Automating Your Business

A few weeks ago I received an email from a young lady. In this email she asked me what I considered to be the most important part of my business, and what specifically enabled me to make as much money as I did, as easily as I did…


Now this was an interesting email and it got me thinking…


What was the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT factor in my business that enabled me to make the huge sums of money that I did?


Was it down to the market that I chose to enter?


Well yes, the market was certainly of crucial importance to my ability to turn a sizeable profit, but I realised that I already had a part of my system in place that enabled me to FIND that hungry market, so surely that was more important?


Then I wondered about my product selection. Was this the most important aspect of my business?


Well no, and I knew this because I’d been able to make huge returns on practically every product that I’d marketed in the last few years – including a particularly poor one that I’d mistakenly promoted – and if that was the case, then the product itself couldn’t have been the most critical factor in my ability to make that money.


So what about advertising and marketing; was this the most important factor in my ability to rake in 6 FIGURE PROFITS each month?


Well of course my advertising system was hugely effective and took my product into the homes of millions of internet users around the world, but once again I realised that a significant part of my system was already in place to make that possible…


I considered every single part of my business and discounted them one by one…


My websites… my sales letters… my joint venture partners… Yes, they were all hugely important, but could any of these individual components be described as the most important aspect of my business, and the main reason why I was able to make so much money online?


The answer was no, they were not.


So what was?


Well, to be completely honest with you, it didn’t take me very long to realise what the answer to this question was, and no doubt you’ve probably worked it out yourself by now as well.


That’s right, you’ve got it!


The single most important aspect of my entire business is AUTOMATION


Without doubt, the use of auto-responders is absolutely crucial to the success and income potential of any online business.


Essentially, they enable you to promote your product to hundreds and thousands of customers in an instant… and then deliver it immediately, without having to do ANYTHING yourself.


They can also function as your secretary, answering emails and confirming orders, enabling you to get on with the job of expanding your business and making more money!


You see, once you have a product at your disposal and a list of customers to promote it to, everything else can be done by your auto-responders…


Here are some of the many ways in which auto-responders can boost your business:


1)      Email Marketing Campaign


Using auto-responders as part of an email marketing campaign is one of the most efficient methods of building a list and selling products.


Let me explain how this works…


Once your prospects have visited your squeeze page (data capture page) and signed up for your free email course, e-book, newsletter etc, you can then start promoting your product to every single email address that you’ve managed to collect…


This is what’s known as an email marketing campaign, and it’s the AUTO-RESPONDER that will allow you to deliver this content quickly, easily and effectively…


Studies have shown that it takes between 6-7 follow-up emails before a customer actually makes a purchase, so auto-responders are absolutely crucial to your business.


You obviously can’t send all of these emails manually, to each and every prospect that gives you their contact details. That would be incredibly time-consuming and virtually impossible. Instead, an auto-responder service enables you to write something once and then program its delivery, so it’s sent out to prospects whenever you want it to be, without you actually having to do anything further.


There are a variety of auto-responder services available online and I’d recommend that you have a good look around before you sign up to any single provider…


However, through my experience I’ve found the following three providers to be the best:


So, once you’ve started collecting leads via your squeeze pages, it’s time to send out your free email course, newsletter, e-book etc, using one of the above auto-responder services.


All you need to do is program the time-scale and then set up the automated first-name field which personalizes each email, such as “Hello [Brian],” for example (your auto-responder service will show you how to do this).


Therefore, when someone signs up for your course through your squeeze page, your auto-responder is programmed to send out the first email immediately, and automatically plug-in the first name of the prospect that has signed up.


The first piece of correspondence would normally be a welcome email, thanking the prospect for subscribing.


Your second email could then be programmed to arrive in their inbox one or two days afterwards, your third email two days after that… and so on.


All the while you’re giving these people helpful information and consequently building a positive relationship, increasing the chances of an eventual sale.


1)      Customer Service


Another huge benefit of using auto-responders is that they can literally deal with ALL of your customer service issues!


When I first started my business back in 2005 I replied to virtually every email that was sent to me. I answered questions, confirmed orders, informed the customer when to expect their delivery, etc. But thanks to auto-responders, all of this is now done for me!


i)                    Order  Confirmation


Due to the increase in online fraud, customers nowadays appreciate (and even expect) confirmation of their order almost immediately, as it reassures them that everything is fine.


To achieve this end you can set up an auto-responder email that immediately confirms you’ve received a customer’s order and lets them know that it’s being dealt with. All of the major auto-responder services will have this facility.


Not only does this practice make your business appear reliable and professional, it also limits the potential for follow-up emails or phone calls from customers worried about their order.


ii)                   Shipping Confirmation


This is important for the same reasons as above, but naturally it would only be required when selling physical products…


If a customer hears nothing about their order and are unsure when they will receive it, they’re more likely to pick up the phone or send an email to check up on it, subsequently INCREASING the amount of administrative work for you.


To reduce the potential for this, you can set up an auto-responder that emails the customer as soon as their order has been shipped. Again, any of the major auto-responder services will possess this facility.


iii)                 Order Fulfilment


If your business sells downloadable products such as e-books or computer software for example, you can again set up an auto-responder to fulfil the orders.


As soon as a customer’s order has been confirmed, an email can be sent immediately (and automatically) to the email address they have given, providing a link from where they can download their purchase.


Alternatively, an auto-responder could send a website address and login details that allows the buyer to access exclusive content. This is what I do for my own membership sites, like the AIS Home Study Course.


How’s that for easy money?!


Once the customer purchases the product, the auto-responders kick-in and deliver everything they need to get started.


And what’s more, I have a rebilling system in place with 1shoppingcart which automatically debits the customer’s account each month and unlocks the next month’s reports. I don’t have to do anything at all!


iv)                 FAQ Page


If you don’t want to be bogged down answering customer’s queries about your products all day long (and believe me, you don’t!) it’s vital that you set up an FAQ page (Frequently Asked Questions).


When I first started out, I would spend hours of my day sat at my desk replying to email queries, and it didn’t take me long to figure out that the same queries would be repeated over and over again…


So I compiled a Frequently Asked Questions page to do the job that I didn’t have time to do myself. If the question wasn’t answered by the FAQs, I would answer it, and then add that question and answer to the FAQ page. Before long, I hardly had to reply to any emails myself!


Although such an approach to customer service might seem impersonal and perhaps disrespectful to customers who are handing over their money to you, personally answering each email that you receive is incredibly time-consuming, and if you choose to handle your business this way, you won’t make much money!


Once you’re making a sizeable income, you can then employ administrative staff to handle these emails (this is what I do now), but until then, I’d strongly suggest that you incorporate an auto-responder service that directs customers towards an FAQ page.


Utilizing an auto-responder like this means that you won’t have to spend hours each day answering the same questions, over and over again. It also has a positive effect on your business, as most customers will appreciate a prompt reply to their query and will subsequently be more inclined to purchase from you.   


So there you go! Right there are some pretty good reasons why you should be utilising auto-responders in your business.


So if you’re just starting out, I’d suggest signing up to one of the big email marketing companies right now.


You’ll be glad that you did!