Tag Archives: VAforWINE

Increase Your Sales with a Secret Weapon

Winery Direct SalesThe 2017 Wine Season has officially kicked into gear – are you ready? 

Apparently, wine sales in April and May of 2016 counted for 20% of all wine sales in B.C. That means, if you haven’t already – it’s time to get on top of your Digital Marketing efforts before these sales pass you by.

Many wineries struggle to keep up with the rapidly evolving tools and technologies needed to stand out from the crowd or even just to maintain a professional online presence especially throughout the growing season when event and tasting room demands take over.

Online presence – social media, website maintenance, blog posts, etc. – tend to fall into the background resulting in an unprofessional, lackluster message and contributing to a decrease in tasting room visits, tours, and subsequently, wine sales.

Think you don’t need Social Media for direct to consumer sales? Well, you need to forget about instant ‘likes’ and focus on social search and re-marketing to create brand awareness (online presence) to attract a larger audience – which translates into sales.

Each social media platform has different capabilities for finding your audience and you don’t want to spread yourself thin using every platform under the sun – but you do want to use what will benefit your business the most and keep it consistent and up to date.

Here’s a great article from Social Media Examiner.com on how one winery uses Social Media to increase sales and brand loyalty. By using the correct social media platforms to partner with complimentary brands, reward loyal fans and educate and tell stories vs. selling, the winery increased their direct sales, wine club sales, wine club member retention, wine dinner sales and wine club sign-ups at the dinners.

But what do the wineries that don’t have the budget for a full time employee to take care of these ‘back-end’ functions during the time when attracting customers is critical?

Candidates with the skills to perform digital marketing functions are usually employed full time at larger wineries and agents leaving the little guy with excess work for their operations and tasting room managers.

Well, I’m going to offer you a solution – a Secret Weapon!

The Secret: most digital marketing functions can EASILY be performed off-site.

The Weapon: An online business service provider (that’s me) can blend the just tasks you need performed into one convenient package – pay for a one time package, the whole season or buy a monthly retainer and use only the services you need.

If you’d like your full time staff focussing more time and (renewed) energy on critical sales operations instead of toiling away formatting MailChimp newsletters and social media posts, sifting through customer email inquiries, e-filing and the like, then let’s talk.

Wine poured for tasting

I can format a service package to cover those loose ends and time draining tasks so that your sales can soar this season. Your online presence will be more professional and attract more customers all without the hassle of hiring another employee.

I’m offering a 2017 Seasonal Online Winery Service Package for a limited time. From as little as $250 to $500 per month you can reap the benefits of consistent online presence for your winery this season from a WSET Certified professional. 

There’s no need to fall behind this year!

Contact me anytime and let’s start taking some time off your hands so you can focus on your priorities. I look forward to hearing from you!



Hour 25 Virtual Solutions - No Soliciting

How To Disconnect from a Connection on LinkedIn

This may be old news to a lot of you, but it’s recently come to my attention via a contact in my network being sent email marketing as ‘messages’ only because they are connected through LinkedIn. This of course is illegal (CAN SPAM) and really, it’s also just inappropriate for the LinkedIn platform and unprofessional.

So, I myself had this happen to me in the past couple of months, from the same person and just haven’t really had time to look into it further. But today, I took the time to Google the solution and thought I’d share it with you.

Here’s how to disconnect from a connection:

  1. Go to their profile.
  2. Click the … to the right of their profile picture name;
  3. The dropdown menu will give you both an option to Disconnect and also to UnFollow if necessary.

That’s it.

Whether you want to let the person know why you’re disconnecting is of course up to you – it would be helpful to them but be warned, they may not take it that way. My connection that had this experience, informed the individual that their behaviour was inappropriate but was then targeted with angry messages from this person after the fact. So in this case being helpful could backfire on you.

I hope this helps anyone that has run into this situation. Have a wonderful day!

Questions for your potential Virtual Assistant

To me, the most important aspect of working with a client is our relationship. Clear communication is vital to this partnership, so much more so than when you are in a conventional office setting, because it’s so very easy to convey the wrong tone via an email message. It is also very easy to let accountability to each other fade away, because we do not see each other face to face every day.

Hour 25 Virtual Solutions

This communication begins when you meet with your Virtual Assistant for the very first time. It is important to have your questions ready and also to realize that your Virtual Assistant will have questions for you. Remember, a VA is in most cases, a business owner and is looking for their ideal client as much as you are looking for your ideal Virtual Assistant. This is a factor that is valuable to you and your business as it reflects the quality of your Virtual Assistant’s services.

Step 1: Prepare

Before speaking with a Virtual Assistant prepare the following items:

  • A specific list of tasks or functions you need your VA to perform – email/calendar management, social media, CRM maintenance, blog research/posting etc.
  • Your process, tools and desired results for each task – programs, training, time requirements etc.
  • Your budget for these tasks – estimated time, hourly wage, monthly retainer, etc.
  • Your communication plan with your VA – frequency, method (Skype? Email?) etc.

All too often business owners embark on a relationship with a Virtual Assistant with the sub-conscious attitude that even thought it might take them 4 hours to do a task to completion it should only take their Virtual Assistant half that time. So be very realistic in your expectations when you format your information. (To see my post on how a Virtual Assistant saves you money by doing the same tasks you do look here).

If you have found a VA you want to approach it’s also advisable to have taken a look at their website and hopefully the links to their social media sites – especially their LInkedIn profile – before meeting with them. By doing this beforehand, you can make the initial contact more efficient by checking your tasks and questions against information from these sources leaving  more time for other things you might want to ask about such as any special interest in your particular industry or their own business experiences and direction.

Questions for Virtual Assistant

Step 2: Questions to Ask

I’ve gathered a few questions to ask your Virtual Assistant upon your initial meeting/consultation that you may find helpful. You need to think about what is important to your specific business needs but these will get you started.

For your Virtual Assistant:

  1. First, start with an introduction of yourself, your business and your business goals.
  2. Ask your Virtual Assistant about themselves and their business. Although not essential, ideally, you probably want to work with a Virtual Assistant that shares either a common business related interest even if it comes from their personal interests or current situation in life.
  3. What are your Rates/Terms? Hourly, per project, retainer etc.
  4. What experience do you have in the areas I have indicated on my task list?
  5. Which items do you not have experience in and would you be willing to learn?
  6. What are your areas of strengths and what areas are you looking to strengthen or gain experience?
  7. What are your hours of operation and preferred method and hours of communication?
  8. Do you have any questions you would like to ask me about my business?

Questions your Virtual Assistant may ask you:

The nature of a Virtual Assistant is to be able to work with a variety of different types of businesses or have specialized in a specific area of interest/expertise. Many Virtual Assistants are operating in one stage or another in the overall process of finding their niche, be it a General VA or a specific niche such as a Virtual Assistant to Life Coaches, Social Media Management or Real Estate Virtual Assistant and some Virtual Assistants only offer particular services to clients or certain services exclusive to one industry or another.

Regardless, Virtual Assistants are always looking to work within a healthy, profitable, working relationship and so they will have questions for you as well:

  1. Have you ever worked with a Virtual Assistant and what was your experience like?
  2. What skills and experience do you think the ideal Virtual Assistant should have?
  3. What is the biggest problem you are facing that you’d like your partnership with a VA to solve?
  4. What are your strengths and what areas are you looking to improve upon? Are there challenges I might face in agreeing to work with you?
  5. Specific questions regarding technology, communication methods & styles, business goals and your expectations of working with a Virtual Assistant.

I hope this post has given you some encouragement and tools towards finding and working with a Virtual Assistant. I really believe that the right fit can truly make an incredibly beneficial difference for you and your business.

If you like this post and would like to receive future posts, please subscribe to my blog. I post regularly but I promise not to clutter up your Inbox so you or your Virtual Assistant has more work to do!

If you would like to contact me regarding my Virtual Assistant Services just click here to get started!

Backyard grape crush

A Virtual Assistant for the World of Wine

It’s exciting when you can turn your passion for something into a daily habit – and no, I’m not talking about just the drinking of wine (although we should all know by now that a glass of red wine a day is actually a healthy thing!) but the regular involvement in a subject area that you love.

If you had told me ten years ago that I would be exploring and learning about the world of wine from my home office it’s quite likely I wouldn’t have believed you. But then again, maybe I would have as I am an optimistic type in general.

summer dinnerIn any case, I’ve been working in the wine industry for a year in the capacity of a Virtual Assistant and loving every minute of it. The opportunity to learn new technology and skills, meet new people and perform tasks I wouldn’t have considered before at my former in-office positions – the list of new opportunities is endless.

I’ve always been interested in all things wine, perhaps because I am fascinated by the growing to cooking (um, actually the eating and drinking!) cycle and the happiness that surrounds family and friends when they get together to enjoy great food and wine. And who isn’t captivated by travel and the countries that grow great wines – for me in particular Italy and France.

As I write this post, it is February 2016 and the days in Vancouver are a bit dull and grey, but my mind is humming along with excitement at the prospect of completing my WSET Level 2 this March and travelling with my family to Paris and Normandy this June! Two things I did not anticipate happening so soon or perhaps even this year at all!

So here’s to looking ahead to the months to come and a daily glass of what’s good for you!

Ciao and Bon Voyage!




To find out more about my services as a Virtual Assistant for Wine visit my contact page here.