Home Affiliate Marketing Blog A dollar today or ten tomorrow? The difference between short term and long term sales

A dollar today or ten tomorrow? The difference between short term and long term sales

A dollar today or ten tomorrow? The difference between short term and long term sales

You never forget your first time.

I'm talking, of course, about sales. There is no greater buzz in business than the first time you get a sale. The first sale I ever made was a $500 sponsorship for a charity event I ran in high school. We were running an event to raise money for World Vision, and me being the budding 17-year-old business wannabe that I was, had devised a grandiose (in my mind) corporate sponsorship package for local businesses to pitch in at $500 a pop. My first sale came from a local furniture store, and I must admit to doing a little victory dance in class when the teacher running the event burst in to tell me that she'd just received their confirmation. Yeah, I was cool in high school.

The truth is that when you're first starting out in any kind of business, all you really care about is making the sale. How, what and who take a backseat. When becomes the most important factor - and when equals now!

I see the same thing with many people who are just starting out in affiliate marketing - it's all about making the sale now. That's completely understandable. After putting in massive amounts of hours to learn the skills of building a website, optimizing it for search engines, effectively monetizing the pages, etc, etc, you don't really know whether it's all been worth it until you see some money starting to flow into your bank account.

And there's nothing wrong with trying to make sales. This is business after all, and affiliate marketing is quite simply the business of making money. The trouble is, many affiliate marketers are shooting themselves in the foot and they don't even realize it. You see it's very easy to take a "sell, sell, sell" approach to affiliate marketing. After you go to the effort, either via SEO, PPC or and other traffic getting technique of actually bringing a visitor to your site, you either want that person to buy now, or they're a waste of time, right? Well, not necessarily.

If I said that I'd give you $1 right now, or $10 tomorrow, what would you choose? Many of you might immediately say "Well the $10 obviously! It's more money and I only have to wait a day!" That might be a simple decision, but what about $100 today and $1000 in 6 months? Sometimes the thought of immediate reward is just to enticing to pass up - and if you need $100 right now, it's somewhat of a different equation all together.

But that is exactly the decision you have to make when you build an affiliate site - are you going to focus on short term or long term gains? One of the simplest illustrations of this is the process of building an email list. An email list is an investment in future sales. It takes work to build and maintain a list, as well as work to create new and interesting content to send out to a list .But run a list well and it can become one of your biggest assets as an affiliate marketer.

Instead of bringing in a single visitor, selling something to them, and then never hearing from them again, strategies like building an email list allow you to make multiple sales to the same customers. And if you want to know where that $10 tomorrow is coming from, that's it - repeat sales. Newsletter series, regularly updated blogs and even ebooks can all be very effective ways of turning a single visit into an long-term income stream - one which cannot be turned off overnight by a Google algorithm change or Adwords slap. By building up multiple, long-term income streams, you will ensure far greater security in your business.

But, it is a trade off. Just like giving up the $1 today, you have to decide what your current goals are, and what's of most value to you now. If you are just starting out, then perhaps focusing on short-term sales could be in your best interest. Focus on learning the process of site building and monetization. Build up capital that you can use to develop a more sustainable business in future. But, if you do go this direction, my advice is to set a strict time frame. Do this for a couple of months while you're learning the ropes, but be sure to move onto the phase of creating long-term sustainable profit after that time.

Whether it's adding to your existing site, or moving onto a completely different niche altogether, start thinking of ways that you can focus on long-term sales to the same people, rather than just selling whatever you can to whoever walks in the door of your site, so to speak. Because, while the first sale might be a big buzz, once you start making your second or even your hundredth, the novelty wears off and things get serious: You're in business. And in business, the $10 tomorrow is worth more than the $1 today.

14 Comments Add your comment
  • Reply Mark Ling3743 days ago

    Great post Chris, I think this is an important principle not just in business but in life. In fact I recall they did studies on kids (possibly they couldn't find any lab rats) and did the cookie test on them - have one cookie now or two cookies in an hours time. They revisited these kids 20 years later and found the kids who were able to resist the instant gratification and take the two cookies actually were more likely to succeed in life ...

  • Reply Dave Agnew3742 days ago

    good post, thank you for the great advice, I am one of the newbies that is getting started here. And I totally agree with that comment. When you are doing the week to week unemployment thing, it is a tough spot to try and say I will take the money later. the good thing is that I understand the whole mentality of waiting. And I notice that is also one of the big points in what robert kiyosaki says as well.
    The longer you can deny instant gratification, the better your chances of wealth are. Take care and thanks for the great website!!!

  • Reply James Pruitt3742 days ago

    great post Chris. I am glad I am not the only one that sees the instant gratification push of many sites

  • Reply Bill Avenell3742 days ago

    Those are very valid comments to make when we live in a world that seeks instant gratification as opposed to stickability. I think to lay a foundation and get the basics right in the first instance brings its own rewards tomorrow. This is what appeals to me with affiliate marketing in that I am building a business for the future to provide a continual income in the golden years without having to spend a lot of time working to maintain it.

  • Reply Shalisha Alston3742 days ago

    I think this is a very valuable post. Instant gratification used to be my goal. But I see the wisdom in setting the foundation for the long haul. Thanks for the post.

  • Reply Mike P • 3741 days ago

    Right in line with Robert Kiyosaki's formula for wealth.


  • Reply jason blayde3741 days ago

    yeah...life is a journey not a destination. and we need to look at it like that. i really appreciate this post right now.

    haven't had any sales for over 6 weeks. and my sites dropped off the face of google. but we continue on.

    thanks again chris. magic stuff


  • Reply mehmood3740 days ago

    Great post Chris. Thanks for sharing. I know long term is always better and has better rewards.

  • Reply Tracy Shaffer3740 days ago

    Thanks, I think I needed this reminder lately because I haven't seen sales and I'm starting to get antsy and paranoid. Thanks for this post.

  • Reply Marie Reynolds3738 days ago

    Great Post, I am having so many doubts, stuck at week eight for several weeks, is my site worth perserving with or is it a load of crock, what do I know about anything, how could I write a mini course etc. Have made one sale, to a friend, all my family think I'm ridiculous, except my husband. I know I entered this field for the long term, but my head is telling me I'm a failure. Marie

  • Reply Chris-Bierig • 3721 days ago

    Sometimes it's really that simple, isn't it? I feel a little stupid for not thinking of this myself/earlier, though.

  • Reply Grace Harman3717 days ago

    It's so important to invest your first profits back into your business for long term gain - but so tempting for people to take them out and spend them instead! Another excellent post by Chris on a major reason for new businesses failure.

  • Reply Shalisha • 3403 days ago

    This is an excellent post. Yes, as a new am I want to see sales, sales, sales, but my mentor keeps reminding me building affiliate sites are like long term assets - you don't just throw them together! A lot of thought and planning goes into it and mostly, it has to be valuable and useful to the public!

  • Reply essay writing tips3022 days ago

    Great job, you've helped me so much and I am so glad I have chosen your service.

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