Automation is the dream of those starting their online business. Either a complete system they can just plug into and everything gets done without them lifting a finger, except to collect the money. Or putting together various pieces of software which, working together, work smoothly and automatically, while they go off and do other things. This is the kind of dream, or part of it, often sold by business opportunities online.
Parts of your business can be automated, once you know what you’re doing with it.
The problem with getting different pieces of software for different jobs is getting them to fit together, and also having to trust they’ll keep operating as they should. Then there’s the cost, which can get quite expensive when you add them all up. On top of which, you might find you need to pay for the most expensive versions to really get the best out of them.
Instead, the aim is to use automation as much as you can, which helps you to do the important parts of the business.
First, it’s important to develop relationships with visitors, subscribers and customers. That can partly be done automatically but not wholly as you’re looking to be responsive to what they want and to be responsive to changes in your niche and online marketing.
Second, to get to the point of where you can leave some aspects automated, you need to have tested and changed things so that they work as effectively as possible. These two things are on-going. If you left them alone, then the business would begin to die off.
Now, email marketing, if you’re using it, is the core of your business. But it’s not just about the emails you send. The whole process is about getting leads who will join your list, sending the emails, and having products to offer in those emails.
So, how can you use automation?
If you have some money to use, paying for some pay per click program, such as Google’s, enables you to find which keywords work best in your niche in generating traffic to your site, and also follow-on to sales. Test one ad against another until you find the best one for traffic. Then test that best one against another. Do this repeatedly until you have the best ad you can create to get the most traffic. You can do this for various keywords and products. You have your input but it is largely automated.
If you’re basically operating with free methods, then ensure your site is optimized for the search engines. Then, develop a backlinking system to attract traffic. Test this traffic, as with the PPC method above, to find which links provide the best traffic for signups and sales. You need to build backlinks slowly and make sure they are both related to your niche and are quality ones from quality sites. The perfect situation is where your content is so good that others link to you voluntarily without being asked.
Create your own network of social sites to send traffic to your main site. These are blogging or content types such as FaceBook, and updating sites such as Twitter. You’ll need to keep putting content on them in some form but that can be systematized and as the valuable content builds you’ll be getting more traffic.
List building and communication
This is more like the kind of automation people think of when the term is used, using an autoresponder which sends out emails automatically as you have set them up. But you still have to input content. Test squeeze pages against each other until you get to one that gives you as many subscribers as possible, just like the testing above with the PPC ads. Have an email campaign written related to your first product, building trust and credibility first, before you make the offer. Have the sales page ready for when you do, and test sales pages using the same method described.
With the emails, when you find one working well for being opened and leading to more clicks, then move it into a better position in your sequence. Any that have the opposite effect, you might want todrop or try a re-write. Once you’ve gone through this process, so you have an effectively operating squeeze page, email sequence and sales page, you can leave it to keep working. You move on to the next product’s or funnel’s squeeze page, sequence and sales page.
Once it’s complete, you have automation.
If you’re selling products as an affiliate, you go to the affiliate product directories, such as ClickBank, and choose products you think would sell in your niche, preferably buying them first to test them out yourself. When you’re selling your own products you have to look at how you’re going to create them. For text, OpenOffice is free and you can convert automatically to a PDF document. For creating videos from your computer screen, Camtasia Studio is free. For creating audios, Audacity is free.
If you want increased automation then you can outsource all of the tasks so they’re done on a regular basis. However, it’s best to keep control of the contents by having the outsourcers to work at least from an outline to you give them. You want content style and tone to be consistent across all of it and across all the platforms where you place it. So, for content creation, for your products, and other aspects of your business, the best input is from yourself. You can, of course, try spinning content or curating content, and using software, or paying someone, to do it. But search engines and others are getting more and more able to find these practices, especially if not done well. While, on the other hand, they much prefer unique and authoritative content – which really can only come from yourself.
Use what automation you can, as long as it works well, allowing you to focus on your priorities to complete your plans and goals.