I’d like to share 10 general rules and principles that I’ve found helpful with making money with the Amazon Affiliate Program.
I have been a member of the Amazon Affiliate program for over ten years now and am still amazed by all that it offers. You cannot ask for more widgets & tools. The options are endless.
1. Get it Right From The Start You will need to have a live website or blog to be eligible for the Amazon Affiliate program. Now whether it be a full blown website or a free Blogger blog, Amazon will require a URL. Word to the wise, it is always best to have your own hosted website vs.one that is run on one of the free portals as it is under your controls & cannot be taken down by the whims of the day. Hostgator is a good one that comes to mind. Trust me, I have had free blogs & websites, that I spent many hours building, get suspended because they didn’t like the ads I was running or due to a change in a policy that was fine one day, but not the next. So I will always recommend having your own paid, hosted website over a free one any day. It would also be in your best interest to have some traffic on your site, however Amazon Affiliate is pretty easy to get accepted into.
2. Start Right Away Why put it off ? Get started with the Amazon’s Associate Program early on. There are many facets to the Amazon Affiliate program such as the new Promotions Hub which offers special deals & the Bounty Program which offers special programs to mom, students & brides for instance. Also by starting early you’ll be populating your blog with links into the store that, although, may not convert heavily early on before you build readership , but which can potentially convert for years to come as your blog grows in popularity. The other good thing about starting early is that you’ll learn a lot about affiliate marketing. Most of my early formatting & HTML skills have come directly from my own experiences with Amazon’s Affiliate program & from building A-Stores and adding widgets to my sites etc.
3. Experiment with Widgets and a-Store It is said that most bloggers largely rely upon Contextual links to promote Amazon. Most find that these convert best, however I do know of a few web masters who’ve successfully incorporated a variety of the widgets that Amazon gives their Associates to use into their sites. Similarly, I know some readers who do pretty well with a-Store which is a tool whereby you create your own online store using Amazon’s technology. The store can be as big as you like & is accessed via a link on your site. It really comes down to experimenting with the tools and seeing what works best with for you and your site.
4. Full Disclosure To Readers There is no debate about it. Current laws require that you disclose the fact that your site contains affiliate links AND the fact that you are compensated for purchases made through them. This was not the case until just a few years ago. Apparently there are some people who get quite upset when other people earn money. Although this is quite strange to me, because that’s how we all (or most of us anyway) pay our way through life. I remember when this law first came out it created quite the panic as we all went into a frenzy about how & where we were going to add the disclosure to our sites. I recall one blogger adding the disclosure right under the link. It read: “And yes, I WILL MAKE MONEY if you click on this link!” …. I guess that covered him from the internet police ! The laws weren’t clear back then. We did learn along the way that we did not have to disclose every link on our sites in a direct way, could simply add a disclaimer/disclosure page on our blogs for our visitors to read.
5. Put Your Readers First Whatever you do don’t go overboard with ads. There is nothing more distracting than a bunch of banner ads covering a page … especially the ones that are blinking & flashing away like a disco dance floor. Besides being extremely annoying to your readers, Google hates sites with overblown advertising. It will do nothing for your rankings. Your goal should be to interact with your readers and build a loyal readership who trust you rather than a following who will read your content but also know that your goal is to grab their bucks every chance you can get.
As an example, I am on the list of a very prominent internet marketer & he has chosen to come in hard & heavy with a pitch for a popular program. He emails several times a day for this same MLM program & offers nothing in return for reading these emails. Like many people, I am not big on MLM so most of the emails get tossed. He didn’t pre-qualify me for the MLM and he doesn’t offer anything else in these emails that I might bite at. So basically they are a wasted effort on his part. Anyone who runs an auto-responder knows who is deleting their emails before reading them. I will most likely be unsubscribing very soon.
6. Offer Great Products This relates to the last point but is worth stating on its own. The success and failure of your Amazon Associates Program promotions hinges upon choosing good quality products. When you promote quality it is much easier to be both genuine in your reviews and recommendations and get conversions that lead to commissions. Wherever you can, test the products you recommend to ensure their quality or find someone who can do it for you.
7. Go Forth Boldly Don’t worry about using Amazon links too much. Many readers are used to them & either read past them or go ahead and click. They know the links hold more information that is related to what they are reading so the inclination to click will be much stronger. Choose your products carefully and as long as they add value your readers won’t mind.
8. Localized Audiences? Try Local Amazon Sites Some site owners have complained that Amazon.com doesn’t work very well for blogs and sites with traffic from countries outside the USA. It’s not completely true. Amazon does ship some products to other countries via it’s international shipping program, so they will work well for certain products. Also, don’t be afraid to join the affiliate program for international Amazon sites. Amazon operates sites in the U.K., Canada, Europe, Asia & Japan to name a few. Some bloggers will add two or more links to each post . Some people use geo-targeting tools to look at where a reader is from and serve them a localized link .
9. Topics Convert Differently Some websites will have a natural fit with Amazon better than others. Amazon is a product related affiliate program – it only works when people buy stuff. If your blog is on a topic that is not consumer related then Amazon ads are probably not going to be a good fit for you. Product related blogs tend to do best with Amazon. If you do not have a product related blog or site, then you might want to offer a book that is related to your topic or perhaps a tool that might help your readers. The reality is that this type of web site will never convert as well on Amazon.
10. Keep an Eye on Amazon Most importantly, always keep an eye on what Amazon is doing. Amazon makes changes constantly & they often do it very quietly, meaning that they do not use blaring headlines. That routine email that they send out looks the same as the one that is sent directly to you & contains highly important information. I highly recommend you take notice of ALL of their emails. Amazon is constantly testing new ways of selling – they have spent years perfecting the art. Take a look at the widgets they use to promote related products as well as their placement on the page. In particular look at how they they describe products. You can learn a lot about online marketing by observing how the pros do it.
Always look at the page you’re sending people to before you actually send them there. Another thing that Amazon does is to send out emails to associates with their latest promotions . In these emails they provide banners & links with YOUR code already built in and also what items they’re giving bonus commissions for. These are great for a quick ad to your site or Facebook page. There is usually a wide variety of offers that will suit most sites. & they make it really easy for you
Sound like Amazon Associates might be for you? Sign up Here.