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Monday, February 28, 2011

Automating Portions of Your Home Based Internet Business

By Shelley Lowery

Owning your own Internet business is a dream come true for many. Unfortunately, most people don't realize the cost of running such a business in terms of time. Between setting up and maintaining your web site, marketing the site, creating products, and customer service, you end up working more than a full time job. Although there are certain tasks that you must handle yourself, there are usually even more tasks that can be automated with autoresponders or even outsourced.

Minimizing Customer Support Requests

One of the most time consuming aspects of running a business is customer support - especially if you're selling software. Many times, you will find yourself answering the same questions over and over again, which is something that can be partially automated.

A great way to cut down on a lot of your support requests is to set up an online help desk with a knowledge base on your site. A help desk will enable your customers to visit your site and go through a series of questions and answers that will try to solve their problem without the need for human intervention. However, if they can't find a solution, they can then submit a support ticket for assistance. You can find a nice online help desk software at Kayako. If you get a lot of support requests, this will definitely be a great option for you.

Another way you can cut down on your support requests is to set up a 'Frequently Asked Questions' page and place it on your web site. If you'd like to use this option, create a new web page and type out any questions you receive or any questions you think your customers may ask and then answer them. Your FAQ might look something like this:

Question: Is your software compatible with the Windows Vista operating system?
Answer: Yes, our software is compatible with Vista.

In addition, you could also create 'answer' templates for questions you receive on a regular basis. To do this, open your text editor and type your email message that will be used to answer questions. Save your new template within an easily accessible folder. If you do this for each potential question, you can easily copy the answer from your template and paste it into your email reply each time you receive a standard question. Some email programs will enable you to create what is referred to as stationary. You can use this feature to create your templates.

You will be amazed by the amount of time you'll save each day by automating a portion of your customer support requests. However, there are many other things that you can do to automate some daily tasks.

As an Internet business owner, you have most likely have heard about autoresponders. Autoresponders can also be used to automate portions of your business, as they can send out an automatic response to every email message received.

Automating with Autoresponders

You can set up an autoresponder on your own server, but most find that it is much easier to sign up for an autoresponder service, such as Aweber, or Get Response. Either way, there are numerous tasks that can be taken care of with an autoresponder.

If you write articles, autoresponders provide a great way to deliver them to your visitors email address. You can place special links on your site for your visitors to request your articles.

Autoresponders can also enable you to provide your visitors with your advertising rates, such as web site or ezine advertising. By enabling your visitors to request this information via your autoresponder, you won't have to manually send it to them.

You can also use your autoresponder to automate your digital product delivery. Instead of redirecting your customers to a 'thank you' or 'download' page, redirect them to a page where they can enter their name and email address into your autoresponder form. Upon submitting their information, your autoresponder will automatically send them their download instructions.

If you'd rather not use an autoresponder service, here are two software programs that you can install on your own web server:

AutoResponse Plus - A complete list management system that will enable you to manage an unlimited number of lists, send plain text or html messages, send out customized messages, and include a link for your customers to automatically remove themselves from your list.

1-2-All Broadcast - This script will enable you to fully manage your email lists, send plain and HTML messages, personalize messages, and enables your customers to remove themselves from your list automatically.

There are an unlimited number of uses for autoresponders, such as promoting business opportunities, delivering free email courses, and much more. Use them to your fullest advantage.

Automating portions of your Internet business can save you a wealth of time and enable you to focus on more important things - like spending time with your family or making more sales.

Copyright © Shelley Lowery

About the Author:

Shelley Lowery is the owner of Join Shelley and many others who work from home. Find out how you can launch 6 automated income streams in just 24 hours. Visit:

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