MAXIMIZING YOUR MOST VALUABLE
by: Cary Christian
Most of you who read this
ezine are interested in increasing your web-based business activities. Many
of you may be looking to become Internet-only businesses. It follows then
that most of you have a healthy interest in Internet marketing. While there
is nothing wrong with this, you also need to position your business to
function efficiently in an Internet world.
One of the most persistent problems facing Internet marketers is finding
enough quality time to get things done. Between setting up your website and
maintaining it, executing your marketing campaigns, and actually running
your business, there never seems to be any time left for yourself and your
family. This problem is compounded if you work a day job and try to
run your Internet business at night.
The answer to this problem is automation. You will either automate your
Internet business activities or you will never have enough time to do the
things you need to do to grow your business. We're going to take a look at
several things you should consider to make your life easier.
If you maintain a substantial email list, you should consider automating
your mail list operations in some form. There are many options available.
You can purchase mailing software that runs on your web server, mailing
software that runs on your PC, or you can farm out your mailing operations
to an Internet-based service provider. The choice you make will depend
largely on how big your mail lists are.
With a fairly large list, managing subscriptions, remove requests and
bounces can quickly become an extremely time-consuming ordeal. Server-side
mail software like Mailloop
http://www.marketingtips.com/mailloop/t.x/649034 ) will take care of these
processes for you automatically.
Server-side software like Mailloop can be quite expensive. If you do not
need that much power or do not yet have the budget for server-side software,
packages installed on your PC may be the interim answer for you. PC-based
mailing software may or may not handle ALL of your list chores,
depending on how it is set up, but it will make them easier to manage.
Two good PC-based programs you could start with are Group Mail Pro
http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=3939&U=58198&M=1465 ) and the Gammadyne mailer (
http://gammadyne.com/refer.php?ref=12345&page=mmail.htm ) The Gammadyne mailer
is often compared favorably to Mailloop even though it is less than a third
of the cost. You can find a complete comparison of the Gammadyne mailer to
most other mailers on the market on their website. The comparison contains
live links to competing software, so you can check out Gammadyne's
competitors very easily.
Farming your list maintenance and mailing chores out to an Internet-based
provider will take almost all the headaches away, but be careful that you do
not lose too much control over your lists. These services will generally
cost you $19.95 or more per month, but will handle every aspect of managing
your mail lists except deciding what to actually send to the list.
Technically, autoresponders are still in the category of email automation,
but we'll deal with them separately because they can be used to automate
other business functions.
Autoresponders can save you tons of time in lots of ways. If you receive a
lot of email related to technical support or requests for product
information, an autoresponder can be your best friend.
Use them to send a "frequently asked support questions" email to customers.
Spend a little time developing a thorough support document that covers your
most frequent support issues and have your customers send their first
support request to this autoresponder document. It could weed out many of
your more repetitious requests. Include a link within the email to reach you
directly if the autoresponder support document does not solve their problem.
Use autoresponders to provide potential customers with product information.
This becomes a really nice sales tool. Since most customers need to be
presented with your sales message seven times or more before they buy,
always provide your web site visitors with an option to request more
information from one of your autoresponders. Fill the autoresponder with as
many sales/product information messages as you believe are necessary without
going overboard. Of course each message will attempt to get the potential
customer back to your order page.
If you post to safelists or classified sites, include an autoresponder
address for additional information. You will be multiplying your marketing
efforts many times over without increasing your time commitments.
Using autoresponders can save you hundreds of hours per month and make your
marketing and support efforts more effective overall. Be creative and use
them in as many ways as you can.
See our FEATURED RESOURCE below to find out
where you can get the autoresponders you need.
USE ACCOUNTING SYSTEM INTEGRATION CAPABILITIES
Accounting systems today are much more than a system for accumulating debits
There are hundreds of accounting systems on the market. Maybe thousands if
you count the really bad ones. Most all of them will do an adequate job with
normal everyday accounting functions. They will produce financial statements
and general ledgers, track your payables and receivables, and help you
balance your checkbooks. But the really good ones will do much more.
Higher end accounting systems are designed primarily to help you organize
and formalize your business processes. Accounting is almost a by-product in
most modern systems. Outstanding tools are provided to help you manage
customer relationships, automate your shipping processes, manage and plan
your inventory operations, track and manage costs incurred on projects,
allow you to purchase and sell using EDI, and so much more.
Web-enabled software packages can be even more impressive. Purchasing
and sales activities can be carried out 24 hours a day, seven days a week
without any human intervention whatsoever.
No matter how small your business is, an appropriate accounting system
exists that will make your life easier, make your documents look more
professional, make you more efficient, and give you more free time to pursue
more interesting endeavors. Modern systems are operational tools that
just happen to handle accounting for you on the side.
If you are a small business looking for your first formal accounting system,
our sponsor for this week provides an excellent basic product with upgrades
available that allow you to expand your system as your business grows. You
can download a free trial to check it out. (See the sponsor ad, above, and
website for details).
FOCUS YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS TO SAVE TIME
Most of your marketing efforts online require some action on your part to
make it happen. You have to post manually to safelists and message boards.
You have to click, click, click your life away using surf-for-credit
programs. These forms of marketing are basically free so they are quite
popular. But there comes a point in time when you have to realize that your
time is valuable.
Pay-per-click search engines will provide you with extremely targeted
traffic with little effort on your part once you set up your listings and
Ezine ads produce excellent results and do not require much time at all to
Using marketing sources like these will allow you to set up marketing
campaigns that require little maintenance while they work for you as spend
time doing other things. And if you study and learn how to use these
marketing resources properly, you can use them fairly inexpensively.
ORGANIZING YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS
Your marketing efforts will always require some of your time no matter what
types of marketing you are using. If you are posting to safelists that allow
you to post once per week, when was the last time you posted? Do you
remember when you last updated your search engine submissions? When did you
last check your bids on the PPC engines? It can become very difficult to
keep track of it all, and disorganization leads to wasted time.
Using a tool like SiteTrack can help you make sense of it all by organizing
all your marketing efforts and maintaining important information about your
website and web marketing efforts. If you don't already have such a tool,
you can check out SiteTrack at
If you don't want to spend the small fee to acquire a tool like SiteTrack,
you should at least create a detailed marketing checklist where you keep
track of your marketing efforts and maintain reminders and to-do lists.
If you put these few tips to work in your business, you will free up your
most valuable resource for the important function of positioning your
business for growth and market penetration. Your most valuable
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