How Can Marketing Agencies Leverage a Virtual Assistant?

By Nikki Jasper | | 1.31.24

Every marketing agency is different, but there’s one thing that agency owners can agree on: They’re busy.

Whether you’re hustling to accomplish big-picture responsibilities (think setting goals and creating strategies for clientele) or more mundane tasks (returning messages, responding to emails, managing calendars), most agency owners barely find time to breathe, let alone take the time to dream about what needs to be done to take the business to the next level.

Sure, there might be other members of the team who could take on some of these tasks, but they’ve got full plates of their own. The last thing you want is to lose a valued member of your team because they feel overwhelmed and undervalued.

Enter the virtual assistant.

You might be surprised to learn that virtual assistants, or VAs, are quickly becoming indispensable to many organizations. Read on to learn how your marketing agency can best leverage a virtual assistant.

Hang on. Why Should I Use a VA?

You’re probably wondering why you should engage the services of a virtual assistant when you could just hire a new team member to pick up the slack. Great question!

Bottom line? Using a VA is better for your bottom line.

If you have full-time employees, you’re familiar with all of the costs that go with hiring. There’s the time investment required to interview and train new hires, not to mention taxes, health insurance, and all of the other expenses— large and small— involved with retaining full-time help.

If you don’t have any employees, that probably means you’re doing it all by yourself. And while that’s impressive, there’s only so far you can go on your own. Whether you reach the limits of your knowledge or you just flat run out of gas, delegating tasks is inevitable, if you hope to grow.

A virtual assistant is paid by the hour or by the project. You’re not responsible for their health care. You’re not responsible for their payroll tax. If you work with the right person, there’s very little in the way of training. If the work dries up, you’re not forced to lay off a full-time employee. If the workload expands, you can easily scale up, adding additional VAs as needed.

Convinced? Awesome! Let’s explore how you can get the most out of your relationship with a virtual assistant!

What, Exactly, Can a VA Do for My Agency?

Great question! You might be surprised to learn that the term “virtual assistant” encompasses quite a lot. Of course, it can refer to traditional admin work— inbox management, calendar management, booking meetings, confirming travel plans— but it can cover anything.

Additionally, you can leverage a VA to support your clients, too.

Here are just a few ways the right virtual assistant can help you!

Social Media Management

You know that it’s helpful— necessary, even— to have an active presence on social media, for you and for your clients. Maybe you don’t have the capacity, or maybe you just don’t have the interest— that’s ok. There are folks out there who love to do it! Better yet, they’ve got the expertise to help you grow your platform, whether you choose to do it with organic social engagement or you decide to take the plunge and enter the world of paid advertising.

Graphic Design

Yeah, you can fumble your way through Canva, but you’re not exactly a graphic design expert. Good news! There are experts out there who are ready and able to help you take your graphics to the next level. Whether you’re looking for a new logo, you need graphics that will help your social posts pop, or you’re looking for a more aesthetically pleasing website, there’s a designer out there for you.


Emails, blog posts, LinkedIn posts, pillar pages, gated ebooks… the list of content you need to produce is endless. But you don’t have to do it all. There are skilled content writers available who can knock out your content to-do list in no time.

Website Support

Your website is the lifeline to your business. If it’s down, you’re down. If you know just enough about your website to be dangerous, maybe it’s time to engage website support to keep your website up and running. You can offer the support of a tech-savvy VA to your clientele, too.

Project Management

If you feel like you’ve got way too many balls in the air, why not hire a professional juggler? Knowing there’s a project manager who can ensure all the aspects of your agency’s projects are covered and your clients are provided regular status updates is a gift you can give to yourself.

These are just a few of the services virtual assistants can provide. In addition to giving you and your team some breathing room, outsourcing work to a VA can make the work more efficient. When you leave the work to the experts, it usually gets done faster!

Define Your Expectations

One question I’m frequently asked by agency owners when they start working with our team is, “What do we need to do to make this work?” The first thing that comes to my mind is this: Determine what you expect and communicate those expectations early and often.

Here at IBO, the folks on our team want to make you and your clients happy. If you have a clear idea of what that looks like, let them know! If you have something that you classify as a must to work with your agency, share it with the class! Every agency is different, and the last thing a great VA wants to do is assume that their process with one agency will work for another.

A clear, straightforward conversation about what you need from your Virtual Assistant is a must. Ideally, your VA will have the opportunity to ask questions to ensure that everyone’s on the same page.

Periodic check-ins to ensure that everything’s moving forward will benefit everyone, whether it’s a quick email rundown or a short meeting via Zoom. You’ll feel better knowing where things stand with the project or task list, and your VA will have a clearly communicated timeline for tasks to be completed. It’s a win/win!

Know Your Budget

Unfortunately, finances are a reality. Some agency owners are reluctant to engage with a VA because they fear the snowball effect— sure, the service might start at a reasonable cost, but how can you prevent it from growing out of control?

It’s helpful to sit down and take a hard look at your budget before you reach out to a VA. If you have hard numbers in front of you, you can have an honest conversation with your prospective assistant about what you need. Sure, it would be nice to offload your whole list to a VA, but it might not be financially feasible.

I often advise agency owners to start small. Set a limit of, say, 5 hours a week. Once you’ve hit that number, meet with your VA to see what was accomplished. Scale up slowly from there.

You’ll feel like you’ve got some control over the budget, and your VA will have a clear understanding of what you need from them.

Communication is Key

If you’re noticing that communication is frequently mentioned, that’s no mistake. In my experience, most problems can be resolved with clear, frequent communication. Again, setting standards for communication up front is the best way to ensure that you feel comfortable handing over tasks to your VA. If you find that you have to reach out multiple times to get an answer or you’re frequently sitting in a Zoom room waiting for your VA to show up, it’s time to find a new VA. Your time is valuable, and you didn’t engage with them to add another chore to your list.

I feel I need to make it clear that the need for communication goes both ways. If you’re not answering your VA’s inquiries or if you routinely miss scheduled meetings, you’re setting your VA up for failure. The relationship is most likely to be successful if both parties are committed to making it work!

Get Ready to Grow

Leveraging a virtual assistant is rapidly becoming a norm for agencies. Whether you’re looking for a more traditional VA to help with administrative tasks or you want to help your agency grow in new and exciting directions with the help of a specialist, there’s no time like the present to explore the possibilities.

If you’d like to learn more about the virtual specialists here at Inbound Back Office, let’s talk