We sat down with one of our clients, Neil Finnie founder of Corkscrew to talk about how his Virtual Marketing Assistant has helped him take back his time to focus on the most important aspects of his business. (Edited for clarity)
Introduce yourself to our readers, tell us who you are and a bit more about your business?
Neil Finnie, CEO and Founder of Corkscrew, an EO funded Start-Up School and Co-working space in Exeter the UK.
Did you know what a virtual marketing assistant was before you started with us? What was your perception of them before and now?
No, I did not know. I knew what a virtual assistant was but I have never thought about hiring a virtual assistant who specialized in marketing. I think I always thought a virtual assistant could do my marketing administration but what I know now is that’s it’s critical to have someone who understands the digital landscape, who gets marketing, who is creative. It is critical to have a virtual assistant who specializes in marketing
What made you choose a virtual marketing assistant over a freelancer?
See above answer. What made me choose you guys instead of a freelancer is that I wanted the support of a company behind my virtual marketing assistant, in case I needed to scale up, in case they left so I knew there was going to be work continuation. I have been left in the lurch many times by freelancers. I needed continuity and professionalism.
How has having a virtual marketing assistant given you back your time?
Through the tasks that she has taken off of my hands, I can focus more on the things that really need my attention.
What kind of tasks does your virtual marketing assistant handle? Could you give 3 Examples?
- Managing my social media/community engagement. I communicate a lot with potential customers via my social media channels. I must respond quickly and share topical information. Basically, I need to be online all the time or at least 4 times a day, Jeanne allows me to do so.
- Writes my blogs twice a week so that I can keep my readers up to date with new trends in the industry.
- General admin i.e Coordinates ad hoc work with designers and website managers, manages email shots/newsletters, maintains a content calendar, keeps an eye on what my competitors are up too, and even reminds me to do things!
What do you feel is a challenge for your business and how has a virtual marketing assistant helped you overcome it?
Time, Time and Time (From not having enough of it to taking some back, that is)
What were your objectives when you started working with a virtual marketing assistant, and how has their role expanded if in any way?
Initially, it was just around basic administration but as I worked with Jeanne I realized that she could do so much more so I started handing over more and more responsibility to get things done. I still control the strategy and direction but it’s so nice to pass across the work and know it is going to get done and done well
What is in your opinion, the most efficient way to communicate with your virtual marketing assistant?
I started off using email/phone but have recently switched to video calls with Skype as this allows me to better engage with them and I think people feel part of an organization a lot more if they have regular visual contact.
Have you ever wished that your virtual marketing assistant worked in your office?
Not really, I really think the word is changing, people work all over the place. All I think you need to have is good regular communication and I have to remind myself to treat them as I would anyone else in my office.
Is there any advice that you would give to someone thinking about getting a virtual marketing assistant?
Firstly, if you are an entrepreneur and do any marketing yourself, you are probably doing a lot of marketing administration. I know I did, it crept up on me, by the time I stopped I reckon I was doing 2 hours a day or marketing admin, whether it was writing a blog, managing my social media, it’s a lot of work and I realized I did not need to do it. To work this out, I sat down and created a plan of what I had to keep myself (strategy, tone of voice, campaign planning, test SEO, etc.) and what I did not need to do. I suggest to anyone thinking of doing this to start here. Alternatively, if you have a great in-house marketing director as I do now (who is quite expensive) the last thing I want them doing is administration so the same rule applies!