How to Set Yourself Up for Success as an Amazon Affiliate
Amazon is, without a doubt, one of the largest online marketplaces in the world, and Amazon was one of the very first online companies to offer an affiliate marketing program. And while there are many affiliate programs out there, Amazon remains one of the best, boasting competitive rates and a huge range of products to link to, ensuring you’ll always have an easy time creating affiliate content.
While the affiliate model itself is quite simple, there are some specifics to the Amazon program that you need to know about if you’re going to have success. We’re here to clear that up and show you how it works, and how you can get started.
ow Does It Actually Work?
Affiliate marketing is simple, and Amazon’s model follows the basic model. You sign up for the program, and once you get approval, you place unique identifying links on your web pages or blogs that contain a tracking code.
This tracking code sets a “cookie” – small amount of data sent from Amazon and stored locally on the user’s device – that identifies your website as the reason that the shopper went to Amazon.com For 24 hours, this cookie will persist, and you get a commission based on whatever that customer buys – even if it’s not a product that you linked!
The commission rate varies depending on how many products you sell in a particular time period – it can be as low as 4%, and climb to nearly 10% of the total purchase. This is big money we’re talking about, especially if your site is popular enough to attract a lot of traffic and conversions.
If this sounds a little too simple, it is – there are a few other rules and regulations you’ll have to follow, which we’ll look at in-depth in a moment.
How Do I Get Started?
The very first step is to sign up – once you do, you’ll get your own “backoffice” website that you can log into, giving you information about tracking links, analytics, and other relevant information.
The next step is to build some kind of platform on which you can drive sales – blogs are a popular way to do affiliate marketing, and most bloggers rely on platforms like WordPress which are highly customizable, yet easy to understand for newer website builders. WordPress and other platforms offer plenty of robust tools with which to build a blog.
When your site is set up, you’ll need to add the Amazon Affiliate disclaimer. The best idea for this is to put it someplace visible on every page, like in your sidebar or footer. The last thing you want is an account ban because you forgot your affiliate disclaimer which happens a lot more than you think, amazon do not mess around.
My Blog Is Ready to Go – Now What?
Start selling, of course! This is where you start creating content and adding in Amazon Affiliate links to drive sales, place cookies, and get commissions.
What next step is appropriate for you varies on the niche that you pick – a niche can be as simple as “DVD Reviews” or “Outdoor Camping Gear” – whatever you want your website to specialize in.
You’ll log into your affiliate account on Amazon, start browsing, and find relevant products to highlight and review. Once you find the right products, you’ll create your unique link with one of these methods, and place it in your page of web content.
Remember – due to the way that Amazon Affiliate marketing is constructed; you aren’t necessarily selling the products you’re reviewing or highlighting – just piquing the interest of your blog or website viewer with enough information that they go to Amazon.com and start shopping around.
You’ll need to write some high-quality, SEO-friendly content that targets audiences near the end of the buying cycle – Top X for X Articles – Top 10 Tents for Single-Person Backpacking, for example, would be an excellent article if you’re running an outdoors blog.
Tools like the Google Keyword Planner can be extremely helpful when you’re planning out the content for your niche. You’ll get an idea of how many times a month a keyword is being searched in Google. While not exact, it’s a great place to start.
Once your blog is setup and ready, and you’ve found the first sets of keywords you want to focus on, you need to create your content and add your Amazon links.
What Kind of Content Works Best for Amazon Affiliate Marketing?
As mentioned before, you want to target people who are near the end of the buying cycle – these people are more likely to make purchases.
Three basic types of blog content are very appealing to people at the end of the buying cycle in your niche, and they are as follows.
Product Reviews – These are a fantastic way to add more content to your site. Find a product online in your niche, see what’s good (and not so good) about it, and write up a quick piece about it. If you want to write a longer, more in-depth piece, you may be rewarded with higher Google SEO results, as longer-form content tends to rise through search engine pages more quickly. Product reviews make up the bulk of most content on Amazon Affiliate sites.
Product Comparisons – This type of content flows pretty naturally from product reviews. Once you’ve written some reviews about different, but similar, products, you can easily parlay your knowledge into an article that compares and contrasts two or more similar products, and directly compares their pros and cons. These articles have the benefit of including multiple affiliate links, and plenty of products that might catch a shopper’s interest.
“Top X For X” Lists – These are probably the most popular type of content out there. Searching for “The Best Product for Application” (Best Paintball Gun For Woods Shooting, Best Bike for BMX, etc.) is a very natural way to look for product recommendations, so these lists do very well when ranking for SEO.
In addition, they provide a way to go even more in-depth and at length than product reviews and comparisons – so they’re usually longer, which also helps with SEO. Amazon sells so many products that you’ll very rarely have any problems finding enough items to fill out your list.
Don’t Get Banned! Follow All of the Amazon Affiliate Marketing Rules!
While doing affiliate marketing with Amazon is simple enough, there are some pretty strict rules that you’re going to want to make sure you follow – all it takes is a few mistakes to get permanently banned from Amazon Affiliate Marketing, and rarely are these bans reversed.
Let’s go over some of the biggest problems rookie affiliate marketers run into when learning the ropes, and how to avoid them.
The 7 Deadly Sins of Amazon Affiliate Marketing
- DON’T POST THE PRICES OF PRODUCTS – You cannot post the price of a product on your page, or mention it within your content.
This is because prices change so often on Amazon – and outdated information makes the site look bad. You can use words implying cost – inexpensive, cheap, luxury, bargain-priced, and so on – and you can also use price ranges ($, $$, $$$, $$$$, as an example) but you can’t state the exact price.
The only exception to this is if you’re working with Amazon’s API – which will draw updated prices from the relevant pages whenever a page is reloaded, but that’s for advanced users, and usually unnecessary.
- DON’T HIDE OR MODIFY YOUR TRACKING LINK – If you use a link shortener to obscure your tracking link, you can get banned, as Amazon doesn’t want it to appear as if a link to their site is leading to a third-party site
- DON’T INCLUDE YOUR LINKS IN OFFLINE MATERIAL – This includes printed material, digital documents, SMS and MMS messaging, and even emails – as emails can be accessed offline. It may seem like a strange requirement, but Amazon is dedicated to ensuring its affiliate links are only used for online content.
- DON’T TRY TO BEAT THE SYSTEM – OR CHEAT – You may not use your own tracking link for purchases, nor attempt to make more than one Amazon Affiliate account. Doing either one of these will earn you a swift ban – and because of the latter rule, you won’t be able to make a new account.
- DON’T PLAGIARIZE FROM AMAZON OR AMAZON REVIEWERS – Your content must be original – copy and pasting from Amazon product descriptions, or Amazon reviewers, will earn you a ban. This doesn’t mean these opinions can’t be taken into account when talking about the product – but you must produce your own content that is not plagiarized, and is written in your own words.
- DON’T VIOLATE AMAZON TRADEMARKS – As a third-party affiliate, you are not entitled to the use of Amazon trademarks – basically, this means that you can’t talk about Amazon, or any of its trademarked products, on your website. Amazon exists as a place where people can buy the things you’re talking about – not as the subject of your page. So you have to avoid mentioning Amazon or its trademarked products by name. This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s critical. This also includes hotlinking images – you can’t just post an image directly from Amazon.com, as this is a violation of copyright.
- DO NOT POST LOW-QUALITY CONTENT, OR SEXUALLY EXPLICIT OR VIOLENT CONTENT OR IMAGES – Amazon is dedicated to using its affiliate program for high quality, useful content – pure marketing copy or useless content will result in your page being rejected, or even a ban if it persists. The same goes for violent or sexually suggestive content or images – Amazon will ban you if you attempt to include this type of content on your site.
This might sound like a lot, but these guidelines are really quite intuitive – They can mostly be summed up in 3 simple statements.
- You’re not legally affiliated with Amazon.com, and you may not use their trademarks or copy their website data.
- Your content must be high quality, original, and non-explicit, and it must be clear that you are a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program.
- You may not use any tricks or technological means to attempt to circumvent the Amazon Affiliate Program – no paid SEO placements, no social sharing, no multiple accounts, and no sneaking cookies or automatically adding data to the devices that view your content.
If you need a deeper look at the rules and regulations that are ban-worthy or ill-advised, it’s always worth taking another look at the Affiliate Marketer Agreement on Amazon.com – it’s about as comprehensive as it gets.
Amazon Affiliate marketing may seem intimidating at first, but once you dive in, it’s pretty self-explanatory, and though the rules may seem complicated at first glance, they become intuitive with time.
So whether you’re a rookie looking for a great source of additional income, or are an experienced affiliate marketer who hasn’t tried out Amazon’s program yet, you should give it a shot. There’s a reason that Amazon has one of the most popular affiliate marketing programs out there, and you should find it out for yourself.