At first, the temptation for most Internet marketers is to do everything manually to save money. This will quickly become unmanageable as your lists get bigger and your product line becomes more varied. Add a few extra sites to manage multiple income streams, and you can quickly become confused or overburdened with the multiple minute details of operating several Internet commerce sites. The solution is to start automating things before your business gets too unwieldy and you lose customers.
Tools Versus Services
Automation can be done via tools or services. The AWeber.com site offers a service to manage multiple email campaigns. This is done by a third party, and there are some advantages to this approach. You don't have to install any special tools on your site, and everything is managed by someone else. The disadvantage is that you pay for the service monthly and you are subject to their terms and conditions. If that is still cheaper than installing your own tools, then there's no reason not to use a service versus a tool. However, typically, installing the tools on your own site will give you far more control and be less expensive in the long run.
Things You Want To Automate
The email campaigns are definitely an example of an online business activity that you want to automate. Other types of functions might be helpdesk activity, where the first line of response could be an FAQ or a search box that is specifically set up to look through help content to aid a person in figuring out their own problems.
Don't forget that other tools exist to centralize your entire business activities, regardless of how many sites you own. This can help you to keep track of what is selling or not across multiple sites. It will also help with affiliate programs that might be available on different sites too.
Speaking of affiliate programs, that's a perfect example of scripts and software programs that you can install on your website versus using a service. You can go to third-party sites like ClickBank.com or CJ.com and just use their programs to add an affiliate site.
The cost though can be very high for someone starting up. If you plan on making an affiliate program an integral part of your sales strategy online, the sooner you get that functionality up and running on your sites, the more you will save money.
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