6-Step System to Outsource Your Market Research to your VA

6-Step System to Outsource Your Market Research to your VA

Getting to know your potential customers, their unmet needs and who your competitors are is essential if you are going to effectively market your new idea, service or product. Using language which resonates with your target audience and answering actual problems is a fast track way to build trust and convert them into ardent fans.

The problem is, doing all these can take a long time, and traditionally relies on building models, or avatars, of your clients. Below, I describe an alternative method, where you find real people, using real language to describe their real unmet needs, and then use those facts, rather than an avatar, to produce relevant and compelling marketing material to get your big idea directly into the hands of the people who need it most.

There are two parts to this article, and you need to read both to get the full value out of it.

First, you will find a summary of 7 Useful Google Search Techniques which will give you better, more relevant results, and considerably cut down your research time. Some of these ideas are borrowed from ‘Will it Fly’ by Pat Flynn. Others, we learned through our own research and good old trial-and-error.

Second part, is the 6-step system to delegate this entire job to your VA, so they do all the hard work for you! This is exactly what I did when I performed market research for my Systems and Outsourcing Platform, Course and Mentorship Program. The nuggets of marketing gold I uncovered during that process has enabled me to fill the first two courses, with a waiting list for the third, without spending a single penny on marketing or ads!

I have a background in computing, systems, and medicine and had no previous marketing experience so if this worked for me it will work for absolutely anyone!

7 Useful Google Search Techniques

1. Use Google Text Prediction and Related Search Results to come up with popular search phrases AKA ‘long-tail keywords’ to get better search results.

2. Search for phrases: Combine long-tail keywords with quotation marks to list only sites containing the whole phrase e.g. “managing virtual assistants”

3. The power of the colon!
Using a colon, you can find information from specific sites, related sites, or types of documents sources amongst other things.

For example, say you know ‘chrisducker.com’ is a popular blog site for VA related ideas. Using the search term “related:chrisducker.com” will list sites which are similar to chirsducker.com.

Other ‘colon’ searches include:
Search a specific site- site:<root URL> <query> [root URL means without http:// or www.]
Search for a type of file- <query> filetype:<file extension>

4. Digging for gold in forums! Forums can provide an honest, unfiltered insight into your customer’s thoughts and grievances about existing products or services that you are hoping to compete against. To search only forums use “inurl:”. For example, the search term “virtual assistants inurl:forum OR inurl:forums” will list only sites where the word forum or forums appear in the URL (i.e. forums) that contain the words ‘virtual assistants’, You can do the same for blogs, too.

5. Use AND or OR. You can narrow or expand your search results using AND or OR. For example “blog AND outsourcing” will only list sites containing both words, “blog OR outsourcing” will list sites containing either word.

6. Exclude keywords. If you want to exclude a word from your results, for instance, “UK”, use the minus sign (-). For example, “virtual assistants -UK” will mostly list sites outside of the UK (nb. This doesn’t exclude paid AD sites containing “UK”).

7. Google’s Advanced Search feature. Just click “Settings” under the search bar, then click “Advanced search” in the drop-down menu for loads more options to play with.

For a really comprehensive guide of 67 different Google Search techniques you can check out Dr. Peter J. Meyers blog here: https://goo.gl/C8fBqc

Putting it all into practice:

The 6-Step Marketing Research System (for your VA!)

Below is a real-life example to demonstrate how you can use these techniques to help market a new product. This simple 6-step system will massively reduce your research time, allowing you to delegate the majority of the work to your VA and, more importantly, identify real-life problems that actually need solving and to describe your solution in words that resonate with your customers.

STEP 1- Be clear on why you are doing this!

This is a fact-finding exercise so don’t expect your VA to come up with your polished marketing copy or you will be disappointed! The purpose of this activity is to identify who your target audience is, where they hang out, what their unmet needs are and who is already serving them.

For example, my goals were to:
Identify common search terms in my niche
Identify the influential people and companies within my niche
Locate where my potential customers reside online (which forums, blogs, etc.)
List recurring problems, and grievances experienced by my customers
Record phrases, words, terminology used by my target audience

STEP 2 – Come up with some words and phrases to get your VA started.

For instance, we wanted to find what information and services were already in the marketplace for VAs, systems and outsourcing. So we guessed at some terms and keywords, as follows:
virtual assistant / VA
business systems
operations manual
task management

The problem was that we weren’t generating the results that we needed.
For example, “virtual assistant” gave us information on virtual assistant services available online. General terms such as “business systems”, “systemising”, “systemisation” produced results about finding solutions to business problems in general, whether or not a VA is involved or not. “Outsourcing” lead us to information on physical outsourcing of labour from other countries.

STEP 3- Identify you long-tail keywords

Use the technique described above to find popular search terms and use these to refine your results.

By doing this, we identified a set of long-tail keywords which produced not only more results, but better results.
“systemising outsourcing”
“managing virtual assistants”
“remote employee management”
“virtual assistant management”
“systemising virtual assistant management”
“system for virtual assistant management”

STEP 4- Find your target audience and the key-people of influence in your niche

Next, combine these long tail keywords with the ‘inurl:<blog/forum>’ technique or use AND ‘blog/forum’ to find where your customers hang-out and who they are listening too. Getting to know who the key players are and how they are connecting effectively with your potential clients is absolute gold when it comes to social media marketing!

From the lists of blogs and forums, identify the most popular by checking out the number of subscribers, ratings, activity levels, frequency of posts etc
Think 80:20 – you want to spend ALL your time focusing on the 20% of sites and people that are reaching 80% of your audience.

STEP 5- Learn the problems and language of your customers.

Search the top blog sites and forums by combining the URL with phrases such as “I hate it when”, or “Why is it” or “How do I” to find grievances and real-life problems from customers. It’s these problems that you need to solve in order to connect with your target audience and market your product or service.
For example, ‘site:virtualassistantforums.com “I hate it when”

Reading the posts can take a bit of time so is best left to your VA to sort through the noise and find the hidden gems. But don’t let your VA paraphrase! Ask them to copy and paste whole sentences or paragraphs- this will enable you to learn the language and terminology as well as uncover the problems and unmet needs.

STEP 6 – Ask your VA to create a structured spreadsheet listing all of this information

(I drafted one first and then had my VA refine it as she went along)

They should include sites, forums, blogs, phrases, words, comments and questions that come up regularly. Always include the URL for every piece of information so you can quickly refer back to it if needed.

The purpose of this is to make your life as easy as possible and let your VA do the time-consuming work for you.

Once I had all this information in a spreadsheet, I asked my UK based PA to read through and pull out key phrases, problems, language etc – I felt I needed someone who was a native English speaker to do this. If you haven’t got a UK PA then you might have to roll your sleeves up and do a little work yourself!
Now you have a valuable resource to use when creating your service or when deciding which product will best serve your audience. You know where to find your potential customers and who is already serving them. You also crucially know what their unmet needs are and are ready to explain how you can solve their problems using language that resonates with them!

How to Train Your VA to Write Amazing Facebook Posts for You

How to Train Your VA to Write Amazing Facebook Posts for You

With over 2 billion monthly users, if you don’t have a strong Facebook presence and compelling Facebook posts, you are missing out on a huge potential market for your product or service. Start tapping into this powerful social media platform by following this simple guide to outsourcing your blog research and copywriting to your very own Facebook genius!

Why Facebook?

There are a lot of social media platforms available for marketers these days. However, Facebook is still undeniably the most powerful among them. It is the most highly trafficked platform out there, with around 2 billion active users per month as of the June 2017 statistics. A business is not a business if it’s not on Facebook, either as a fan page, a group or community, or a business owner’s personal account.


Even if you do know the value of having a strong Facebook presence, actually posting on Facebook could be at the bottom of your to-do list, simply because you don’t have the time! This is exactly how I felt and it’s only when I started outsourcing this important task did I actually get anything published online. In the space of 3 months, I created a blog page with new blogs added at least weekly, I have a Facebook Group with 650 members without any advertising, and I did all this while launching a new course and developing a new outsourcing platform!

This is how I did it in 3 simple steps:

  1. First, ask your VA to find and digest some high-quality training tools on researching and writing great Facebook posts.
  2. Then, ask them to implement what they have learned to draft compelling articles and blog posts.
  3. Next, systemise this process, then rinse and repeat!

Find and digest some high-quality training tools

Here’s what my VA and I found to be the best ways of learning how to write effective Facebook posts. Note that these are carefully chosen based on ratings and comments from viewers/readers themselves, and based on how much social media shares and authentic comments they generated. This means that people believe and have tried and tested what these materials are teaching.

From Skillshare:

  1. 10 Facebook Marketing Hacks That Work In 2016
  2. 7 Secrets That’ll Boost your Facebook Organic Reach Today!
  3. 10 Hacks To Increase Fan Engagement On Facebook

From Google:

Here are the keywords I used in searching Google: “Facebook posts that went viral”, and “how to write engaging Facebook posts”

  1. https://www.postplanner.com/get-more-likes-fans-facebook-page/
  2. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/6-tips-to-improve-facebook-posts/
  3. https://blog.bufferapp.com/anatomy-of-a-perfect-facebook-post

Now that you and your VA are at the right place to learn all about Facebook engagement, all you have to do is to take in as much as you can to be ready for the implementation of the plan or strategy that you have come up with.

Implement what they have learned

According to the sources above, which my VA and I have learned and are trying to implement, the secret to successful marketing on Facebook is engagement. Engagement is when Facebook users like, share, and most especially, comment on a certain post. The higher the engagement of a post, the higher the organic reach it will have, the more people will see the post; thus, the higher the conversion rate (turning engagement into sales).

A lame post, no matter how much you spend on boosting it for better visibility, will not generate likes, shares, and comments if it is not engaging enough. You only boost or sponsor a post for it to be seen by more people. This does not mean that the people who will come across the post will get interested and engaged. Since most people are using Facebook on their mobile devices, imagine how easy it is to just swipe up and ignore posts that they do not find valuable.

As for my team, we include as much element (of an engaging post) as possible when writing our Facebook posts. You can also encourage your VA to create samples, and mix and match elements to find out what works better than others (all suggestions definitely work one way or another).

Once you or your VA has found the best way to do engagement for your specific niche or based on your target audience, expect higher conversion rate and higher income!

Systemise the process

After finding out the strategy that works for your team, it’s time to turn this into a system. Each team is unique, so I’m going to leave this one to you. Nevertheless, here are some things you may consider when drafting your procedure:

  • Who will do the posting and responding to comments?
  • How often will you post and comment?
  • How many will you post per day or per week?
  • What time should you post and comment for engagement?
  • Where do you put the draft posts? How do you check the draft posts? Who gives the go-ahead for publishing?

Of course, perfecting the system is done by trial and error. But, once you have come up with a system that works best for you and your team, iteration and continual improvement form part of the natural process of publishing. It will only require you minimum effort and time to achieve your goal of increased online presence, brand awareness and ultimately sales through Facebook!

That said, there is no silver bullet for this. You can’t expect someone to start working for you, and then be able to write all for blogs without any input from yourself from Day 1. However, before I used my VA, I published exactly 0 blogs, now I’m hitting at least 1 per week, and I have 10+ articles waiting for me to edit and post, this doesn’t include Facebook posts, which are repurposed versions of each article, and I’m about to start on Twitter – something I never thought I would say!!This is happening while I am the busiest I have ever been in my business!

My involvement now is to A) come up with the idea, and B) edit the final version before a publish. This takes a fraction of the time it would have taken me to research and plan the article myself. Each time my VA and I write a new article, she gets to know me better, and the posts require less and less editing. My goal is for my VA to know me so well she can post on my behalf, but that will take time. The key is to systemise everything you do and think, get it documented and get it outsourced!

If you are not the creative type, hire someone who is. If you not great at writing, hire someone who is. If you are not an ideas person, hire someone who is! I think you get the point! Stop thinking, ‘how and when’ can I do this, and start thinking, ‘WHO can I get to do this for me’!

Happy Outsourcing!