Subscription sign-ups aren’t the only revenue stream for a membership website.
You can easily create a passive income by joining an affiliate program and one of the easiest to get started with is Amazon Associates.
How does the Amazon Affiliate program work?
Amazon’s affiliate program (called Amazon Associates) allows website owners to add tagged links within their online content and then earn referral fees when their readers click through and make a qualifying purchase from Amazon.com.
Why choose Amazon’s affiliate program?
Although there are many affiliate programs that offer higher referral fees with longer cookie sessions, Amazon’s program has many advantages.
1. Amazon is a highly trusted brand and the leading online retailer.
2. Amazon has nearly 120 million product choices.
3. You earn commision on the entire basket of your referral.
4. No one just buys one item from Amazon.
5. Easy set up.
In order to qualify, you must own the website and your content must be original with recent posts made in the last 60 days. Your website must also abide by Amazon’s eligibility requirements. Amazon will review your application once you’ve driven qualified sales. They require at least three within the first 180 days.
Before posting any links, be sure to read their Operating Agreement and understand the rules that require you to identify yourself as an Associate.
Sign up now for the Amazon Affiliate Program – it’s free and easy to join.
Actions that can get you banned
Amazon has a long list of rules (Terms of Service) that you must follow as an Associate and breaking any of them can get you banned from the program. Here is a brief list of actions you must avoid:
1. Including an affiliate link in an email. Instead, include a link to your website page where your affiliate link is.
2. Link shortening or cloaking. Amazon wants their tagged links to be transparent.
3. Including affiliate links in eBooks or PDF documents.
4. Making a purchase with your own affiliate link.
5. Violating Amazon’s trademark policy.
How does Amazon track your referrals?
Cookies are used by affiliate programs to track referrals. How it works is that when your reader clicks a tagged Amazon link, a small file, called a cookie, will be temporarily stored in their browser. It will track any sales made during the session period.
Every affiliate program has different session lengths for their cookies. Amazon’s cookie duration is 24 hours. This means your reader must make a purchase within 24 hours from clicking your tagged link. After 24 hours, the cookie expires.
Now although this cookie duration time is short, the bonus with Amazon is that you get commission on your referral’s ENTIRE basket – and most people don’t just make a single purchase on Amazon but will order multiple items.
What are the Commission Fees?
Commission fees vary depending on the product category. This chart lists the commissions as of May 2020.
Choosing products to promote
When creating content that will either include or promote your affiliate link, focus on the interests of your audience. Choose products that you are knowledgeable about and have a passion for yourself. Only promote products you actually believe in, otherwise, you can damage your reputation and the trust of your audience.
Creating content to promote your affiliate links
There are a number of different forms of content creation that work well in promoting the click through rate on an affiliate link.
- A tutorial blog post: Before making a purchase, people like to see how the product works and the results it can deliver. A tutorial, especially one that includes a video, can meet those needs and encourage a reader to click your affiliate link.
- A ‘Best’ list: In this post you might highlight best selling products in a certain Amazon category. Or this could be a ‘best’ list of products you believe in and recommend.
- An in-depth review: This article would be based on your personal experience of a specific product. A review is also a good way to reinforce yourself as an expert. You should aim for a word count of at least 1000.
- Resource page: Compile a detailed list of your favorite tools or products.
- A product comparison chart: Visuals are a great way to communicate information. Create a comparison chart where you highlight the pros and cons of products based on a set of variables. You can create a professional looking chart with Canva’s free online software.
Tips to increase conversion
1. Conversion is always increased when you include images in your articles. And because people intuitively click on images, make sure that you have added your affiliate links to any images you’ve included.
2. Select products that are offered with Prime shipping. There are over 105 million people in the U.S. with Amazon Prime memberships and they are more likely to make a purchase that includes free shipping.
3. Feature items that have many good reviews.
4. Use Pinterest to drive traffic.
How to reach a larger audience
In order to maximise potential profit, you’ll want to reach an audience outside of your regular readers or members.
By targeting and incorporating keywords into your content, you can drive organic traffic to your posts. Anytime you create content, it’s important to take the time to perform keyword research. Keywords are how the search engines know that your content is relevant to someone’s search.
When writing your post, think about the search terms someone might use in their search query to find the product you’re writing about. These are your ‘keywords’ and they need to be present in your article’s title and body content. Meta data is probably the most significant factor in SEO. Be sure to complete your post’s meta tag and description.
With keyword research, you can identify words and phrases that have high search volumes. However, by using more specific ‘long tail’ keyword phrases, with lower search volumes, you have a greater success to rank higher in search results. This is because the competition with other websites for those terms is less.
So instead of using a generic keyword like ‘yoga mats’ be more specific by saying ‘yoga mats for less than $15’.
Be realistic with your expectations. Don’t expect to your affiliate marketing to be an over night success. Like with anything, it will take time and energy to grow your audience and develop your content strategy.
The best way to start is to be authentic, maintain the trust of your readers and create content worth reading.