Though it seems entirely whacky in this day and age, there are still yet a few holdouts in the brick-and-mortar scene that haven’t taken their business online – or at the very least have yet to fully optimize their online presence to modern standards. Fact is, every single element of your online presence can be managed via virtual services – and for much less expense than you would sourcing for those needs locally.
Let’s take a look at this list of common services a small business can use when striking out online:
Virtual web design services can range from graphic design, to creating stunning landing pages, making customized WordPress themes, developing a fully-customized ecommerce platform, completely redesigning an existing web platform, and much more.
There’s really no need to source people locally and pay more for this type of service, as a virtual web designer can be consulted with via Skype and other web conferencing software at the click of a mouse.
The term is used loosely for a number of different tasks ranging from basic to executive level work. For the most part, a VA is someone who completes the mundane tasks that eat up your day and kill motivation, innovation and productivity including:
- Data entry
- Database maintenance
- Email management/filtering
- Making phone calls (Eg., booking plane tickets, calling vendors, blogger outreach, etc.)
- Creating easy-to-read reports
- Scheduling blog and social media posts
- Website maintenance
Customer Relationship Management
Everything related to servicing your customers can be deployed and managed via a virtual service:
- Comprehensive part/full time personal assistant services
- Answering phones (directing/forwarding calls, taking messages, etc.)
- Online chat including email and on-site support
- Order taking
- Creating online profiles
- Appointment setting
- Booking engagements
- Follow up calls
- Technical support
- Ordering and sending gifts and care packages
Anything you and your team can do from your end, you can bet there is a virtual service out there that can do the job just as well or better.
Most virtual services will hire certified accountants or experienced bookkeepers to keep your books updated and compliant, perform audits, and even do your year-end taxes. There are also plenty of freelancers out there with just as much experience as your local small business accountant would have, at a much reduced rate.
Entrepreneurs should have no reservations about outsourcing this process online, as long as you verify the reputation of the provider or freelancer you’re doing business with.
Marketing and Campaign Management
There are so many marketing professionals operating strictly in the digital world now. Whether you choose a dedicated marketing service, or find a virtual assistant that can do the jobs you need, there’s definitely people in the virtual world who can help develop and deploy online marketing campaigns including:
- Market research
- Creating promotional materials
- Cold calling
- Social media blasts
- Outreach programs
- PPC optimization
Think of a type of content you need and there’s a virtual service provider who can create it for you. Blog posts, videos (creating, editing), infographic design, writing email blasts, newsletter creation, and so much more.
Considering content is and always will be king, this is one of the most crucial things you can outsource in order to grow your business online to nail down legions of loyal followers.
Setting up a project and running it from start to finish is one of the toughest jobs as an online entrepreneur. Sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet and ask for some help! Whether it’s an entirely online project, or your project goals can be accomplished with a computer and phone line, a virtual project manager can be affordable and incredibly helpful.
Example project management tasks include:
- Product launches
- Organizing trade show booths
- Researching (industry, legal, sourcing experts, etc)
- Recruiting team members and outside contractors
- Coordinating team members (including creating systems and setting deadlines)
- Calling vendors and negotiating pricing
- Setting up meetings
- Ordering equipment and supplies.
Mobile App Development
Android, iOS, Windows, and other emerging operating systems require experienced developers to make flawless apps for their platform. You can outsource your app development needs to a virtual service and get the same or better speed-to-market than you would outsourcing in your current locale.
One thing is certain when seeking out virtual services: if there’s a need, you can be certain there will always be someone out there willing to provide it!