Why Hire an Online Business Manager

Why Hire an Online Business Manager

The role of an Online Business Manager is quite different from a Virtual Assistant and you can have both work in your business. It is important to understand the differences between a Virtual Assistant and Online Business Manager. In Australia, most Virtual Assistants are Virtual Industry Professionals or Online Business Managers for the following reasons:

  • they are often proactive rather than reactive and accomplish tasks without you asking.
  • they develop an understanding of your business and keep the cogs turning
  • they understand the bigger picture of your business growth and development
  • they think outside the box
  • they give you ideas for growth and strategy in your business and quite often manage those ideas from start to finish

When you hire a Online Business Manager you get…

MORE TIME: Who doesn’t need more time?

The main goal of an online business manager is to free up your time so that you can work on the things that only you can do or the things that you enjoy most about your business. Now a virtual assistant can free up your time, however you may need to do some further checking and ensure that you have all of the processes in place first, some virtual assistants require an i’s dotted and t’s crossed approach.  It depends on the type of fit that you are after for your business and if you really do want to step away from the day-to-day operations and release yourself from having to oversee every piece of every project.

A TRUSTED PARTNER: Essential to the relationship

Online business managers truly care about their client’s businesses. They normally only work with 3-5 businesses to ensure that they develop the relationship with you as their client. They understand the overall business vision, are excited by the things to come, thrive on the day-to-day operations, they are comfortable with outsourcing and delegating and strive to make the business succeed. They treat the client’s business as if it were their own. In a sense, hiring a good Online Business Manager is like having a trusted partner invested in your business.

A DECISION MAKER: Making all the decisions is exhausting!

Operating a successful business requires a lot of day-to-day decisions and projects are often delayed because business owners don’t have time to handle them all. Fortunately, most decisions don’t have to be made by the business owner. A good online business manager will be willing to make decisions on their client’s behalf. This doesn’t mean they will be making all of the decisions; however, after establishing a guideline with the client, they can certainly handle many issues that arise throughout the day.

COMPLETED PROJECTS: A key component to bigger profits

Aside from the business owner, the Online Business Manager is the workhorse of the business. They spend most of their time planning, organising, and managing the tools, resources and staff within the business. Their focus is to ensure that things are running smoothly and efficiently; answering questions, dealing with unexpected issues in a timely manner, and keeping projects on track so that business goals are met. The seamless transition from one project to the next allows the business owner to stay focused and the business to grow.

Are you considering hiring an Online Business Manager?  Download the full Online Business Manager Guide and give us a call today!

I have an old email list, can I send them an email campaign?

I have an old email list, can I send them an email campaign?

One of the most common questions that I receive is about old email lists.

Can I use the list?

Can I send a targeted email to the old email list?

How can I revive the list?

If you have an old email list you can revive these subscribers to ensure that they want to be part of your list and that they are interested in receiving communications from you. This will then recover your old email list to become a quality improved list with engaged subscribers. If you have purchased the list, these subscribers have NOT subscribed and this is then NOT a quality list. A list is only as good as the engagement received plus you don’t want to be wasting your time emailing subscribers that are NOT interested in your niche. The best way to maximise ROI (return on investment) is to work with and communicate to those highly-targeted subscribers on a current email list.

While it’s good to have a long list, it’s only really going to be useful if the subscribers on that list are genuinely interested in your niche and likely to be interested in your future products or services. If your subscribers haven’t heard from you in a while they probably can’t remember why or how they ended up subscribing to your email list. If you send an email campaign to this list once in a blue moon, this could lead to the subscriber marking your email as spam which will then have a detrimental impact on your overall list or could shut down your account.

Have you considered the following to see if the list is really worth reviving?

  • Have they changed their email address? Over the course of a year or two, many people change jobs, move email providers, retire and ultimately their email addresses change.  This means that many of the email addresses on that old email list may not be valid anymore. It is important to consider that a large amount of the email addresses on that old email list may not be contactable anymore and therefore your bounce rate could be quite large. A large bounce rate can also cause difficulties and have a major impact on your marketing.
  • Have the list permissions expired? Permissions do have an expiry date, and many of the addresses on that old list may be past their expiration dates. Sending unsolicited messages to those old addresses could cause real problems for your business.
  • Do the subscribers on your list remember who you are? You yourself probably receive quite a few emails each day from companies sending bulk emails.  Do you remember where or when you subscribed to the email list?  Your contact list is the same, they are being bombarded with material and may not remember who you are.  We like to think that we stand out from the rest and there are ways that you can do this but there is a lot of traffic in the email marketing world.

Best steps to revive an old email list

If you do still think that your old email list has legs and your subscribers do want to engage with you, here are some of the best practise steps in reviving your old email list and yes it is time consuming too.

  1. Sort your old email list:  You can sort your old email list by segmenting the list. You can begin by sorting via the date and whether the subscriber is over 12 months old, by name, location or other aspect that you want to target with your new campaign. Take out the email addresses over 12 months old and any risky or uncertain looking email addresses on your list. Removing the most uncertain email addresses will reduce bounce rates and spam complaints. The remaining contacts can then be targeted with the following steps.
  2. Create another email address but keep it similar to your current email address. You can use a free account such as gmail or outlook.  If you are currently sending emails using ie: peter@supertraining.com, perhaps create an account that is similar such as supertraining@gmail.com.  Keeping it similar to your current email address will keep it in line with your branding and recognition. Although you have sorted your list, you may still get quite a few bounce backs or spam complaints and by creating a separate account, this will protect your current email address from being blacklisted.
  3. Send re-verification or confirmation email to your old email list. Add value in this email, mention that you haven’t been in touch in a while and remind them of why you are contacting them and how you know them. Send them an incentive to resubscribe to your email list with a call to action ie click link to get their freebie.  Also have an easy opt-out as well.
  4. Contact the old email list by phone or letter.  This can be quite time consuming but it is always good customer service to touch base personally with your contacts especially for any emails that have bounced back. If you have obtained the contacts in the past by quality measures, you should have a contact phone number.  As online marketers we quite often forget to pick up the phone and call our contacts. When you contact your list, use the same process by reminding them of the relationship, offer them a freebie and ask for their new or current email address to send some information.

We hope that these tips give you some best practise ideas on how to revive your old email list and to engage with your old contacts.  Tell us about your success with your old email list below.  We look forward to hearing from you.

How to Engage through your PowerPoint Presentation Slides

Most presenters use PowerPoint for their presentation slides, however many presenters make quite a few mistakes. They make their slides too wordy, don’t add enough images. The audience then just ends up reading the slides instead of listening to the presenter. The presentation is then not interesting and of course the audience starts yawning, walking out or switching off the webinar well before you get to your sales pitch. Here are a few key things that you should add to your presentation slides to induce greater engagement and keep your audience wanting more:

Less words, more images to your presentation slides

This is simple and effective. Don’t add your whole speech to your presentation slides, make the wording on the slides simple with lots of images. If you had to give out a truckload of information, then you could have just handed out a book or a digital white paper. Why would you pile on information in the presentation slides? A presentation is about your engagement with the audience and you, not that of the audience with the PowerPoint presentation slides.

Set the agenda at the beginning of the presentation

Tell the audience at the beginning what they are going to get out of your presentation. Get them excited and engaged from the start, include a funny quip if you are humorous but the main trick is to get your audience engaged from the very start.

Make your presentation slides enticing

Your presentation slides must be enticing. They cannot be just slides loaded with three to five points talking about two or three numbers and a handful of facts. PowerPoint presentations should have images, videos, audio effects and evoking stories that would make the facts relevant and fun to learn. If you bore your audience with a humdrum of presentation slides, then the first casualty would be engagement and the second would be the whole purpose of the presentation.

It’s not just about the slides

You are the expert in your field! Give your audience facts, give them information, give them quality content! Make them want more! This doesn’t need to be listed on the presentation slides. Show them with videos, share your screen if you are working through software examples or use other visual cues. You can even set up interviews with other experts!  Get your audience engaged with many different visual cues, it doesn’t just have to be on a set of presentation slides!

Ask questions

The job of conveying the message is yours as a presenter and the presentation slides are only there to set the mood. But don’t make the presentation a one way or a one dimensional discussion. You need to consider multiple views or the possibility of other opinions. As you present your facts and the information, raise questions with your audience and engage your audience to answer those questions. While you would have slides concluding with facts, have slides that raise objection, shed light on contrasting views, to set the agenda and to make space for discussions which will allow your audience to get involved.

Call to Action

At the end of your presentation, have an explicit call to action, use your business logos and contact details effectively and conclude with key takeaways. Once you are done with your presentation, encourage questions and have backup slides that would be answers or illustrations responding to those questions. You should be able to anticipate some of the queries while preparing the PowerPoint presentation slides.  Another option is to send out for the questions earlier.

Technology and your client

Technology and your client

 

Making a decision regarding the types of technology and software you will be using in your business is an important decision that much thought must go into. There are hundreds or thousands of different software programs out there and many aspects of each to consider based on what the software is, what you need it to do, and what features it has to offer.

I recently held a webinar for 1-2-1 Temps (Virtual Assistant network) discussing many types of technology that a Virtual Assistant can use to help a client in their business.  Here is a replay of the webinar and some of my favourite that I use and recommend to help build a virtual relationship with a client.

In this webinar, I take you through all the different types of technology including Skype, Dropbox, File sharing, basic computer maintenance and a few other technical tips and tricks.  If you are a client, looking at working with a VA (virtual assistant) these are the types of technology that you can use to build your team and work with a virtual assistant. They are also some of the technology that you can expect that a Virtual Assistant should know about and can use.  If you are working with an Online Business Manager, the OBM will be able to advise you on the types of technology as well as show you how to set some of these up, depending of course on their expertise.

The software discussed during the webinar normally has a fantastic help section, videos or you can find a host of tutorials on YouTube that discuss in depth how to use the specific technology.  We hope that you enjoy the webinar as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.

Software links and references from the video

If you would like to attend a future webinar, sign up here for further information

5 Tips to Email Best Practice

5 Tips to Email Best Practice

Email Best Practice Etiquette provides many unwritten rules for sending out emails, especially for business. As a business owner or employee, you should understand the email best practices that need to be followed.  It is also a good idea to set up your own standards and templates so that you have the basics ready to go:

Basic email best practice rules

Include a greeting and a signature

Include a proper greeting and sign it off professionally.  I recommend using an email signature and you can set one up in any of the programs that you use including Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail etc. Every email you send out should include a suitable greeting, and you should always close with your signature. It doesn’t have to be formal unless the situation calls for it – use your best judgement. I always like to be that slightly more formal though. When you see how the recipient responds you can certainly adjust your correspondence accordingly.

Check grammar and spelling

This should probably go without saying but you absolutely must make sure your grammar and spelling are impeccable if you want to be taken seriously. This is really important because if this is the first time that a client is hearing from you, then this is their first impression of you. Most email clients include a spellchecker these days – use it! If you don’t consider yourself a good writer, just keep it as simple as possible. If it’s a particularly important email ask someone to check it over before you send it.

Simple formatting and font

Try not to use hard to read fonts (scripts) or colours, backgrounds or anything that is going to take away from the message that you are trying to say. First of all, it can look quite unprofessional. Second, the recipient could come back to you saying that they can not read it as it may display differently in their email program that they are using. It’s best to stick to the basics!

Keep attachments small

Whenever you attach files to an email, make sure you’ve compressed or zipped them so they are as small as possible. Attachments should always be kept below 5 MB, as some email clients can reject them. If you include images in your email, the same rules apply, resize them to take as little space as possible, and don’t include too many of them in the same email.  The other option is to send multiple emails which can be annoying or you can direct the recipient to a file sharing folder or link such as Dropbox or Sugarsync.

Keep it brief!

Finally, understand that most emails should be kept short or as brief as possible. We all spend way too much time reading emails so getting a 5,000 word novel isn’t helpful. This is especially true when you’re making a first email contact with someone. If you make it too long, chances are the person receiving it will only skim the email and won’t read it all so they could essentially be missing some vital information.

We have discussed here 5 really simple email best practice rules to keep your emails professional and simple.  Happy emailing!