every single thing that I can do for them and how I can help them.

Transparency is very important because customers want to know what they are getting and when they should expect to receive a product or end result on a service.

 

Remember, your customers are your business.  They are the ones that keep your business going by purchasing products or services, telling others about your business/spreading the word and you want them to be happy.  You want your customer satisfaction rate to be phenomenal and you want to build the trust and customer loyalty that will continue to grow your business.

How do you keep your customers happy?

What Are Actionable Goals and Why Are They Useful in Business?

Goal SettingKristin RumianComment

Every business owner and entrepreneur sets short-term and long-term goals for themselves and their business and - let's face it - sometimes we sit staring at those goals extremely perplexed.  They may seem extremely difficult to achieve or sometimes they may even seem impossible depending on the goals that you set.  As tough as they may seem to be, never give up on those goals.  Goals are what you, as the business owner, ultimately want to achieve with your business.  You set the goals incredibly high because you know that achieving those goals will be the ultimate reward for all of your hard work and dedication to what you do.  

So how can you feel like you're making steps towards accomplishing those goals?  There is a way.  It's not a secret nor is it a quick fix to get to your goal; it's a progression.  They are called actionable goals.

What are actionable goals?

Actionable goals are smaller goals that act as a road map to a much larger goal.  Think of them as stepping stones; each actionable goal (stepping stone) will lead you to your ultimate short-term or long-term goal.  Sometimes larger goals can seem extremely overwhelming, but actionable goals make your larger goals much more manageable and do-able.

Why should I set actionable goals?

Simple.  They will help you to take baby steps to your goals and they will also keep you motivated when you see your actionable goals being checked off.  Each check will mean that you are that much closer to your main goal!  They give you a clear picture of what you want to achieve and act as a roadmap to show you how to get there.

How do I set actionable goals?

  • Take each short or long-term goal and write them down on a piece of paper.
  • Look at each of your main goals and see how you can break them down further in order to make them more manageable.
  • Actionable goals are usually task-based goals that you can accomplish weekly, monthly or even bi-monthly.
  • Every month, revisit your main goals to see if you can further break them down into smaller actionable goals.

Example

Main Goal: Get x amount of new clients this year.
Actionable Goals:
Post consistently on Social Media platforms, promoting website & blog posts.
- Send out mailers to prospective clients
- Participate in x amount of networking events this quarter
- Reach out to past clients for referrals
- Reach out to past clients for testimonials

See?  That main goal has smaller "mini-goals" that are task-based and branch off of that goal of getting a certain amount of clients in a year.  You can most definitely break that goal down with more tasks, but it's best to start with a small number of tasks first and expand as you check some off your list.

In totality, if you keep using the method of creating actionable goals, your business will perform better and you will see that you are making steps towards that main goal.  It will give you a clear picture of the progress that you are making with your efforts!

Do you currently make actionable goals for yourself and your business?

7 Best Productivity Tips for Entrepreneurs

Tips & Tricks, ProductivityKristin RumianComment

There are only so many hours in a day and even less in a work day.  You may think that 8 hours is a long time, but when you have a laundry list of things to do within your day, it's really not that long.  So how can you get everything done and not have to work late? You need to find ways to be productive and find ways to get all of your tasks done within that work day.  We've learned a lot in the years that we have been in business and we have learned through trial and error the best ways to be productive.

Schedule Everything

It's important to start the day knowing what you have to do that day and when you plan to get that task done.  Write down everything: meetings, business appointments, phone calls, personal appointments and even tasks. Schedule it all!  This will help you to see exactly how much free time you really have in your day and will allow you to schedule blocks of time for absolutely everything.  If you find yourself spending too much time on one task, scheduling it out into a chunk of time is the way to go!  Don't allow a one hour task take you more than that one hour.

Work on Your Business During Work

As tempting as it may be to text friends,hop on phone calls with long lost relatives, play Angry Birds or surf the web; keep those personal tasks for after work hours.  Once you get distracted, it's hard to get back into the swing of things.  

Distractions are one of the main killers of productivity.  Think about this: That one hour phone call with your Uncle George takes away one hour of your time from an important business task.  If you waited until after work hours to talk to your Uncle George, you could have a task crossed off your to-do list! 

Create a To-Do List

Take a half hour each morning to start your work day off on a productive note.  Write down the most important business tasks first.  This should include any time-sensitive tasks or tasks that you know have to get done that day.  After you write down the most important business tasks, prioritize your tasks after that.  The last group of tasks should be tasks that you can either delegate to another employee (or VA) or tasks that can wait until another day.  Chances are, you may not get to that task by the end of the work day.  As you knock out those tasks, check it off the list.  This will help you to see that you are making headway and you will feel motivated to keep going.  

If you don't finish every task, don't worry!  Rome wasn't built in a day!  Migrate that task to the next day or another day that week.  Do you see a task that keeps getting migrated day after day? Consider if that task is really important to you.  Will it make or break your business?  Can you just cross that off your list?

Hire a Virtual Assistant

When you hire a Virtual Assistant you get an independent contractor who is there to serve you and your business.  If you have a laundry list of to-dos, you can easily delegate a good portion of those tasks to a Virtual Assistant so that you can focus on the main aspects of your business or have more time with your family.  A Virtual Assistant dedicates their entire career to trying to make life and business better for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Keep Your Work Area Clutter Free

When you have a desk full of paperwork that is spread everywhere, it's extremely difficult to concentrate and stay productive.  In fact, it has been proven that clutter hinders productivity!   I suggest to get a file folder and label it "Immediate Action"; put all papers that are important and need to be acted on inside that folder.  You can keep that folder on your desk, but your papers will be neatly inside that folder and not all over your desk.  

Another suggestion is to only keep the essentials on your desk.  Keep a notepad, some pens, pencils, scissors, white out, etc...  Anything that you use on a consistent everyday basis.  This will allow you to easily reach the items that you use frequently and other items that you use less frequently can be housed in desk drawers.  

Keeping your desk free of clutter will allow you to boost your productivity and feel less stressed!

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is something that I think a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners take for granted.  Getting enough sleep each night is vital in refreshing your body and allowing you to think more freely.  It will also help you boost your productivity because you won't be tired when you arrive at your desk.

It's important not to take your work home with you, don't work late into the night and if your mind is too cluttered; perform a brain dump.  A brain dump (very simply put) is getting out a piece of paper and writing down anything that's on your mind.  It could be business related, personal life related, things you have to purchase, etc...  This will help to clean out your mind and allow your brain to rest.  It's extremely hard to sleep when your brain keeps running a million miles a minute.

Take a Break

I like to take a few short breaks throughout the day because running a business is stressful.  I limit my breaks to 10 minutes here and there just to get up, stretch and allow my brain to reset.  You can do anything non-work related in that 10-15 minutes but I suggest to get out of the office or away from your desk and take a short walk.

Why Your Blog Might Not Be Working for You and Your Business

Blogging, Tips & TricksKristin RumianComment

Your Blog Isn't Designed with Business in Mind

When designing a blog for your business, it's important to keep in mind what the goal of your business is.  Do you sell professional services?  Jewelry?  Toys?  Stationary?  Clothing for a specific niche?  A blog designed for a Business Consultant is going to be a lot different than a blog designed for a toy business.  Business Consultants tend to be more professional in image while a toy company is going to be much more cutsey with much different graphics.  

Listen, I'm a very creative minded woman and when I first designed this website I included custom made cartoon graphics of a Virtual Assistant and included a lot of cutsey graphics.  I don't think it really deterred people from reading my blog or viewing my website, but who knows, maybe it deterred potential clients from actually contacting me.  I eventually went through a huge rebranding and decided to brand my website and blog much more professionally and I saw results within a few days.  

Another reason your website design could be hindering your business is that your navigation isn't easily accessible or your website or blog.   You need to make sure your visitor knows how to navigate to different pages on your website and you need to test it out on multiple browsers/mobile.  Make sure your design is compatible with every single device there is!

Just be hyper-aware of your brand, your branding and your professionalism for your industry when creating or designing a website and blog.  There may be a chance that your design could possibly be hindering your business and client flow.

Your "About Me" Page Doesn't Clearly Describe Who You Are

Yes, people know your business, they read about your business and they may even be interested in your products or services; but they also want to know about you.  Your readers, visitors and potential clients want to know that there is a person behind that computer screen.  They want to know who you are, what's your motivation to succeed, how and why did you start your business, etc...  Give them some background on you and your experience.  Go ahead, brag!  If someone is going to be hiring you for a certain task or service, they want to know all of the experience that you have before making their decision.  Your "About Me" page is your place to shine and is also a place for complete transparency.

You Do Not Have Clear Photos of Your Product

If you sell a certain product(s) and blog about each new product launch, make sure you have clear photos of your product and the purpose of your product.  Go ahead, post a video demonstrating your product or take a photo of your product in use.  Give your reader a vision of every single way your product can be used.  Potential customers need to feel that they absolutely positively need that product in their lives.  They need to know that their life would be so much easier if they had your product in their hand for their own use.  

You Aren't Promoting Yourself Enough or Your Blog Isn't Optimized Enough

Blogging for business/profit isn't a set it and forget it type of thing.  Sure you can write a blog post and let it sit there without promoting it, but you may only get a few views trickling in from (maybe) organic search results.  If you actually promoted your blog post on various social media platforms, you would see a huge influx of traffic to your promoted post.  I highly suggest that your post be shared to every social media platform that you can think of to maximize your return on time investment.  Share it to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and even Instagram (if you have a visual type of post).  

Optimizing your blog and posts is also another important ingredient in getting more traffic to your site.  

  • Do research on how others are optimizing their blog posts
  • Do research on keywords and long-tail keywords that are low to medium competition but have a high search rate and utilize those keywords throughout your post.
    • Use them in your title
    • Your subtitle
    • H1 & H2 Headings
    • Within the first paragraph of your post
    • Within the body of your post
    • Within the conclusion of your post
    • In the Meta description
  • Optimize your images by using keywords in your file name
    • By using your keywords in the ALT tags on your photos
  • Add links to internal (within site) related posts or add links to trusted external related sites.

You Make Readers Subscribe Before Reading

While it's completely acceptable (and a great option) to have a call to action within your blog or website, some people get thoroughly annoyed when they're hit with a subscribe box before even reading any content.  Try not to have a pop-up subscribe box immediately as the visitors enters your site unless you have a freebie they can receive by joining.  This is probably a very small issue that not many people see as an issue, but I have heard that it is very unfavorable to some readers.  

Instead of having a pop-up subscribe box immediately come up, try to stagger it throughout the time the reader is on the website.  You can also put your subscribe box on the top in your header or at the top of your sidebar.  If your reader likes what they see, they will then subscribe to your mailing list. 

Biggest Misconceptions about Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Virtual AssistantKristin RumianComment

It's too expensive to hire a Virtual Assistant

If you really think about hiring an in-office employee and all of the costs that come with hiring that new employee, you will see that hiring a Virtual Assistant is actually a much cheaper option.  When you hire an in-office employee you have to also pay:

  • Background checks to ensure that the employee is 100% clear of any felonies or blemishes on their record.
  • Benefits
  • Lunch Hours
  • Vacation Days
  • Sick Days
  • Benefits (health/vision/dental)
  • All of the overhead, business supplies, office space, etc...
  • And probably other fees in order to hire that employee.

Sure, Virtual Assistants may charge an upwards of $50 per hour, but that's all you're paying for that VA.  You're not paying benefits, sick days, vacation days, etc... because the VA is an independent contractor.  Being an independent contractor means that the VA is not an employee of your company.  They work for themselves, they're responsible for their own insurance and they're responsible for their own taxes.  

Think about how much you may be paying for an employee with all of their benefits and perks and then calculate how much you will be paying for just a few hours per month for a VA.  You will clearly see that a VA saves you thousands if not tens of thousands per year.  You're also getting someone who is dedicated, motivated and only charges the client for working hours.

My Business is too Small to Justify a Virtual Assistant

You may think your small business is too small to justify hiring a Virtual Assistant but in reality, no business is too small for a VA.  Think about yourself walking into your office (or home office) and seeing the huge list of things that you have to do that day.  Checking e-mails, booking appointments, confirming appointments, work on your Social Media, post on your Social Media profiles, make travel arrangements, coordinate speaking events, etc...  Whatever your tasks may be.  You may get absolutely overwhelmed by seeing that long list of things that you have to get done and feel discouraged.  Now, imagine walking into your office, hopping on a call or Skype call with your Virtual Assistant, and hearing all of the tasks that your VA has already accomplished for you and what they plan to accomplish that day.  

A Virtual Assistant takes on those tasks for you so that you can focus on the big picture of your business; growing it and succeeding.  No business is too small when you have important tasks to get done. 

VA's Work From Home, Therefore They Don't Put Their All into Their Work

Established Virtual Assistants (like Infopoint Virtual Solutions) work regualr business hours for their clients.  Not only do they work regular business hours, but they work extremely hard to get tasks and projects completed for their clients.  They work on your delegated tasks first and foremost and put their all into the work they do.  Imagine having someone solely dedicated to helping you knock out tasks and assisting in the success of your business, because that is what a Virtual Assistant does.

99.9% of Virtual Assistants have a home office that is fully stocked and allows them to stay focused on the task at hand.  Working from a quiet and peaceful environment actually allows them to work harder and get more done than a traditional in-office employee.

You Can Only Delegate Smaller Tasks to a Virtual Assistant

While some Virtual Assistants only work with Virtual Reception tasks (GVA's), others do so much more.  Virtual Assistants (such as Infopoint Virtual Solutions) also assist with:

You really have to know what you want to delegate to a Virtual Assistant and then search for a Virtual Assistant that specializes in your niche.  (Again, such as Infopoint Virtual Solutions!)

Virtual Assistants are Only for Short-Term Projects

This completely depends on what you need the Virtual Assistant for.  If you have a large project coming up with a strict deadline that you may not be able to handle yourself, a Virtual Assistant can collaborate with you to complete that project on a temporary basis.  However, most Virtual Assistants and small business owners work together long-term on many different tasks.  This is because a Virtual Assistant has a wide array of skills and experience and is able to knock out many tasks for a business owner.  

Some Virtual Assistants start working with clients on a short-term to temporary basis and then have business owners sign on as long-term clients.  Again, it all depends on your business needs.

Are you ready to knock out those administrative to-do's quickly and efficiently? Do you want to optimize your Social Media to get more conversions? Check out Infopoint Virtual Solution's website and let's get started together!

 

 

6 Common Traits of Successful Small Business Owners

Small BusinessKristin RumianComment

Let's be honest -- owning a business is not something that is right for everyone. Being an entrepreneur and small business owner is something that takes motivation, drive, (a lot of) time and a lot of trial and error.  There's no magic formula for small business success, but there are certain traits that all successful small business owners have.  

Experience

Small business owners succeed because they know their industry and know it well.  They work at their craft every single day, research new industry trends whenever possible and basically live and breathe their business.  In order to succeed in business you need to know your industry and be passionate about what you do.

Transparency & Honesty

Successful entrepreneurs and small business owners succeed because they are 100% transparent and honest.  They disclose the workings of their business to their customers, they're 100% honest about what their customers will get in return for their investment and they don't hold anything back.  Your customers and clients want to know about you as well as your business.  They want to know that there are people behind the brand and they look for transparency and honesty when choosing a company to work with or purchase from.

Motivation & Drive

Motivation and drive are too large parts of becoming a successful entrepreneur or small business owner.  You need to stay motivated and driven in order to keep your business going everyday, in order to work as hard as you possibly can to keep your business successful and the motivation to overcome any obstacles that you may face while growing your business. 

Self Discipline

It's so hard to stay focused and put blinders on when you have so much else to do during the day; especially is your business is virtual-based. Working a home-based business can be one of the hardest things you choose to do because there are so many distractions.  You need to have self discipline, you need to stay motivated, focused and set a work schedule for yourself and you need to keep at it until you succeed.  Successful virtual-based business owners have stayed focused on the goal and not allowed themselves to get distracted. 

Goal-Oriented

Business owners who succeed write up detailed short term and long term goals for themselves and their business.  They also write up smaller Actionable Goals that are stepping stones to accomplishing the big picture.  Without goals, where would a business be?  

Goals motivate the business owner and employees, they provide a clear picture of where the business is going and how they are going to get there.  When you set goals for your business, it's best to think long-term goals.  Where will your business be in 5 years?  How much product/services do you hope to sell within 5 years?  How will your business grow each year?  Those are important things to think about.

Patience

Starting your own business takes a lot of patience.  It takes time to get a return on your investment and results do not come automatically.  In fact, the first year that you are in business you probably won't even break even, let alone turn a profit.  Success takes time and profit takes time. 

Don't Let Your Older Blog Posts Die! Give Them a Second Chance at Life!

Content Marketing, BloggingKristin RumianComment
Update your Old Blog Posts

Everyone starts out somewhere in blogging.  Cliche? Maybe, but it's very true.  You don't start out blogging as a professional and surely you've improved greatly by now.  Look back at some of your older blog posts; I'm sure you had some awesome ideas that may have flopped or didn't get as much exposure as you had hoped they would.   Maybe they were boring, poorly written by today's standards, contain out of date information or maybe they contain some (gasp) errors.  Whatever the case may be - you should give these posts a second chance.

"Why should I update my old posts?" Recycling content actually saves you time and may help you when you're fresh out of ideas.  (Don't tell me that you don't have idea block and writer's block! That's a lie!) It also allows these old, unfortunate posts to get new life and to even be seen by new eyes.  It gives these posts a chance to get the visibility that you had hoped it would get back at the time it was written.  

"Who will even see my old posts if they're buried deep in the depths of my archives?" Two words -- Search Engines. While your old posts may be buried deep in the depths of your archives, search engines may still list your post for specific searches.  What first impression will your blog (or business) make if your post is poorly written or contains out of date information?  Chances are, the reader will just close the window and not even bother reading your more recent posts.  

Ok, you've convinced me. But how the heck do I do that?  Start by choosing a specific blog post to focus on.  Pick a post, any post!

I suggest to first look at your analytics because this will give you a lot of insight into which posts are/were the most popular on your blog.  Start with posts that have the most views because chances are, they're still being read more frequently than the others.  These are the posts that you want to edit, beef up and make more appealing to the readers.  

Make sure your old posts have a specific and a strong idea.  You want your idea and topic of your post to stand out and be understood as soon as the reader clicks on that link.   As I said, your blog post may be the first impression that someone gets about your blog and business, and you want it to be a good one. 

Make sure your structure, grammar and spelling are correct. Remember, that post may have been written when your blog was first started and your writing has probably gotten much better.  Make sure your post has:

  • A strong & magnetic title - Your post title is probably the first thing the reader sees when they are searching in the search engines.  You want it to catch their attention and drag them in to read your blog.  Your post title is the reason people click on your link; if your post title is strong and creative, they know your blog will be too!
     
  • A great introduction - There's nothing worse than an amazing post title but a lame or weak introduction.  Your introduction should be just as good, if not better, than your post title.  Make it fun and catchy to get their attention, be unique and express yourself.  A great introduction will keep the reader's attention and keep them reading as well.
     
  • A strong body/content - If you're writing to entertain then keep the writer entertained! Use your magnetic personality and charm to write fun and witty content for your post. If you're writing to inform, make sure your information is strong, accurate (Fact checking time!) and unique.  Use your personality to add a bit of you to your writing, after all you are your blog's voice!  Check to make sure that your grammar and spelling are correct and then check again. (You cannot check this too many times!  You want to make absolutely sure you aren't making any trivial errors!)  
     
  • (If Applicable) Great subheadings and bullet points - Sure you can just group everything into one body of text but that wouldn't stand out too well.  I feel that subheadings and bullet points are absolutely great ways to break up your text and highlight what you want to stand out to your reader. 
     
  • A strong closing and call to action - Your closing should restate some important facts that you've included in the body of your text and should also include a call to action.  Now you may be thinking, "But I don't have a business blog, why would I need a call to action?" You may not need one, but it wouldn't hurt to include one.  For non business blogs you could use a call to action for your reader to subscribe to your RSS feed or mailing list or you could even use a call to action for your reader to follow you on your Social Media pages.  

    For businesses, I strongly suggest you use a call to action directing your readers to contact you for further information on what you may offer or a call to action for your mailing list.  Think of a creative way to close your post as well as getting your reader to become a potential lead for you. 

Make sure your post is correctly optimized - You may not have known much about optimization for search engines or keywords when you wrote some of your earlier blog posts, but I bet you know a thing or two now!  I cannot stress enough how important SEO is for your website,  blog and blog posts.  Optimizing your posts correctly is what gets you found and what gets you readers.  If your post is correctly optimized, great! However, if it's not optimized or even optimized to today's standards, make sure you do that as soon as humanly possible.  You don't want any missed opportunities because your amazing post can't be found.

Do you have pictures?  What about good pictures? Visual content is almost as important as your written content on your blog and blog posts.  This is because the brain processes visual content faster than written content and visual content is extremely appealing to most people.  An eye catching image will draw them into your blog and make them a lot more interested than if your post just had a bunch of text.  

  • 60% of people are visual learners
  • Research shows that posts with images get 94% more views than posts without images.

So make sure that your post includes at least one eye catching and mind blowing image!

Do you have newer posts that are relevant to what you are writing?  You may have a newer post that you can link into the older post that you are editing.  This is where you can keep the reader on your blog by incorporating some new content into your old content!  For example:

If you are talking about social media tips and you have a newer post that you have recently written about ways to use Twitter effectively, link that into the post that you're editing!  It's relevant and will offer the reader more information and encourage them to stay reading within your blog.

Ok, so I've edited my posts and gave them a second chance at life.  Now what do I do?  You have two options here.  You can either save and publish the post straight away or you can change the publish date to the current date in order for your post to show up as a new post.   Once you choose what method that you wish to use, the next thing you need to do is PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE! Share your newly edited blog post on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc... Make sure potential readers are aware that you have a new blog post to share with them! 

So now you know all of my secrets to giving your older blog posts new life so go ahead and get to gettin'! Keep these tips in mind whenever you're in a jam and can't think of anything to blog about or if you just want to update some older posts with newer content. 

Google Goes Mobile Friendly on April 21, 2015 - Are You Ready?

Search Engine Optimizatio, Tips & TricksKristin RumianComment

About a month and a half ago Google announced that Google Bot will rank sites with fully optimized mobile versions higher in the searches than websites without fully optimized mobile versions.  This is definitely going to have a huge impact on search results and on website viewership since mobile searches make up about 40-50% of all searches on Google.  In fact, some sites without mobile versions could probably see a 20% (or more) drop in their viewership and analytics.  

While quite a few people were shocked by this announcement from Google, quite frankly, I was not.  After all, Google did say (a few months back) that they were planning on making changes to the way that they ranked websites with mobile versions versus non-mobile sites.  I am also not surprised that they made this decision because of the sheer amount of mobile searches that are done each and every day.  For most individuals and business owners, their smartphones are part of their being and mobile searching is second nature to them.

I have seen some debate on whether Google means all search results or just mobile search results and this has confused some people.  With Google stating, "Users will find it easier to get the relevant search results that are optimized for their device."  and also clearly stating the phrase "Mobile search results" I feel that this change will only affect those using Google search on their mobile devices and not desktop searches.

That said, I am not downplaying how this could affect millions of businesses and websites because in the grand scheme of things, I'm sure mobile search results get close to the amount of desktop searches there are.  I do highly suggest that websites that are not mobile-optimized take the steps forward to make your site mobile-friendly so your viewership isn't stunted.  

How to Check if Your Site is Mobile Optimized?

Google has a Mobile Friendly Test that will let you know if your website is properly optimized for their big change coming up in the next two weeks.  Just click here > Google's Mobile Friendly Test < and drop in your URL.  If your site is optimized correctly it will give you a result like the one shown below for our website.

If your site is not mobile friendly it will also let you know and will give you some direction towards what you can do to optimize your site. 

You should also take a look at their Google Developer's tool Pagespeed Insights which will let you know if your page has any errors slowing down your page loading time and what you can do to fix the lags.  All you have to do is input your website address and it will quickly analyze your site and populate a list of what needs to be worked on. 

There is also a website that Google has to offer some guide towards making your website mobile-friendly.  You can check that out here Google Mobile Sites and get some insight into just what you should do to make your website mobile-friendly.  

If you're still stuck and don't know which direction to turn with this "mobile friendly thing", Infopoint Virtual Solutions can help you!  Just contact us and we can work together to make your website fully optimized and mobile friendly for Google's new big mobile change! 

 

Bad Guy Optimization: Black Hat SEO Techniques & How to Optimize Properly

Tips & Tricks, Search Engine OptimizatioKristin RumianComment

In the world of SEO there are many do's and don'ts that you will encounter but there is also a lot of grey area when starting out in the world of SEO.  One person may tell you that a technique is fine when in reality, it could get you banned from the search engines; there are many misconceptions of the proper way to optimize.   It actually happened to me years and years ago before I was well versed in optimization and the proper ways to boost your pages in the search engines.  

There are two main terms that you should be familiar with: Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO.  Black Hat SEO is what you shouldn't do.  These are techniques that are used to try to fool the search engines and are usually against their terms of service & violate their guidelines.  White Hat is what you should do to optimize your site; this is the good optimization techniques that are widely accepted, used and approved by the search engines.  I'm pretty sure the term Black Hat comes from the old western movies when the bad guys wore the black hats.  Makes sense, doesn't it?

So, What are the Black Hat Techniques that I Want to Avoid?

Keyword Stuffing - Keyword Stuffing is when an individual overuses keywords on the website and sometimes even using irrelevant keywords in order to get a higher page rank, higher in the search engines and more traffic.  Those who use this Black Hat strategy have ways of hiding what they are doing by using invisible text or text that blends in with the page.  More sophisticated search engines do catch the Keyword Stuffing and will not index the page or ban the page.  Unfortunately though, some do slip through the cracks.

Cloaking - Cloaking is the act of displaying one webpage to the search engine (an accepted webpage) and a completely different page to the user who is clicking on the website. This is usually in an attempt to falsify what appears in the search engines so the unapproved website can get more clicks.  I usually see this with websites that contain viruses, malware, spyware, sites trying to sell something or adult related websites.  

Duplicate or Unauthorized Content - This includes copying posts from another website with a higher page rank without authorization in attempt to get the spam page higher results in the search engines.  This also can include sites that use automated software called "Spinners" to "Spin" articles and posts so they generate a new order and new worded content based off the original stolen article.  This can actually hurt the legitimate page where the article was stolen from because the search engines will pick up the text as duplicate content.

Spam for Inbound Links - Also called comment or post spam.  This is when bots automatically post spam comments in attempt to get inbound links directing back to their website.  These comments are very easy to spot and more often than not, have nothing to do with the content that they are commenting on.  With new technology and plugins, most blogging platforms catch these comments before they actually show up on your posts and put them into a spam folder.  

Link Farms - Link Farms are websites that do not necessarily provide traffic to the website but trick the search engines into believing that the website has many backlinks from other websites.  Thankfully, most search engines have the mantra - "Quality over Quantity" and analyze the page ranks of the website that the link is coming from to determine if it is a quality backlink or not. 

Under this category I will also put, Link Buying.  Link buying is when a website buys links from another website in order to boost it's page rank.  If you want backlinks make sure they are quality backlinks from legitimate websites with high authority.  This is the White Hat way to get quality inbound links (backlinks).

Spamming Social Media - Automated Twitter accounts sometimes are used for nothing more than to get or buy followers and spam feeds with their links.  They do this in order to get hits to their sites that (usually) sell products or promote adult content.  These Twitter accounts are usually easy to spot as they will have either no picture and no description or an obviously fake photo and "Visit my website" as their description with their link.

So, Black Hat Techniques are Always Used by Spammers? Actually, no.  Black Hat techniques are not always used by spammers.  When I first started out in the world of SEO (10 years ago) I worked for a company (that will not be named) that used Black Hat SEO to actually optimize pages for their clients. (Physicians)  I'm not even sure if the employer realized they were using Black Hat techniques because as I learned more about SEO and realized that the techniques I had been told to use were wrong, I did bring it up to my supervisor and he did seem shocked.  

There are many people who work their asses off and use Black Hat techniques, though I do not condone such usage.  In fact, I left that job because they refused to change their ways and refused to use the correct techniques to optimize.  From what I hear, that company is still using Black Hat techniques.  Shame Shame.

So What are White Hat Ways to Optimize?

Creating unique, quality content is one of the main ways to optimize your website properly.  The unique, quality content should have correct keyword research & usage, a title that is optimized and catchy and content that informs and entertains the reader at the same time.  

Using optimized Meta tags is another way of optimizing properly.  What is a Meta tag? Well, just take a look below.

Meta Description in Google

The description in Google (or any other search engine) is your Meta Description which should be properly optimized for the keywords that you want to be found with.

Quality Link Building is another way to properly optimize and get those quality backlinks that your website wants in order to build authority.  It's much easier than it sounds but by building quality content and sharing your quality content, you have a larger chance of having your link shared even further or your content linked onto another site.  

You can also join or submit your link to authoritative websites or directories within your industry, just make sure they are not spam sites before you submit your link or profile!  This will be a start for quality backlinks! 

Need help optimizing your website or being found in the search engines?  Infopoint Virtual can help! Just contact us for a free consultation and we can assist you in getting your website in those search results!