Sitting on a beach in the Bahama's sipping Pina Coladas, and soaking up the glorious rays of sunshine - ipad in hand... life could not get much better. If this is working, then I am totally up for it! Thus, is the virtual world. Anyone can do anything from anywhere - with no diminishing quality constraints.

The idea of a virtual anything is often something that we look at with trepidation - HOWEVER - is this the actions of a foolish person? Harsh... I get that, but as a stickler for little or no change, I am the first to admit that I am a slow adopter of many things that end up being very good for me and definately for my business. To change a technology that we may use, would be likened to going to the dentist and having my wisdom teeth removed without gas.

I remember when ipads first came out - I was adament that I would never buy one. I even wrote a blog about it proclaiming that this was the most anti-social gadget to ever launch and would cause the death of a decent relaxing holiday and a library filled with beautifully bound books that your grandchildren may one day inherit.

I was wrong and the slower I adopted the use of an ipad in my business and in life, the slower I was able to use this valuable piece of technology to take my business to a whole new level presenting new artwork and campaigns to clients in a manner that showcased Marketing Eye's ability to catapult the use of technology to show brands in their best light. From day one of presenting marketing campaigns on my ipad, and giving an ipad to all our Marketing Consultants, our clients and prospects immediately associated our brand with being forward thinking, innovative and able to take their brands to a whole new level. Needless to say, many of our clients now use iPads as a platform to communicate what they do with prospects.

Personally, the ipad has been a godsent. Easy to whip out at an airport and send a few emails, catchup on the latest news and skype across the other side of the world while laying in bed to friends and family.

When small businesses are going through change and evolution of their business processes and growth strategies, it is imperative to look at what tools will help the business get to the next level, achieve sales goals and deliver on the company's business plan.

If you look at the different pillars of your business and ascertain what is needed to achieve your goals, chances are that one of these areas will be MARKETING.

We all know the hesitation most small businesses have when it comes to making a decision about marketing. Do we have enough money? What if the person we engage with doesn't get results - what then? What if we get too many sales and cannot handle the workload?

There are so many options out there for small business, and many that are really good. Obviously, it depends on who is doing what and if they have enough experience to turn your brand into the next Macdonalds or Facebook.

Small businesses that are hesitant should not have a fear of the unknown. The options out there are viable, but you need to work out what suits your business and your culture the most.

Trying a virtual marketing manager as a first port of call can often result in a 'quick win' that leads to a longer term commitment better suited to your individual company needs.

A virtual marketing manager is often less expensive than an agency and doesn't come with any commitment other than an hourly rate. Marketing Eye provides virtual marketing managers for just $95 per hour. They are trained with a minimum of 5 years experience and are backed by an in-house team of creatives, web developers, social media experts, branding and public relations consultants. It's the same quality that many of our clients who have turnovers of more than $50 million dollars use, but you just don't see them face to face. Importantly though, is that you ensure that if you are using a virtual marketing manager, they are not sitting in a sweat shop in India or China churning out irrelevant marketing campaigns.

If a marketing company has a reputable brand and they charge less for the use of a virtual marketing manager and creative team, then this may be the solution for you.

5 Great Ways To Use A Virtual Marketing Manager:

1.  Development of a marketing strategy; By working with a virtual marketing manager, you will be able to put all your ideas into a strategic plan and ensure that you have a blueprint for the marketing activities that your small business will engage in over the next 12 months.
2.  Refresh your company brand; January is a great time to think about your brand and how it is communicated. A tweak here and there may be all your brand needs to bring it back to life and steam roll 2012 as a fresh and innovative company.
3.  Lead generation; Virtual marketing managers can take your lead generation activities to a new level. Who says that to generate leads you need to be looking face to face with your team? No matter what lead generation campaign you have in mind or you need for someone else to develop, a virtual marketing manager certainly will add value and will make it happen - particularly when you need it most.
4.  Improve your website; If your website is stale, boring, not on-brand and doesn't deliver you with leads - then its time to improve it. From developing a content rich website through to updating images and layout - all you need is a link to updates before they go live and BANG - you have a website you will be proud of and that works for your business on every level.
5.  Write a press release and distribute it to key media outlets; Marketing Eye charges $499 to write a press release via liaison with client on phone, skype or through email. Some of our greatest publishing successes have derived from never meeting our clients.

If the time is not right to hire a full time marketing manager and the cost of an agency is too high... a virtual marketing manager may be the best option.

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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