August 28, 2014

Articles by Sandra Pearson, ePro Virtual Assistance.

These are the archives of articles written by Sandra Pearson, Professional Virtual Assistant and owner of ePro Virtual Assistance.

Sandra Pearson

About Sandra Pearson

Sandra is a Professional Virtual Assistant with specializing in Internet Marketing Support Services and Web Copywriting. For more information please visit Meet Sandra or contact her directly here.

Calling All Special Needs Service Providers… You’ve Never Seen Anything Like This.

Marketing your Special Needs Services online could…

  • Be Fun
  • Feel good
  • Help lots more People with Special Needs
  • Benefit your entire Community
  • Have an Easy to Follow System
  • And…Help you Grow your Business?
  • What would that mean for your business? For You?

When I was contemplating writing this book, I asked some of my clients what it would mean to them to be able to overcome some of the marketing challenges they were facing. You know what they told me?

They said it would mean:

“Magnitude increase in business”
“I would be able to start accomplishing my goals”
“A world with less stress and more fun.”
“More business, better results for clients.”

And as I dug deeper I realized that I knew how to do this for them. In fact, I was doing it for many of my clients. But I couldn’t do it for all of them.

More often than not, I talk to service providers who simply don’t have the bucks to shell out for this stuff. And even if they could, there are only so many hours in a day and only two of us, my daughter, Elisabeth and myself.

If I was going to affect real change, I realized that it was time to give a peek behind the curtain.

And that’s why I’m launching a new eBook – Marketing that Matters. Click here for more information!

My Google+ Experiment


An Article Exclusively for my Linked In Group,

Online Marketing for Special Needs Services


OK, here’s the first installment of my Google + personal case study. I say first installment because I still have a few questions on how best to use my personal profile vs my business page.

The one thing I am absolutely clear on however, is that if you are interested in improving your visibility in Google, then you need to be using Google+.

I reviewed over 75 articles on Google+ and these are the ones I found to be the most helpful:

Why – You Should Be There

1. Get Over Yourself and Get on Google+

Good intro on why Google+ is important.

2. Why Google+ is an Inevitable Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

“But it does feel somewhat like a take-it-or-leave it deal. We already knew that participating in Google+ would have some positive impact on our search results, but now it seems as if you have no Google+ presence and your competition does, you might lose existing search traffic going forward.”

3. Google+ Marketing: Why Marketers Should Not Overlook Google+

This is a podcast with Jesse Stay on Social Media Examiner. Key takeaway: G+, unlike FB, is not just a destination. It’s a layer on top of all Google products. The glue that connects everything together.

4. Why Google+ Is the Best Social Platform for Content Marketers

“Of course, we all need a new social media platform to manage like we need a hole in our head. But here’s the deal … if you value your reputation and your work … if you want to establish online authority and build an audience … if you want to drive more traffic to your website and boost sales and opportunities …Then get over yourself and get on Google+”

How – To Set Up Your Profile

5. 6 Steps to Getting Started with Google+

Great walk through if you don’t already have a profile – or to fill in the gaps. (By the way – Wordle is cool!) Do Bonus Tip #2 under #3!

6. How to Set Up a Google+ Page for Your Business

Just the basics on business page setup.

What – To Do Once You Are Set Up

7. What Google’s authorship markup means for SEO

Excellent article regarding the importance of Google Authorship and some links to good “how to” resources.

8. 64 Google+ Content Strategies [Infographic]

“Google+ isn’t only a social network. It’s the very backbone (and future) of Google itself.” This is an excellent blueprint to get you started once your profile is set up.

9. 4 Ways to Improve Your Google+ Engagement

Good basics – But #4 is the most important.

10. 5 Tips for Using Google+ to Boost Your Marketing

Steps #1 & #4 are crucial

11. How to Build a Dominant Google+ Presence

“…almost with unanimous consent that preferring Google+ for the hours you dedicate to social media offers the greatest ranking benefit.” The key word here is “ranking”. If you are looking to boost your rankings in Google, then you need to be using Google+. And this is especially true for local businesses.

12. How to Use Google+ To Get New Customers

This is an excellent article if you are looking to bring customers to a local business – Google gives priority in local searches to local pages.

13. 6 Google+ Tips for Businesses

“If Google is sending you the majority of your traffic, doesn’t it make sense to figure out how to help them send you more? Google+ is the answer.”

14. Seven Ways Writers Can Build Online Authority with Google+

Read this. Do this.

A Few “extra credit” articles…

15. Influencing How Google Displays Your Page Description

Not about Google+ specifically but extremely important information regarding how you appear in Google search results.

16.New Google+ Sign-In System Makes Sharing More Interactive and Precise

“It’s so much more intuitive than anything else that’s out there. It tells me that the folks at Google are invested in reinventing the way we connect and how we use technology to make life easier and more fun.”

17. The Future Of Google Plus, And Its Path To Social-Media Domination

And if you still need a push to Google+ read this.

Please share your thoughts, experiences and questions in the comments!

Think Email Marketing is Dead? Then You Better Resurrect it Fast!

With so many ways to reach potential clients on the internet, it’s difficult to figure out the most effective and efficient way to reach them. How do you get through the noise? Blogs, Social Media and all forms of content marketing are efficient at building your relationship with potential clients. So how do you not only stay top of mind but deepen the relationship to convert them to buyers?

Email Marketing

Email-MarketingSocial Media has not eliminated the need for email marketing. It has increased it.

3 Reasons to Consider Email Marketing

1. It is cost-effective. Email services such as Aweber and MailChimp make managing your campaigns easy and fast and you can start for less than $20.00 per month. Using a quality service also helps your emails get delivered. That’s not to say that they won’t end up in some of your readers SPAM folders but you have a better chance of getting through with a professional email service provider.

2. With strong, quality content, email is more powerful than Social Media. People are allowing you into their inbox which makes it much more personal. Email allows you to deepen your relationship with the people in your audience.

3. Email readers are more responsive because they have a tighter connection with you…so they buy more stuff.

“Your email marketing campaigns should be a part of a holistic approach to educate your contacts.”


Your Getting Started Action Plan

email subscribersGet subscribers – obviously the first thing you need, right? Here’s how you grow your email list:

  1. Don’t hide your subscribe (opt-in) box. Put it front and center. A great example is Derek Halpern at Have it in your blog sidebar, your about page, your contact page, and at the end of every blog post. Include a “learn more” link that goes to a separate landing page . On this page give them more information about what they can expect as well as details of your privacy policy. Be sure to have the opt-in form here, too.
  2. Offer an incentive to sign up. Thanks to spammers, people are not always willing to give you their email address. You newsletter might be free but people are still paying with their email address. So give them a high value incentive. Offer them a quality free report or eCourse when they opt-in.
  3. Ask your followers to sign up. Periodically post links to your opt-in page in social media. At the end of your blog posts include an opt-in form and invite readers to fill it out. Keep your eyes open, where else could you invite people to opt-in?
  4. If you have people you know will want to subscribe, you can add them to your email service. Create a message that will be sent with the opt-in message that explains what you are doing and asks their permission to add them to your list. Be sure to include the wonderful benefits they will receive such as never missing your pearls of wisdom and updates to the free eCourse you have created for them. Don’t sell in this message. Provide lots of value.
  5. Follow the setup guides provided by your email service. Be sure to personalize your messages wherever possible. For example, once someone opts in to receive your newsletter they generally receive a confirmation email. Add a special welcome message and let them know where they can find all the goodies your site has to offer.
  6. Be sure your unsubscribe process is super easy. If you are using a quality email service then they will provide this at the end of each email (as required by the CAN-SPAM act). This is about more than just letting people opt-out. It’s shows your professionalism and your commitment to serving them.
  7. And last but definitely not least – Whatever you do, do not send email from your email client, i.e. Outlook or Gmail. Even if you use the bcc feature (blind carbon copy) you will still look unprofessional. Not to mention cheap. Also, be sure your from email is a person’s name and not “no-reply”. I don’t recommend info@ either. People respond to people.

What to do when your list is closer to 1 than 10,000.

user friendlyWhen you first start your list will have 2 people on it. You and your Mom. Don’t worry, it will grow, just follow the suggestions above. While you’re working your way to 10,000 readers and the Blogging Rockstar Hall of Fame treat your readers as if you only have eyes for them. As if they are your best client. Your best friend. A new lover.

Well, maybe not a new lover but I think you get the point. Focus on the connection with your subscriber and give them value. Give them quality content and you will get more subscriber action. Share information they need in a way they can hear it. Don’t lecture. Inform. Share a cartoon, share event photos, showcase your products – tantalize your subscriber’s taste buds.

How do you get subscribers to read your stuff?

reading emailOne of the biggest challenges for email marketers is getting people to open, and read, the email. Yes, they opted in because they want your stuff. Yes, it’s going right into their inbox. With tons of other stuff clamoring for their attention. Here are some ideas to make sure your emails are the ones they open:

  • Provide a quality ezine – good information and visually engaging. Do this right and they will not only read your emails, they’ll be waiting for them.
  • Provide news and updates that really matter to them. Can you scoop other services with news your readers really need to know? Can you get information to them in a timely fashion so they can take action ahead of their competition? What can you send them to make you invaluable to them?
  • Provide and upgrade notices so they have the up-to-the-minute information they need.
  • Send them something they will reply to. Ask them for feedback or to fill out a survey. Surveys are great but I find I often get more response if I let them take the lead. Try both and see what your readers prefer.
  • And don’t forget to sell stuff. I know “sell” is a dirty word but you know what happens if you don’t do it. Yep, no sales, no business. Bad stuff happens. You have something of value that your readers need. So tell ‘em about it! But don’t expect them to just buy it. Human nature doesn’t work that way. Make the buying process easy and intuitive.

Writing Your Email

keyboard1. Have a cup of coffee or maybe a beer with your reader.

Write your email in a conversational tone. Think about what makes you want to talk to someone. Don’t be too informal but you aren’t writing an old fashioned business letter, either. People want to feel like they’re having a cup of coffee with their friends. If your audience is predominantly male, maybe picture yourself having a beer with them.

Give your readers a reason to reply. I touched on this before but it bears repeating. Get them to take an action. Ask them their opinion or if there is anything they need. Remember, you want them to feel like this email was sent to them and only them.

2. Your Subject Line

Make sure your subject line is well thought out and straightforward. This is really a headline, so treat it like one.

Don’t let “free” take your email to the spam folder. There is some evidence that email clients no longer automatically mark these emails as spam but it’s not conclusive. Better to be safe than sorry, as Mom used to say!

3. Your Message

Use a brief, personal greeting.

Lead off the body of your email with killer headline copy or a lead in sentence. Use a mini-version of your complete message in the 1st paragraph and then expand in the following paragraphs.

Be sure to close with a call to action. Let your reader know what to do next. How do they put your ideas into action? How do they get more information? How do they buy your product or sign up for your training?

Use a signature just like you would on any email. People want to read stuff from other people, not businesses. Don’t assume people know who the message is from.

Monitor and Measure

blue-business-graphOnce you’ve laid the foundation of your email marketing system, you need to monitor the results and measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Your email service provider should provide a reporting system. Here are the metrics I recommend you watch:

  • Bounce rate
  • Delivery rate
  • List growth rate
  • Click through rate
  • Email sharing
  • Conversion rate
  • Revenue per email sent – if appropriate
  • Open rate
  • Unsubscribe rate

Now get going!

Take ActionYou have all the basics you need in this article. Use it as a blueprint. But once you’ve finished it, you won’t really be finished. Sorry. There’s always more to learn, especially since technology is ever changing. You will learn more about email marketing and perfect your skills as you go. So if you are waiting until you learn everything there is to know about email marketing before you get started, well you’ll never get started, will you? It’s time to dive in. You can do it! And you’ll find the rewards well worth the effort.

Speaking of Action - About now, you’re probably thinking, “Hey, this sounds really great! If I only had the time.” Or you might be thinking, “Terrific, marketing stuff that keeps me from doing the stuff I really want to do.” If that’s you, then check out my Email Marketing Services

How are you using email marketing? And if you aren’t, why not? 

And don’t forget…

you can opt-in to receive my goodies here:

Please don’t worry – I promise I will never sell, give away, fold, spindle or mutilate your information!



P.S. You can read more articles in my Need to Know Series here.

Welcome Music Therapy Entrepreneurs!

musical notesRyan Judd from The Rhythm Tree told me about you. He says you are the Music Therapy Online Experts ready to help those with Special Needs live better and achieve more through music.

Well, helping People with Special Needs is my passion too. Here at ePro Virtual Assistance, I help Special Needs Service Professionals, like yourselves, build and grow strong online businesses.

On this site you will find:

  • Articles that not only tell you what to do but how to do it
  • An eCourse to help you create your own Information Products
  • A Product Launch ToolKit to help you get your products and services in front of the people who need them
  • I Recommend…My personal recommendations for tools, resources and training.

And, of course, information on my Services to Help you Succeed.

Take some time to explore what’s here. And if you are looking for something that you don’t see, please let me know and I’ll do my best to find the information for you.

LinkedIn logoAre you on LinkedIn? Then please check out my group, Online Marketing for Special Needs Services. That’s where I met Ryan and I think he’ll tell you, there’s good stuff happening there! Plus, you’ll find a special offer, just for members of the group, to help you take your business to the next level…and beyond!

I’m looking forward to getting to know you,


P.S. Don’t forget – if you need some help putting together your own Information Products, check out my free eCourse, Reach More People, Help More People, Now! 

5 Steps to Make Your Website Work for You

What is the Purpose of Your Website?

That’s sort of a trick question. It should be; What is the purpose of a website? Because regardless of your product or service and regardless of whether you run a bricks and mortar business or an internet-based business, there are only two purposes for your site:

1. To drive traffic to the site via SEO (Search Engine Optimization)


2. To drive sales activities

Which really can be boiled down to one purpose: to generate revenue.

Could your website be doing more to contribute to your bottom line?

broken chainIf the answer to that question is no, then let’s dig in and figure out why not and what to do about it.

Fulfilling Your Site’s Purpose

In order to drive traffic to your site, you need to increase your visibility in search engines so you reach more viable customers. But once you get them to your site, are you missing opportunities to grow your revenue?

magnifying glass and computerThe 5 Step Site Audit Process

Step 1 – What are the primary actions you want visitors to take? (check all that apply)

  1. Buy your products or affiliate products
  2. Fill out a form to inquire about your services (lead generation)
  3. Call for consultation or some other reason
  4. Subscribe to your newsletter
  5. Sign-up for free trial of your products or services
  6. Compare product options and prices
  7. Watch product demonstrations or other video
  8. Sign up to participate in seminars or workshops
  9. Download training materials
  10. Participate in discussion forums
  11. Leave a comment on your blog
  12. Or?

Step 2 – Are you using “real people keywords” in all the right places?

What words do real people use to find you and your competition?

  • Are you using those words in your URLs?
  • Are you using one primary keyword for each page and/or section of your site?
  • Are you using keywords in headlines and subheads?
  • Are you using appropriate keywords, in context, in your content and copy?

Step 3 – Is your website’s technology solid?

  • Are you using a good, reliable hosting company?
  • Does your site load quickly?
  • Is your code clean?
  • Are your keywords in the right places so the search engines can see them?
  • Are you Backing up your site regularly?
  • Are you monitoring your analytics to see what is and isn’t working on your site over time?

Step 4 – Is your site design and layout supporting your content?

  • Is your design clean or cluttered? Is the atmosphere and tone comfortable and inviting ?
  • Is your navigation clear and user friendly; does it work the way people read?
  • Does your site demonstrate your credibility, authority and integrity?
  • Are you using standard sections/pages as appropriate to your type of business?

Home page

Think of your homepage as a lobby. It should be inviting and comfortable. It should entice people to not only stay but to explore.

Your headline should start to communicate your site’s Unique Sales Proposition. Have an introduction that clarifies and expands on the headline. Let people know how you can solve their problem and tell them what to do next.

And don’t forget to have an opt-in form to capture email addresses.

About Us page

This page should be very conversational; let people get to know you. Show them you are a real human being. You don’t need to talk about your kids soccer prowess or the record breaking zucchini you grew in your garden (unless your site is about gardening, of course). Share the “you” behind the company name and let them know your “why”. Above all, your About Page should not sound like a resume! It’s also a great place to introduce your team.

Contact page

Let people know how to find you. Have your name, your address, your phone number and your email (or an email contact form).

Tip: Include this information in the footer of your site so that it shows up on all pages.

Help page (optional)

Include this if your site is a platform for an app, software or other product or service that your customers may need more help with.

FAQ page (optional)

While this is optional, it is a great marketing tool and great way to demonstrate your expertise. Go beyond the questions people ask. Include the questions they should be asking but just don’t know enough to ask.

Privacy Policy (optional)

Not all sites need one but if you are capturing any kind of personal information you should post this information somewhere on the site.


I don’t care what kind of business you have, you need a blog. Period. End of discussion. Get one. Now.

Step 5 – Your Content – Are your words working?

Is your message resonating with visitors? Does it persuade them to stay and lead them towards taking action?

Make sure your messages are 100% focused on solving the visitors need.

The Moral of the Story…

The stakes are high – your website can make or break your business.

This 5 step process will give you a solid foundation for your website. Transform your visitors from window shoppers to clients. From clients to raving fans. And by doing so you help more people.

Take it to the next level…

Click here to learn more about our Website Strategy Audit and Content Consulting

If you have any questions or suggestions, please be sure to share them in the comments.

And don’t forget…

you can opt-in to receive my goodies here:

Please don’t worry – I promise I will never sell, give away, fold, spindle or mutilate your information!



P.S. You can read more articles in my Need to Know Series here.