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5 Tips for Maximising Your Earnings from Amazon’s Affiliate Program During the Holidays

Posted By Darren Rowse 26th of November 2011 Affiliate Programs 0 Comments

With the holidays almost upon us, now is a time for bloggers who are Amazon Affiliates to act to capitalize on what is usually one of the most profitable times of the year.

While Amazon is not my biggest source of income (it makes up around 5% of total income for me) it does spike at this time of year. Here’s how Amazon performed in 2010 and into the early months of 2011 for me.


As you can see, December is always the biggest spike in commissions for me, but November and January are the second and third highest earning months of the year.

Obviously the holidays are times when people are in a buying mood, and with all the holiday sales already under way, now is the time to act to maximize your commissions with Amazon if its an income stream you want to get the most out of.

Tips for maximizing Amazon commissions

So how do we get our commissions up in the coming weeks? Here are a few quick tips to start with:

1. Get people in the door

Okay, this isn’t rocket science, but the best thing about promoting products on Amazon is that it’s one of the best-optimized online retail stores. Amazon are known for testing their design and sales techniques and, as a result, if you get people in the door of Amazon.com, you’re well on the way to getting some commissions.

The cool thing about Amazon is that anything people buy once they’re in the door from your referral link will earn you a commission. So while you might suggest a book or a camera, if they end up buying a ride-on lawn tractor you’ll take a commission for that (don’t laugh—I sold one of those once)!

So drive people to Amazon and let the site do its work. Much of what I’ll outline below are some techniques to get people in the door.

2. Promote the sales

Amazon currently have a lot of sales going on. Black Friday sales are already underway and Cyber Monday sales will follow—in fact, in the leadup to Christmas there will be regular sales and promotions going on in most departments.

The key is to watch for what is currently on special and to be promoting the best of it. For example, in their photography department they have some great cameras on special including one that we use at our place—the Canon Powershot S95. I promoted it a couple of times on social media earlier in the week and saw several sales.

So keep a watch on what’s on sale in terms of products that relate to your niche. Choose the ones that will fit with your audience the best and promote them!

3. Bestseller lists

People love to see what other people are buying to help them determine what they should buy. There are many ways to utilize this in your own promotions on Amazon.

  • Use one of Amazon’s bestseller lists: Almost every type of product on Amazon can be sorted based upon what is selling best. For example here’s their Best Selling Digital Cameras and Gear list. You can refine these further to hone in on specific types of products, like DSLRs, Lenses, Point-and-Shoot Cameras.
  • Affiliate stats: Another way to create a bestseller list is to look at the stats that Amazon gives you as an affiliate to see what people have bought previously via your affiliate links. This will only work if you’ve referred a decent amount of sales, but it’s particularly useful if you do, because you can present the list as being the bestselling products in your community. That’s how I created the Popular Digital Cameras and Gear page, which is my top-earning Amazon affiliate page on dPS. I similarly do smaller focused bestselling lists like this one for lenses.
  • Surveys: Surveys are another way to create these lists. Survey your readers to find out what their favorite products are, and report back to them the results (example).

4. Buying guides

Another type of list post that readers love, and that converts well, is the “buying guide,” where you walk your readers through a variety of products of a certain type or price point. It’s like a list of mini-reviews of products that your readers might find useful.

An example of this that worked well for us last year was 15 Must-Have Photography Accessories under $25.

5. Hypotheticals

This one is a little from left field, but has worked well for me on two occasions (and I’ll be running it again in the coming days). On each previous occasion I gave my readers a hypothetical sum of money to go and spend on Amazon on cameras.

The challenge was to go and research what cameras they would buy from the Amazon Camera section and then to come back and report on the products they’d buy. The links to the section I suggested they go to were affiliate links (I also made some suggestions on cameras that they might like to look at) and in the days after the post went live commissions spiked.

Readers also loved the challenge—we had hundreds of people come back and share what they’d buy with their hypothetical money! Update: I’ve just posted this year’s hypothetical post here.

Other great techniques for making money during the holidays with Amazon

There’s a lot more tips and techniques to read on making money with Amazons Affiliate program. I’ll link to some more extensive articles below but wanted to highlight these five techniques because I think they particularly relate to this time of year.

Here’s some further reading from a series of posts on the topic. The tips are not specifically holiday-related, but will give you a great overview of how to make money with Amazon. They also contain a lot of tips that would be relevant to other affiliate marketing efforts.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. Very useful tips. After reading this, I am thinking about promoting products from Amazon too !

    • It’s a great program, but you gotta enter it with a plan.

      Just plastering links will get you nowhere, make sure your niche is suitable for product articles and involves physical purchases.

  2. I make more in Nov and Dec with Amazon Associates than I do all year with everything else! I agree that #1 is key–when I started implementing strategies to get people in the door, the extra sales helped. I use their low-cost deals, like Magazine Subscriptions for $5, as a way to get people to Amazon. I also focus on those promotions early in the month to get my commission percentage up to a nice high number by later in the month, perfect for Nov and Dec sales. I also link to Amazon whenever I mention a book of any kind (like a cookbook) and see sales of that item plus others.

    I love the Hypotheticals scenario. I’m going to give it a try!

  3. I’ve seen a blog once where its contents were nothing but reviews for products sold on amazon. I assumed that the author/blog owner was an affiliate with amazon. If a reader found the review helpful, then a link brings them to that product page in amazon.

  4. Thanks Darren, your tips really help new bloggers to earn money from blogging. and yes the Hypotheticals scenario is the best idea…I will try in my blog.

  5. Maybe I should get back into this. I had Amazon Affiliate links for about a year but didn’t make any money so I took it down!

  6. As a blogger in the information/education field, I posted some book recommendations and then attempted to market it a bit with my Facebook Friends. Hopefully, it gets some good traffic. Thanks for the recommendations.

  7. Thanks, Darren, for this useful post. You have provided ultra-specific methods for making money as an Amazon associate and it appears very comprehensive. Suggesting hypothetical products and sending the prospect on a research trip to Amazon is ingeniou!

  8. Darren, I wanted to install Amazon Associates on my blogs for a long time. I have the (free-hosted) WordPress blogs. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to accept people having ads on the blog (unless you upgrade to the pay version, which I am not willing to do). Am I mistaken about this? So after signing up with the program at Amazon, I just could never get it installed on my blogs. Have you run across this problem from other bloggers? I thought about switching my blogs to Google or something else, but when I tried opening a blog on Google Blogger, I just couldn’t stand it compared to WordPress. I also have quite a following on my WordPress blogs and would not want to start over at this point. Is there anything I can do?

  9. December is definitely a magical time for affiliate sales.some great ideas here specifically love your ideas of bestseller lists. They really work. In Amazon affiliate is something that can be profitable year-round but in this time of year it can be particularly beneficial.

    another good tactic is to specifically write articles for your sites dealing with “XXX product cyber Monday sales” always a good idea to get the targeted traffic with specific article and convert them to your Amazon or other affiliate offers.

  10. Great tips, Darren. The affiliate stats is one I’ve used with great success.

    Love the “hypotheticals” idea. That’s a new one for me and one I could implement on a couple of blogs. :)

  11. Thanks for another great tips on how you can make money with Amazon affiliate program. I’ve made money before spreading out products that people likes. But now, I took it out the banner into my website maybe I will put it back on again especially this coming holiday is coming.

    Kind regards,


  12. The problem with Amazon is their one-day cookie time. People often take some time to think it over, come back a day or two later, buy the book, the camera or whatever, but the affiliate (who took them to Amazon) gets nothing.

  13. Thanks for the great ideas. I’m a big Amazon fan & the owner of three blogs, but I’ve never connected the blogs w/ Amazon.
    Sorry for the newbie question, but once you’re an affiliate, can you put a link anywhere in your blog and get credit for purchases made by users of that link? Or does it have to be in a specific section of your blog/website?

    • Yes, You can. But, do you think it would be nice for you? Honestly, I think affiliate program is too hard that’s why I had no interest about affiliate program. But recently I got some commissions from HostGator by using a blog post about Hosgator. Now, I’ve decided that I’ll promote my affiliate programs by using banner and blog posts.

  14. I just signed up with Amazon Associates yesterday and I have had more traffic already. There is a holiday Amazon banner on my site and I put ads on from 1-800 Flowers, Circuit City and Go Daddy today. This is all so exciting and I hope to make some money with this blog. I need to keep on generating traffic.Thank you for all your great posts!

  15. Awesome tips. Thanks for sharing. I am book marking this post.

  16. Hi Darren Rowse,

    I’ve been a big fan of this blog since I read a lot of your articles on this blog about “Amazon Affiliates” and “Google Adsense”. They are very useful for my blogging journey. Thanks a lot. I also like your idea to separate links with the different IDs (i use this to create: first paragraph link, picture link and final paragraph link).

    Anyway, i actually want to contact you because i have some questions about this topic. I’m sorry if maybe these questions have been answered on your posts, but honestly, i am really curious about this.

    1. Which is the best Amazon landing page that can convert best in Amazon, “Detail page” or “Offer Listing page”?

    2. Which coverts best, using “Check out this product at Amazon where it’s on special..” or just “Buy it” words at the end of article.

    Thanks a lot Darren..

    Best Regards.
    Tim Miller

  17. I believe the thing which makes the posts great is presentation and The presentation of your post is really awesome. Thanks for such a Nice post and inspiring me to connect Amazon affiliated program to my blog.

  18. This is a great post. I’m an affiliate but need to learn so much more about this. And trailsnet’s question also interests me.

  19. Great suggestions. I’ve never used Amazon affiliate on my site. Should consider it as I feel encouraged to use it. You’ve been earning hugely from Amazon and it is reassuring.

  20. do you personally think it’s okay to republish Amazon affiliate RSS data feeds into a website with the affiliates’ unique affiliate code in it, as published content to any website or blog, in hopes of getting indexed by search engines, receiving traffic from the published affiliate RSS feed, and potentially making a sale? :-)

  21. Great post as I’ve recently found that my Amazon links are starting gain speed and weight in terms of income. Though I was wondering do you focus mainly on the US amazon, or do you also use plugins like http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/amazon-affiliate-link-localizer/ to localize the Amazon site to the reader of your post??

  22. make sure you have 6% commission before holiday season starts.

  23. The graph seems really tempting and makes me longing for the holidays. I have signed up on Amazon but I’m a newbie in this niche and its just been a couple of days since I signed up. I thought I too should dive in and see whats all this about. Thanks for the great tips this article has come to me just like a Christmas present. Just in time when I need all the information I can get. Thanx for the article Darren.

  24. Thank you for this post,would never have thought of amazon affillate,Thank you for the post.

  25. though i am running a Poetry Blog but i have learnt alot here and it improved my blog ranking and traffic.
    thanks darren.

  26. Like a few that have already commented, I also am an affiliate with Amazon but like many have not really made money with them as of yet. I did not know however that they will pay you just for bringing them in even if they don’t buy the product you promoted. That’s cool. I’ll have to look into it soon before the season ends. Good Blog. Thanks.

  27. I have just started ussing the Amazon affiliate link scheme. I am hoping to get some bonus commision from my site but was wondering is there a max commission you cna earn per transaction? I heard it was $7, anyone know if this is true?

  28. Very useful tips, Darren.
    Expiration time for all Amazon cookies is one day?

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