A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Amazon Affiliate Marketing

If you watch YouTube or read a lot of blogs, you may have come across the term Amazon affiliate and wondered what, exactly, that means. For starters, everyone has heard about Amazon.com and how could you not? 

Amazon is the largest retailer in the world and many believe it’s starting to replace many brick and mortar stores. Almost a 500 million retail employees in the United States have lost their jobs and when you include the 728,000 of “indirect jobs,” that have disappeared, there are 1.3 million workers without a job. 

Many Americans who are currently unemployed, underemployed or simply want to make more money are picking up a side hustle of some kind. Some people drive for Uber or Lyft. Some people become couriers for companies like DoorDash or Instacart. Then you have people who join YouTube, start blogging, or do some sort of freelancing. 

Of all of the ways you can make money, one of the most lucrative options is taking part of the Amazon affiliate program.  

Today, we’re going to shed some light on what, exactly, Amazon affiliate marketing is, how to get started, and how to make the most of your efforts. Without further adieu, let’s dive in shall we?

What Does It Mean to Be an Amazon Affiliate?

Before we can get into the finer details of becoming an Amazon affiliate, it’s a good idea to have a general understanding of what, exactly, is affiliate marketing. 

To put it simply, affiliate marketing is a way to generate passive income. Affiliate marketing is basically revenue sharing between a business and people who promote their products and/or services.

People who usually go into affiliate marketing will find a product or service they like, promote it and they’ll earn a commission off of each sale through an affiliate code. When you join the Amazon affiliate program (or the Amazon Associates Program), you’ll earn a commission on qualifying sales. You can generate more sales when you focus on niche marketing.

What Does Niche Marketing Mean?

Niche marketing means your business focuses on one category. Sports gear, video games, and clothing are examples of a broad niche. Choosing a broad niche is a double edge sword because you have more products to choose from, but you have a lot more competition. 

However, if you niche down even further and go with, say, baseball mitts, you’re focusing on a very particular group of people in a smaller, more defined market

How to Choose a Niche

When you’re considering what niche to specialize in, you can draw inspiration from your hobbies. For example, if you enjoy knitting, your niche can be knitting supplies. 

You can also look for niches that have very little competition, which means your site will rank higher for that niche. Of course, you don’t want to be too specialized because antique knitting needles may not be big sellers.

Finally, when you’re choosing a niche, look for something with options and depth. Choose a niche that’ll give you plenty of topics to write about on your affiliate blog. The more information you can provide to your readers, the more products you can promote, the higher your commission will be.

What Niches Are the Most Profitable?

If you just want to dive right in and choose a profitable niche, The Balance Small Business considers these niches some of the most profitable for affiliate marketing:

  • Fitness and Weight Loss (workout videos, workout gear, books on dieting, etc.)
  • General Health (herbal supplements, alternative health information/products, etc.)
  • Dating and Relationships (relationship advice books, adult novelties, etc.)
  • Self-Improvement (self-help books, inspirational audiobooks, etc)

Pros and Cons of Becoming an Amazon Affiliate

Earning passive income through the Amazon affiliate program may seem like a sure thing, but before you dive right in, there are some things you need to consider first.

The Pros: 

  • The affiliate program is a well-known affiliate program that is available all over the world. The company’s reputation of offering a huge selection of products, fast shipping, and incredible customer service makes this program so popular. 
  • As we mentioned, Amazon has a huge assortment of products, therefore making it an appealing program for people of any niche. The online retailer’s A-to-Z approach gives affiliates the opportunity to find products that fit your business and provide your target audience with products they’ll actually use. 
  • Affiliates can earn a commission when someone purchases a recommended product from their unique affiliate link, but a commission can also be earned on other purchases made at that time. If someone leaves something in their cart, the revenue is still guaranteed if they return and complete the purchase within a  24-hour period. 
  • If you’ve purchased from Amazon, you know how awesome their customer service is, so it should be no surprise that their customer service is equally exceptional for their affiliates. If someone leaves something in their cart, the customer service team will send reminder emails, follow-up messages and will even refer other related products the customer may want to purchase.

The Cons:

  • The commission affiliates can earn is pretty modest. The typical commission rate can range from 4% and up to 10%, whereas some other affiliate companies will offer higher rates. It’s worth mentioning certain niche affiliates can earn a higher commission.
  • You know how there is a 24-hour window for guaranteed commission on purchases made through an affiliate link? It can be a negative if they don’t purchase anything within that time frame. With that said, if someone clicks the link and puts something in their cart, you will earn a commission if they check out within 89 days. 
  • If you live in Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont, you are ineligible to participate in the program. For the most accurate information, check with the Associates Program Operating Agreement.

Is Amazon Affiliate Marketing Right for You?

The thought of earning passive income by joining the Amazon affiliate marketing program might seem tantalizing, but it isn’t right for everyone. In order to make it as an Amazon affiliate, you should be: 

  • Disciplined – Affiliate marketing isn’t some get-rich-scheme. It is going to have to take a lot of commitment and discipline because you aren’t going to rake in thousands of dollars in your first month. You have to be willing to keep at it. 
  • Persuasive – Affiliates are basically salesmen. You have to know how to appeal to your target audience and entice them to purchase through your links.
  • Able to Network – Like any sales based business, the larger your network, the more likely you’re able to make a sale. Even if someone isn’t interested in what you’re offering, they may be able to refer you to someone who will. 
  • Organized – Most affiliates aren’t going to sell just one or two products. A successful site will sell numerous products, which you will need to keep organized. Some people use a spreadsheet, but AmznHawk is a better choice. You can learn more about AmznHawk here. 
  • Honesty – One of the biggest concerns consumers have about purchasing through affiliate links is that the affiliate is just pushing random things and not being completely honest about the product. If you swear up and down that product X is amazing and worth buying, but the product isn’t that great, your credibility will be ruined and your readers are less likely to purchase through your affiliate link.

Oh, and you should clearly state that you earn a commission when readers purchase through your link. Learn more about disclosing affiliate links and commissions here. 

How to Become an Amazon Affiliate

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering how you can become an Amazon affiliate. The process is actually quite simple – just follow these easy steps as described in an article published by Small Business Trends:

  1. Log into your Amazon.com account and on the homepage, you will scroll down until you find the “Become an Affiliate” link (or click here). 
  2. After clicking on the link, you’ll come to a splash page that details the ins and outs of being an affiliate and the Amazon Affiliate Program. To get started, click the “Join Now” button (or click here to skip all the reading).
  3. Fill in your personal and website details. Then you’ll have to complete a profile that includes your preferred store ID, how you get traffic to your site, how you build links, and so on. If you don’t have a website, you will need one with decent traffic to be accepted into the program.
  4. Next you’ll need to verify your identity by providing your phone number. You’ll receive an automated phone call and be asked to verify the pin number on your screen. 
  5. The final step is to choose how you want to be paid. You can choose to be paid via check with a $15 processing fee (although international associates will have the fee waived). You can get paid via Amazon gift card, or you can choose to have your commission direct deposited into your bank account. Unfortunately, getting paid using PayPal is not an option.

Tips for Making Amazon Affiliate Marketing Profitable

Once you’ve gone through the steps of making your affiliate account, you’re going to want to make the most of your efforts so you can generate some passive income. To become profitable, you’re going to want:

  1. Promote products of value – When you’re looking for products to promote on your site, look for things that your readers will actually use. If you’re running a coffee affiliate blog, you can link to coffee makers, frothing machines, espresso machines and the like, but you can also promote coffee mugs and thermos’, coffee brands you like, books and so on. 
  2. Use contextual links – Contextual links (or links in the body of the article) are more likely to get clicked than a banner ad. Not only that, but you can create gift guides, top 10 lists, product reviews and other articles where you talk about products in your niche. 
  3. Promote high cost products as well as affordable products – It’s understandable that you’d want to make as much money as you can through your affiliate links, but it’s important to have a good balance between high ticket items and items that are more wallet friendly. Why? Well, when you promote all high ticket items, people will think your blog is all about generating income and your credibility will be questioned. However, when you promote a blend of the two price points, people are more likely to take your recommendations seriously and you’re not just in it for the money.
  4. Let Amazon be your closer – For many, the beauty of being an Amazon Affiliate is that you don’t have to do any hard sales or even follow-ups. Amazon will notify readers who left things in their cart without purchasing. Amazon will even include complimentary products, alternatives and even offer free shipping just to close a sale (and earn you some money!).
  5. Use tools to make your life easier – If you run multiple affiliate sites for different niches, you’re going to have a lot of things to keep track of. You’ll need to monitor your associate links, product availability, conversion rates and much more. Although you could register for a variety of tools, AmznHawk streamlines everything into one neat and organized app. 

Final Thoughts on Amazon Affiliate Marketing

Did you know that there are 200 million sites that take part of the Amazon affiliate marketing program? What’s interesting is that many popular companies like Buzzfeed, New York Times, CNET and more are Amazon affiliates – no doubt you’ve seen those holiday gift guides or product reviews of the latest gadgets. 

You, too, can become an affiliate. While you aren’t going to be raking in the big bucks right away, with a little perseverance, determination and a knack for sales, the rest will fall into place. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.