There are many sites and blogs that promote the idea of earning money online, and it can seem like a pipe dream.
Honestly, making money online is entirely possible, but it isn’t as simple as just pushing a button or running a program.
As one of many people earning money online, I can tell you that it is hard work and it is much more like a job than a free meal ticket.
Nevertheless, earning money online is very possible and can be very effective.
In this post, I want to talk about how to earn money with Amazon, specifically with Amazon’s affiliate program.
To do this, I will talk a bit about affiliate marketing in general, and what it is that makes Amazon’s program particularly desirable.
Now, there are a large number of different companies that offer affiliate programs, but Amazon’s is one of the biggest and has a huge range of products.
I personally feel that Amazon’s program is particularly good for people who are getting started in affiliate marketing and it can be an effective tool for earning money online in general.
How to Use Affiliate Marketing
The term affiliate marketing is often used in products that promote making money online, but the term itself is often not explained.
Affiliate marketing basically involves promoting the product of a given company through an affiliate link and gaining profits when people purchase the product.
One of the best things about affiliate marketing is that you can make money online without ever having to own your own product.
Additionally, the range of products that you can promote through affiliate marketing is basically endless.
Developing a Website for Affiliate Marketing
One of the key steps in making money through affiliate marketing is to create your own website.
In fact, affiliate marketing is one of the key ways for how to earn money with your website.
That’s true regardless of whether your website is developed specifically for affiliate marketing, or whether it is a blog where you want to make some money on the side.
The first steps for developing a website for affiliate marketing is to choose a niche and actually create the site.
Both of these steps are things that I have considered in detail in other posts, but I will also cover them briefly here.
A niche for a website is a term that refers to the specific area of interest that your website targets.
Some websites have very narrow and well-defined niches, such as supplements for weight loss, while others will have broader and vaguer niches, like health and nutrition.
Either approach can be effective although the latter tends to involve more work than the former.
When it comes to choosing a niche, it’s worth thinking about what products you would like to try and promote as well as what your own interests and passions are.
In general, it is easier to choose a niche that you are familiar with than one that is unfamiliar, but this really comes down to personal preference.
Additionally, if you are planning on being an affiliate for Amazon, then it is best to choose a niche that is product-based rather than one that has only a handful of products associated with it.
If you have a niche that is not product-based, then you will find it challenging to develop a large number of posts that promote Amazon links.
In general, sites that are not product-based perform worse through Amazon than product-based ones.
For creating a website, it is generally best to actually pay for hosting and a domain name, but if you are just starting out, looking for a free alternative is also a good option.
However, if you look for a free site, be very careful with terms and conditions, as many sites that provide free blogs specifically restrict from making money off them.
Making a website sounds challenging, but this is something that has got much easier over time.
Many sites allow you to use easy-to-set-up WordPress themes which are very effective at making the website look good with minimal effort on your end.
There are many different approaches that people take to affiliate marketing websites.
Some people attempt to provide comprehensive information about their niche, such as information about research, about current trends and tips and tricks.
Other people develop sites that are review focused, where the main thing that they do is to review different products or services.
In other cases, people might develop a site that is largely their own personal blog, but they will promote affiliate products every so often as a way of earning a little extra income.
Ultimately, the approach that you take for your website is up to you, but a good general rule is that content is critical.
Content is one of the key factors that drives traffic to your site, and it is also important for keeping your audience engaged and interested in what you have to offer.
This means that for any website a significant amount of emphasis should be placed on writing and publishing content that is relevant to the niche of the website.
Affiliate marketing is a growing field and an effective way to earn money.
In this discussion, I have covered the basics of the field in a simplistic manner and there are many more elements of the process that I have not discussed – some of which are the subject of more detailed posts.
As a general rule, if you are looking at getting involved in affiliate marketing, the best option is to find good training in the field, as most people have a lot of questions.
When it comes to training, the best approach is to look out for sites that are not too expensive and that provide training that is up-to-date.
This last point is particularly important because the online environment changes so much and training can quickly get out of date as the effectiveness of different techniques changes.
I personally went through Wealthy Affiliate for my training and found it to be a very informative site that taught me everything I needed to know.
Unlike most other training sites, Wealthy Affiliate offers a free membership, which can give users a chance to see what the site offers and decide for themselves whether it is worth joining.
Amazon’s Affiliate Program
Amazon is one of many companies that offer an affiliate program and it is actually a quite good one.
Amazon’s affiliate program is known as Amazon Associations and it is pretty popular, although not everyone likes it.
One of the things that makes Amazon’s program really stand out is the range of products that are available.
This means that you don’t have to rely on promoting obscure products as an affiliate, but you can choose to promote things that people are likely to want.
In fact, most of the products that you can purchase from a physical store can be found on Amazon.
One of the problems that people have with Amazon’s program is that the commission structure starts off pretty low.
For Amazon, the very first sales that you make for the company earn 4% commission, which is less than many other companies.
For example, Clickbank offers commissions ranging from 1% to 75% depending on what products you promote.
Other companies claim 100% commissions, which often seems appealing to new affiliate marketers, although these claims are never as good as they seem.
While the low starting pay of Amazon might seem a little frustrating, the company has a volume based structure, which means that the more products a person sells, the greater the commission percentage they earn.
It’s certainly true that 4% is a pretty low commission rate, but you don’t stay at this commission rate for very long.
Additionally, Amazon has products that sell for a range of prices, which means that the potential for profit is actually quite high.
Honestly, even if you are just making small sales here and there, they do add up quickly.
It’s also important to note that it is easier to get people to spend small amounts of money compared to larger amounts, which does make small sales more desirable.
One of the major advantages that Amazon’s affiliate programs has over most other affiliate programs is that it provides such a wide range of products.
Say you promote a specific type of hand cream on your blog and someone clicks onto your affiliate link.
Even if that person doesn’t choose to buy the product you are promoting, they are likely to browse Amazon and end up buying something else in the process.
Additionally, people will often purchase multiple things at once from sites like Amazon.
This works very well with the structure of the Amazon program because the affiliate link acts like a cookie – and you get commissions from anyone who purchases from Amazon within 25 hours after clicking on your affiliate link.
Many people find that they make more profits from things that people randomly buy on Amazon than from the product they were promoting.
Ease of Use
Amazon has a well-established affiliate program, and this really shows in the options that you have available.
For example, Amazon makes it very easy to get the affiliate link for any product, and there is a large range of different ways that you can promote this link on your site.
This includes the ability to use widgets and images to promote the product, some of which can be quite complex.
You can even set up a store on Amazon that will show all of the Amazon products that you happen to be promoting.
Personally, I think that Amazon is a fantastic first step for anyone wanting to get involved in affiliate marketing.
Even if you don’t stick with Amazon in the long-term, it is easy to set up and start running, which makes it a very good place to start.
Personally, I believe that the single biggest advantage of being an Amazon affiliate is that it is a trusted brand.
There are a large number of different sites that sell products nowadays, and many of the products are scams or poor quality.
When you purchase from a site like Amazon, you feel much more confident that you will actually get what you pay for, rather than simply being ripped off.
Because of this, there is the potential for more sales than from other companies that offer affiliate programs.
The fact that Amazon is a trusted brand can be particularly important for people who are nervous about using their credit cards online.
In fact, it is even possible to purchase from Amazon without using a credit card – as the company also offers gift cards.
Users also have the chance to look at the reviews that are present for different products on Amazon to work out whether the product is offering what they want.
All of these aspects make it easy for people to spend money on Amazon, which helps an Amazon affiliate to make profits.
Joining Amazon Associates
The Amazon affiliate program (Amazon Associations) is relatively easy to find just through a simple Google search, and the Associates site steps users through the process needed to join Amazon Associates.
Most states within America can join, but there are a few exceptions. These exceptions are:
- Rhode Island
Once you get your account information set up, the next step is to provide Amazon Associates with information about your website.
This part of the process does look a little scary, but it really isn’t anything to worry about.
One of the things that I particularly like about Amazon Associates is that you don’t have to have a well-established website with traffic to use it.
In fact, you can sign up for Amazon Associates when you have barely started working on a website.
The final step of using Amazon Associates is identity verification, which does involve having a phone number for Amazon to call.
However, overall it is a simple process and easy to follow even if you have never signed up for an affiliate site before.
How to Earn Money with Amazon’s Affiliate Program
The key way to earn money with Amazon is through affiliate marketing, but there are some approaches that you can take to increase the effectiveness of your promotion and to get more people to choose to purchase products.
One mistake that people often make is to try and promote products that have nothing to do with their website.
When you first start out, it often seems like a good idea to promote things that are likely to earn good commissions, even if they aren’t really related to the website or the topic area that the author is focusing on.
However, having products that are related to the website actually increases the chance of converting website visitors into purchasers.
The reason for this is related to the way that buyers make decisions.
In general, there are five main steps in the purchase process.
- Recognition of a problem
- Search for information
- Evaluation of alternatives
- Purchase decision
- Post-purchase behavior
Ideally, you want to target people when they are in the third step of this process.
Some sites choose to target people earlier as this gives them a wider traffic base, but it is also more challenging to get people in these stages to actually purchase the product.
In contrast, trying to target a person who has already decided what they are going to purchase is difficult and not particularly rewarding.
Now, if you are targeting people looking to make purchases, it makes sense to actually promote items that they are likely to want to buy.
For example, if you have a blog on health and nutrition, having an affiliate link to a comforter or a handbag is probably not relevant.
However, there is still a lot of variation in what you can promote.
In fact, with a bit of clever content creation, it is possible to make many products relevant to the website even if they do not seem to be.
An example of this is that a health and nutrition site could easily promote kitchen scales or measuring cups, as these can be particularly important for portion control.
Reviews can be a very effective way to gain sales, and they can also help to build trust for a website.
The advantage of a review is that it gives you (or whoever you have writing the review) the chance to talk about your own experiences with the product and how it compared to other products.
There are many different ways to approach a product review, but as a general rule, I always recommend being honest.
Sometimes this will mean that you get half way through writing a review before realizing that the product isn’t something that you want to recommend.
This is actually okay because a negative review for a product actually helps to build trust, as it makes it seem like you are trying to help readers rather than simply trying to sell a product.
Additionally, you can always choose to link a negative review to a product that you feel the person should purchase instead, or even send them to a positive review of a similar product.
Technically speaking it is possible to write a review on a product without having ever actually used it, but this isn’t a good idea unless you are very convincing at your writing.
When you are running a website, your reputation is a very important element of your success.
When you review a product that you have actually used, the review tends to be more personal and unique, and you may find yourself discussing elements of the product that other reviewers have not.
This can help to improve your reputation while getting caught out not knowing a product you are reviewing can have the opposite effect.
This also applies for heavily hyping a given product.
People will trust your reviews much more if you are honest about the positive and negative aspects of the product that you are promoting.
Some website authors have noticed that having a guest review a product can be effective for conversions.
One of the reasons for this is probably that the guest reviewer doesn’t gain anything from promoting the product.
This can make them seem more legitimate and reinforces the idea that the product is worth purchasing.
Best Sellers Lists
One effective way to sell products through Amazon Associations is the development of a best sellers list.
These lists can be important because they are a form of social proof, and people are always more likely to purchase something if other people have purchased it beforehand.
Creating this type of list is very easy through Amazon, particularly as Amazon actually provides information about what is selling well.
Needless to say, you still have to get traffic to these lists for them to be effective.
However, this is easily achieved by linking to the list from within your blog.
This approach can be particularly effective if your site focuses on a narrow range of products, such as cameras or children’s toys.
If your site is much broader in scope, such as health and nutrition, it may be better to develop a best seller list based on a specific category of products, such as supplements or books, rather than one very general list.
Use Amazon to your Advantage
Amazon is a big and highly successful site that is exceptionally good at selling things to people.
This means that you often end up making profits simply because your link takes a person to Amazon and they start browsing around.
You can actually take advantage of this because Amazon provides you with information about what people actually buy when they click on your affiliate link.
By looking at this information you can find out important things about the way that your readers purchase, and you may get inspiration for other things related to your niche.
In many cases, the products that people chose to purchase can be an indication of a product that is worth taking the time to promote.
It is also worth taking the time to promote products that are related to your niche, rather than your direct topic.
For example, if you had a site that reviewed tablets, you might also want to review tablet apps and accessories, as many of your readers will already have a tablet or will have purchased one since they first read the site.
Amazon also gives you the ability to use tracking codes in your links, which allow you to see which of your links are converting.
This can be an effective way to see which of your approaches are working, and can be particularly relevant when you are testing out new approaches.
However, there is a limit of 100 tracking codes, so you cannot use one code for each product you promote.
One approach is to create and use general codes, such as some for specific categories and some for products that you promote multiple times.
Things to Consider
Amazon periodically offers promotions on many of the products on its site.
These specials are frequently time-sensitive, but it can be worth promoting these to your readers, particularly if it is a product that is highly relevant to your website and your readers.
A particularly effective way to do this is to provide the link within a newsletter or mailing list, as this ensures that people see it when the promotion is still active, rather than after it is over.
There isn’t a need to state for every blog post that you are an affiliate for Amazon, but it is wise to have a disclaimer.
This isn’t only a legal consideration – making your connection to Amazon clear can also help you gain trust with your readers.
Some sites also tell readers that the Amazon affiliation is what provides the income to keep the site free and growing, something that readers often appreciate.
Being transparent in this way can mean that readers will actually click on your affiliate links before they purchase on Amazon, even if the product they are purchasing doesn’t have anything to do with you.
Amazon’s volume-based commissions are an important part of their program and one of the most desirable elements.
However, this approach to commissions does not apply to all of the products that Amazon sells, and some types of products (such as consumer electronics) actually cap at 4%.
There are a lot of options for how you link consumers to Amazon products, including the widgets and images that the company provides.
This is certainly something to play around with, as every site is different.
However, the majority of internet marketers note that they get the most conversions from placing direct links to Amazon within their content.
This is actually the easiest approach to do as well, which can make it particularly beneficial.
As a general rule, I would suggest avoiding having too many banner ads or widgets on any web page simply because users tend to get frustrated at too much advertising.
Some people get concerned about using Amazon links, for fear that they will drive off customers.
Unlike banner ads and widgets, contextual links aren’t distracting or annoying in any way, and most users do not appear to have a problem with the number of links.
Because of this, being bold with links is often desirable and can result in more profits for the site.
Ultimately, you need to be more concerned about whether the links are relevant than whether you have too many.
Big Ticket versus Small Ticket
Amazon has a wide variety in products and because of this there is also a substantial variation in how much products cost.
Because Amazon affiliates gain a percentage of the sales that they make, many people feel that it is best to promote expensive (or big ticket) products, as this will earn them the most money.
After all, if you sell a $400 product, your commission is $16 (at the lowest tier), which is much better than a commission of around 40 cents for selling a $10 product.
This is true, but many people make profit effectively without ever selling big ticket items.
Part of this comes from the fact that people will often purchase other products while they are browsing Amazon.
However, most of the reason for this is that it is much easier to get a person to spend $10 than it is to get them to spend $400.
You might get lots of sales for small ticket items in the time that it takes you to get a single large ticket sale.
Additionally, the commission tier that you are on with Amazon is based on the number of sales you make, not the total profit from the sales, so selling small products will help you to increase your commission much faster.
Affiliate marketing is not something that you get rich at instantly, and it is a process that takes time and effort.
It can take significant time to build up traffic to a site and income from Amazon, so don’t be surprised if a website starts off making low profits.
As the amount of content on a site begins to grow, its traffic will grow also and so too will the amount of profit that the site makes.
For example, some people might post five times in a week (not unusual for affiliate sites) and link to Amazon products in three of these posts.
So, in the space of a year that is somewhere around 150 posts that link to Amazon and 750 posts over a five-year period.
It’s pretty easy to see how the visibility of the site would increase over time, resulting in more people seeing the affiliate links and purchasing from Amazon.
Because of the time involved in being successful it can be highly beneficial to start the process early, as this gets you a head start on developing content and gaining traffic.
If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing in general and ways to be successful at affiliate marketing, check out the training at Wealthy Affiliate. Wealthy Affiliate is specifically targeted at teaching people to make money online and providing them with the information and support they need every step of the way.
I know there are dozens of different training programs and sites out there, but Wealthy Affiliate is special. Part of that comes from the fact that the site is community-based, which means that you get a lot of support. And, in the affiliate marketing field, support can be the difference between success and failure.