Keeping track of an online business can require an immense amount of time and effort. Meticulously tracking the statistics of every page view can turn into an unhealthy obsession overnight. Figuring out how to convert those views into sales can be just as daunting. A solution to these intricate, yet vital tasks is automation.
Automating an online business isn’t as easy as it may sound. It isn’t about buying a piece of software to replace you and your staff. There’s more to the entire automation process, especially during the initial setup phase. Below are a few steps that you can take in the right direction in terms of automating an online business.
Craft a Solid Sales Process
Competing online today has never been so competitive. You can't just drop a few pictures of your product on a website and hope for the best. You will need a complete sales process on your website.
This process will lead a prospective client through initial persuasive phases right through to the core offer phase. A solid online sales process won't happen overnight. You will have to constantly analyze page traffic and sales figures in order to tweak the sales cycle for maximum effect.
The basic phases of a sales cycle begin with a landing page that has a well-written copy (sales letter). On this page, you can add a button (call to action button) that links to a lead magnet. A lead magnet can be anything from a free e-book to a coupon.
Once a prospective client has downloaded your free service, you can direct them to a thank you page with links to a tripwire or core offer. A tripwire is an item or service that you can offer for a very low price (near or at cost price). This can help initiate a client into your business’s ecosystem. Once they are in, you can further entice them to purchase your core business offer.
Initiate a Business Cycle
A sales cycle starts at a landing page which has your company’s sales pitch. A business cycle is the part where you move people towards that landing page. With an effective automated sales cycle in place, you can then focus on acquiring targeted traffic to run through the sales cycle.
There are multiple ways in which you can receive traffic to your company’s website. Buying traffic from social media and search engines is the quickest. This does, however, mean that you will need to keep an advertising budget in mind.
Where you advertise is dependent on your company’s business model. If your product is aimed towards a younger audience, then you should consider planning your business cycle around the relevant social network.
Make Use of AI and Machine Learning
Machine learning tools are becoming more common and popular nowadays. It is possible to input your business metrics into an artificial intelligence engine for analyzing. The result can range from optimized product prices and marketing budgets.
AI is also becoming more prominent in the customer services industry. This is achieved via the use of chatbots who take on the role of customer support agents.
Chatbots can be very useful in managing a queue of clients who are waiting for support from a human service agent. A chatbot can instantly initiate a conversation with a customer in the hopes of gathering useful information that can be used by the human agent. In some cases, the chatbots are able to solve the queries themselves.
Replace Repetition with Automation
Almost every process of a business has a repetitive task or need. Most of these tasks are usually taken care of by a staff member of a team. Some tasks are so mundane and repetitive that they may not require a human operative.
Searching for an automated solution to perform a particular task can benefit your company in many ways. An example would be to send out email responses after a customer filled out a form or application on your company's website.
You can even go further by automating the invoicing and debtors process. This way, a customer will no longer have to wait for the invoice clerk to process payment. It can all be done instantly.
This is very useful, especially during global time-sensitive situations. The customer making the purchase could be in a country that is a good few hours ahead of your time zone.
Sales, Marketing, and CRM Automation
There is a deeper level of automation available from all-in-one marketing systems. Apart from offering business automation and CRM, these companies also delve into sales and marketing services.
Some of the options available are customer feedback automation and support ticket tracking. These services are relatively affordable and can save a business the need to hire an entire department of support staff.
Email marketing has never been so simple to execute. There are currently world class systems out there like MailChimp that manage email address and subscriptions. You can also manage and track statistics of all your email campaigns. The best part is that there is a free version available for that service.
With all the tools and information at your disposal, automating an online business can be increasingly beneficial to the company. Automation means that things usually happen immediately. This saves both you and your customers valuable time, which in turn leads towards better customer service. Most online businesses are heavily utilizing automation. Not considering automating your business could possibly leave you with the disadvantage.