Around 50% of all U.S. e-commerce transactions take place on Amazon, generating $283,000 per minute in sales, and $280.52 billion in revenue during 2019. How would you like to get a slice of those sales?
With the Amazon Associates affiliate program, you can earn commission on Amazon product sales, generate passive income, and kick start your career as an affiliate marketer.
- What is the Amazon Affiliate Program?
- Why Join the Amazon Associates Program?
- Pros & Cons of Joining Amazon Associates
- Choosing a Niche for Your Amazon Affiliate Site
- How to Become an Amazon Affiliate in 5 Simple Steps
- Best Examples of Successful Amazon Affiliate Sites
- 10 Expert Tips to Help You Make More Money from Amazon Affiliate Marketing
- Create Honest Reviews and Comparisons
- Avoid Placing Affiliate Links at the Start of Your Content
- Product Reviews Are Key to Conversions
- Build an Email List as Soon as Possible
- Target Holidays and Peak Sales Seasons
- Place “Buy Now” Buttons in Your Content
- Include Product Comparison Tables
- Post a Monthly Bestsellers List
- Don’t Cloak Your Affiliate Links
- Encourage People to Visit Amazon
What is the Amazon Affiliate Program?
The Amazon affiliate program, also known as Amazon Associates, is one of the easiest ways to make money online. It’s also how 99% of affiliate marketers make their first sale online. All you need to do is create an account, get instantly approved, and create affiliate links to the products you want to promote. When somebody clicks on your link and makes a purchase, Amazon pays you a commission on the sale.
Ready to make your first sale as an Amazon affiliate?
In this guide, we’ll go through the whole process of becoming an Amazon affiliate marketer. From picking a niche and signing-up to scaling your business and boosting your sales, we’ll go through the entire process step-by-step.
Need some convincing?
Before we dive in, let’s take a look at the reasons why you should join the Amazon Associates, and if it’s the right platform for you.
Why Join the Amazon Associates Program?
In 2019, Amazon’s value grew by 52% to reach $315.5 billion, knocking Apple off of its perch as the most valuable brand in the world.
People all over the globe know and trust Amazon, and you can capitalize on that brand recognition to launch your career as an affiliate marketer. While it might seem like the perfect way to get started as an affiliate marketer, there are pros and cons to using Amazon Associates.
Pros & Cons of Joining Amazon Associates
- Easy Sign-up Process - Within a few minutes, you can register as an affiliate, create affiliate links, and start earning commission.
- Household Name - The largest name in e-commerce, Amazon is a brand that people know and trust, making the barrier to purchase lower.
- Huge Range of Products - No matter what kind of products you want to promote, you’ll find something relevant amongst the billions of products for sale on Amazon.
- Earn Commission on Total Cart Value - When somebody clicks on your affiliate link, you receive a commission on every product that they purchase within 24 hours. Amazon is the best in the world at cross-selling and up-selling, so even if you link to a product worth $20, you still earn commission on products worth $1,000+.
- Low Commission - Amazon uses a set commission rate for different product categories. While luxury beauty products and designer clothing offer 10%, most categories provide a commission of below 6%.
- Strict Regulations - The Amazon Affiliate Program has strict compliance regulations that are updated regularly. You need to keep up to date with the guidelines, or you could find your account suspended.
Now you know the pros and cons, let’s take a look at the first steps to becoming an Amazon affiliate marketer.
Choosing a Niche for Your Amazon Affiliate Site
Choosing a good niche is pivotal to the success of your Amazon affiliate business. It’s a lot easier to make sales if people are coming to your website for information about a specific topic, hobby, or category of product. If you start a website that is too general or in a niche that doesn’t have many physical products, you’re going to struggle to generate sales. Let’s say you start a website that offers dating advice. It’s not a bad topic for an affiliate site, but there’s not a huge range of physical products you can promote. You’re going to struggle to sell headphones to someone that is looking for tips and advice for their next date.
Amazon is the largest online retailer of physical products in the world. From fitness gear to baking equipment, there are hundreds of different product categories and niches you can choose. However, I would only recommend choosing a niche where you have an existing interest and passion. You’re going to be a lot of content about the topic. If you choose a niche solely to make money, you will struggle to maintain your motivation six months down the line and suffer burn out. Take a look at your hobbies and interests, and try to identify a niche that you know something about, or you’re willing to spend time learning and writing about.
How Competitive Is the Niche?
Before you start building a website and writing content, you need to make sure that there room to make an impact in the search engine results. Let’s take camping as an example of a potential niche. It’s a seasonal activity, which can limit your earning potential during the winter months, but it’s a niche with lots of physical products.
You can use a free tool like Ubersuggest to determine how difficult it will be to rank in search results for keywords related to camping. If people want to go camping, they’re going to need a tent. So let’s search for keywords related to “best tent.” Ubersuggest will return a table with keyword ideas that look something like this:
You want to pay attention to the first and last columns, search volume (VOL), and search difficulty (SD). These show you how many people are searching for the term per month, and how difficult it is to rank organically in the search results. As you can see, there are plenty of buyer intent keywords that you could target that receive significant search volume. For example, “best tent 10 person” receives 590 searches per month and has a low search difficulty, making it an ideal candidate for an Amazon affiliate review.
Evaluating Niche Profitability
Next up, you want to check out Amazon for product ideas and evaluate the potential for making money as an affiliate. Visit Amazon and take a look at the product categories and subcategories to identify potential affiliate products and use Ubersuggest to reveal the search volume. When you’re creating a list of possible affiliate products, keep the following criteria in mind:
- Average product price above $50
- Average product review score of at least 3.5.
- A minimum of 3 products ranked in the top 1,000 bestseller list for the main product category. This can be found below the description on the product page.
- A search volume of at least 500 for “best” or “review” searches related to the product. These will be the buyer intent keywords you will target in your content.
- A search difficulty of less than 50.
If you judge potential affiliate products on the above, you’ll know that there is room for you to establish an affiliate site and make money from promoting products in the niche.
How to Become an Amazon Affiliate in 5 Simple Steps
Becoming an Amazon affiliate is a simple and straightforward process. All you need is a website and a niche topic you are going to create content around. These are the building blocks for every Amazon affiliate business. So, let’s get into it. Here’s how you become an amazon affiliate in five simple steps.
1. Create a Website
To become an Amazon affiliate, you need to have an existing online presence. That means you need a website, a blog, or a YouTube channel to promote your affiliate products. When you apply to become an Amazon Associate, you need to be able to describe the purpose of your site. So, take the time to determine why you are creating your website, who is the target audience you are trying to attract, and how you are going to drive web traffic. Not only is this necessary for your application, but it’s also an essential part of your affiliate business plan.
2. Visit the Amazon Associates Sign-Up Page
Once you’ve built your website, you’re ready to create your account and become an Amazon Associate. Go to the Amazon Associates homepage and click on the sign-up button:
You’ll be asked to log in if you have an existing Amazon account; otherwise, you’ll need to create a new account.
3. Create Your Amazon Associates Profile
After signing in, you need to click on the “New Customer” button and start filling in your details.
Add Your Personal Information
If you have an existing account, you can select it as a pre-filled option. Otherwise, you’ll need to enter your name, address, and phone number.
Add Your Website Information
Here’s where you enter your website URL, app details, or YouTube channel information.
Choose a Preferred Store I.D.
To create a store I.D., you can usually choose your website name, and provide details about the purpose of your website and the Amazon product categories you are going to promote.
Provide Details on Traffic Acquisition
You need to describe how you will drive traffic to your website, how you generate any existing income from your website, and your average number of monthly visitors.
If you have an existing account with Amazon, your account will be immediately approved. If you’re creating a new account, you may be asked to provide your phone number and receive a call with a four-digit code to confirm your account.
4. Choose a Payment Method
You can enter your Tax information and payment details now, or you can proceed straight to your Amazon Associates dashboard and fill it in later.
5. Create Amazon Affiliate Links
After you’ve finished creating your account, you are sent to the homepage of your Amazon Associate dashboard. From here, you can see your monthly summary, earnings, and the total referrals you have sent to Amazon.
This is also where you can search for products to promote on your website. Here’s a step by step guide to show you how to do it.
The first step is to select “Browse for Product” or “Quick Links: Search for Product.” Both of these options can be used to find affiliate products. “Browse for Product” works the same as if you were looking for a product to purchase on Amazon. You can select a product category like Sports & Outdoors and browse through the products.“Quick Links: Search for Product” enables you to enter a keyword and see the relevant products.
After you find a relevant product that fits the criteria we discussed in the previous section, click on the “Get Link” button.
The next step is to customize your link. You can choose to add the link as text, image, text and image, or as a widget. Depending on the option you choose, you can alter the size of the image, change the background color, and the color of the title.
You can see a preview of your link before using copy and paste, HTML code, or short link to add it to your website.
How Do You Receive Payment from Amazon Associates?
Amazon Affiliate earnings are paid 60 days after the end of the calendar month. If you make a sale in January, you can withdraw the commission at the start of April. There are three different payment options to receive your affiliate earnings.
If you want your earnings paid directly into your bank account, you’ll need to provide your bank name, account number, and any additional information to help Amazon identify your account. You’ll also need to earn a minimum of $10 before requesting payment.
To receive a check, you just need to provide Amazon your mailing address. However, the payment threshold is a much higher $100, and you’ll need to pay a $15 processing fee.
Amazon Gift Card
If you don’t want to provide your banking details or mailing address, you can still receive payment via Amazon gift cards. These will be sent to your email address, and require a minimum of $10 before you can request payment.
Best Examples of Successful Amazon Affiliate Sites
Now you know how to set up your Amazon Associates account, what makes a niche profitable, and how to generate affiliate links. But what makes a successful Amazon affiliate website?
Let’s take a look at some real-life examples of successful Amazon affiliate websites and see what they do to stand out, what makes them successful, and what you can replicate with your own affiliate website.
1. The Wirecutter
The Wirecutter is probably the most well-known affiliate site in the world, and it’s a great example of a product review site that publishes top-quality content. Founded back in 2011, The Wirecutter has become a go-to source for thousands of people looking for product recommendations. In 2016, it was sold to the New York Times for $30 million.
What can you learn from The Wirecutter?
It’s vital that you are transparent with your audience. The Wirecutter puts every product they review through rigorous testing, and to prevent any bias, they keep their reviewers in the dark about how much commission they receive for each product.
The Wirecutter does a great job of understanding the needs of their audience and optimizing their reviews to be as helpful as possible. For example, lots of people don’t have the time to read a 2,000-word review in full; they just want a trusted source to help them purchase the best product. At the start of each “best of” article, The Wirecutter build trust by telling you how they tested the products:
They also tell you which product they recommend and why:
For people looking for a quick and reliable recommendation, this is perfect. They can click on the affiliate link and go straight to Amazon to purchase the product. The Wirecutter highlights the importance of researching every product you review and making it clear why people should trust your recommendations. If it’s not feasible to test every product you promote, focus on making your reviews as well-researched as possible.
Domain Authority: 80
Backlinks: 5.14 million
Moz Rank: 6.3
Facebook Followers: 125,471
Twitter Followers: 96,900
HeadPhonesAddict is an Amazon affiliate site that focuses entirely on headphones. They publish reviews, comparisons, and useful content that helps people get the most out of their headphones.
What can you learn from HeadPhonesAddict?
The key takeaway from HeadPhonesAddict is to focus on a specific niche. They create tons of content on a single type of product, becoming the go-to headphones resource for thousands of people. It’s also a growing niche with plenty of potential to expand.
Retail value of global headphone shipments from 2013 to 2019:
The global headphones market grew by 13.9% over the last year and is currently worth $26.1 billion.
It’s vital that you offer value and a reason for people to visit your site and check out your content. HeadphonesAddict succeeds at this by producing quality reviews that really help their audience make better purchasing decisions.
Let’s take a look at their “The Best Swimming Headphones You Can Use Underwater” guide as an example.
HeadPhonesAddict does a great job of stepping into the shoes of their audience and identifying the key features that people want when looking for swimming headphones. As an affiliate site, you want to be the last piece of content people look at before making a purchase. By addressing the questions people have and highlighting key features people need, you reassure your audience that you know what they want, and that your review is written with their needs in mind; rather than a bogus review that is just trying to make a quick affiliate buck.
Aside from the monetized reviews and comparisons, HeadPhoneAddict drives traffic to their website and encourages people to trust their recommendations by publishing free advice to help people take care of their headphones:
This content might not drive many sales, although they do still manage to include some affiliate links to cleaning products, but it does a great job of targeting keywords with a high search volume and driving more traffic to the website. Once visitors are on your site, you can funnel them towards your monetized reviews and comparison articles. This informative and educational content also does an excellent job of illustrating that you understand and care about the needs of your audience.
Domain Authority: 41
Moz Rank: 4.1
Facebook Followers: N/A
Twitter Followers: N/A
3. Territory Supply
Territory Supply helps people to find adventure spots for camping, hiking, and adventure accommodation all over the U.S. They make money by recommending Amazon products to an audience of outdoor enthusiasts. Alongside Amazon Associates, Territory Supply makes money through affiliate links to Airbnb.
Rather than looking like a standard affiliate review website, Territory Supply looks like an online magazine. They publish high-quality images to accompany well-researched content. You’ll find the traditional “best of” affiliate articles, but they also cover plenty of articles that don’t feature any affiliate links.
What can you learn from Territory Supply?
Territory Supply is an excellent example of an Amazon affiliate site that balances monetized Amazon affiliate content alongside SEO focused articles that drive traffic to their website.
Articles like “8 Gorgeous Backpacking Trails In The Wind River Range” drive traffic from Google, but also encourage people to get out there and check out the featured hiking trails. If people want to check out the trails featured in the article, the next step would be to research the gear they need for the trip. Territory Supply links to their relevant monetized affiliate reviews at the end of the article:
Territory Supply highlights the importance of diversifying your content. They don’t just publish affiliate reviews and comparison articles. They post content they know their target audience will be interested in, and once they are on the site, they funnel them towards their monetized content.
Domain Authority: 27
Moz Rank: 3.5
Facebook Followers: 1,271
Twitter Followers: N/A
4. Lucie’s List
After a troubled pregnancy with her daughter Lucie, Meg Collins created Lucie’s List to help expecting mothers and new parents. They publish buyer’s guides and reviews for baby and childcare products, and Meg has done a great job of promoting her site and getting mentioned on authority publications in her niche. But email marketing is where Lucie’s List excels.
What can you learn from Lucie’s List?
Lucie’s List is an excellent example of utilizing email marketing to drive sales and boost your affiliate income. As soon as you land on the homepage, you’ll find a call to action (CTA) button encouraging you to subscribe to the “Crib Notes” newsletter. When you scroll down to the bottom of the page, there’s a second and more prominent CTA inviting you to subscribe. Testimonials from existing subscribers are placed above the CTA to showcase value and encourage people to opt-in.
This is where Lucie’s List does something really clever. Alongside the basic request for your name and email address, there’s also a field asking for the due date/actual birthday of your baby.
With this information, Lucie’s List can increase the relevancy of their newsletter by segmenting their list of subscribers and sending content that is timely to the stage of the subscriber’s pregnancy journey. Not only does this make her content more relevant and useful for each subscriber, but it also means that product recommendations can be sent at the time when the subscriber will be most interested.
While Lucie’s List does a great job of promoting relevant products, they still put the needs of their audience first. The majority of the newsletters focus on delivering value and include affiliate links as an additional resource, rather than the focus of the email.
Lucie’s List highlights the importance of stepping into the shoes of your audience and offering problem-solving solutions. Always focus on building a community and being a trusted source of information. If you focus on delivering value, opportunities to promote affiliate products will always appear.
Domain Authority: 51
Moz Rank: 5.1
Facebook Followers: 95,819
Twitter Followers: 6,462
Snapsort helps people to find and compare digital cameras and camera accessories. It’s an Amazon affiliate website, but they differentiate themselves from their competitors by offering unique product comparisons.
What can you learn from Snapsort?
Rather than creating review content that is thousands of words in length, Snapsort takes a data-driven approach, creating detailed and well-researched comparison tables of different digital cameras and camera accessories.
Another way that Snapsort differentiates itself from competitors is by providing a free tool to help people find the camera that is the best fit for their needs. Many people find it difficult deciding which camera to choose, Snapsort solves the problem within a few clicks. For their review content, Snapsort targets long-tail keywords like “Nikon D610 vs. Nikon D750”.
This is a great way to target less competitive buyer intent keywords. Somebody searching for a comparison of these cameras is close to making a purchase. By offering a data-driven comparison and including affiliate links to Amazon, Snapsort capitalizes on the traffic they attract from search engines. Even in a competitive niche like photography, there are keyword opportunities to attract people that are close to purchasing to your website.
Domain Authority: 57
Moz Rank: 5.2
Facebook Following: 67,208
Twitter Following: 5,026
The Key Takeaway
While these affiliate websites focus on different niches, feature different types of content, and use different methods of promotion, they all share one essential ingredient for success.
They all focus on providing value to their audience.
As an affiliate marketer, the value that you provide is crucial to the success of your affiliate website. Successful affiliate marketers identify the problems and needs of their audience, help people to understand them, and find the affiliate products that offer a solution.
All of the websites mentioned above do a great job of putting their audience first and delivering value to help them make better and more informed purchasing decisions. As a result, they have all achieved success.
10 Expert Tips to Help You Make More Money from Amazon Affiliate Marketing
Now you’ve learned how to get started as an Amazon associate and seen examples of how successful affiliate sites make money, it’s time to launch your own Amazon affiliate website. Before you do, here are ten bonus tips to kick start your affiliate business.
Let’s dive in.
1. Create Honest Reviews and Comparisons
When you write product reviews and comparison articles, be honest and transparent with your audience. Trust is vital. The more people trust your opinions and recommendations, the more likely they are to click on your affiliate links and make a purchase.
Don’t fall into the trap of overselling the products you promote. People don’t expect a product to be perfect, so if there are some bad features or negatives to a product, make them clear to your audience. If you make every product sound fantastic, you’ll sound like a salesman rather than a reviewer, and you’ll lose your credibility.
You’ll make more sales and earn more money in the long run if you are honest about the products you review. Trust can be tough to win, but very easy to lose.
2. Avoid Placing Affiliate Links at the Start of Your Content
Avoid placing any affiliate links in the first couple of paragraphs of your content.
Your headline and the first few sentences are the most critical parts of your content. If you immediately try to direct people to an affiliate link, you give the impression that you’re not interested in offering value, and that making money is your number one priority. If you cause your audience to question your motives, and you’ll lose their trust.
Put the needs of your audience first, try to provide a reason for people to keep reading, and showcase the value you offer before you include affiliate links.
3. Product Reviews Are Key to Conversions
For the majority of affiliates, product reviews are the number one source of affiliate income. It’s the easiest way to target buyer intent keywords, drive organic traffic from search engines, and earn affiliate commission. However, you need to deliver high-quality review content if people are going to trust your recommendations.
You can contact the marketing department of the manufacture of the product and ask for a free demo product for your review. If this isn’t possible, evaluate what other reviewers say about the product, and try to offer more value than your competitors.
You want your review to be the last piece of content people look at before they proceed to Amazon and purchase the product. Try to address all the questions people have about the product and include affiliate links to all the products you mention at the bottom of your review - when people are ready to make a purchase.
4. Build an Email List as Soon as Possible
Email has been around for years, but it’s still a vital tool in your affiliate marketing arsenal.
Before you can start promoting your products by email, you need to give people a reason to opt-in and become a subscriber. The best way to do that is to offer something free in exchange. Create a short downloadable e-book or a buyer’s guide that gives people advice on products in your niche, create an opt-in form, and funnel your traffic to build a list of subscribers. Lucie’s List does a great job of converting traffic into email subscribers. Focus on providing value to your subscribers, avoid falling into over promotion, and use your email analytics to optimize your email campaigns and drive more conversions.
5. Target Holidays and Peak Sales Seasons
It may sound obvious, but as an Amazon affiliate, you make money when people purchase products from Amazon. So you want to capitalize on the periods when people buy more online. That means targeting the holiday seasons.
Online shoppers broke records in 2019, spending $7.4 billion on Black Friday and $9.2 billion on Cyber Monday. You can maximize your sales during the holiday seasons by creating a dedicated sales page. Research the best selling products that are discounted during this period, and publish content with affiliate links to those products. You won’t see as big a lift during mother’s day, father’s day, and valentine’s day, but if they are relevant to your niche, you should target these holidays too.
For example, if you’re in the photography niche, you can target keywords like “Black Friday camera discounts”. You won’t be able to compete for the highly competitive generic keywords “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.” However, targeting more specific long-tail keywords can still bring in significant traffic and generate substantial sales. After you’ve published your content, send an email to your list of subscribers to drive more conversions.
6. Place “Buy Now” Buttons in Your Content
Calls to action (CTA) are vital for compelling your audience to click through to Amazon and completing a purchase. Make sure that you insert “Buy Now” buttons into your content and turn them into Amazon affiliate links to boost your conversion rate and generate more sales and commission.
7. Include Product Comparison Tables
Internet users are impatient. Not everyone that visits your website wants to read every word of your review. Make it easy for people to compare products and get a quick overview by including product comparison tables. Create columns and add the key features that your audience will be interested in. For the final column of the table, include a “Buy Now” button so people can click through to the Amazon product page.
8. Post a Monthly Bestsellers List
The Amazon bestseller page is an excellent resource for your affiliate site. You can find a link to it on the Amazon homepage. Take a look at your niche category to see the products that are the best performers. Generally, the products that rise to the top of the bestsellers list are the ones that your audience will be most interested in and most likely to purchase.
Make sure you create reviews for these products if they meet the criteria for an affiliate product and publish a bestseller list on your website. Take the top 5 or 10 products in your niche and post a regularly updated list of best sellers.
9. Don’t Cloak Your Affiliate Links
Although many affiliates do cloak their links, I would always recommend linking directly to your Amazon products. Try to avoid cloaking or using any 301 redirects.
It’s vital that you are honest with your audience, and avoid giving the impression that you are trying to hide anything. You want to be as transparent as possible to encourage people to trust your reviews and recommendations. If you lose the trust of your audience, they’ll leave your website, and they won’t come back.
10. Encourage People to Visit Amazon
When you send somebody to Amazon, you earn a commission on every product in their cart when they complete the checkout process. With the Amazon tracking cookie, you receive a commission on every purchase they make within 24 hours. If you refer somebody to Amazon and they purchase something completely unrelated, you still get paid. If you promote a $50 cycle helmet and the person adds a $2,000 laptop to their cart, you’ll receive a commission on both products.
Amazon is one of the best websites in the world at converting visitors into customers. They spend millions of dollars every year optimizing their website for more conversions. If you do your part and send people to Amazon, they will do the rest, and you will make sales and earn money.
Now you know how to set up your Amazon Associates account and start your career as an affiliate marketer. You need to make at least one sale within 180 days of creating your account, but if you follow the above tips and advice, you’ll be well on your way to earning your first commission. If your account is closed, you can make adjustments to your website and reapply to join the Amazon Affiliate program.
Are you ready to launch your amazon affiliate business?
You can refer back to this guide when you need to, but you should always keep one thing in mind. The success of your affiliate career depends on how much value you offer to your audience. Focus on creating quality content that helps people, include relevant affiliate links, and you will be rewarded for your efforts and make money.