The Two Little Secrets of BIG Growth and Profits for Your Home Business
Have you ever switched off your computer at the end of a day's work in your home business, but found that the "to do" list you started with that morning is still as long as your arm? Okay, you've answered tons of e-mails containing questions from customers, you've fulfilled some orders, and you've updated your newsletter subscriber list by deleting recent unsubscribe and bounce backs, and adding some new subscribers. But what have you really achieved in that time? Have you generated more sales? Have you developed improvements to your home business and its products or services? Have you come up with some ideas for your next really profitable campaign?
The fact is, many home business owners get so caught up with running their home business, that they have no time to grow it. Answering e-mails, fulfilling orders, and updating your subscriber list are all essential tasks -- but they will NOT increase your profits.
The only way to grow a business is to market it. And the secret to being able to grow your home business and still run it at the same time is automation.
Automating key tasks -- so they happen without you lifting a finger -- doesn't just free you from doing some of the daily chores involved in running a home business… it actually grows your home business, too. An automated ordering system allows you to sell your home business and its products or services day and night... meaning more sales, and more profits. Automated follow-up emails let you upsell related backend products to your customers... which can boost your revenue.
Answering questions instantly creates satisfied customers who appreciate your fast, professional service. And the earlier you automate your home business, the better -- so you can concentrate on building your home business. Once you're automated, you can handle thousands more customers without being bogged down by thousands more administrative tasks.
THE best way to automate your home business and all your daily chores is to use "auto responders." Auto responders are pre-written e-mails that are automatically sent on your behalf -- for example, in response to an e-mail sent to a particular e-mail address that you set up, or when an order goes through.
They take care of the tasks that would take you hours to do yourself and leave you free to concentrate on building your home business. All you have to do is write the e-mail messages in advance and set them up to be sent out when you want.
The two areas of your home business that are essential to automate... and tell you how auto responders can help you do it.
Automated home business Secret: Automate your ordering & fulfilment process
Your sales and ordering process is crucial to the success of your home business, and it's critical that you automate it from the beginning. When you start your home business, you might find that you WANT to handle the orders yourself. After all, it's satisfying to see those first few sales come in and to deal with your first customers personally... it means all your hard work in your home business is paying off!
However, after that initial honeymoon period is over and you're handling hundreds and thousands of orders -- you won't find the hands-on approach so much fun. Just think how long it takes you to handle ONE order manually, and multiply that by 100 or 1,000!
Put simply, your home business won't grow... unless you automate your whole ordering process. So this is where auto responders come in -- they can manage all your most time-consuming tasks, including:
Confirming orders for your home business. Many people are nervous about buying online, and they like to be reassured that their order has gone through without any problems. Receiving an instant confirmation leaves your customer with the impression that you're running a highly professional home business, and it stops them calling or e-mailing you to check up on their order.
Notifying customers that their order has shipped. People also like to know that their purchase is on its way.
Fulfilling orders from your home business. If you sell downloadable software, access to a password-protected area of your site, or an information product like an eBook, you can also use auto responders to fulfil your orders and automatically e-mail your customer a link to where they can download their purchase or e-mail them a password to let them into a members-only area of your site.
This "instant gratification" factor is very important for good customer service. Sending follow-up e-mails. One of the most effective after-sales techniques is a simple "thank-you.” So you can set up auto responders to do this for you!
In the same auto responder, you can tell your customers about other related products that they might want from your home business. For example, if you sold a customer a camera, you might ask if they'd be interested in an extra lens.
This type of product -- sold on the back of a previous sale -- is known as a "backend" product, and automating this process can potentially generate thousands of dollars in extra revenue for you, with no work on your part. Now that’s home business profit!
It's in your interest to make it easy for your customers to order and receive your products, as well as making the whole process hands-free so you can concentrate on growing your home business.
Automated home business secret: Automate your customer service
As I've just mentioned, online customers EXPECT quick service. The fact is, if you leave it a day or two to respond to a question about your home business and its products or services, you could lose that customer to your competition. So good customer service is a vital component of a successful online home business.
And once again, auto responders are crucial. They allow you to...
Answer your customers' questions automatically. You can set up an automated FAQ using auto responders. Just create an e-mail address like faq@MyWebsite.com and invite visitors to e-mail you with any questions.
They then receive an automatic response containing answers to all the most common questions you're likely to receive from your visitors about your products or services, ordering process, and so on. This way, you save yourself the hours you'd spend answering the same questions again and again. Another way to provide an extra service to visitors to your site is to send them free information. You could write a useful article -- for example, "10 Hot Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday" could go with a web site selling travel accessories -- and promote it on your home business web site.
Just invite customers to send an e-mail to freearticle@MyWebsite.com for their copy -- an auto responder e-mail then sends them the free information.
The result is that you've established contact with a potential customer, sent them information about your product, and impressed them with your professionalism -- all done instantly and automatically.
The secret to great online customer service lies in providing a stress-free buying experience and giving potential customers all the information they need to make a quick buying decision.
Remember, the HUGE benefit of automation is that it allows you to spend more time coming up with new ways to grow your business and increase your profits.
It's not impossible to make money and grow your home business without automation, but it's very difficult if you spend hours every day answering e-mails, fulfilling orders, and taking care of all the other daily chores yourself. You'll basically become a secretary in your own home business -- which I'm guessing is not what you set out to do!
So the question is not can you afford to automate your home business… it's can you afford NOT to?