Automating sales and emails

As we all know, answering dozens of emails everday can be a tedious task. In fact it can be a real pain in the butt! It’s time consuming and monotonous, particularly if you have to respond with similar emails to lots of different people.

This is where autoresponders can help you in your business.

Autoresponders can be used to set up simple automated email messages to answer queries with a message that you create. They can also be used to send out a series of emails if required to existing customers. This is ideal if you want to plan a regular advertising campaign to promote your products over a period of time.

IF, for example, you had a website that sells or promotes a service or a line of products, you could set up a subscriber opt-in box for people who enquire about your services and add an automated message that tells them you have received their enquiry and will respond within a certain period of time. Alteratively, a more specific message can be sent relating to the opt-in requirement. Furthermore, additional emails can be sent out at regular designated intervals that can help people make a further decision about buying or using your service.

Even better, your visitor conveniently gets a reply almost straight away, so no need for them to wait or ring you when it might not be convenient, e.g. outside normal working hours.

Autoresponders have the potential of boosting sales as well as enquiries. Put up an autoresponder opt-in box on your website, add an enticing invitation to enter their email, such as free information about your product or service, or perhaps details of a special offer promotion, and you’ll attract potential customers to add to your mailing list. Or even buyers who will immediately take up your offer.

So how do you choose a good autoresponder?

Here are 7 features you need to look for…

1. Your autoresponder should provide a quick response and reply to a request within a few minutes.

2. There should be no limits on the size of your message. If you come up with a great sales letter that requires a detailed description, it may prove less effective if you have to edit down the information you’re trying to impart to the reader.

3. There should be nor restrictions on beig able to change your autoresponder message at any time, and for it to take immediate effect.

4. If someone requests a message from your autoresponder, it’s important they receive it. There should be no limits placed on the number of replies you can send out.

5. You may need to test the effectiveness of your message so you should be able to continuously trying to improve your autoresponder message without having to pay extra.

6. Ideally, you want an autoresponder that allows you to send follow-up messages to your prospects. It’s generally assumed that it can sometimes take up to seven or more exposures to a message before a customer decides to buy from you or use your service. This can depend on various factors. A strong offer will take less.

7. You should be able to view every request sent to your autoresponder, including the date of each request. This way you can place your autoresponder in various spots on your website, or promote your autoresponder using different methods and immediately know how well each is working.

8. Subscribers who receive your emails must have the option to be able to remove themselves from your mailing list. If you don’t provide for this, you could easily be accused of spamming. This could lead to serious consequences. A good autoresponder can handle this automatically for you whenever the recipient of your emails follows a simple procedure to remove their address from your list.

Free autoresponders may seem an attractive option, but most of them have one big drawback, they offer a free service because they include advertising messages somewhere within the email. They get paid by the advertiser which is the reason they can provide a free service. If you’re ok with that then fine, but if you’re trying to project a professional image, best to avoid these type of free services.

If you don’t currently have an autoresponder, I would recommend using Aweber or Getresponse. These are the leading services used by most businesses today.

Try AWeber’s Autoresponders for $1

10 Ways to Make Money from Driving

1. Start a small haulage business using a van to deliver parcels and other medium sized objects.
Cater primarily for local businesses. Operate your service to cater for delivery within a 100 mile radius or less. Canvas firms who already have delivery vans but may need extra help during busy periods. Leave a business card and/or leaflet with a contact number.

2. Start your own mobile advertising firm. 
A large van or car with trailer can be used to advertise firms in your local area. Using a set of 4 x 6 foot boards made up in an A-frame, or fixed to the side of a van, a number of large printed posters can be displayed on either side to promote local businesses. Charge a reasonable set fee for each day, with a slightly higher rate on busy days such as Saturdays and market days.

3. Become a driving instructor.
In the UK if you are over 21 and have at least three years driving experience on a full licence you could train to become a driving instructor. It can be a bit stressful at times, but with dual controls fitted, it`s not so bad. Training is available (for a price) at centres throughout the country. Once qualified, a good way to get experience is to start working for an established driving school. When you feel you`re ready to take the plunge, you can get your own dual-controlled car and start up on your own. (note: qualifications will vary from country to country)

4. Start a delivery service for  local shops. 

The trend is increasing for people to order goods by phone or the internet, but local shops may prefer to use a local delivery service to reach their local customers, especially those who find it difficult to be mobile such as older and disabled people. Florists, chemists, grocery stores, furniture stores may all appreciate being able to use your service. The business can be operated part time or full time, depending on demand.

5. Learn to become a chauffeur.
There`s still a surprisingly wide range of opportunities to take advantage of in this enjoyable vocation. An ever-increasing amount of wealthy people emerging on to the scene, who require personal drivers due to busy schedules, loss of licence, no driving experience, or perhaps the lack of inclination to drive themselves, means there will always be an opening for this type of job.

6. Start your own motorhome hire business.
Car hire has always been a popular service, but competing with the major car hire companies can be difficult. Motorhome hire on the other hand is less competitive. The drawbacks are that it requires a fairly hefty investment where new or late model motorhomes are concerned, but older low mileage models can be a good investment. Reliability is important so they need to be regularly services, and insurance can be high when renting out, but properly organised it’s a business with good potential and the service can be advertised on highly trafficked websites such as ebay. The other main drawback is that it’s mainly seasonal so the accumulated profits will be mainly from the Summer season.

7. Start your own wedding car hire business.
A white Rolls Royce or Mercedes-Benz limousine, with chauffeur, make the ideal choice for a wedding car. Although prices have fallen to an acceptable level for cars like these, they`re not always easy to get hold of. Keep an eye in the Autotrader and ebay motoring section, and use the internet car search sites if you want to strike lucky. Maintenance costs are generally the main problem, but a wedding car service can absorb these prices easily if run effectively.

8. Pizza parlours and chinese takeaways are often in need of delivery drivers.
They generally take on part-time drivers for their home delivery service. Contact the shop manager or owner direct to ask if there are any vacancies. In most cases you will be required to use your own vehicle.

9. Provide a chauffeur service for disabled people.
You will need a specially adapted vehicle that accomodates wheelchair access. For a single passenger this could simply be a small high-top van with a ramp and side windows, or a suitably adapted mpv. For multiple passengers a mini-bus with a rear hydraulic lift would be required. Your service could involve regular shopping trips, as well the occasional day trips to other towns and cities. Before embarking on this type of business however, check what rules and regulations apply in your particular region or country. In some areas, if you are charging for your service, the law will require you to have a suitable licence for this purpose.

10. Deliver cars for money.
Offer your services to car dealers who regularly deliver or purchase cars from the motor auctions. Also, individuals who are going on holiday but don`t want to leave their car at the airport. Business cards and word of mouth are usually the best way to proceed. An insurance which allows you to drive any vehicle is also essential.

Start and run your own art gallery

Do you have a passion for art?

If you have a love for art you may have considered opening an art gallery to showcase the work of various artists. If managed successfully you could generate a reasonable income by taking a commission from artwork sold. The more effort you put into promoting the art you are selling, the more you will sell, thus the more more financialy rewarding it will be, as well as the enjoyment you receive from dealing with the artists you would like to represent and the artwork they produce.

An art gallery owner does not have to confine themselves to promoting just paintings. Works of art come in all shapes and forms. You could also promote the work of sculptors and photographers, even craftwork such as jewellry. pottery or woodwork.

Often the key to succeeding as an art gallery owner lies in the type of art you specialise in.

If the idea of opening a ‘bricks and mortar’ gallery is a little bit daunting, you could always consider establishing an online gallery first and selling artwork via a website. This would be another option but would still require a reasonable investment to ensure that your website projects a professional image and is e-commerce enabled to be able to sell online.

To start an art gallery business there are a number of things to consider. A good business plan should be the first step you should take. Also, it would be wise to get all the information and advice you can from someone who has already established a successful art gallery.

A good reference for anyone aspiring to be an art gallery owner is ‘How to Start and run a commercial art gallery’ written by Edward Winkleman. It’s a comprehensive volume which describes the day-to-day tasks of running a commercial gallery.

Divided into two sections the book covers the steps involved in first setting up a commercial art gallery and also what is involved in running the gallery as a legitimate business. This book successfully combines a sound business approach with a recognition of the importance of passion and individuality in making a gallery a successful venture.

Chapters include information on how to write a business plan, how to find start-up capital, how to find the ideal location for your gallery, and how to renovate and make effective use of the gallery space. Plus you’ll also find information on how to manage your business cash flow, promote and grow the business, attract and retain artists and clients, hire and manage staff, as well as how to represent your artists in a professional manner. The book also includes sample forms, helpful tips from veteran collectors, a large section on art fairs, and a directory of art dealers associations.

The author Edward Winkleman has impeccable credentials. He successfully co-founded his own Plus Ultra Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. The gallery name was changed in 2006 to the ‘Winkleman Gallery’ and have often participated in art fairs such as ARCO, Art Chicago, Pulse, Aqua, and NADA, and artists they represent have exhibited in some of the world’s most important venues. He is very knowledgeable about his business and his book should be first on your list for research.

With sufficient knowledge of the artists you would like to deal with, and the artwork you would like to sell, plus how to be prepared on what you can expect running an art gallery business, with dedication and passion for your new business you should be able to establish your own successful art gallery and reap the rewards that being an art gallery owner can bring.

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