Regularly on the chat forums, I see new VAs seeking advice for getting clients. I recently posted the following on one of those forums.
As with any business, marketing is an important part of what you should be doing regularly, at least weekly. This could be in the form of paid advertising, networking, calling people, going out and meeting people, doing leaflet drops, registering with directories online and so on. I’ve never found advertising in a local publication useful but that can differ from area to area. I do have an advert in the Yellow Pages and have had since 1995. I have both a locality listing and a general listing for wordprocessing and secretarial services but also have a number of other things in the advert as I’m not just advertising for myself but for my whole team. We’ve been getting clients from the Yellow Pages every year consistently and get calls almost every week because of the adverts.
A website is useful because a number of people aren’t going to look for you through the traditional print methods but will look for you online – so it is important to capture the attention of both client types. However, if you do set up a website, it’s important you learn a bit about setting up the keywords and descriptions and make sure the website is listed with the search engines so people can find you when they are looking. And there are a good number of VA directories and business directories that you can list with – and not all of them need you to have a website so why not list with them anyway? You might just pick up clients from online too.
For all new VAs, the above will help you in your business. Joining local business networks is definitely a good move – a Chamber of Commerce, or other similar business network groups will work for you but you need to start meeting the members on an individual basis (one-on-one meetings) so they get time to learn more about you and get to know you and vice versa. Before long, they will start referring work to you – relationship building is very important also. KMT