7 Most In-Demand Virtual Assistant Services in 2022
- April 14, 2022
- 15 min read
- By Kirti Goyal
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A recent report by NanoGlobals shows that the hiring for virtual assistant services spiked to 41% from 2019 to 2020. And the trend only rose further in 2020 as virtual assistants reported an increase in their overall inbound inquiries.
The image below shows the rise in inbound inquiries for virtual assistants by a whopping 70.2%. It’s not difficult to see why.
Image Source: NanoGlobals
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit the small and medium-sized enterprises the hardest, entrepreneurs worldwide outsourced their business operations to cut down costs and stay afloat in the market.
The financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 are surely one reason for the steady surge in virtual assistant services over the last few years. But financially well-off organizations have also not been mere disinterested onlookers of the phenomenon.
The highly tangible benefits of outsourcing business tasks and hiring virtual assistants have pushed them to adopt the practice on scale to reach their long-term revenue goals.
The fact that the global outsourcing market stood at 92.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 is also quite telling.
If you are an SMB owner looking to make handsome cash, virtual assistant services are undoubtedly a pretty solid option. Let us see how.
In this post, I dwell on the topic at length to help you understand the following:
- What is a virtual assistant
- Benefits of virtual assistant services
- Virtual assistant services to outsource
- How to find the right virtual assistant
The post will equip you with the knowledge to make an informed choice about your business objectives and the options available to meet them head-on.
Let’s dive right in!
What is a virtual assistant
A virtual assistant is an individual who acts as a dedicated resource for their client and works remotely to ease off the business owner’s workload.
Kevin Leyes, Chairman of Leyes Enterprises and the CEO of Leyes Media, puts it this way:
Image Source: Forbes
A virtual assistant is an outsourced contractor who diligently handles the assigned tasks and takes full ownership of the project to ultimately help the client focus on the bigger picture.
Don’t find that convincing?
Check out this cool tweet by Rahim Siddiq on the virtual tasks he delegates to save up to 30 hours every week!
Image Source: Twitter
Virtual assistants work both as independent contractors as well as part of the BPO companies. Each of these two setups has its own unique set of benefits and challenges.
For example, hiring an independent virtual assistant is definitely pocket-friendly for bootstrapped startups. But often, they struggle with managing the remote worker and tracking their productive hours for hassle-free payments.
Likewise, a BPO company can efficiently manage the virtual assistants to take worker management off the to-do lists of entrepreneurs. But what acts as the deal-breaker are its exaggerated claims about output and work quality.
It is here amazing outsourcing services and software solutions providers like Office Beacon enter the picture.
They know their clients need seasoned and vetted virtual assistants who have the caliber to get work done. They appoint experienced project managers to match the customers with the perfect fit for their business needs.
When you outsource your back-office tasks to one such company, get ready to experience a host of awesome benefits. There are mainly four types of virtual assistants that assist business owners with different back-office duties. They are:
- Administrative virtual assistants
- Sales virtual assistants
- Customer support virtual assistants
- Marketing virtual assistants
- The next section takes a brief overview of their roles.
Types of virtual assistants
- Administrative virtual assistant
Administrative virtual assistants command expertise over office management, scheduling, data entry, phone calls, and back-office duties like expensing and bookkeeping. Anything that falls under the purview of management of an office- and that can be overseen remotely- lies within their sphere of responsibility.
- Sales virtual assistant
A sales virtual assistant is a contractor that helps you build a more efficient sales process through cold outreach over the phone and email to find new consumers, nurture prospective leads, and close better deals.
- Customer support virtual assistant
Virtual assistants in the customer service niche handle calls and emails to offer your clients an overall pleasant experience. They respond to queries, guide customers through sales processes, process requests for refunds, manage CRM, and gather feedback to strengthen the current systems at your organization.
- Marketing virtual assistant
A marketing virtual assistant crafts and executes your marketing strategy on all fronts like search, social, and email. They create tailored content for every channel and help you bring your A1 game to the table.
Benefits of virtual assistant services
Lower operational costs and extra free time are two well-known pros of hiring virtual assistants. There are others:
- Domain Expertise: A virtual assistant specializes in a particular field and can leverage that industry know-how to help you beat the competition. They have valuable experience from working in different companies and the ability to adapt to changing priorities and work environments quickly.
- High Productivity and Customer Response Time: When you outsource, you have a few more hours on your hand to take up the tasks you earlier sidelined. It boosts your productivity and allows virtual assistants to cater to your customers promptly. The result is a high customer response time.
- Increased Efficiency: Closely related to productivity is the chance for better efficiency when your hire remote staffing solutions. You can delegate smaller, less urgent tasks to virtual assistants to devote your hours and energy to core business operations.
- Scope for Scalability: SMB owners are no strangers to the increase in their workload due to a new client, additional orders to fulfill, or an in-house employee’s unplanned leave. Such situations demand thinking on the feet and swift action from them.
Yet, they find it impossibly difficult to invest in a lucrative compensation package of a full-time hire due to this occasional increase. Virtual assistants act as perfect extra hands to complete those specific projects within the set time frame without burning a hole in your pocket.
- Flexibility: A virtual assistant allows you to offer round-the-clock operations online, even after logging out for the day. You can outsource certain tasks to remote workers from different time zones and provide 24-hour services without exceeding your overhead expenses on night differential.
I could go on and on about the plethora of benefits of virtual assistant services, but you get the idea. The next section discusses a number of initiatives you can bring virtual assistants on board for. Stick around!
Most in-demand assistant services
Now you may be clear about the role of virtual assistants and the value they bring to your life. But how does one decide when is the right time to begin delegating work and which tasks?
Well, that varies widely depending on your bandwidth, business size, and objectives. Hear out what these two entrepreneurs had to say.
Like Pete Kennedy and Juha Liikala mention, not being able to tackle core tasks and focus on what they enjoy doing are two common reasons SMB owners opt for virtual assistant services. If you too are spending long hours executing and implementing rather than strategizing your business roadmap, it’s a clear signal to take a step back and reassess your priorities.
Here are seven key services for which you can hire virtual assistants and reclaim your lost time.
- Back-office administration
A virtual administrative assistant can handle the tasks of a marketer, account manager, or project leader to oversee your back-office operations and cut down overhead costs for physical office space and work equipment.
You can outsource these services to a virtual administrative assistant:
- Bookkeeping and payroll duties like calculating hours, adding expenses, and updating salaries
- Reception and phone answering services such as handling incoming calls and leaving voicemails
- Building databases and managing entries related to sales, lead generation, contacts, and CRM activities
- Performing bank-related tasks like transferring funds and paying bills
- Writing and sending invoices to clients
- Creating and presenting weekly reports on sales and deliverables
- Email management like responding to queries and cleaning the spam
- Organizing technical support tickets and taking part in customer support
- Sending out personalized greeting cards, invitations, and thank you notes
- Scheduling client meetings and appointments
- Launching and looking after cloud computing accounts on DropBox, One Drive, and Google Drive
- Converting, merging, and splitting document files
- Creating final documents from handwritten drafts, faxes, and dictations
- Making forms and surveys to collect customer responses and feedback
- Proofreading files
- Generating graphs from spreadsheets
- Content marketing
A 2021 survey by Orbit Media Studios reveals that while blogging can deliver strong results for businesses, it is getting increasingly competitive. Gone are the days when mediocre content could drive tons of traffic to the website and easily run the sales engine. Now, it is only quality long-form content that can get you the coveted top rank on the Google SERPs.
This is what Brian Dean, the co-founder of Exploding Topics, believes too:
Image Source: Orbit Media Studios
It is why you can’t entrust your content marketing campaigns to amateur writers or professionals with no experience in content. A terrible content strategy and execution is the main reason why most business blogs fail. To earn handsome ROI, you must hire seasoned virtual content marketers.
They can perform a wide variety of activities, including:
- Ideate blog topics and write unique content
- Discover opportunities for guest blogging and build quality backlinks
- Carry out email marketing to nurture leads and send regular updates to existing customers
- Create press releases and submit them to the news directories
- Design infographics and brochures
- Produce marketing collaterals like eBooks, white papers, and case studies
- Transcribe as well as translate marketing assets into different languages
- Search engine optimization and digital marketing
It is no use investing in content if your target audience can’t find it. The right digital marketing expert pulls in the necessary plugs to put your content right in front of the readers and increase its visibility. They get more traffic on your site and help boost sales numbers. You can hire a virtual digital expert to:
- Develop, update, and optimize your overall marketing strategy
- Perform competitive keyword research and run regular blog analysis
- Ideate, research, and create landing pages
- Handle sitemap and webmaster submissions
- Work on link building campaigns in collaboration with content marketers
- Monitor content performance in tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console and modify the strategy accordingly
- Identify lucrative opportunities for content promotion and distribution
- Social media management
Spare a moment to take in the import of these social media stats by Sprout:
- 57% of consumers follow a brand on social media platforms to learn about its products and services
- 47% of clients connect with a social account to get the latest company updates
- 91% of customers visit the brand’ website or app after discovering them on social media
- 89% of them buy from the business, and nearly 85% recommend the business to a family or friend
They all drive home one point: the potential of social media for customer acquisition.
If you are not there and rely only on email and search to get leads, you leave money on the table. Social media is becoming popular with users of all ages and is set to have 4.41 billion users by 2025.
But there’s more. You may feel tempted to get on Facebook and Instagram right away and start putting out content. The truth is, it is no use if there is no underlying strategy governing the effort. Social media, like every other content distribution channel, needs proper research and thought.
Otherwise, you will waste money as well as hurt your business image.
The image below lists out common reasons why a brand’s social efforts fail.
Image Source: Sprout
An expert virtual assistant can help you avoid these pitfalls and earn traction with your audience. Outsource social media management to a qualified marketer and trust them to handle the following:
- Set up social media channels on platforms your target audience is on
- Sketch out detailed profiles in line with your brand and link them to the company website
- Create, edit, and share social media posts using channel-specific features of the platform
- Perform a social media audit to figure out what’s working and what it isn’t to adjust the strategy
- Research competitors to find the keywords they are betting on
- Optimize social media strategy for mobiles
- Discover trending topics of the day and viral hashtags to reach relevant users
- Engage with the audience by responding to their queries and feedback on DMs, comments, and mentions on stories
- Run paid campaigns and promotional activities to hook the customers
- Find exciting games and challenges for the users to take part in
- Partner with influencers to get the word out about the brand’s latest offerings
- Web development
The purpose of a website is to drive business. If it does nothing to bring you quality leads and prospects to pursue, the chances are it is not built to compete in the fierce online marketplace. A well-designed website offers your customers the best UX and has these attributes:
- Quick loading time
- Easy usability
- Seamless navigation
- Optimized for search
It is nearly impossible to achieve the above targets without the expertise of a web developer. You can focus on other business areas and hire dedicated assistants to prep up your website for competition by:
- Planning, designing, and developing it
- Offering technical support through coding
- Installing, customizing, and updating plug-ins and themes
- Maintaining its functionality, security, and troubleshooting
- Embedding chat tools, payment gateways, social channels for easy sharing
- Optimizing user interface and cross-browser compatibility
- Adding alt tags and metadata to web pages
- Performing regular audits to identify any security threats
- Backing up information to prevent data loss
- Creating online forms for customer queries and feedback
- Starting affiliate marketing and launching research-backed campaigns
- Monitoring and managing affiliate links
- Audio and video editing
The explosion of multimedia content on the web has transformed the way customers interact with business websites. The modern-day marketer is no stranger to the trend and actively builds out a content strategy that has audio-video content at the forefront to win handsome returns for your business.
Consider these two statistics.
A 2021 report by Wyzowl reveals around 86% of marketing professionals use video as a marketing tool, and podcasting will surpass $2 billion by 2023.
It is not difficult to gauge the potential of these two collaterals for marketing. You may not be hands-on with the best software and equipment to churn out multimedia content, and the most definitive of ‘how-to’ guides barely scratch the surface of what it takes to produce videos that stay with your target audience.
A skilled virtual assistant can manage that exceptionally well and much more. You can outsource your multimedia content needs to avail professional audio and video editing services and expect the virtual assistant to:
- Research and create visual content that brings in hard cash
- Edit multimedia files to insert graphics and music
- Remove background noise and improve volume levels
- Adjust footage segments and produce rough cuts
- Record and set up podcasts and embed them onto web pages
- Upload the final versions to popular audio and video streaming platforms like YouTube, Spotify, DailyMotion, and Vimeo
Image Source: Cincospa
Not sure who to ask to take notes during Zoom meetings with clients? Or to send you that much-needed cup of cappuccino when running late to the office? Hire a personal virtual assistant. They understand it’s not business as usual every time and can run errands like:
- Jot down minutes of meetings and create detailed documents for future reference
- Transcribe voicemail, videos, audio recordings, and podcasts
- Research data, fact check, and create solid PowerPoint presentations
- Buy office equipment online
- Book venues for meetings and parties
- Hire a cleaning service
- Gather documents for the tax season
- Set up an online project management system
- Brief team members on the progress of projects and deadlines
- Send thank you and gift cards to clients on special occasions
- Contact customer service for bank-related work and tech support
- Perform thorough background checks
- Make customized welcome and goodbye packages for in-house staff members and clients
- Find subject matter experts and guest speakers to take part in chat shows, podcasts, and webinars
- Analyze quarterly growth performance and offer feedback to meet revenue goals for business
Manage customer refunds
- Generate scripts for customer service requests
- Collect overdue payments from clients
But before you get ready to outsource these tasks, keep the following pointers in mind to ensure you hire the right fit for your business needs.
How to find the right virtual assistant
The foundation for a collaborative relationship between virtual assistants and their clients rests on a couple of factors such as clear-cut workflow, duties, and minutiae of reporting. You need to sort them out before hiring for virtual assistant services to save yourself unnecessary troubles down the line.
As this image shows, you can effectively delegate tasks to a virtual assistant by outlining the following at the outset:
- Tasks and goals
- Work standards
- Schedule for updates
- Feedback opportunities
Once these are clear, you have better chances of finding a virtual assistant who shares your values and is aligned on the key performance metrics and business priorities. Make sure they meet the key behavioral competencies and have incredible time management and communication skills.
As you search around for the perfect resource, keep these tips in mind:
- Do not rely on just one virtual assistant. Keep a backup ready
- Introduce them to your preferred method of accomplishing things before assigning them duties
- Increase the workload of your virtual assistants only gradually
- Divide up tasks as per their priority on the to-do list
- Be explicit with work instructions for virtual assistant services
- Set up a separate email address to track correspondence for virtual staff
- Always send constructive feedback and be polite
- Maintain dedicated cloud storage to transfer and store files
- Use the latest productivity tools for a smooth and streamlined workflow
Let us take a few FAQs about virtual assistant services before wrapping up this post.
Frequently asked questions
What are the niches for virtual assistants?
You can find virtual assistants working in almost every niche now. From back-office administrative tasks to virtual events management, remote workers have carved a place for themselves in the most unimaginable fields.
They provide entrepreneurs, SMBs, start-ups, and large multinational corporations a reliable resource that can perform tangential business activities that are laborious and repetitive.
What qualities should I look for in a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant must be well-educated and qualified for the job is the number one prerequisite for a successful long-term collaboration. Some may have higher-level education like a diploma or partial degree from an accredited university.
But a good assistant-client match ultimately depends on the nature of the job and the complexity of tasks. Besides expertise and knowledge, Shelby Larson, author of Moonlighting on the Internet, believes certain soft skills like reliability, accuracy, and integrity in virtual assistants are an absolute must for forging a healthy business partnership.
Echoing Larson, Kiara Nicole, a Florida-based VA, turned a critical eye to her profession and posted this awesome thread on what makes a great virtual assistant on Twitter. Hear her out!
Image Source: Twitter
A virtual assistant needs to be proactive and a go-getter above all else. But they should also be well-versed with the latest tech tools, showing an impressive comfort level with communicating and coordinating via mainstream digital channels, along with any popular office-specific software.
What are the virtual assistant services rates I can expect?
The rates for virtual assistant services depend on many factors. The major ones are remote workers’ location, experience, expertise, job type, frequency, and technical knowledge. Whether the virtual assistant works as an independent contractor or part of a BPO company also plays an equally crucial role.
The following image shows the hourly rate charged by various North American virtual assistants on Upwork, a leading online marketplace for freelance talent.
Image Source: Upwork
At first glance, platforms like Upwork seem like a pretty viable option to find virtual assistants for companies on a budget. But like I mentioned earlier, it may bring plenty of management and time-tracking headaches for the already busy SMB owners.
A better alternative is to opt for an outsourcing services company like Office Beacon. Though a bit on the high side, they offer top-notch management support and HR training that more than makes up for the extra fees.
What are the most in-demand virtual assistant services?
Virtual assistants are fast winning over SMB owners from fields as diverse as real estate and technology. A few popular services they offer their clients span marketing, sales efforts, customer service support, and general back-office administrative duties. To get more specific about the role of an administrative virtual assistant, they perform a combo of these tasks:
- Manage all digital communication to respond, group, and track correspondence
- Schedule and manage calendar appointments
- Organize client appreciation outreaches
- Answer phone calls
- Coordinate with vendors and suppliers
- Research and identify business opportunities
- Synchronize tasks related to sales events
- Assist with developing contracts
Similarly, you can expect a sales virtual assistant to carry out the following:
- Research potential clientele and develop comprehensive databases
- Undertake transaction-based tracking
- Manage prospects’ database and CRM
- Organize, manage, and update MLS listings
- Handle incoming and outgoing prospecting calls
- Create and maintain CRM databases
- Make spreadsheets with price-point comparisons
- Research industry-specific sales trends and compile lists
The pandemic has all but made clear that the future of work is remote. Tie in that fact with the benefits and booming hiring trend for virtual assistants, and it is evident SMB owners will rely heavily on virtual assistant services to cut down overhead costs and skyrocket their ROI in the coming years.
Get ready to jump on the bandwagon and delegate work to virtual assistants to devote yourself to finding business opportunities and scaling new heights. Use the tips shared in this post to find the perfect fit for your needs and take back your precious time.
What are some of the business tasks you plan to outsource? Head to the comments section and let us know!