• The Role of Technology in Empowering Your In-House Marketing Team

I’d like to spend some time discussing how to build a remote marketing team with virtual assistants. Here’s why we like working with virtual assistants: they offer a straightforward, flexible, and cost-effective solution for small businesses aiming to boost their marketing efforts. 

For companies looking to scale without making a hefty initial investment, virtual assistants can quickly become an integral part of the team. By integrating virtual assistants, businesses can access specialized skills on-demand, ensuring marketing strategies are not only executed efficiently but the processes are sound. 

What I’m trying to say here is – if you can teach a virtual assistant to execute a task exactly how you expected it to be executed, you can scale that operation ten-fold. 

Understanding the Role of Virtual Assistants in Marketing

A virtual assistant (VA) is a remote worker who manages a variety of tasks, from administrative duties to comprehensive marketing operations. In marketing, virtual assistants regularly handle social media management, content creation, market research, and other pivotal activities, all from remote locations that generally have lower salary expectations. 

Benefits of Virtual Assistants in Marketing

  1. Cost-Effectiveness – Virtual assistants typically cost about the same as entry level workers ($10-14 per hour), but with more skill, making them a budget-friendly option for many small businesses.
  2. Order and Efficiency – VAs are known for being well-organized and structured. They are generally easy to count on not to be late to meetings or to have major issues impacting their ability to work. 
  3. Online Savviness – It’s unlikely you’re going to meet a VA who doesn’t understand how to use Zoom, let alone email. They are easy to train and palpable to the internet’s latest advancements. 
  4. Global Accessibility – You could essentially build yourself a 24 hour workhouse with a small army of virtual assistants across the world. 

If you couldn’t understand from all that, VA’s are great ways to get a lot of tasks executed quickly and efficiently without waiting on third parties schedules to line up with yours (that’s just a little dig at marketing agencies). 

Planning Your Marketing Team Structure with Virtual Assistants

When incorporating virtual assistants into your marketing team, structuring their roles and oversight is crucial, especially for maintaining direction and ensuring quality. Working with an agency like us, The SEO Blueprint, offers the advantage of experienced management for your VAs. We’ve done this a lot, so we can ensure you’re getting the most out of them from the start.  

However, if you choose to hire virtual assistants independently, it’s important to establish a clear leadership structure.

Leadership Necessity for Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants are not standalone solutions; they thrive under clear direction and continuous feedback. Expecting them to operate independently without guidance can lead to misaligned goals and underutilized skills. Depending on your needs, your VA will likely need to be regularly reporting to a content manager, a SEO manager, or a social media manager. Make sure someone is monitoring their work and helping them improve. 

Expanding Your Team with Virtual Assistants

Starting with virtual assistants in roles such as content creation and social media management is about as advisable as hiring a content marketing agency. These areas require specific but teachable skills that can have a substantial impact with proper oversight and strategy attached to them.

As your marketing needs grow, virtual assistants can also be instrumental in:

  • Link Building: Prospecting and developing outreach lists that can bolster your SEO efforts.
  • Sales Support: Building and maintaining outreach lists for sales teams, enhancing lead generation activities.
  • Specialized Roles: Depending on their skills, virtual assistants can be trained for more niche roles such as SEO optimization, e-commerce inventory management, or live chat support.

This is all dependent on the skill level of both your operational setup and the skill level of the virtual assistant. For specific roles, they will still need to be deeply vetted before hiring, and should really be vetted by a marketing professional such as The Blueprint Agency. 

Hiring Virtual Assistants for Your Marketing Team

When it comes to expanding your marketing team with virtual assistants, the hiring process is crucial to ensure you are hiring people who can do the work you need done. While there are numerous platforms where you can find virtual assistants, the best approach often involves seeking recommendations and relying on established freelancer or virtual assistant platforms that vet their users. Contact us for tips on this. 

Key Traits to Look for in a Virtual Assistant:

  1. Timeliness: Promptness in communication and task completion is crucial.
  2. Reliable Internet Connection: Essential for maintaining workflow without disruptions. ASK THEM the last time they had an internet issue. 
  3. Strong Understanding of English: Ensures clear communication of tasks and instructions with no room for “misinterpretation”. 
  4. Eagerness and Commitment: You want someone who is passionate about their work and eager to contribute to team goals. This is just good for morale in general. 

The biggest challenges in hiring a VA are that we all want to hire lifers. No one wants to keep replacing VA’s, but sadly that’s the nature of the game sometimes. Providing a strong growth opportunity for them is a great way to keep them in for the long haul, but be sure to ask about their plans and what they are dreaming of. 

It’s also important to be crystal clear on expectations and time zones/work hours. If you are requiring them to be online at certain times, make sure they confirm it so there’s no issues later. 

By providing a detailed job description that outlines responsibilities, required skills, and performance expectations, you can weed out the wrong candidates and have better, more meaningful conversations with true prospects. Hiring a good VA will make your life much easier in the long run. 

Training and Onboarding Virtual Assistants

Here’s where the real fun starts. Proper onboarding will set the stage for your working relationship with them. Being prepared will tell them they entered a clean and concise workplace with clear expectations. If the onboarding is sloppy and disorganized, they will already think about the issues with the work. 

At The SEO Blueprint, we emphasize a detailed and supportive ramp-up period for new VAs to ensure they are well-prepared to contribute to our clients’ success.

Two-Week Ramp-Up Period

Upon joining, new virtual assistants undergo a structured two-week induction period. During this time, we establish a clear schedule that outlines their daily tasks and responsibilities. This period is crucial for familiarizing them with the specific tools and platforms they will use, ranging from content management systems to social media scheduling tools and SEO analysis software.

First Tasks and Feedback

Starting with simpler tasks, such as creating draft content and initial social media posts, allows VAs to gradually adapt to the required quality and style of work. Regular feedback during this stage is vital for making necessary adjustments and ensuring that the work meets expected standards.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Clear and detailed SOPs are provided to outline exactly how tasks should be performed. These procedures ensure consistency and efficiency, serving as a go-to guide for VAs. Companies can either develop these SOPs internally or opt to work with The SEO Blueprint to create tailored SOPs that fit their specific needs.

Performance Tracking and Meetings

Setting up a KPI sheet is essential for tracking the performance of virtual assistants. This sheet should include relevant metrics that are reviewed on a weekly basis to monitor progress and identify areas for improvement. Additionally, scheduling regular weekly or bi-weekly meetings with VAs offers a chance to sync up, discuss any issues, and explore opportunities for enhancement. These interactions not only help in maintaining alignment with the team’s goals but also in building a strong relationship. 

These first few weeks are rarely fun, but they will set the stage for your working relationship. Invest your time and do it right. Be firm but kind in your expectations and you should be well on your way to creating a strong marketing team.

Setting Realistic KPIs and Goals for Virtual Assistants

Want to know the easiest way to ensure you have buy-in and dedication from your team? Set clear and measurable KPIs – everyone loves to win, so encourage them to win through data. Different roles within your marketing team will require distinct sets of KPIs based on their specific tasks and the overall goals of your marketing strategy, but here’s a general overview. 

Social Media Management

  • Posts per Week: Tracks the frequency of content being shared.
  • Engagement on Posts: Measures likes, shares, and overall interaction.
  • New Followers: Monitors the growth of the platform’s audience.
  • Comments: Assesses the level of audience engagement and interaction.

SEO and Blog Management

  • Keywords Ranking: Tracks the performance of targeted keywords.
  • Average Time on Page: Helps understand user engagement and content relevance.
  • New Users: Measures the number of new visitors attracted to the site.

Newsletter Management

  • Open Rates: Indicates how many recipients are opening the emails.
  • Engagement Rates: Measures interactions within the emails, such as clicks.
  • New Subscribers: Tracks the growth in newsletter subscriptions.

Tracking and Review Process

  1. Setup a Tracking Spreadsheet: Create a comprehensive spreadsheet that includes all the necessary KPIs for each role. This spreadsheet will serve as the central document for tracking performance.
  2. Clarify Data Collection Methods: It’s important that virtual assistants understand where and how to gather the data needed to fill in the spreadsheet. Providing clear instructions and access to necessary tools or platforms will streamline this process.
  3. Weekly Updates: Set a specific time each week for the spreadsheet to be updated. This regular update schedule ensures data is current and trends are monitored closely.
  4. Regular Reviews: Constantly review the KPIs to ensure that they are still relevant and that they are being met. This could be done during the regular meetings with your virtual assistants. It allows for timely adjustments in strategies and helps keep everyone focused and aligned with the marketing goals.

By setting up and maintaining a structured approach to KPI tracking, you can effectively measure the impact of your virtual assistants, make informed decisions, and continually refine your marketing strategies to better meet your objectives.

Scaling and Managing Workloads for Virtual Assistants

No one likes burnout. Your VA’s will despise you if you expect too much from you. And they will take advantage if you expect too little of them. Make sure they have a manageable workload from the start and they will tell you when they have free time or are underwater. 

Structuring a Virtual Assistant’s Calendar

To ensure clarity and focus, it’s beneficial to define exactly what tasks your virtual assistant will work on and when. Here’s an example of how I would structure the weekly tasks for a virtual assistant who works 20 hours per week:

  1. Week 1: Focus on creating and scheduling two newsletters.
  2. Week 2: Shift focus to blog content by creating and scheduling two blog posts. 
  3. Week 3: Assign the creation and scheduling of four social media posts. 
  4. Week 4: Implement feedback on all created content.

What you’re trying to do with a weekly focus is ensure the VA has time to dive in and do research. If you spend all week on two newsletters, the expectation is that you have time to review competitors and review for best practices. Same goes for SEO and Social Media tasks. You’re modifying their thought process so they remain focused on specific items. 

Incorporating Feedback and Revisions

Don’t expect perfection on the first try. Proper feedback is essential for virtual assistants to refine their skills and outputs. Be concise on things that are wrong and spend time explaining your expectations. In fact, devote one day near the end of the month to review all of their work (this should only take you a few hours) so they have time to revise it before publishing. This gives them clear deadlines every month, and sets the right expectations. 

Preparation and Scheduling

At the end of the month, the virtual assistant should use scheduling tools to line up the newsletters, social media posts, and blog posts for publication. This systematic approach ensures a consistent presence across your digital platforms and allows for seamless content delivery and saves everyone valuable time. 

Reporting and Additional Tasks

Each week, virtual assistants should also dedicate time to report on the KPIs associated with their tasks. Someone also has to review this every week or they may not understand the importance. Be sure to emphasize that these are the KPIs they are judged on, and finding ways to improve them is the ultimate goal. 

 Moreover, if your virtual assistant completes their designated tasks ahead of schedule, consider assigning bonus tasks such as prospecting on LinkedIn, responding to comments on social media, or engaging with the community on platforms like YouTube or Reddit. These additional responsibilities can further leverage their skills and contribute to broader marketing objectives.

Powering Your Growth with Virtual Assistants

As we’ve explored, integrating virtual assistants into your marketing team can significantly enhance your business’s operational efficiency and scalability. By carefully structuring their tasks, providing consistent feedback, and effectively managing their workload, you can ensure that virtual assistants not only meet but exceed your expectations. They bring flexibility, cost efficiency, and a wide range of skills that can be tailored to support various aspects of your marketing strategy, from content creation to social media management.

However, the success of virtual assistants hinges on the quality of their onboarding, training, and the clarity of their assigned roles. This is where The SEO Blueprint can play a pivotal role. With our expertise in building and managing virtual marketing teams, we can help you seamlessly integrate virtual assistants into your operations. We provide tailored SOPs, set realistic KPIs, and ensure that your VAs are aligned with your business objectives, thereby freeing you to focus more on strategic growth initiatives.

If you’re considering hiring virtual assistants to elevate your marketing efforts, consider partnering with The SEO Blueprint. Our consultancy services are designed to optimize your investment in virtual assistants, ensuring they deliver not just results but also strategic value to your business. Let us help you build a robust, dynamic, and efficient marketing team that is primed for success.

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