Optimise Your Efforts With Automation


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Running a successful Internet business can be a very time consuming venture, it is not just simply a case of marketing your website.

Your internet business falls roughly into three areas.

  • Engage in product development to gain new customers and re-service existing ones.

  • Order fulfillment is essential so as not to lose existing custom and potential future custom as well.

  • Most importantly, responding to customer requests for support.

    Some daily tasks will require handling personally, but; you can fully or partially automate a proportion of your daily tasks. When dealing with customer support, if the same basic questions keep being asked, you can automate a response in two different ways.

    Firstly, create a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page for your website and/or products. You should include a list of the most common questions, and most importantly the answers to them. Alternatively, if you prefer to send a custom message for each recipient and still save time, create a text template for each of your FAQ’s. In that template put the answers so that when you receive a commonly asked question, you simply open your text file, then copy and paste your pre written answer into your email message.

    An excellent way to completely automate some tasks is to use an Auto Responder. Auto responders sometimes known as maillots, automatic email and email on demand, they are designed to automatically respond to any email message sent to it with an automatic response.

    A web-based auto responder system often utilises a web page form, or it may run with your pop email account on your server. You can program it to automatically send out pre-written messages when a message is received to a specified script or email address. There is no need to be manually composing e-mails all day, as these messages can be set to be sent out at different time periods. Articles you are writing in order to promote your business (such as this one) can be placed within an auto responder. Visitors can then quickly retrieve your articles on demand.

    If you are selling any type of advertising space, placing your ad rates within an auto responder enables your visitors to request them at any time.

    If you are promoting a business opportunity, you can provide your potential customers with further information via auto responder.

    As well as standard auto responder systems, there are auto responders that send an unlimited amount of follow-up messages. These follow-up messages can be set up to be despatched automatically at predetermined intervals defined by you. You can set up your auto responder to automatically send out a new message each day for as many days as you would like.

    Follow-up auto responder systems enable you to set up a free course that can be used to increase your sales. It can take as many as seven contacts with a potential customer before closing a sale. A portion of your marketing efforts can then be completely automated by offering a free auto responder course.

    Auto responders are not the only way that you can automate some of your daily tasks; there are also scripts that can be used to automatically respond to form submissions. For example, say you are 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 are using a third-party credit card processing company, you can automate your ordering process as well. Third-party processing companies require that you provide a web address to direct your customers to once their payment has been processed. This page is typically used to provide your customers with download instructions. Prior to directing them to your download page, you can use this page to collect your customers’ information simply by using a script like the one mentioned above.

    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. Your customers’ name and email address will be collected via this form, add the details to your database and an auto response message will be immediately sent out.

    This message can thank your customer for their purchase, and provide them with download instructions.

    The great thing about this technique is that you can personalize your auto response message with your customers’ name. In addition, as they are automatically added to a database, you can build an opt-in list so you can send out product updates or introduce new products.

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    Note: You may use this article in your e-zine or on your site as long as the article and resource box remain unchanged

    Copyright Mike Morris 2005

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