Affiliate marketing and passive income as an Amazon Affiliate
One of the easiest ways to get started with affiliate marketing so you can make more passive income in your business is through the Amazon affiliate program, also known as Amazon Associates.
I am slowly growing this as a source of passive income that flows into my business.
And, by slowly, I mean that when I started with it, I earned a grand total of $11.24 because I didn’t realize what an incredible program it is and how I – as a business blogger – can use it.
Not so impressive, right?
But it was where I started to see the potential. Anytime you can earn $10 in affiliate marketing, you can scale to make thousands!
And this is something about affiliate programs that I want to emphasize. It is probably going to be slow for you in the beginning.
Too many bloggers and online business owners give up too early because they aren’t seeing results. The real problem is that they don’t really understand affiliate marketing and they don’t really know how to promote their affiliate links in ways that bring them recurring revenue.
How to use Amazon Associates to bring you affiliate income
I’ve had a lot of people on my list and in my Facebook group ask me about affiliate marketing and passive income.
So I wanted to create this tutorial on Amazon Associates because I think it’s one of the easiest entry points to becoming an affiliate marketer.
Amazon Associates is easy to join, they approve almost everyone, they sell just about everything, and you can start promoting Amazon links right away.
By following these steps and putting in regular and consistent effort, you’ll be able to add thousands of dollars to your income each month!
NOTE: How much you make each month depends a ton on the traffic you bring to your blog and the size of your list.
What is Amazon Associates and how do I become an affiliate to make passive income?
Amazon Associates is an affiliate program between Amazon (the seller) and you (the advertiser) that gives you a small commission when someone clicks on your link and makes a qualifying purchase.
Go here to sign up for the Amazon Affiliate Program. It’s free and fast. Before you post any links, make sure you read their Associates Program Operating Agreement and understand their rules around identifying yourself as an Associate.
Now, I find it interesting that there are some bloggers and online business owners who are affiliate marketers but scoff at the Amazon affiliate program because they say:
- The commissions on Amazon are too small. They start at 1-2% and max out (in most cases) at about 8-10% depending on the type of products you sell as an Amazon Associate.
- Most people on Amazon buy low-priced products such as books or office supplies.
- They only have 24-hour affiliate cookies. This means if someone clicks through your affiliate link to purchase something on Amazon, you are only given a commission if they buy something within 24 hours. (Other affiliate programs as much as 365-day cookies.)
These things are true. And there are definitely other affiliate marketing programs in the world that pay higher commissions and have higher-priced products.
Why Amazon Associates as a good choice for an affiliate program?
I think that Amazon Associates has a few things going for it that make it a great addition to your affiliate marketing arsenal (and a great starting point for people new to affiliate marketing):
- Amazon is a highly-trusted brand. Everyone knows it and won’t hesitate to buy something on their site. People find Amazon incredibly convenient.
- You can earn commissions on higher-priced products. While affiliate commissions on a book aren’t much, if you promote a camera or furniture or a computer, the commission can be decent.
- Almost nobody buys just one thing on Amazon at a time: This is one of my favorite aspects of marketing for Amazon. When someone clicks through your link to purchase your recommendation, they will probably purchase additional products.
You get a commission for everything they purchase after they click through your link (more about this later in the post).
- Easy to get started and set up. Amazon makes it easy to be an affiliate for them. They have good software, widgets, and linked images that you can integrate into your website and blog.
- Holidays are booming! You can plan to tie into Amazon seasonal deals, especially from Thanksgiving to Christmas. This can be a very profitable time to promote because people buy LOTS on Amazon at one time.
- Amazon sells SO much. There is pretty much an affiliate opportunity for you regardless of the niche you occupy in your business and on your blog.
- Conversions on Amazon are high. When you recommend something on your blog or to your list, once people read your review they are likely to purchase it on Amazon because they don’t have to think about the company – they already trust them.
Affiliate marketing: What’s a cookie? What is a session?
An important thing to understand about any type of affiliate marketing is that each affiliate program has what’s called a cookie duration – Amazon calls this a session.
Amazon has a 24-hour session (cookie duration). Other affiliate programs have much longer cookie duration lengths. Some last 30-90 days, while others like ClickFunnels last 365 days
After visiting a website, a cookie is typically stored on your computer to track your information. In affiliate marketing, this is how a retailer like Amazon tracks visitors who have clicked on an affiliate link.
This means that if a person visits your site to read a blog post you’ve written reviewing a product with an affiliate link to Amazon, you’ll receive an affiliate commission if that visitor makes a purchase as long as it’s within 24 hours.
For Amazon, they will give you a commission for ANY qualifying purchase that your visitor makes on their site. This is one of the things that I love about Amazon.
Because a lot of the stuff that I get a commission for is NOT the stuff I recommended.
Here’s how this works: let’s say I write a blog post and review the Fujitsu ScanSnap (which is a tool I use and love).
A person – we’ll call her Jane- reads the review and clicks through to look at the scanner on Amazon.
She decides to purchase the ScanSnap (yesss!) and – while on Amazon – Jane also orders a couple of reams of office paper and some new power cords for her computer.
Then she realizes her 10-year-old’s birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks so she orders him a Mini RC Helicopter Drone (Don’t I wish! Click through to see how expensive it is – LOL).
Because of the way Amazon Associates sets up their program, I get a commission on ALL of Jane’s purchases.
Crazy and cool, right?
Best ways to leverage the Amazon Associates affiliate program to make money
So to make money from Amazon Associates, you have to recommend their products to your audience.
There are a number of ways to do that and here is what I’ve found works the best:
1) A round-up blog post: This is a blog post that tells people all of the products that you would recommend so that they can accomplish X. You are the expert so your audience trusts your recommendations, plus you save them tons of research time.
Let’s say you are a fitness trainer. You can write a post that is called “What You Need to Build a Rockin’ Home Gym” and then in the post, you describe your favorite barbell and weight plates, the type of bench you like for pressing, your recommended dumbells, dip belt brand, and power rack.
With each recommendation, include a photo of the piece of equipment that uses your Amazon affiliate link as well as a text link in the body copy.
Perhaps you are a mom blogger or a DIY blogger.
You could write a blog post on “The 10 Best Organizing Items for Your Kids Room” and highlight them with cute photos of what they look like once they are set up. All of the storage and organizing bins, cubbies, totes, and furniture would be links to Amazon products.
If you got enough traffic to this type of post, you could make hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month!
2) An in-depth product review blog post: In this type of blog post, you provide your readers with your in-depth review and opinion on a specific item.
For example, on the personal finance blog Picky Pinchers, the author gives her in-depth review of the iRobot Roomba 690.
She describes how she uses it, how easy it was to set up, how she integrates it using her iRobot app to set up the Roomba scheduling. The author is also very honest and discusses some of the things she thinks are cons to the device.
3) A product comparison blog post: In this type of post, you contrast and compare different types of products to help your reader make up her/his mind.
For example, the food bloggers at Luna Regina wrote a post called “Best Juicers for Greens: An In=depth Top 3.”
This post adds tons of value to their readers because the 3 juicers have relatively similar price points but they perform differently. And unless you tested all of these, you wouldn’t know how to decide between the three.
I have both and use them for client video calls, livestreams, and creating courses.
However, the Blue Yeti is twice as expensive. I’m sure a lot of people wonder whether the investment is worth it (the answer is “yes,” by the way).
I can help people make their decision and earn a bit of affiliate income in the process.
And you can do the same thing for your readers and in your niche.
4) A tutorial blog post: This can be a really power-packed post that attracts a ton of organic traffic, especially because people are always searching for information on Google to learn how to accomplish a goal.
In this type of post, you break down the answer to “How do I X?” in a step-by-step tutorial.
There are 2 main types of tutorial blog posts:
- Product-specific tutorials: In this type of post, you would explain how to use a very specific product. For example, a photography blog could describe the ins and outs of a type of camera. A lot of people would find your post if it ranks well for a search “How do I use X?”
- Process-specific tutorials: You can also provide your readers with an in-depth process tutorial. For example, a DIY blog could write a tutorial blog post on “How to refinish an antique dresser” or a food-based blogger could describe “How to can your own tomatoes.” In each of these, all of the products you need to accomplish these outcomes would be links to Amazon.
5) Favorites tools/equipment blog posts: Your audience wants to know how YOU do something. Let them know by writing a blog post that tells them exactly what you use in your business.
For example, one post I have planned is “My Favorite Tools for Livestreaming on Facebook.” I will have links to my lighting equipment, microphone, and camera on Amazon via affiliate links.
6) Social media: The 5 examples above are all blog posts.
But you can also create posts with affiliate links on your Facebook business page, your Facebook group, below a YouTube video, and on a Pinterest board.
For instance, in the end of last year, I was excited about some of the books that I was ordering to plan out my next year.
I wrote a blog post about it called How I Get Tons More Done (Swipe My Productivity Hacks).
And then, I also created a shorter version that I posted on my Facebook business page and in my Facebook group. Each drove traffic to Amazon via my affiliate links.
I also have several graphics pinned on Pinterest that continue to drive traffic to this blog post and I continue to get people buying these books.
You can do the same thing on your social media channels.
7) Resources page: Another place you can leverage your Amazon affiliate links is on a Resources page.
I’ve also seen these pages called Faves, Favorites, Tools I Use, and Recommendations.
You can also create a PDF version and send it to your email list. People will be very appreciative since you’ve saved them tons of research time.
8) Emails to your list. All of the tactics I’ve described above can also be used in emails to your subscribers. You can either send them to the blog post you’ve written. Or, you can create a standalone email or an email series that utilizes any of these approaches.
You can even turn a series of emails into an automated funnel that functions as a lead magnet to get people on your list and then takes people through a process.
For example, let’s say you are a wedding planner. You could set up an opt-in form that leads to an automated series called “How to plan the perfect wedding (and not spend more than $1,000).”
Over the course of 7 days, you send your subscriber emails that provides recommendations on affordable decorations, how to make their own wedding cake, what types of makeup to use, and showcases non-traditional wedding dresses that are beautiful and under $200.
And, of course, all of the links in the email series are to products on Amazon.
Are you starting to see how you can start leveraging Amazon affiliate marketing in your own business?
Additional tips on Amazon affiliate links
Be sure to recommend products that you actually use (or have used with clients) and you feel good about recommending.
Remember, you have your audience’s trust and you don’t want to damage that by sending them to purchase an inferior product. That will damage your reputation.
Also, be willing to experiment with post types.
Every audience and list is different. This means that just because it’s working for your competitor, it doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Test and tweak – marketing is a big experiment to see what your people respond to and then do more of that type of post.
The easiest way to get started with Amazon Associates as an affiliate marketer
The easiest way to get started with Amazon affiliate marketing is to update your top existing posts.
If you have posts that are already getting traffic, take a look at them and see if you can update them with product links.
Of course, you only want to add these where they naturally fit. That said, you may be able to write a whole new section of the post where you can send readers to a product via an Amazon link.
Updating posts like this can be a great way to breathe new life into them and get new traffic to your site (as well as affiliate income).
A note about affiliate disclosures
Eventually, I will write a post all about affiliate disclosures.
In the meantime, please review and know your country’s laws about disclosing affiliate links and carefully read Amazon’s unique guidelines.
Amy Lynn Andrews has a comprehensive post that will help you if you want to learn more: Are You Disclosing Properly?
I hope this post has been super helpful to you and has motivated you to go and get started making extra passive income with Amazon Associates. Let me know if you have any questions or tips.
You can also sign up for my FREE Masterclass where I’ll walk you through creating a strategy for raising your rates, getting booked solid with high-end clients, and setting up the systems that allow you to scale your business to 6- and 7-figures.