by: Izzy Camacho
If you've been looking into selling products online then you've probably heard some "expert" somewhere recommend that you create a web site that is fully automated and helps you make money 24 hours a day. While that might sound great, what they often forget to tell you is HOW to do that.
Well, I'm going to tell you right now, in this article!
First, what IS a Fully Automated Web Site? A Fully Automated Web Site can be defined as one that is equipped with an integrated suite of both e-commerce and internet marketing tools in a fashion that will allow you to be the most profitable with the least amount of effort.
Most e-commerce systems are equipped with the following essentials:
- A shopping cart.
- Acceptance and processing of credit cards.
- A maintenance system that allows you to add/change products.
- An order-retrieval system that enables you to fulfill orders.
However, what most of them are lacking are marketing tools. If your website hits it big and you don't have the proper tools in place, then you will be a slave to e-mail and order processing. I'm sure that's not what you intended.
There are several marketing strategies that are essential in the creation of a successful e-commerce web site:
- Email marketing (broadcasting) of prospects/customers
- Effective use of autoresponders (generate automatic email messages)
- Online Newsletter
- Online Form / Survey to capture your prospect's email address
- Electronic Product Delivery (if you sold a digital product)
- Advertisement (Ad) Tracking
- Back End Sales
- Affiliate program
Now, if you had a system that would support the integration of ALL of these marketing tools in addition to the necessary e-commerce essentials, then you would have a Fully Automated Web Site. After all, it has been shown that it often takes 7 or more ad exposures before prospective customers actually make a purchase. Consider the following scenario:
A prospect clicks on an advertisement in an online magazine.
This action increments a counter for this particular ad to help you determine how well it?s working. They don?t decide to buy as of yet but join your newsletter. They are now considered a prospect. You begin to send them a monthly email newsletter. Additionally, an autoresponder kicks in to thank them for joining the newsletter as well as scheduling them to get email twice a month for the next 90 days reiterating your product benefits and inviting them to purchase.
Upon sending them one of your "juicy" offers that they couldn't refuse, they finally purchase. They will automatically be removed from your prospect list and added to your customer list.
Based on the particular product or service they?ve purchased, they will receive a series of emails every two weeks for the next 6 months offering complementary products.
This will be the engine that will drive your back end sales and keep your customers coming back to your web site.
Being able to play out a scenario such as this using one integrated system would be pretty impressive don?t you think?
The internet big boys do this with expensive e-commerce platform suites produced by vendors such as IBM, Microsoft and Oracle.
Having your system automatically perform these follow up tasks frees you up to spend more time on your business, your health or your family!
=====> What can you do to create a fully automated web site?
Fortunately, there are ways that you can automate your website in much the same way that the big boys do. The best and most cost-effective way would be to sign up with one of the handful of Application Service Providers available on the internet which provide a shopping cart integrated with a full suite of marketing tools. Normally, the shopping cart and tools are very flexible and can be incorporated into any website.
=====> Are there any other ways to automate your business besides working with a total solution provider?
You can accomplish some level of automation without an integrated shopping cart system, however, it will require manual intervention and of course it would be incomplete. I believe that the most important asset of your e-commerce business is your email lists. Therefore, concentrate on the implementation of a good autoresponder/list server system to "enhance" your present e-commerce website. There are several good ones on the market.
Look for providers that allow you to:
- Create multiple lists.
- Add prospects via a web form, email, or manually through a management console.
- Send out an unlimited number of autoresponder messages.
- Send out an unlimited number of email broadcasts.
- Set up and distribute a newsletter.
When setting up your autoresponder system, create one list for your "prospects" and another one for your "customers". Now, here's where you come in: when a person orders your product, you will have to perform the extra task of logging into your autoresponder system and manually remove them from the prospect list and add them to the customer list. This action will then trigger your customer autoresponder series of messages to be sent.
Remember, the key to building a successful e-commerce web site is to automate your marketing engine as much as possible and drive your prospects and customers back to your web site. This will certainly create a money magnet e-commerce web site for you!
© Izzy Camacho
To learn more about website automation and to download the complimentary ebook, "Easy Ezine Marketing", visit Izzy Camacho at http://www.internet-marketing-made-easy.com/Automation.htm.
About The Author
Izzy Camacho is an accomplished software developer with approximately 20 years of experience. He has a degree in computer science from a distinguished university. For the last several years he has been involved in the creation of web site applications for corporate America.
This article was posted on October 23, 2006