The Birth of a
Successful Internet Business
Part eight of ten -- Automating Your Business
By Shelley Lowery
Running a successful Internet
business can be a very time consuming venture. Not only must you design
and market your website, but you must also develop your products,
fulfill your orders and answer customer support requests -- the list
goes on and on.
Although there will always be daily tasks that you must handle
personally, there are a number of your daily tasks that you can automate
or at least partially automate.
For example, if you're receiving the same basic support requests or
questions over and over again, there are two different ways you can
automate your answers:
1) Create a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page for your website
and/or products. Your page should include a list of commonly asked
questions and provide the answers for each.
2) Create a text template for each of your frequently asked questions
that contain the answers. When you receive a commonly asked question,
simply open your text file and copy and paste your pre written answer
into your email message. You can then customize your message for each
The above example will assist you in partially automating some of your
daily tasks. However, there are some tasks that can be completely
automated simply by placing your information within an autoresponder.
Autoresponders are one of the top promotional tools available online
today. They are also known as mailbots, automatic email and email on
demand. They were derived from the very popular fax on demand and
designed to automatically respond to any email message sent to it with
an automatic response.
Autoresponder programs vary from software set up to run with your
desktop email program to a script that runs on your server. The script
may run a web-based autoresponder system that utilizes a web page form,
or it may run with your pop email account on your server. It is
programmed to automatically send out a predetermined message when a
message is received to a specified script address or email address.
Below is a list of tasks that you can completely automate:
If you're writing articles to promote your business, you can place them
within an autoresponder. This will enable your visitors to quickly and
easily retrieve your articles on demand.
=> Ad Rates
If you're selling any type of advertising space, you can place your ad
rates within an autoresponder to enable your visitors to request them at
=> Business Opportunities
If you're promoting a business opportunity, you can provide your
potential customers with further information via autoresponder.
=> Free Courses
In addition to the standard autoresponder systems, there are also
autoresponders that can send an unlimited amount of follow-up messages.
These follow-up messages can be set up to automatically be sent out at
predetermined intervals. In other words, you can set up your
autoresponder to automatically send out a new message each day for as
many days as you would like.
Follow-up autoresponder systems will enable you to set up a free course
used to increase your sales. As you may know, it may take up to seven
contacts with a potential customer before closing a sale. By setting up
an autoresponder and offering a free autoresponder course, you can
completely automate a portion of your marketing efforts.
The examples above can be set up with any of the following autoresponder
In addition to autoresponders automating some of your daily tasks, there
are also scripts that can be used to automatically respond to form
submissions. For example, if you're processing your customers' orders
yourself (with a merchant account, secure server, etc.), you can use a
form processing script to not only process your customers' information,
but to also do all of the following:
• Send out an order confirmation message
• Add your customers' information to your database
• Send out download instructions
• Send you a copy of the order
If you're using a third-party credit card processing company, there is a
way you can automate your ordering process as well.
Third-party processing companies require that you provide a web address
that is used to direct your customers to once their payment has been
processed. This page is usually used to provide your customers with
download instructions. However, you can use this page to collect your
customers' information prior to directing them to your download page.
Simply use a script like the one mentioned above.
Please keep in mind, there aren't many form processing scripts that will
send out an autoresponse file -- most won't. However, the following form
processing script will:
In addition to using a form processing script to automate your ordering
process, you can also use a web based mailing script.
Instead of setting up your "download" page with the above form, place a
subscription form within the page. This form will be used to collect
your customers' name and email address. Once completed, your customers'
information will be added to your database and an autoresponse message
will be immediately sent out. This message should be used to thank your
customer for their purchase, and provide them with download
The great thing about this technique is that you can personalize your
autoresponse message with your customers' name. In addition, they are
automatically added to a database, which will enable you to send out
product updates or introduce new products.
Please keep in mind, not all web based mailing scripts will send out an
autoresponse message or enable you to personalize your messages.
However, the following scripts will:
A complete list management system including HTML or plain text
newsletters, MySQL database, personalization features, automatic removal
links and more.
Complete list management including unlimited lists, HTML or plain text
mailings, MySQL database, customizable auto-personalization of messages,
automatic removal links, unlimited folow-up autoresponses and more.
Automating portions of your Internet business is an essential part of
your success. Not only will it lighten your workload, but it will also
free up your valuable time.
Copyright © Shelley Lowery
About the Author:
Shelley Lowery is the author of the acclaimed web design course, Web
http://www.webdesignmastery.com And, Ebook Starter - Give Your
Ebooks the look and feel of a REAL book.
http://www.ebookstarter.com Visit Web-Source.net to sign up for a
complimentary subscription to Etips and receive a copy of the acclaimed
ebook, "Killer Internet Marketing Strategies."
You have permission to publish this article electronically, in print,
in your ebook or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author
bylines are included.
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