Earning Online With Amazon
Earning Online With The Amazon Associate Scheme
If you would like to start making some affiliate income then Amazon is a very good place to start. Amazon call their scheme the Amazon Associate scheme - but what's in a name - it is an affiliate scheme and it is extremely lucrative. In fact the Amazon Associate scheme is one of the oldest on the internet - which is a good sign that it's beneficial both to Amazon and their associates.
You will read a lot of misleading information on the internet regarding the Amazon scheme. If you are in the habit of visiting the types of forums frequented by hard core internet marketing types you will often read about how poor the Amazon Associate scheme is. One common complaint - which is not actually based in fact - is that the commission rate is pitifully low at only 4%.
Whilst it is true that the commission rates starts at 4% it increases according to the number of items you sell. For example, if you sell only 6 items in a month your commission rate increases to 6%. Selling 3131 items a month (this is well within the realms of possibility even if it sounds high right now) increases the commission rate to 8.5%.
This can be increased even further by using particular types of links or by promoting certain types of products. Some products have commission rates of 15 or even 20%, regardless of the number sold.
For example, if you sell shoes - such as Skechers Shape Ups - then selling them via the standard Amazon link will earn you somewhere between 4 and 8.5% commission. However, if you sell the same shoes via the Endless link (available direct from your Amazon Associates area), then you will earn 15% commission - regardless of how many you sell. That's at least double commission.
These percentages may not sound very high if you compare it to the 50 or 75% commission on an e-book from Clickbank. The secret to Amazon's success is a stellar conversion rate. Whereas most internet marketers are happy to get a conversion of 1% Amazon - for a variety of reasons - has a sales conversion rate which is much higher. A conversion rate of 4% is really quite poor for Amazon. You should be aiming for something around the 6% mark or higher. At certain times of the year - the run up to gift giving holidays like Mother's Day, Valentine's day and, of course, Christmas - you can easily get sales conversion well into the double digits, 10 - 15% is not uncommon.
The secret to these high conversions is to choose the right product and to structure your adverts appropriately.
It's Amazing What You Can Buy On Amazon
Why The Amazon Associates Scheme Performs So Well
There are a number of reasons why the Amazon Associates scheme works very well. Before looking at the logistics it's worthwhile examining what these are. If, at the end of this section, you either "don't get it" or if you just plain disagree, then you probably don't need to read any further.
It's A Matter Of Trust
Don't be offended here - but why should I buy anything from you? Why should you buy anything from me for that matter? You might have a great looking website, with 32-bit encryption and testimonials from hundreds of happy buyers - but I don't know you from Adam and, until I landed on your website, I'd never even heard of your fledgling internet empire. Why would I buy?
On the other hand - unless you've just beamed down from Venus - everybody has heard of Amazon. Not only has everyone heard of Amazon, but everybody knows that they are an online retailer. So they expect to be sold when they visit that site. They are actually primed to buy, even before they hit the Amazon site.
And - most important of all - the majority of people trust Amazon. In fact, amazon are so well known and trusted that they often don't need to have the lowest price to make a sale (although often they will have the lowest price). Trust sells.
Even More Trust
Amazon have an enormous selection of goods which you can promote on their behalf. Books, CDs, video games - you know about those of course. What about batteries, shoes, razor blades and even groceries - would you associate these with Amazon?
And all of these goods are available from just about every manufacturer - or brand name - that you can think of. Sony, Microsoft, Apple, Nintendo, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Philips, Braun, Cuisinart, George Foreman, Batman, Superman, Bart Simpson, Harry Potter .... you get the idea.
Combine a well known brand name - Sony for example - with the Amazon "brand" and you've got a great big trust double whammy. That's why Amazon converts so well.
Spin Off Sales
The Amazon associate scheme isn't perfect - but one of the very nice things about it is that, if you send someone to their site then you will be credited with any sales made for a 24 hour period. So if you send someone to a link for a DVD player for example and they buy that and then go on to buy 3 or 4 dvds to watch on it (not unreasonable) you will also earn commission on those sales.
In fact, if you send someone to the DVD link and they don't buy it but then go and buy some other items, you still earn commission. Nice.
Digital Photo Frames
Getting Customers To Your Amazon Page
As mentioned earlier, Amazon are one of the oldest (and best) affiliate schemes around. They have a host of tools for you to use. There are text links, banners, graphical ads, rotating "widgets" - you name it, they've got it.
All you need to do is put these on your blog or website, drive some traffic to it and you can make some sales. You can even use HubPages to sell your Amazon stuff. It's free and it works.
If you want quick results, you can use pay per click advertising to drive customers to your website or blog.
Be sure to let your visitors know that they are not purchasing from you - but from Amazon. The trust thing remember? Check out this site selling the Amazon Kindle reader - it's fairly obvious that the product is sold by Amazon isn't it?
You want your site to be "sympathetic" to Amazon. Your visitor should know that, while they aren't on the Amazon site, if they choose to buy or just seek more information, that they will be going to visit Amazon.
And don't try to sell too hard. just get the visitor to click through to Amazon and let them make the sale (they are very good at that).
Amazon Kindle Reader
Choosing Which Products To Promote
Sell What People Are Buying Anyway
This is easy and simple. The Amazon website is a transparent marketplace. Not only do they tell what's selling well, but they tell you what price people are prepared to pay for it (and this varies).
Go to the Amazon website and select a category - anything you like, software, DVDs, computer games, whatever. On the right hand side of the page you will see a column entitled "Bestsellers in Computer Games" (or whatever category you chose) And now you know what people are buying. Simple.
If you choose to promote any item in the top ten of one of Amazon's bestseller lists you can be sure that there will be plenty people wanting to buy it.
The Amazon bestsellers are updated hourly, so if you routinely see the same product in the bestsellers list after a few visits you can be sure that it's selling well. This isn't rocket science. You don't need to be the world's greatest copywriter to sell someone something they wanted to buy anyway.
Always pick well known brand names to promote (trust). Apart from that, once you've made your selection from the best sellers list, make a return visit to your category every now and then to make sure that you haven't missed out on any hot new trend and you'll be set fair.
Tips To Maximise Your Commission
It's a well known, but often overlooked, fact that it generally takes as much effort to sell a low ticket item as it does to sell a high ticket item. In order to maximise your return you would be well advised to pick items that have a reasonably high ticket price. Something between $50 and $100 is my own preference.
Don't waste a lot of time promoting CDs, DVDs or books. The commission just isn't worth the effort. You will sell these as "spin off" items, but unless you already have a blog or website focused on such things, it's not worth the effort to market them directly. Look on these sales as a nice free bonus for your main item promotional efforts.
Watch For Trends
This is perhaps obvious for you - but not everyone gets it. Different things sell well at different times of the year, week, month etc.
You won't sell many lawnmowers in December when there's six inches of snow on the ground. That's so obvious it's almost trite. But when will you sell the most digital cameras? In the sumer when everyone is going on vacation or just before Christmas? Digital cameras are a very popular Christmas gift these days. You can even get digital cameras specifically designed for kids. How popular do you think those are at Christmas?
In a similar way, digital photo frames were one of the most popular gifts in 2008. Sales of these items absolutely rocket in the run up to Christmas and other "gifting" holidays - Mother's Day, Father's Day etc.
Christmas is rather obvious of course. But what about the sales of tax and accounting software in the weeks before the submission deadline?
And it's not just annual holidays that affect sales. If you decide to sell software - Microsoft Office is a big seller for example - you'll probably notice that business type software sells better during the week than at the weekend. You may also see a surge in both notebook sales and packages like Microsoft Office in the last few weeks before students return to school/college/university.
There are plenty of other trends for you to take advantage of. Amazon will provide you with the real time data you need to act upon these.
Joining The Amazon Associate Scheme
You can join the Amazon Associate scheme for any country where Amazon sell their stuff. If you live in the USA you can join the UK scheme (you can join the US scheme as well of course). Likewise, if you live in the UK you can join the American scheme, the French scheme, the German scheme etc.
Just visit Amazon, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you'll see a link "Join Associates". Click on it and sign up - it's free. Follow the simple instructions and you'll be good to go in a matter of minutes.
You will need your own website or blog, which amazon need to approve. The approval system is very simple - as long as your blog or site doesn't deal in hate, porn racial abuse etc. you will be approved. If you do get rejected don't worry - just apply with another site or blog later.
The approval process takes about 3 days usually - but you can start promoting as soon as you've completed the application process.
Promote your blog or site using articles, HubPages, PPC or any other tactic you can think of. You will make money.
Joining The Amazon Associates Program
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