In this Amazon Affiliate Program review, find out if you can make money as an Amazon affiliate. Is the program a scam? How much commissions do they pay? Get the ins and outs of the program in this review.
Amazon Associates Program Review
Program Name: Amazon Associates
Price: 100% free to join as an affiliate
Overall Ranking: 95/100
In previous posts, I talked about how you can save money with Amazon through their Prime and Student membership deals. In this post, we will be talking in detail about how you can make money with Amazon by being an affiliate.
There is a plethora of ways you can make money online.
Even on Amazon alone, possible ways to make money include selling ebooks and selling items through your Amazon store. However, what I feel is the most convenient and beginner-friendly way of making money on Amazon is by becoming an affiliate.
**I need to stress that it is completely FREE to become an Amazon affiliate. If you have been contacted by a so-called “Amazon agent” trying to get you to join the program for a fee, they are definitely trying to scam you. It is 100% free to join the Amazon Associates program.
What is Amazon Associates?
Quite simply, Amazon Associates is Amazon’s independent affiliate program.
Amazon is the most popular e-commerce site in the world and they have the largest pool of products available anywhere on the internet.
Due to their large popularity, it could be very worthwhile for marketers to strive to get their own slice of the Amazon pie.
How to Join the Amazon Affiliate Program
Absolutely anyone that owns a website can join Amazon Associates. If you do not own a website yet, don’t fret! You can actually build one within the next one minute.
If you own a website, the only thing left for you to do is fill out the affiliate application form. Once your application is approved, you will have an account but your account would not be considered active yet. Your account only becomes active once someone makes a purchase on Amazon after clicking through your affiliate link.
If your account is inactive for 6 months, your account will be closed down. This means if you are unable to make your first sale within 6 months of joining the program, they will shut down your affiliate account. However, you can always re-apply.
Another thing I strongly advise is that you take out the time to go through the terms and conditions of the program. You do not want to give them a reason to withhold your commissions or even worse, boot you off the program.
What are the Commission Rates?
Amazon Associates operate using two different commission structures: fixed fee rates and volume-based fee rates.
For products like electronics, headphones and others listed in the table below, the commission rate will remain fixed, while for general products (any products not listed on the table), the commission could go up to 8.5% depending on how many products are purchased through your link.
*The commission rate for volume-based products resets at the beginning of each month.
Let’s say you had already made 30 sales this month. If you were able to make your 31st sale, the commission rate for the product would be 6.5%. If not, you will go back to earning 4% commissions the next month for your first 6 product sales and have to work your way up with more sales to get higher commission rates.
Why I Think Amazon Associates is The Best
Depending on what products you want to promote, Amazon Associates might be a good deal to you or not. You will have to do some comparisons with other affiliate programs with the same kind of products.
Let’s say you promote headphones and it’s accessories. Based on the table above, you will earn a fixed commission rate of 6%. Considering Skullcandy pays out 5% and you can actually promote SkullCandy’s products from Amazon, this would be an excellent deal for you.
Weigh the commission rates of the products you are promoting versus the rates other programs are offering for the same products and then decide what is best for you.
Regardless of what type of products you are promoting, I still think Amazon’s affiliate program stands out for this reason…
Secondary Sales. I’ll give you my own personal experience to illustrate this…
My Simple Case Study
I am a sports fanatic, so I created a niche website about jerseys. At first, all the affiliate links were Amazon links and I started to make some sales from the site. Not huge money but a decent amount.
After a few months, I decided to do a little snooping around for a better deal and I found this independent affiliate program that offers 8% commissions. I changed my affiliate links to this program and guess what?
My monthly income from that site dropped by close to 60%! Higher commission rate, the same amount of traffic, but lower income.
I changed the links back to Amazon links but to confirm if this occurrence was niche-specific, I tried the same thing with another niche site I own about quadcopter drones. Guess what?
My monthly income from the drones site dropped by 40%. Higher commission rate, the same amount of traffic, but lower income.
I analyzed my Amazon earnings reports and pinned this down to two things:
- Secondary Sales: After people looking for jerseys come to my site, my site takes them to the jersey link on Amazon. While they are at Amazon, they can decide to buy just about anything! The whole template and look of Amazon is designed to market stuff to people easily. Someone can buy a sports jersey and Amazon could recommend a cap as well. If they get the jersey, cap and heck even a briefcase, you earn a commission. Whatever they end up buying, you earn commissions. You lose this kind of marketing power on most sites.
- People trust Amazon: You might have found a website that pays high commissions, but how comfortable would most people be ordering from that site? Amazon is the world’s most popular E-commerce site for a reason. Would you rather get much fewer sales with higher commissions per sale or get a lot more sales with slightly lower commissions per sale?
These two reasons are why I still think Amazon is the best, despite its relatively small commission rates.
Pros of Amazon Associates
- It is completely FREE
- Amazon has the largest pool of products you can find to promote
- Amazon is the most popular and trusted E-commerce site
- People could decide to buy the product you are promoting, accessories related to what you are promoting or they could decide to buy something completely unrelated. Either way, you get commissions on each product sale
- If someone clicks on your link and puts products in their cart but does not buy immediately, you get commissions if they make the purchase within 90 days
Cons of Amazon Associates
- The commission rates are relatively low
- They only offer 24-hour cookies. What this means is if someone clicks on your link, you don’t get the commission if they don’t make the purchase with 24 hours (unless they put the product in their cart)
- They pay affiliates 60 days after the month ends in order to account for product returns and refunds. This will only be an issue for the first two months of making consistent sales.
- They cancel your account if you do not make a sale within 6 months of becoming an affiliate (although you can immediately reapply)
How To Make Money as an Amazon Affiliate
The entire affiliate process can be summarized into 6 steps:
- Pick a topic for your website (Choose a niche)
- Build a website
- Do some keyword and competition research on your topic
- Write unique quality content based on your research
- Post your affiliate links within your content
- Make money
This is a simplistic view of the factors involved but let’s go in-depth into each of them…
Step 1: Choose Your Niche
Ideally, your niche should be a passion or an interest.
I love sports, so I have a website about jerseys. I love playing with drones, so I created a website about drones, etc.
Let’s brainstorm a little bit…
- Do you love soccer? If yes, how about youth soccer cleats as a niche?
- Are you a bookworm? How about romantic books for people in their twenties?
- Are you crazy about fashion? How about a fashion site targeted at tall women?
This is how to go about picking a niche. Just think of an area where you will have a wealth of information to share or an area you don’t know much about but are really interested in learning about.
There is no fixed rule saying that your niche must be your passion. However, affiliate marketing is not the kind of business where you will see results today or tomorrow. It could take a long time and if you are not passionate about your niche, you could easily lose motivation to continue. This is why it is strongly recommended that you pick a passion or interest, especially if you are just starting out.
Step 2: Build a Website
The funny thing is people are more overwhelmed by knowing they have to build a website than they actually are while building it. If you already have a website, you could either skip to the next section or stay here and build another one (…just kidding).
The truth is there isn’t much of building these days when it comes to creating a website. If you don’t believe me, use the box below…
Because everyone has different preferences, you might want to tweak the position of a few things to give your website its own unique look but that’s about it. It is something you get used to with experience and not something that should overwhelm you.
*If you used the website builder above, the reality is you spent less than 5 minutes and you now own a website. Not only did you get a website, you got access to training on how to beautify your site.
Step 3: Doing Your Research
This is where things start to get a little bit technical. Some people have chosen their niche and built their website but they have not been able to make money because they missed this very important step. The 6 steps outlined above are in sequence and you cannot achieve a subsequent step without first accomplishing the previous ones.
What kind of articles should you be writing? What kind of articles is the most profitable? What kind of audience should you be targeting? All these are questions you need answers to in order to achieve optimal results.
The answers: You should be writing all kinds of articles related to your chosen niche (information posts, reviews, etc). I have discovered that review posts are the most profitable kind of articles. You should be mostly be targeting people at the buying stage (these people tend to read reviews).
Again, this is a simplistic view of things. If you want more comprehensive material, check out this loaded tutorial describing consumer behaviour.
Step 4: Write Content
If you are scared already, please relax. For some reason, people worry way too much about how difficult writing content seemingly is. It is actually pretty simple and fun to write content.
You do not need to have an English degree to promote products to your audience. Do you need an English degree to send a text to your friend or your cousin? No, because you have a relationship with them.
When you write content, you are providing a solution to someone’s problem. The moment the person with the problem meets your solution, there is an instant connection between you and the reader.
Come to think of it, would you rather read a review written by a down-to-earth dude in a hoodie somewhere or a research paper on a particular product written by a Ph.D. student? Lord knows my choice is the former.
Forget about how good your writing or grammar is and focus on the quality of the info you provide. The quality of your info determines how you can connect with your audience. Commission rates become irrelevant when your audience do not want to click on your links.
Writing is something that improves exponentially with experience. If you start writing consistently today, you will definitely see a glaring improvement a few weeks.
Remember your content must be unique! You cannot just copy and paste every single bit of a product’s description from Amazon and then post it on your website as a review. Amazon could get really mad if they caught you doing this.
Step 5: Posting Affiliate Links
This part is pretty straightforward. Now that you have your content, you have to post affiliate links leading to the product you want to promote on Amazon. When people click on that link and make a purchase, you earn a commission.
There are many unnecessarily complicated ways of creating affiliate links on Amazon but the simplest to me is using SiteStripe. SiteStripe is one of the tools you get as an Amazon affiliate and it’s a toolbar that lets you create your affiliate link straight from the product page on Amazon.
There are other ways of creating links, but you really do not need to learn any other way. This is the easiest and most convenient.
Step 6: Making Money
Up until this point, the success of every step was due to you and the work you put in. The only thing standing between step 5 and this step is….Traffic! How do people click on your link when people do not even come to your site?
Some people pay for traffic. They do this through Facebook ads, Bing ads, etc. I do not recommend this though, especially for beginners. I’m one of those guys that believe you should bring your spending to a minimum until you have started making money from your business.
That is why I recommend getting free traffic. To do this, you will need some help from major search engines like Google. To influence your rankings, there is this technique called SEO you need to learn. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
You can find everything I have said you need to learn all in one place, so don’t panic.
Take Action Now!
A lot of people fantasize about what could be or what should be. These people have not seen results, are not seeing results and may never see results. Why? Because they are not taking action.
I have tried to describe the whole process of making money as an Amazon affiliate as best as I could and I can tell you for sure that a lot of people are making a full-time income from Amazon by following this outline.
If you’re still unclear about certain things, that is completely okay. You can get access to so much more video and written training and a whole internet business community to answer your questions and provide constant support to you at this online business training platform called Wealthy Affiliate.
The program taught me everything I know about internet marketing and you get to kill several birds with one stone by joining the platform. You cut out the extra cost of hosting your website and yet get additional things like a keyword research tool.
Of course, the important thing is that you take action now regardless of whether you join Wealthy Affiliate or not.
Amazon Associates Program Review
Program Name: Amazon Associates
Price: 100% free to join as an affiliate
Overall Ranking: 95/100
This review was written based on my experience and knowledge about the program and you are allowed to agree or disagree with me. Please share your experiences with Amazon Associates program, I would love to hear them.