As a Virtual Assistant, a lot of my work is, well, virtual. The majority of my services are done through email, online and phone calls. I mainly market my business online as well. When I started Clerical Essentials a couple of years ago, I made sure that it was listed in related online directories, created a LinkedIn profile and a Facebook page. I also added my website to all the search engines and ran a few ads. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of it.
Then, after a conversation with a client, I realized that I was boxing myself in by focusing so much on marketing online and NOT to potential clients who happen to be local. Obviously I can work virtually with local and non-local clients, but I realized that I had tunnel vision in regards to how I saw my business developing as it grew. I was so consumed with online directories, website listings and placing ads online, that I was VIRTUALLY (HA!) discounting a whole group of potential clients.
After much thought, I decided to focus more on gaining local clients. I sent out postcards advertising my services, I always make sure I have business cards with me, and have gone around to businesses in the area to spread the word. I’ve even looked into joining my local Chamber of Commerce, although I haven’t bitten that bullet yet. While this may be standard procedure for most start up companies, in the beginning, I was taking the term virtual literally and really limiting my client base. Changing my thought process on marketing also allowed me to step further outside my box and expand my services to not only be virtual, but on-site as well. A traveling Administrative Assistant, so to speak.
Bringing marketing back to my neighborhood, while continuing to utilize online techniques, has been extremely beneficial to my business growth and I plan to continue it. Marketing is always a work in progress, and while it’s not my favorite thing to do, it is a necessary evil. So, is your business advertising done mainly online? Local only? Or a bit of both?