Affiliate Marketing 101 – Are You Building an Affiliate Marketing Business Or a Job?

Affiliate marketing is possibly the most common way for people to start making money online, and an affiliate marketing business might help your earn more money than you ever have before – but for the majority of affiliates they find too late that they haven’t built a business, they’ve just created another job for themselves.

You may be wondering how that’s possible – after all, isn’t affiliate marketing a self-directed occupation with no one over you? Yes, in most cases that true. But let’s take a look at the differences between a job and a business, shall we?

If you have a job right now, you get paid for your efforts – it may be an hourly wage, it may be a salary or you may be on some sort of draw against commissions. And if you’re on salary or draw, chances are you can miss a few days and still get paid, as long as it doesn’t happen too often, right?

But what happens if you take a month off a couple of times a year – or say one month in three? Or if your company doesn’t provide insurance, and you’re taken ill and miss three or four months? Either way, the income stops. Maybe not immediately, but very soon. Even doctors, lawyers and judges find their income dries up quickly if they’re not practicing.

Compare that to a successful business owner like Bill Gates, Donald Trump or Warren Buffet. If they take a month or two off, does their company fail? No. Does their income stop? No. If they take one month off every quarter, do they go broke? Does their company go under? Of course not.

Affiliate marketing mirrors both scenarios depending on your style of operation. For most affiliate marketing newbies, the lure of quick affiliate commissions has them firing out every type of missive they can to make affiliate sales right now, with no concern for the future. Yes, they make sales, and yes over time they may make great sales. But what happens if they stop for a few weeks, or start taking every 3rd month off? With no active promotion, their affiliate marketing commissions slow and eventually dry up completely until they start promoting again.

And if they should take ill and can’t tend to their daily affiliate marketing tasks, what then? Same result – the tap is turned off on their affiliate earnings. Sounds a lot like our description of a job, doesn’t it?

Now take the affiliate marketing professional, known in the industry as super-affiliates. Yes, they send out regularly, often daily, as in our first example. But then they spend the rest of their day building long-term resources and putting them on autopilot. Here’s what that looks like:

– choose a niche with a number of profitable affiliate marketing programs;

– write a short report with impressive content on any aspect of interest to that target market;

– Build an opt-in page, known as a squeeze page, where prospects can download your free report in exchange for joining your e-zine list;

– Put the link to the report and a few affiliate offers on a download page to send them to after they confirm their e-mail address;

– write a series of informative e-mails and place them in an autoresponder to go out to those signups on a regular basis. Be sure to have your various affiliate links wound into the copy and have a few solo ads in the mix;

– Once that whole system is in place, use external sites to drive traffic to the squeeze page. Use affiliate marketing strategies that will continue to work long-term like article marketing, podcasting, video marketing, social bookmarking, etc.

– When that entire affiliate marketing funnel is in place, start in on the next one!

As you can see, these affiliate funnels are self-sustaining; traffic comes in from the various outside sources, prospects sign up for the download and then receive your ongoing e-mails giving them more information and plenty of opportunities to follow your affiliate links to purchase products your make a commission on. It’s all hands-free from that point on, other than to review it from time to time to ensure the products and information are still relevant.

But if your income comes from a number of these funnels, taking a few weeks off here and there, or a month every quarter – even taking a 3-month holiday – will have little impact on your income. Now you have an affiliate marketing business and affiliate marketing is not just another job you created for yourself!