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The Importance of Automation in your Home Business

Most newcomers to Internet marketing underestimate the importance of automation to their home business. In fact many are not sure what automation is even though they are sure to have experienced it at work many times if they have been involved in any form on online business.

The first part of making your business automatic is an autoresponder. Basically it does what it says: it responds automatically. How do you think that businesses can run 24/7 from anywhere in the world. The beauty of the internet is that there are no frontiers, and no matter what time it is in your home country, somewhere it is going to be any other time on the 24 hour clock. It sounds a bit strange put that way, but whatever the peak time is for internet activity, it will be that time somewhere in the world.

When it is 2 am in California it will be 10 am in Europe for example, and if you want to be successful online you should not restrict your market place. However, you cannot be expected to be awake all day, so some way has to be found to deal with the routine of your business while your are asleep. That is the job of website automation in general and an autoresponder in particular. There are many different types and sources and it is not the purpose here to recommend one above another, but to give you an idea of the range of jobs that they can be programmed to carry out. Let us look at a business from start to finish, and find out where an autoresponder can fit into it.

You start with advertising your service or product. There are many ways you can do this with a home business, and let's say you start by building an email list. To do that you design a squeeze page that is the landing page of an ezine advertisement. A squeeze page is designed to collect names and email addresses, and contains an opt-in form. Your prospect clicks on your advert and lands on your squeeze page. They decide to fill in the form, because you offer a free seven part course teaching them more about your niche.

One of the big problems with opt-in forms is that machines can fill them in - machines known as spambots - unless you stop them. One way is by use of a Turing or Captcha code, another by means of a confirmation link. Once the name and address have been filled in, your autoresponder adds the details to a database, and most offer an unlimited number of databases so that you have one for each website or even each product. The autoresponder also gives the prospect an immediate online message that they have to confirm their subscription by clicking on a link in a confirmation email that the autoresponder has just sent to the respondent's email address.

So the prospect opens their email and clicks on the link. They are then sent a Thank You email and the first part of the course - all automatically. You will have previously programmed the autoresponder to send one part of the course every two days, until it is complete, and inside each part you will have included an advert for your product. It is said that a prospect needs seven or eight exposures to a product on average before deciding to purchase. Your autoresponder is doing that by providing your course over a period of 14 days.

If the prospect decides to buy the product, then other aspects of site automation take over. The payment is handled by a credit card merchant or a payment system such as PayPal or Clickbank that automatically sends a receipt and thank you email. Your payment system can be set up to automatically deliver the product if it is in electronic form such as an ebook or software.

All of that can be done in a few minutes automatically while you are sleeping, and in this case has involved two elements of an automated system: the autoresponder and the payment portal. However, there are many other aspects of automation than just these.

Take mass mailings for example. Your autoresponder can send out predetermined messages to complete databases of email addresses that you have collected from your squeeze pages. You can break down your databases into sub-bases if you want, and it will send out specific emails at programmed times to each database of addresses. Alternatively you can send out one email to everybody: a holiday message or whatever, that would impossible for you to do manually to each of thousands of email addresses.

You can carry out cron jobs, or specific tasks programmed to be done at specific times, such as sending out countdown emails offering a product at a bit more each time until it reaches its standard price. I am sure that you can think of other uses to which website automation could be put, and the importance of automation in your home business cannot be over-emphasized.

About the Author
Tom McMullen writes articles related to home business
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