The truth is that there are some areas of your business that you have to look after yourself.
But the key is to make sure that the areas of your business you are personally looking after are the ones you should be looking after.
Negotiating, planning, organising, brainstorming, networking, motivating, developing.
What you shouldn't be doing is having to manually intervene in your core business processes because of incomplete or inadequate automation.
Setting up your business to cope almost entirely without your intervention in its day-to-day running will give you the time and space to look at where it needs to go next, putting you ahead of 90% of the business owners you are competing with.
One point I want to make about business automation is that you should not think of it purely in terms of software. Outsourcing is also business automation.
Passing core business tasks over to trusted people is human automation. Structured tightly with software automation you can really turn your business into a powerhouse.
In this article I'm going to tell you exactly what those four areas of your business are and I'm going to explain in detail how you can fully automate your business in each of them.
How To Automate Your Lead Generation
This is a difficult step to automate in the sense of using software to control the entire process.
However, you can use systems and people to minimise the intervention you have to make yourself.
Basically you have to look at the main ways you can push people to your landing pages and automate each one of those as much as possible.
When it comes to paid advertising, you should look at automated systems such as Google Adwords or Facebook advertising.
Once you have mastered these pay per click advertising systems, or pay someone else to do it for you, they can run virtually hands-free. As long as you check-in at least once per week to do routine maintenance tasks, such as checking your statistics and managing your ad spend, then they can generate leads for you with minimal work.
Other lead generation work can also be done with minimal intervention, whatever the format, it's usually more about managing people and systems.
Generating leads through content marketing can be done by employing writers and assistants to build and publish content. Links can be built to this content by hiring an SEO team to do it, or generated through people naturally linking to them when they discover them, to further increase that power with the search engines. None of this needs to be done by you - just overseen.
On top of the methods we have just covered, growing your email list from the beginning will give you a virtually hands-free marketing system that you completely control.
Emails can be written by you, or for you, and scheduled for release. If teamed up with content marketing and scheduled social media postings, you can create an entire marketing system that just requires setting up at regular intervals and then left to spark into life at the right time.
To give you a clear vision of what I mean by that, let's go through the process of how you do it once.
First you will need to get a writer to create a piece of content. They would send that to your assistant who would set it to automatically publish at a set time.
A writer could then create an initial email, plus a couple of follow-up emails that will tell your marketing list about your latest content and how it can benefit them. These can be then set in your email system to automatically send just after the piece gets auto-published.
You can then get somebody to use software to set up Facebook, Twitter and other social media postings to also automatically publish, publicising the content for days and weeks, hands-free.
None of this requires you to lift a finger and once the system is set up the whole process of sending out the marketing content is done completely without intervention.
Now imagine that you are doing what you should be doing, and managing the process from the top.
You send off article ideas to be created, make sure your personal assistant knows how to publish, and train them, or somebody else, to set up the other automation involved. By doing that you will have a continuous and highly automated marketing system that you don't have to intervene in.
How To Automate Your Lead Capture Process
Lead capture is that magical point when somebody gives you their email address, physical address or telephone number in return for something you offer them free.
So at its heart this is usually a landing page that offers enough information and reassurance to get the visitor to part with their personal information.
Equally important at this point is the offering of an incredibly valuable and high quality free report. You can't automate properly if you offer rubbish. You will not attract people to automate!
You need to invest time, effort and money in producing something truly valuable that people are keen to get hold of, even if it means they are going to be marketed to as the trade off.
Your lead capture process therefore needs to be a highly targeted landing page, that offers an incredibly valuable free report and importantly, makes it easy for them to get hold of it.
To make this happen more frequently your opt in form needs to be big, obvious and easy to complete.
A name and email address fields are all you need. Even that could be overkill, when all you really need is an email address.
In terms of automating the creation of your landing pages, there are several ways you can do this.
You could use a service such as leadpages.net to automate much of the process and then do it yourself, or get somebody else to do it.
Or you could get a developer, or assistant to create pages from scratch, or within a content management system such as Wordpress.
In the same way as you get your content created, you can get a writer to create your landing pages and then get somebody to make them look great and publish them.
Content can then be created to point at these landing pages, links can be built to them and they can be publicised using social media and advertising, as we've already described completely without your own intervention.
Once you have done this a few times, you will be in the fantastic position of being able to send an email to your team and know that a complete lead capture infrastructure is being built, published and is then generating leads without any further work on your part.
How To Nurture Your Leads With Automation
The third area of business process automation you can really make a hands-free process is nurturing your leads to the point of making a purchase.
Lead nurturing is actually the bit of the process that can be automated the most, which often strikes people as unusual as they feel this is the part of the process where you should be paying the most personal attention, by nurturing your sales prospects.
Although in the beginning this is true, once you have built up a good series of data that shows how people arrive at your landing pages, at what points of your sales funnel they most often either make a purchase or leave and where the most clicks through to information are made, you can refine the sales funnel to connect with people better, intervention free.
Lead nurturing is what takes place once somebody has given you the details you need to market to them.
At that point they will trigger an automated email response, called an autoresponder. This will consist of a series of highly targeted emails that will give the more information, answer their questions, build trust in you and move them towards making a sale.
If you can get hold of a mobile phone number as well, you can also tie in SMS marketing. This can work particularly well because of the immediacy of text messaging and the way it is consumed on the move more readily.
So if you can build a lead nurturing system that mixes email and text messaging then you will be building a marketing Utopia.
Depending on the sophistication of the sales funnel you need, marketing software can even pass people into different sales funnels depending on the choices they make.
So if they click on a link in your email and then on the landing page click for information on a further page, this data can be recorded and then they are passed into receiving a different set of automated emails, that are more closely targeted the information they have obviously been seeking.
Once this is all set up and refined over time using data, you can have a system in place that responds dynamically to most common paths through your sales material, meaning that completely hands-free your prospects are being nurtured and reassured without you lifting a finger.
This completely automated and dynamic sales funnel structure also has two other key benefits.
Firstly, it means that despite the fact there is actually no human intervention with your sales prospect most of the time, they never feel alone. Because they are receiving consistent contact about exactly what they are looking for and being reassured within that information, there is no reason for them to feel they are abandoned.
Secondly and most importantly, if you use software to track prospects within your sales funnel, you can further increase your conversion rate by personal intervention, or the intervention of a trained employee.
By looking at the data, you can see which people are your best prospects to make a sale. This can be ascertained through the path they are are on and the actions they have taken to get there.
These hot prospects could then be targeted for personal intervention. Again, this can be done by a sales person rather than yourself, meaning that it can still be part of hands-off automation we are talking about.
Automating The Lead Conversion Process
Lead conversion is about closing the sale and then passing that person onto the next step.
Once somebody has got to the point of buying, it's important that the sale is made smoothly and swiftly. So your shopping cart software needs to be high quality and refined to exactly meet the needs of your business structure. You can't shoehorn something in here - it needs to fit your business model so that people can complete the transaction smoothly.
On top of reliable, well-fitted shopping cart software, it's about information provision as well.
To make the process as automated as possible, you don't want people looking around for information, for example trying to find out if you take PayPal, or something else ludicrously simple that you should have answered for them.
So it's about supporting the sales process with key information.
And after they make the purchase, it's about making sure they receive emails telling them what to expect next and where to get more information. It's about giving them frequently asked questions and a support system to get help from.
Doing this will mean less abandoned purchases and it will mean less people contacting you for information during or after the sale has been made.
We talked earlier about the lead nurturing process and how you can pass people down a highly refined, responsive and fully automated sales funnel. Once somebody makes a sale you need to pass them straight down another sales funnel in exactly the same way.
Don't just abandon them, or expect them to just magically make another purchase. You should pass them automatically into another dynamic sales funnel. The power of your business is in repeat custom, that is where 80% of your sales will come from, on average.
So the reality is that your customers should be passed through your most powerful and highly refined sales funnel as soon as they make that initial purchase.
By ensuring this happens, you are maximising automation and also maximising the chances of continual repeat custom.
How Is Your Own Automation Looking Right Now?
If you already have a business, how automated is your sales process at the moment? Hopefully you are now thinking in terms of what more you can do to improve that automation having read this article.
Make no mistake here, the benefits of achieving this are absolutely massive. They can have huge implications for the future of your business and your future lifestyle. Doing hard work to set-up automation, refine it and then letting it run, will dramatically increase your chances of business success.
More automation, both mechanical and human, will give you more time to develop your business and to enjoy the Rich Life, which is simply about enjoying more of what you find valuable on a personal level.
And better automation will lead to your potential customers having a great relationship built with them through well-targeted information marketing. This will lead to higher conversion rates and repeat business.
This is the heart of the subject. Many business owners see automation in this area as a step away from their customers, and a risk.
The truth of the matter is that intelligent automation of your key sales processes will actually make your customers feel closer to you and your business. Great automation will build customer loyalty and deliver you more time to run your business from the top down.
People walk away from a sale when there are gaps in the sales funnel that they fall through, usually because you have not answered their questions or built enough desire. Crafting a highly refined sales automation process gets rid of those gaps, making it harder for people to walk away.
Put Automation At The Heart Of Your New Lifestyle Business
You may not have a business right now. But as you are reading this article, I have a strong suspicion that it is seriously on your agenda to start very soon.
So make sure that at the heart of the infrastructure you are planning, automation is understood and embraced from the planning process onwards.
My Automated Business System has been designed to deliver to you an 80% hands-free lifestyle online business. No matter what you want to sell, with my expertise, we can create everything I have discussed in this article.
Automation is not something to be scared of, so don't be worried if you don't have technical skills.
What you need to understand is how automation works as a concept in the business you have, or want to have, and then strive to put it right at the heart of the infrastructure you build. By doing so you will free up time and maximise your conversion rate.
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