Introduction to Website Automation
Automation=Liberation: put your online business on autopilot
Automation is the key to the perfect online business. The purpose of the business is to create income. The purpose of automation is to give you the freedom to enjoy your income and to pursue that which really interests you. Let's take a look at some of the automation tools available.
“By working faithfully for eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be the boss and work twelve hours a day.” Robert Frost
In his book, THE FOUR HOUR WORK WEEK, Timothy Ferris says that there are three commodities in life: time, income, mobility. Your goal in life is to modulate these variables to achieve your ideal lifestyle.
If you haven’t read this book, you should stop doing whatever you are doing and order a copy right now. Read it, and it will change the way you view the world and hopefully how you fit into it forever.
What do you say when someone asks you the question, what do you do? If your answer reveals that your whole identity is wrapped up in your business or profession, you are in trouble. That question should be answered in two ways. First you could say what you do for income. Second you should tell people about the passions you pursue. If your business is your only passion, you should consider expanding your horizons. Your income should simply be the vehicle that allows you to pursue your passions. You do the income thing because you have to in order to survive in most cases. Following your passions is something you choose to do because it excites you.
"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone."
—Henry David Thoreau
The first thing to do in your quest for the perfect lifestyle is to simplify. You do that by elimination. You need to figure out what you can do to streamline and simplify by subtraction. Sometimes that will require that you add something in order to subtract more things. That’s pretty much what automation does for you.
Learn to employ the 80/20 rule, which states that 20% of what you do produces 80% of the results. Work on eliminating the 80% of what you do that is non-productive. If you apply this rule to your customer base as well, you will probably discover that 80% of your income is produced by 20% of your clients. Focus on the 20%, not the 80% and learn how to attract more of the 20% type clients.
Automation cannot solve all your problems because you need the human element sometimes; after all, business is a people oriented enterprise. You need humans to handle things like customer service, telemarketing, and shipping. You also have to realize that you cannot be an expert in all areas and that sometimes the best use of your time is not spent in certain areas. You should focus your energy on what you do best. The key is to outsource those tasks that consume your time non-productively
Here’s an instructive exercise, Calculate your total income for a year and divide it by the actual hours you work, not by the ideal 8 hour day. This will give you what you are actually worth per hour. Now, if there are tasks that you can outsource that cost less than what you are worth, do it.
Suppose you are not a computer programmer and suck at Website design. To outsource this work may cost more than your hourly worth. What to do? The answer is obvious: outsource, but go offshore. You can hire MBAs in India to work for you for $4.00 an hour. Check out Your Man in India (YMII) and Brickwork India www.b2kcorp.com. Another source to try is www.elance.com. Just google “virtual assistant,” and you will find bazillions of possibilities.
www.rent-a-coder.com is a great place to find a short term project programmer
Think about software programs for automation that they could create for you. Think of program they could create for you that you could market to help others.
Everyone should have a personal virtual assistant. Why not treat yourself to one? You will be that much further down the road to automating your business and to being free to pursue your real passions.
Look at outsourcing as a kind of human automation that relieves you of more burdens that tie you down. Outsourcing is just another tool you can employ to get you out of Dodge.
Hard product processing
Hard products can enslave you totally because of manufacturing, procurement, warehousing, shipping, and customer service. However, if your business model requires all of this, you can very easily outsource it with an order center and fulfillment center. Just Google to find and decide. You will have plenty of choices.
In the Mobile Marketing section, we discussed the power of text message marketing. Let me again remind you of this phenomenal marketing tool. You can set up a campaign, schedule, it and let it rip. The best thing is that you can do it all remotely from anywhere in the world.
If you are into email autoresponders, you need a text message mobile marketing account to autorespond to incoming cell phone calls and to launch campaigns for you. You should really take advantage of this technology and get ahead of the herd once it catches on.
There is more to going mobile, and that involves being set up with the right equipment when you are on the road or out of the office. I could go on for days on this subject for it is one of my passions. I will refrain from doing so here other than to give you a few helpful hints.
Get a decent mobile phone with real computing power, not just a toy that you can poke with your finger. I recommend a Windows Mobile device that will allow you to do real work on spread sheets, databases, create PowerPoint presentations, do Word processing, and actually cut and paste. With a BlueTooth mouse and a Bluetooth keyboard, you don’t even need to take your laptop. I also recommend getting one of the tiny new projectors that are about the size of a PDA for when you’re on the road.
If you don’t already have a MagicJack, I cannot recommend them more highly. Just go to MagicJack and grab one for only $39.95. That includes one year of unlimited phone calls anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. International calls are as little as one cent per minute. The second year’s subscription and thereafter is only $19.95 per year for unlimited calls—that’s per year, not per month. A MagicJack is a little matchbox size device with a USB plug that will connect to any computer. Just plug it in and start making phone calls. You can use the computer’s built-in mic and speakers, a headset, or plug any standard phone into the jack in the back, and use it as you would a regular landline phone.
Sometimes you will need to access your desktop computer at work or back in your home office. There is not better tool for this than GoToMyPC. (www.gotomypc.com). Just be certain that you set it up before you leave home because you cannot do it remotely, at least without the help of a friend on your desktop. Now you can tunnel into your home computer from your laptop or pocket pc, and it’s as if you were sitting in from of your monitor back home.
While we’re talking about GoToMyPC, this company offers two other products that the mobile road warrior should consider too: GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar. Both of these tools could enhance your bottom line handsomely whether you are in the office or on the beach.
Speaking of phones, you certainly don’t want to be stuck on the phone all day. I good solution is to go to www.angel.com and get an account that will answer with your company name, offer a phone tree, screen calls, take and forward messages.
We all have the problem of trying to remember, organize, and look up passwords and codes online. RoboForm does this all for you and automatically completes forms. It will save you untold time that you can better devote to other activities. To learn more about its features and to add it to your automation toolbox, go to www.roboform.com. There is even a free version that you can put on your pocket pc.
Sales and Marketing Automation
Without doubt, the most onerous tasks on a Website have to do with sales and marketing. You need to be able to launch sales campaigns, track visitors, record their contact info, add them to your mailing list, send out timed, sequenced sales follow-ups, and distribute newsletters. What about a shopping cart for sales, credit card purchases, collecting money, and depositing it in the bank? What about tracking signups for free or paid ebooks and having customer access to downloads? Suppose you have a membership site. You have to bill members monthly and make sure they get new materials in a timely fashion. What if you have a little army of affiliates making sales for you? You must have track those sales, account for returns, and pay your affiliates the proper amount in a timely manner. Are you up for all that? These are tedious tasks for one person to handle, and there goes your pursuit of passions.
If you could hire someone to do all of these jobs for you for a hundred bucks a month. Would it be worth it to you? Of course it would, and what if you didn’t even have to outsource it--so much the better, right?
If you are not already familiar with them, let me introduce you to some multi-function shopping cart systems that can do all of the chores listed above and more. They don’t get tired, complain, or show up late, and they have real humans you can talk to if they misbehave.
Multi function Shopping cart systems
If you want to automate your site and have any kind of sales other than being an affiliate marketer, then you need to get a shopping cart program. The nice thing about shopping carts these days is that they perform all the functions mentioned above, which include sales and marketing.
Most of these systems range from $29-$99 per month depending on the features you wish with the package. One that seems to be a one-time purchase for the software is at http://www.kcscripts.com/index.html with prices ranging from $29.95-499.95. You can purchase
individual components and add as necessary or get package deals.
Here is a list of some others to check out:
While the shopping cart programs have some great automation features, check out what you get in the iGroops membership automation application below. This is a shopping cart program on steroids with far more features and for the same price.
While the shopping cart programs listed above have a rudimentary membership tracking function, which may be fine for getting started, you may wish to have a more robust system. Here’s one that has all the bells and whistles. With this puppy, you can even start your own social networking site and give Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter a run for their money. Check out the amazing features that are included in iGroops:
Up to FOUR Customizable Membership Categories!
Ecommerce Enabled, including PayPal!
Integrated Affiliate Program!
Teleseminars (up to 125 for NO COST!)
Audio/Video Postcard (Email) Delivery!
Private Messaging System!
Integrated Text/Audio/Video CHAT!
Feature Rich Calendar!
Online Store Capability!
Live Audio/Video Broadcaster (Webinars)!
Multiple Admin Levels!
Multiple Member Access Levels!
Exhaustive Online Training!
And much, much more.....!!
Egads, the free teleconference and webinar feature alone could be worth a pile of money to you. With this program, you really don’t even need a shopping cart because it’s included, and it does so much more than the shopping cart programs out there. Each application may be turned on or off for each membership category. Start your own business, hobby, or affinity group membership site today... or as many as you want at no extra cost. There is no set up fee, and a 30 day free trial period. Give iGroops a 30 free trial.
If you are into your own membership and affiliate programs, this would clearly be the engine for you. If you plan to distribute eProducts, this is the application for you. If you need a shopping cart, autoresponders iGroops includes them. If you want to promote with teleconferences or Webinars, it’s all included and will save you a pile not having to subscribe to other outside services.
If you have your own products, and you want to recruit affiliates to market them for you, you would be well advised to automate all the tracking and payouts. Otherwise, it would drive you crazy if you attempted to do it manually. You can sign up with a service such as clickback.com--there are several others available. Or, you can purchase software to do it for you and avoid all the fees that the services charge.
If you Google “affiliate software,” the results will be staggering. Here is a site that might help you sort through the mire to arrive at a decision about which would be best for your purposes. Please visit Affiliate Software Review.
However, I strongly advise you to consider the power of iGroops mentioned above, for it is clearly the winner with the most robust features all included.
Blogging and Website content
By now it should be no secret that you have to serve two masters in the world of online business: search engines and visitors. Both reward a depth of content as well as fresh content. However, it need not be an endless job of writing article after article. You can get autobots to crawl around the net, find excellent content that is relevant to your topic and automatically post it for you. Believe me, that takes a lot of the drudgery and intensive labor out of keeping your site current.
If you wisely chose to use XSitePro or Solo Build It to construct your Website, both of these programs have components that will take care of this chore for you.
If you constructed your Website some other way and need a feed to update your content automatically, there are lots of services that will do it for you for a fee. However, Blog Overdrive will do it for free. It updates both blogs and Websites on a limited basis, but will charge a subscription fee for more heavy duty services.
Auto commenting on forums and blogs
As you should be aware by now, posting in forums with a signature file is an excellent method of driving free traffic to your sales point. If you want to save some time, there are autobots available that will post for you on multiple forums. Just Google something like “auto forum poster” or “forum autobots,” and you can check out the results. If you do decide to use this form of automation, I strongly urge you to proceed with caution and use it sparingly or you will certainly be blackballed.
An autobot for commenting on blogs you may wish to try is Comment Kahuna. It could help drive traffic to your site and boost your search engine rankings if used properly. And the good news is that it’s free.
Social bookmarking is a technique to give your blog or site viral exposure, and it is certainly something you should be doing. Again xsitepro and site builders do this for you automatically. However, if you do not use these systems, there is another tool that will notify scores of social bookmarking sites of your new content, and it’s free. To register and start using it, go to Social Marker. Once you have it set up, just highlight the key text in your new content, and in a couple of clicks this service notifies all the major social bookmarking sites.
Remember that our goal is ultimately to automate our online income engines as much as possible so that we can run them remotely with very little effort from anywhere in the world as we pursue other interests. Accordingly, I would like to introduce you to an incredible tool that puts the whole marketing process on autopilot, and it’s free. You really owe it to yourself to check out Traffic Python.
To use the Traffic Python program effectively, indeed to do any marketing effectively, I urge you to subscribe to aWeber, which is without doubt the best autoresponder application available. It will cost you $20 a month, but it is worth every penny. This is truly a worthwhile investment for your new business—for any business interested in making online income. This is the most invaluable tool for listbuilder, sales, and keeping in touch with your followers, and for distributing ezines/newsletters automatically. Sign up for a free trial account with aWeber.
Joint ventures are an excellent way to put your marketing on autopilot, especially if you are just getting started, have little capital to invest in prohibitively expensive advertising, and have no list of your own yet. With joint ventures, you can market virtually free while building your customer base and list at the same time. It’s the best of all worlds. All you have to do is create the marketing campaign with a sales letter and some follow up emails for an autoresponder and find a partner willing to work with you.
Finding a partner may prove the most difficult part. I personally have one of the largest lists out there having been in the list business since 1988. I am always looking for a quality joint venture. If you have a winner, send me a proposal, and let’s see what we can do. I enjoy nothing more than helping someone get started and watching them grow.
With a good joint venture, you can literally achieve instant success overnight with a successful campaign. Frankly, it is the best, most powerful means of marketing available and puts PPC and all the rest to shame, particularly since it is virtually free and operates on autopilot once you have your automated sales system in place.
To promote your business, you should certainly be involved social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and a host of others (don’t try to join too many, it will wipe you out time-wise).
The whole process of attracting targeted lists can be time-consuming if done manually. I would say that Twitter has the most in the way of automated applications. If you are on Twitter and want to use it for marketing purposes, you definitely need to read this manual, which teaches you how to put it all on autopilot.
Another excellent system that I recommend is called The Twitter Traffic Machine. This amazing system identifies and automatically starts following people who are in your niche and notifies them. Most people automatically follow you back. So, far it has yielded me several thousand followers in just a couple of weeks. It even sends out Tweets for you about stuff in your niche to make you someone worth following. I cannot recommend this program more highly: Twitter traffic machine.
I found another program that creates friends for you in MySpace. It’s called Friend Blaster Pro. While you can solicit infinite friends per day, MySpace would probably shut your account down. If you use it, keep under the radar and set it to only about 199 per day. That should keep you safe and still recruit quite a following every day. Check out Friend Blaster Pro.
For direct mail campaigns, your best value is to do postcard marketing. For mailing lists, go to Listologist and for postcards click on the panel below.
If you plan on using other media, never ever pay rack rates or you’ll soon go broke. Consider using an advertising agency that will negotiate up to 90% discounts. Try negotiating yourself, and you’ll probably be able to do way better than the original price sheet.
Try to negotiate PI deals so that you don’t to come up with any revenue upfront. PI means pay per inquiry and is a revenue split agreement with the media.
Please return often, for this section will be updated often with new tips, tricks, reviews, and recommendations. Remember that automation is the key to your ultimate freedom to pursue your passions.
Automate and liberate yourself from drudgery and enslavement. Why not live on dollars, earn pesos, and compensate in rupees
Click here to find out why you need to automate.
Think Joint venture!
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