John Chow today posted a post outlining why he’s not an Amazon Affiliate. It’s a good post in that it gives an insight into his approach to affiliate marketing. The best point John alludes to is that Amazon doesn’t ‘fit’ with his blog. He makes more from other better targeted affiliate programs than Amazon.
However the Amazon Associates Program is well worth considering for some bloggers. I use it and this month it’ll earn me over $2500 USD – not my biggest income stream, but not the ‘pennies and dimes’ that some say it has the potential to earn.
To bring a little balance to the debate over the Amazon Affiliate program I thought I’d give a few reasons that I am an Amazon Affiliate:
1. Amazon is a trusted Brand – I surveyed some of my readers a year back and asked them to give me a list of online stores that they had made purchases from in the last 12 months. Amazon came up number 1 as the most popular shopping destination mentioned. Readers know Amazon and are familiar with it – they trust it and do spend significant money there.
2. Commissions – John writes that he’s not satisfied with a 4% commission. He’s right in some ways, 4% isn’t that much when you’re selling a $10 book – however when you’re selling a Get a Price on the $5000 Camera or a $25,000 Tractor (I know someone who does quite well out of ride on mowers and tractors) it certainly adds up. Not only that, the 4% rate that John talks about is the base rate. Unfortunately it is as high as it goes on consumer electronics – however on most other products there is a sliding scale where the more you sell the higher your commission goes to. Sell more than 6 items in a month and your commission goes to 6% – sell over 630 and you’re up to 8% (the rate I’m on). The 4-Hour work Week that John uses as an example earned me around $1 a book. Still not a lot – but I did sell 100 or so of them (after my interview with it’s author) which not only earned me $100 but also helped push the numbers of sales up for the month, moving me into the next earning bracket.
3. People Buy More than One Item – the great thing about Amazon is that you don’t just earn a commission on the product that you people to, but anything that they buy once they’re at Amazon. I did an experiment earlier in the year where I published a review of a digital photography book on my blog and placed a tracking code in the link to see how much the review earned me specifically. What I found was that the product in the review did quite well – but the sales of other products that people made once they got to Amazon was actually much greater than the sales of the actual book. People went on to buy all manner of products (other books, electronics, cosmetics etc) – I earned a commission on each one of them – now that’s passive income. You earn a commission on anything that a person buys within 24 hours of you sending them to Amazon.
4. Easily Integrated – There are more and more plugins and tools that have Amazon Affiliate integration built into them to help you easily place links in your blog posts. I use ecto for Mac which has a tool that searches for products and links them in in just a couple of clicks. WP has plugins also. The affiliate links already mentioned in this post took seconds to integrate in.
5. Payment Options – Amazon pays their affiliates in a number of ways. One of the things that I like is that they give you the option to be paid in products instead of cash. I don’t do this every month (I couldn’t spend that $20,000+ a year at Amazon… well maybe I could) but occasionally do and use it as prizes for blog readers. I recently offered DPS readers $500 of Amazon products in a forum signup competition. The prize is paid for out of my affiliate earnings.
6. Small Payments Add Up – In my early days of making money from blogs I didn’t have the luxury of picking and choosing my income streams as much as I (and other full time bloggers) now do. I needed to earn money somewhere and even the small amounts that Amazon brought in were better than nothing. Over time these payments began to add up. In the early days I didn’t even earn enough for a minimum payment amount and had to wait a few months before they’d pay me – but those pay outs were milestones that I celebrated. If I’d not gone with Amazon because they didn’t earn me a lot I might not have gone with any ad networks or affiliate programs – sometimes you have to take what you can get.
7. It’s an Investment that Matures Over Time – My approach with Amazon is to treat it a little like a savings account or an investment that you put a little into each week and which matures in it’s earnings over time. What do I mean by this? I add links to Amazon over time and find that in doing so I’m creating more and more doorways into the Amazon store. Each time I do I increase the chances of sending someone to Amazon and seeing returns on those visits.
8. The Holidays are Boom Time – While I’m really happy with the way my Amazon Affiliate income is growing ($2500 a month is so far beyond what I’d ever expected from it in the early days) it’s worth noting that things really fire up in the lead up to Christmas and the holiday season. Over the last few years I’ve noticed significant jumps in Amazon earnings in December (as much as 100%). The key is to plan ahead (make sure your links are all up to date a couple of months out) and run a few Christmas specific posts in the lead up to the Holiday rush (start to prepare as early as October/November).
9. Wide Array of Products
What initially attracted me to using Amazon’s Affiliate program was the breadth of products that they had in their system. This is a great thing if you’re niche is narrow or quite obscure as many bloggers find it difficult to find affiliate programs to match their blog’s focus. Blogs like John’s and mine here at ProBlogger do have an array of options for affiliate programs (which is why I don’t use it a lot on this blog and make most of my earnings from Amazon from product related blogs) but many bloggers don’t have the luxury of being able to choose high paying affiliate programs because they simply don’t relate to our topics. Amazon then becomes one of the more attractive options.
So is the Amazon Affiliate Program for you?
I can’t answer that question for everyone – I won’t pretend that it works brilliantly on every blog but I know quite a few bloggers making significant earnings each month from the program. Blogs with a strong product focus can do quite well through the program if links to Amazon are well integrated into posts (see some of the links below for tips). I would advise moderation in using the program – don’t place them in every post you write unless they are relevant. Links placed in genuinely helpful reviews do better than links and banners in sidebars.
The best way to see if it converts is to give it a go.
How to Make Money from Amazon Affiliate Program
I’ve written numerous tips on how to optimize a blog for earning money from the Amazon Associates Program. I hope that some of these posts help you increase your earnings from the program:
- 10 Tips for Using Affiliate Programs on your blogs (not Amazon specific but the principles apply)
- How to Dramatically Increase Amazon Affiliate Sales with Bestseller Lists
- The Secret to Increasing Amazon Associate Earnings – Time