Having a clear, consistent digital marketing strategy is one of the secrets to online success - how is yours panning out?
The thing with digital marketing is that it’s a very broad term, encompassing hundreds of possible activities and strategies. It often involves trial and error - what works well for one business may completely bomb for another.
All of this means that business owners often struggle to keep up with the many tasks involved in managing various digital marketing channels.
What you need is a boost, some kind of supercharger that will allow you to maintain or build marketing momentum. A virtual assistant can help to provide that boost, it all depends on your needs.
Virtual assistant or digital marketing consultant?
First, define what it is you’re looking for. Can a virtual assistant help with what you need, or should you be looking to hire a digital marketing specialist? What’s the difference between the two?
Here’s how we see it:
Come in all stripes and specialties, but their main jam is tactical execution. You might find one who has a lot of previous experience with various digital marketing strategies, but they’re the doer, not the strategist. They usually follow a set of procedures to take care of digital marketing tasks, as well as a range of other tasks that fall outside of digital marketing.
Digital marketing consultant
This is your digital marketing specialist. They might have broad knowledge across a range of digital channels, or they specialize in just a few. There are hundreds of potential strategies, so it’s unlikely you’ll find someone who is proficient in all of them. The key difference between them and the VA is that the consultant is a strategist. They look at the company’s goals and devise strategies to meet them, including creating campaigns, branding, and making decisions on the channels and content to use.
"If you have the strategy but lack consistent implementation, a VA is going to be your best friend!"
Traditionally, the role of the VA would be to come in after someone has created the strategy and focus on implementation. As a business owner, who you need to hire comes down to your needs. If you are struggling with strategy, then a consultant to help you nail it down will probably be your best move.
What do business owners need to know?
Many smaller businesses don’t yet have the budget to hire a digital marketing strategist - as specialists, they command rates that are commensurate with their training and abilities. Sometimes, you need to supercharge your digital marketing strategy, but that specialist help won’t yet be an option. A virtual assistant is a great option to help, but the key is that you will have to be absolutely clear about your strategy and your needs. VAs are great at brainstorming ideas, but they don’t drive overall strategy.
The bottom line is that you’ve got to know what you’re asking for and be able to give clear instructions. Spell out in a written procedure exactly what you want the VA to do. This will ensure maximum value from the relationship.
What happens if you aren’t sure on strategy? This often leads to unclear instructions, miscommunications, and no definitive way to measure any sort of results. You end up wondering if you’ve achieved anything at all!
At a minimum, business owners need:
- Clear branding elements.
- Goals that underpin marketing efforts.
- A developed “voice” and content strategy.
- Clear maps for campaigns. These should include key dates and strategies
- A defined idea of what you want the VA to do. There should be written procedures they can refer to.
Competitor research should be a key activity for any business. The competitive landscape and market conditions don’t remain static, so if you’re not paying attention, you’re leaving the door wide open. This means it should be a regular activity, but of course, it’s a time-consuming one.
A virtual assistant can help by doing things like:
- Setting up alerts for mentions of keywords or company names online
- Monitoring advertising and strategy of competitors
- Using a tool such as Spyfu to learn the keywords your competitors are using
- Doing content research. A tool such as Buzzsumo will help to find popular influencers and content that gets the most shares for a topic.
Email marketing setup
A huge part of email marketing isn’t just the actual writing of the emails (which isn’t usually a job for VAs), but the setup of those emails in your system. From email newsletters to the various sequences you might have, a VA can get everything up and running.
Remember you (or your content/marketing person) will have to write the emails and dictate strategy. However, the VA can take care of the rest, including putting in call to action buttons and ensuring that links are correct and working.
Social media scheduling and monitoring
Social media usually has a huge part in the digital marketing channels companies choose to use. They also take a lot of management, which is where business owners often get stuck. There are various ways in which a virtual assistant can help you with social media scheduling and monitoring. Check out our recent article here for suggestions on what you can get your VA doing.
Lead magnet creation
This is a favorite task of ours to assign to a virtual assistant. Lead magnets play a vital role in helping to build your email list, but they can also be a time-consuming task. If your VA is not a strategist or content creator, what can you get them to do?
One thing is to repurpose content that you’ve already spent time creating to turn into lead magnets. For example, you might have content spread across slides you created for a webinar presentation; a VA can take that and turn it into a printable download, an infographic, a brief ebook, or some other type of lead magnet.
Content setup and promotion
Just like email marketing, content marketing involves a lot more than the initial creation of the content. Setup on your blog can take time to test and ensure that it is rendering correctly and all links are working.
Further, you want to optimize your content marketing investment, which means ensuring that you promote your content. A VA can follow a procedure that you set up to get the content promoted across different channels. This helps to ensure that you are both consistent and efficient.
Bottom line: How will you make the most of your VA for digital marketing?
Making the most of having a VA to help with your digital marketing strategy means being prepared ahead of time. This means:
- Defining your strategy clearly.
- Knowing what you need a VA to do - this will help you to identify appropriate skills.
- Creating organized processes that back up your digital marketing strategy.
Basically, the way to ensure you’re getting the best value for using a virtual assistant is to plan ahead so that you’re ready to put them to work. You don’t want to “wing it” or you’ll find that you’re not getting the results you’d like.
Ready to bring in a VA to help with your digital marketing efforts? Talk to us today about how we can help.
And for more info about other ways on how a virtual assistant can help your business, you can read our Ultimate Guide to Virtual Assistants. This is the best guide on the web to teach you what a virtual assistant is exactly and enumerates all the steps that you need to successfully hire and manage one.