7 Steps to Automate Your Online Business and Increase Sales

Today’s entrepreneurs care about being passionate about work and knowing that it has a larger meaning. As entrepreneurs, we like our work to make some impact and help to make the world a better place. At the same time, however, we like our work to be successful. Doing well by doing good. With the worst recession in decades in our rear-view-mirror, today’s entrepreneurs need to be extremely creative and do things efficiently. These 7 steps to automate your online business will increase sales and simplify your operations.Automation is the key to building a successful business with fewer resources. To create awesome companies, as a team, and to use technology, ultimately to better the world is a common goal of today’s entrepreneur. But at the same time, today’s entrepreneurs don’t have the financial resources available to hire a team of workers. So the more that today’s entrepreneur can accomplish solo, the better.Finding the formula to entrepreneur success is not going to be an easy journey or a simple task. You need to work at it. However, if you use these 7 steps to online business automation, you can start finding the success and building the future you have always wanted.7 Steps to Building an Automated Online Business:Here are seven steps that you can take on your journey to becoming a self-employed, free and highly successful entrepreneur without breaking the bank.1. Build a WordPress WebsiteThe most popular content management system available today is WordPress. As today’s entrepreneur, you will want to select the right content management system to build your website. WordPress fits the bill. It’s free, its secure, its customizable so you can implement these automation tips into your website and get close to reaching your goal of building an automated online business.Choose a professional WordPress theme that is clean, fast, and responsive. We recommend StudioPress WordPress Themes. They are powered by the Genesis Framework, which in layman’s terms, means that the behind-the-scenes nuts and bolts of your website will be search engine friendly, responsive with instant updates and airtight security. Don’t waste time with the wrong WordPress theme. Choose a framework that is state-of-the-art and one that will update with the click of a mouse. Many sites are hacked (or just don’t use WordPress to the fullest) because they have not been updated and with StudioPress themes, the act of updating your code to the most recent technology takes just a click. Updating to the current version of WordPress and Genesis a snap. Everything is integrated, so you don’t have to call your developer. Save time and money.First Impressions Count: Your website is only as good as your design and your web hosting company.2. Build your Email ListEmail marketing is a powerful tool that can extend your reach beyond your website and create new sales opportunities. If you’re not building an email list, you’re making a huge mistake, so get started right off the bat with your new business and begin building an email list.Any networking event provides excellent opportunities to collect business cards, which can then be manually added to your email list. But if your like most entrepreneurs, there is not enough time in the day to attend every Chamber of Commerce event. So, in order to build your email list, you need to automate. The easiest and most effective way to automate your email marketing efforts is with Aweber Email Marketing. I have tried them all and I always come back to Aweber.

First, you need to determine who is your target audience. This simple exercise will help. First, answer these questions:

What do your ideal subscribers want?

What’s the main problem they have that you believe you can solve?

What’s your method for solving that problem?

What do you love to talk about more than anything?

Once you’re done, you simply combine them all. These are the people you are catering to. This is your target audience.3. Write Compelling ContentThe most effective way to grow visitors to your website or blog is to write compelling content. Yes, that’s right. The time you spent in English class in high school will finally come in handy. When you’re writing content, you will want to think about the audience you’re trying to reach… and call them out. Write evergreen content that helps, informs and satisfies your target audience.

Evergreen content is timeless content that is still relevant. You could go through your archives, or you could also use a WordPress plug-in like Revive Old Posts to simplify the process. There is also a killer tool that I use called MeetEdgar that allows you to publish a post and then automatically recycle your top posts several times on a schedule.

The number of subscribers you have is directly related to…

Your ability to drive highly-targeted traffic to your blog.

Your ability to convert that traffic into FIERCELY LOYAL subscribers.

Your ability to get your readers to promote and refer you to friends.

Now it’s up to you you to take action and build your email list with compelling content.4. Build your Social Media ProfilesWhen it comes to online personal or business branding, the creation of social media profiles is absolutely essential. Think of each social media profile you create as a landing page for your brand. This landing page is possibly the first encounter that someone is going to have with your brand, and you will want that first impression to be golden and make the visitor want to know more about you.10 steps you need to follow to create a successful social media profile:

Your name – Be sure to enter the name you want to be found under.

Your username – Think about what people will search for you, and make sure that your username is included in the URL.

Your profile pic – Use a professional photograph, but not so much that you don’t illustrate some personality. Be sure to stick with the same picture as your default photo from one network to the next. This way people easily recognize you across all social networks.

Your link – Make sure that your link is front and center so that people can find it quickly and click through to your website.

Your bio – Take advantage of this to share only the best about yourself and your brand. And always – always – link to your website or landing page.

Your interests – Look at these fields as an additional place to get some great keyword value. Find books, documentaries, and profiles of influential people in your industry and add those in these additional fields.

Your background – A customized background will allow you to share additional information that may not fit in the fields of your profile.

Your privacy settings – These vary from network to network, but you will want to make sure that the information you would like to be public is viewable.

Your activity – Once your profile setup is complete, your on-going mission will be to maintain a healthy level of activity on your main social networks, which for most will be Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Automate this! We like Buffer. It’s inexpensive and a great way to keep your social media activity at peak performance.

Your promotion – your website!

If you are short on time, concentrate on the Social Media Big Three:




Don’t forget to interlink your profiles to each other. If you can share multiple links on a social profile, make sure some of those are to your main social profiles.5. Sync your Blog or WebsiteAdd social share buttons onto your page or automatically post on social media whenever you publish a new article. Additionally, with Step 2 (above) you will have the ability to create a blog broadcast with Aweber so that each time you publish a new blog post to your WordPress website, Aweber will use your post to create dynamic newsletter and broadcast your content to everyone on your email list.Why? Because research shows that the lead nurturing process today takes seven to eight “touches”. These seven to eight touches that it takes to qualify a lead are crucial components of the lead nurturing process, allowing marketing the opportunity to educate and inform prospects as they move through each stage in the buying journey. These touch points are opportunities to prepare leads for the final stage in the buying journey, the point of decision-making.
Sync your social media profiles to landing pages that are specific to your visitor. Our favorite automation tool for conversion optimization is Thrive Leads Landing Pages. Build an automated sales funnel that runs a highly optimized.
Sync your website with an opt-in form so that your visitors can easily subscribe to your newsletter:

Aweber has many templates that you can use to add an opt-in form to your website.
ThriveLeads has many different “triggers”. Trigger options can be the following:

Show on page load
Show after a certain period of time
Show when the user scrolls to a specific part of the content
Show when the user scrolls to a percentage of the way down the content
Show when the user is about to exit the page (exit intent) – this trigger option does not work on mobile devices.
Show when the form enters viewport
Show when the user clicks an element
Displays on click.

Customize which opt-in form displays, when and where with ThriveLeads. You can organize all the forms you want to display automatically on the site into different Lead Groups. Within each Lead Group, you can create and edit multiple opt-in forms at once, set them to appear in multiple places, and set up A/B tests.We “connect” our ThriveLeads form to Aweber’s API so that when a visitor completes the opt-in form, their email address is automatically added to our master email list at Aweber. And from within Aweber, we have a blog broadcast setup so that when a new blog post is published, a nifty newsletter is automatically created using their templates and sent to addresses in our list.And finally, we use Aweber’s form templates to display a static and well-designed, professional opt-in form in the sidebar of our blog. Again, when a visitor completes the form, their email address is automatically added the master email list managed with Aweber.6. Analyze your CompetitorsGet insights into your competitors’ strategies in display advertising, organic and paid search, and link building. SEMRush Online Marketing Tools automate your research and optimization efforts. SEMrush will make your job a lot easier by taking the guesswork out of researching the market and your competition. It takes the guess work out of your digital marketing time and helps you to know before-hand what works, and what is a waste of time.7. Fill your OrdersIf you are selling products online, you will soon discover that filling orders is time consuming. Automate your order fulfillment with Order Fulfillment by Amazon. With FBA, you store your products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and Amazon will pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for them. It’s a tremendous time saver for you as you grow your online store.Keep these steps in mind if you are looking to gain the freedom that most entrepreneurs want. These steps may just be your path towards a more successful online business.The better the experience and the more valuable each of these important steps are, the more ready your leads will be to make a buying decision, and the more likely they are to convert to paying customers. The result is a highly organized, efficient buying journey that runs like a well-oiled machine. And one item that cannot be automated is you! Your leads and customers will want to have interaction, of some type, with you – the company owner. Be professional and always follow telephone and social media etiquette when communicating with the public. Remember, you are building your brand. And your brand is an asset.

Do You Have To Wait To Have Impact?

When it comes to having impact, making a difference in the world, you can be deceived into thinking that you have to wait.

Wait until…

Your business is big
Your revenue reaches $1 million
Some event happens when you suddenly have more wisdom, more time, or more permission to have impact.
Is that you? Have you been waiting?
Abraham Maslow, in his famous Hierarchy of Needs, theorized that people couldn’t begin to make contributions to society or even develop themselves as people until basic survival needs were met.

I see this viewpoint reflected in the way that old-style businesses have organized themselves. In the worldview of survival and competition, eat or be eaten, a lot of inward-looking businesses focus only on profit as the way to survive in the business world.

To me, that’s a very base level at which to be operating.

It’s true, you can’t have a sustainable business without profit. But I and many business leaders feel that a profit / survival focus isn’t the only way to have a business that lasts and makes money for its owners.

That’s not just a belief. It’s based on real results from real businesses.

When I started my first business 21 years ago, I didn’t begin just by learning the ropes in finance and marketing and setting up systems. Along with that and at the same time, I used a visioning guide. That book and the mentor I had at the time led me through a process of defining what was important to me in my business, what I valued, and how I wanted to have well-being and impact as well as abundance.

I wanted a business that made a real contribution in the lives of people every day.

I wanted a business that reflected my values: integrity, honesty, high quality, and working with people in a way that was collaborative and respectful.

I wanted a business where I’d have room to help and mentor other people. I did that even in my first consulting business, when I had interns work with me or my corporate clients stopped me in the hallways and asked me for advice and support to start their own businesses.

And I got one. Just 13 months after starting, I was into 6 figures. Equally important, the work I was doing had impact.

That all sounds pretty good, right? But having this impact focus sure didn’t make me perfect! I haven’t always met my own high standards for myself or my business, but having those standards in place changed how I did things. I didn’t take shortcuts that would have led to more profit if it conflicted with what I valued and that would have hurt other people. I refused to work on projects for companies in the tobacco industry, for example.

I had to laugh when I pulled out that visioning guide the other day, the one I used before I started my business. In some ways, I thought I’d changed so much. When I sold my house and most of my belongings 7 years ago and spent a year traveling while I kept my business going, I thought I’d undergone a complete transformation.

And in many ways I have – where and how I live and my actual business focus – but my business values remain, and continue into my coaching business today.

So, back to our friend Maslow. I think his 5-tier hierarchical system for human development was certainly useful in its time. But it doesn’t really capture the full complexity of human experience and potential.

You have so much to offer even when you’re in the early days of your business or in a transition in your established business. Your awareness of that informs your own growth and your business’ creation, transition, and growth.

So my answer to that question in the title: do you have to wait to have impact?

Not at all. You don’t have to wait. In fact, you shouldn’t wait.

Starting to get clear about the impact you want to have NOW, wherever you are in business, NOW is the best time wherever you are in your entrepreneur journey.

I see our growth as entrepreneurs as being not just a personal journey, although it certainly is that!

I see your business also as an exchange, a dialog between you and the larger world.

For example, as you put your offerings out into the world, you get feedback. Offered with love, the response to those offerings will tell you a great deal about your impact.

Are you having the impact you want to have? If not, you can change what you offer and how you offer it until you are much more in alignment with both your own desired impact and what people want.

So really, you always have an impact. You may just not always know what that impact is! And that’s why being conscious of the impact you want to have is so important.

A phrase I often use is, ‘Impact: it’s not just for social enterprises anymore’.

Making a contribution as a business isn’t limited to social enterprises. We often think about companies and organizations like non-profits that are focused on social change as being the ones that are concerned with their impact. There are many large and small businesses successfully operating in this way, having as their focus the impact that they want to have. Not just successfully, but even more than companies that only focus on profit.

Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines and Patagonia are some big companies you probably know. In a study done of large corporations that operate with principles that value every stakeholder, that recognize their impact on everyone that comes into contact with the company, from the owner to the team members, the suppliers, to the customers and shareholders.

Companies that focus on impact do 12-14 times better financially than companies that follow the traditional business model that focuses only on profit.

Many of those companies built a focus on connection and yes, even love, into their mandates.

They saw the pragmatic role of love in business.

They view business stakeholders not as competitors for a limited pool of value, but as active contributors to it. The pool is constantly replenished as businesses contribute, so we’re not in danger of running out. That scarcity mentality of business of trying to get your part of a limited pie just doesn’t apply.

It’s not just big companies that choose to operate this way.

The clients I work with, small business owners are uniquely in a position to build their companies as they choose, right from the start. We as entrepreneurs have the opportunity to build businesses with a strong sense of connectivity to our fellow beings and the Earth.

Through that dedication to a higher purpose, companies move through challenging times with more ease, the owners and their staff are more motivated, and often, employees want to contribute even more, to volunteer and make a difference outside of the company.

Through clarity about your Impact Purpose, you can have a substantial impact right away. Imagine the effect of a focus on impact on how you treat a supplier, or a contract employee, a VA (virtual assistant) or vendor. You already have impact on them, just by how you show up, by how you choose to treat them and handle your relationship. How you show up for every person in your business is a big part of your impact.

What’s key in all of this? Consciousness.

Being conscious about the impact you want to have means you can exercise it. When you’re conscious about the impact you want to have, you can make decisions in your business, and your life, that really reflect your desired impact. You can show up in your business every day with that in mind, and make a real difference, the difference you want to make.

So I hope this has you thinking. Your impact doesn’t have to wait.

You can have impact right now, in your work, in your startup, in your existing business.

You already have impact, just by how you show up. Do you want that impact to be just profit, or do you want to bring more love into the world?

You can. By making the impact you want to have conscious, your impact can only grow as you make decisions that allow you to put that desired impact into action.

I’ll leave you with a quote from the Impact Manifesto, which I wrote for the Work Alchemy community and anyone who wants to have more impact:

“I believe that impact is grounded in love – love for myself, for others and for the world in which I live.”

I believe that you matter. That what you do matters.

What do you believe about your impact?

Ursula Jorch, MSc, MEd, mentors entrepreneurs starting their businesses and seasoned entrepreneurs in transition to create the business of their dreams. Her coaching programs provide knowledge, support, clarity, inspiration, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs to empower you to reach your goals.