What if you could make money with your blog by simply telling people about products you love?
This is exactly what affiliate marketing is.
Affiliate marketing is easy to get into, even for beginners. You're most likely talking about products and brands that you like on your blog already. Why not get paid for doing that?
When it comes to digital marketing, a study by Smart Insights found that affiliate marketing was the top skill that people wanted to improve.
The main reason is probably because it's the easiest way to earn passive income.
It's the dream; Everyone wants to wake up in the morning to see that they've made money whilst they've been sleeping.
Affiliate marketing is the easiest way to make that dream a reality.
But like everything else, it's not always as straight-forward as it seams.
In this post, I'm going to show you;
- How to get started with the most popular affiliate marketing program, Amazon Associates.
- Why Amazon Associates is one of the best programs for beginners.
- How to increase the percentage of commissions that Amazon will pay you.
- How to find the best products to sell, no matter what niche your site is in.
- The best ways to promote your links to maximize sales.
- Some alternatives to the Amazon Associates programs that will pay more.
- Why most people fail to make money with Amazon Associates.
- And more...
Before we do all that though, let's quickly dial it back a bit.
What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?
The concept of affiliate marketing is simple; A publisher will promote a merchants product(s) to a customer and if the customer purchases, the publisher (also called an affiliate) will be paid a portion of the sale by the merchant.
Want to know the best things about affiliate marketing?
- The products you promote aren't yours.
- You don't have to provide customer support for them.
- You don't need to ship any products.
- You don't touch the product
Everything is hands-off.
So let's now look at one of best affiliate marketing programs for beginners, Amazon Associates. It's Amazon's affiliate program which lets anyone gain a commission for any product that's sold on Amazon.
But, why Amazon?
Generally, it's easier to convince someone to buy a product on Amazon than it is for sites that are less popular.
Let's face it;
- Everyone knows and loves Amazon.
- They sell EVERYTHING. Well, nearly.
- It's an extremely trusted brand.
- They've been in this game since 1994.
- Returning items to them is a breeze.
- Amazingly good prices.
- They offer Super Saver Shipping (FREE delivery).
If that wasn't enough, Amazon is growing at a rapid rate.
They show absolutely no signs of slowing down and are increasing revenue every single year.
It's not surprising that they're the world's biggest online retailer.
And it's also no surprise to see that they're far ahead of all the other online retailers.
It's only fair that we, as affiliate marketers, should be able to get a fraction of that revenue for helping their revenue increase.
To give you an example of how much can be made, Brent Hale made $24,724 from the Amazon program in August 2016. He continually makes around this amount every month.
And I've also had a bit of luck;
Back at the end of 2015, I spent 4 hours setting up a small blog promoting baby toys in the hopes of cashing in for Winter, and then forgot about it!
It wasn't until I got paid from Amazon 2 months later (we'll get into that in a second) that I remembered that I had built the site!
I made $1213.71 over the span of 3 months.
Not bad for only 4 hours of work, right?
So your interest is probably peaked and you're itching to start selling things. Let's start getting into the good stuff;
Creating an Amazon Associates account
Amazon has many websites;/p>
- amazon.com for USA.
- amazon.co.uk for the UK.
- amazon.in for India.
- And so on...
Although they're all Amazon websites, they all each have their own individual affiliate program.
This means that if you want to promote products that are on Amazon.com, and also Amazon.co.uk, you need to sign up for both affiliate programs, individually.
Here's why it's worth applying for them all;
Let's imagine you've only signed up for the amazon.com program. If someone clicks on your special link to amazon.com and then pay for it on amazon.co.uk (people from the UK will be forced to do this by Amazon), then you'll miss out on the sale.
Here's a video on how to sign up for Amazon Associates;
Creating an account won't take long and as soon as you've created your account, you're ready to start promoting items.
What products should you sell?
An analysis by AM Navigator shows the most popular affiliate marketing niches.
Does that mean you should start a fashion blog?
Well, not exactly.
You're going to have to have a lot of content made that's related to the affiliate products you're looking to sell.
If you have money to spend, and are willing to pay money to have content written, you can have writers on Fiverr produce nearly all the content for you.
This isn't as costly as you'd think.
The trouble is, if you don't know anything about the subject they're writing about, then how do you know that the content they wrote is any good?
It makes much more sense to start in a niche which you know well.
If you love cooking, it would make sense to start a recipe blog and promote cooking books, kitchen equipment, and the ingredients you use for each recipe.
If you're stuck trying to find specific items, you can always look on Amazon for what's popular right now.
Simply browse to the category of your choice. For example, Kitchen & Dining. Then click the Best Sellers link.
This will give you a list of the best selling items in that category which will give you an idea of what products will make you the most money within your niche.
Once you've seen an item you'd like to promote, you just grab the special affiliate link.
Creating affiliate links to promote Amazon items
Amazon lets you attach 'tags' to affiliate links you create so that you can track what links are getting clicked on.
Because of this, it's recommended to create multiple tags for promotion. You could make synbyte-twitter, synbyte-facebook, etc. You could then use those tags to be able to track where the buyers are coming from. Using synbyte-twitter for Twitter, and so on.
Creating a tag takes seconds;
After logging into your affiliate account, you'll see a menu at the top. Click Manage your tracking IDs.
Then click Add tracking ID.
You'll get a small popup window. Enter the tracking ID you'd like and click Create. If it's already taken by another user, they'll give you an alternative.
Amazon will automatically add a dash and a number (usually -20) or something similar to the end of each tag you create, so don't worry about that when you see it - It's just to keep more tag IDs in their system.
You should create a tracking ID for every platform you'll be promoting from. Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Now that you have your tracking ID, you can grab links for products you want to promote.
When you're logged into your Amazon account you'll see a bar at the top of the screen when looking at any page , like this;
Go to any page on Amazon. It could be the product page of a product you'd like to promote, a category page, or any other page. Then go to the bar at the very top of the page and click the type of link you'd like.
The text link tends to be best, as you can then take that link and use the editor in Wordpress to link any image or text in your post.
When you click on Text, a set of options will show below.
Choose the tracking ID you'd like to use for the link, then click Get link.
A link will then appear below that you can copy.
Why most people fail to make money with Amazon Associates
Most bloggers tend to do this;
Can you figure out what's wrong?
If a friend casually dropped in to a conversation that they were having with you that they used a pair of Fiskar scissors to cut up some paper or something else, would you even notice?
Even if you noticed they mentioned it, would you be interested in what they were?
It's a branded pair of scissors. Chances are, you wouldn't care. you already have a pair of branded scissors.
If they added "They're amazing! Seriously, they're the best scissors I've ever used. Here's why they're better than the scissors you currently use;", I bet you'd be interested in why that was.
The hard truth is, nearly every search online is done with some kind of intent. It could be to be educated (like a how-to guide), to consume (like a YouTube video of a cartoon), to buy a product, or something else.
When it comes to selling things online, buyer intent is everything.
Consider the following stages of a users buying cycle, and the search terms that a user would search for in a search engine at those stages;
If a user is currently at the Consideration or Purchase stage, they've already made the decision that they want to purchase.
But what if they're not at that stage?
If a user that visits your site is at the Awareness stage, you can move them down the purchase funnel, but you need to do more work to get them there.
With the added value of social media in our day-to-day lives, this is how a modern purchase funnel looks like.
People will often go to social media and ask "is x product any good?" for validation. People are more likely to believe the opinions of people they know.
Another reason for people not making money, is that there's no call to action. Linking a product name that you mention (like the Fiskars example) doesn't encourage the user to click on it.
"Buy on Amazon" would work better, but if the user isn't at the Consideration or Purchase stage, then the call to action is too much commitment for the user to take.
"View on Amazon" would be much better, and it works for all stages of the funnel.
Review site 10beasts does a good job of this.
As you can see, they also link the mouse in the title. So there's both a text link, and an image link with a call to action.
In addition to that, they also add a pros/cons section under each product review to help convince the reader that the product is a good fit for what they need.
How much does Amazon Associates pay?
Ah, the most important question.
Well, you get paid a percentage of each sale, and that percentage varies depending on how many sales you've made in the month.
Because of this, it's a good idea to promote products of all prices.
Selling multiple small items at a time will help you get the monthly commission percentage up quickly.
Think of things that someone would buy in bulk that are related to your niche.
Some of these include;
- Art supplies (brushes, small paints).
- Party supplies (plastic cups, plastic plates, etc.)
Selling many smaller items at the start of the month will help increase your commission rate so that when you make a sale of a more expensive item, you'll get a much higher commission for that sale.
Some item categories have a fixed commission.
So you can see why it's a good idea to sell products of all prices to make sure that you can increase the payout at the end of the month.
Speaking of being paid...
Amazon will pay you into your bank account, or by cheque.
The problem here is that in order to be paid into your bank account, you need a bank account in the country for the Amazon program(s) you signed up for.
Remember, I suggested signing up for all amazon affiliate programs!
So if you sign up for an amazon.de affiliate account and don't have a German bank account, how do you get paid into a bank account?
You can signup for a Payoneer account!
Payoneer will provide you with a simple online American, European, and British bank account, for free. It works in the say was as a standard bank account, but it's 3 bank accounts in 1.
So when it comes to giving each Amazon program your bank details, you can give them the details of your Payoneer bank account.
You can easily then transfer the money from your Payoneer account to your actual bank account, or to your Paypal account.
As a little bonus, Payoneer will give you an extra $25 reward once your account has received $100.
Amazon's affiliate program (Amazon Associates) is clearly one of the easiest affiliate programs for beginners to get into.
I've hopefully given you a small insight into how easy and quick it is to get started with Amazon affiliate marketing.
Whatever content you produce and promote online, you'll no doubt be able to find Amazon products to link to that are related to the content. If you have this mastered, you'll be able to have a high conversion rate.
The best thing about affiliate marketing is that it's passive income.
Once you've created links and promoted them to an audience, your work is done. Providing that link stays where you put it, there's a chance of people visiting it, and potentially making you money.
If you build a very nice affiliate site, you can easily flip it. Here's a big list of 600+ amazon affiliate websites for sale to give you an idea of how much you can sell a website for.
Now, go make some money.
Are you already doing Amazon affiliate marketing? If not, what's stopping you? Let me know in the comments