Amazon Associate Program
What is the Amazon Associate Program?
Amazon.com Inc. is an American-based multinational e-commerce company founded in 1994 with headquarters in Seattle, Washington.
Amazon is America's largest online retailer as of January 2010. Very early on they capitalized on the online shopping phenomenon that was taking place and leveraged the power of the internet.
Online shopping has become so convenient and commonplace with easy access to comparison shopping, for example. Most people are living hectic lives and are trying to save time. The trend in online shopping is on the rise and shows no signs of stopping.
This trend has opened up a huge opportunity for sellers online. With the rise in blogging and consumers looking for reviews on products before they buy, Amazon has come up with a way to leverage from this which gave birth to the Amazon Associate program. To learn more about this affiliate program and more importantly how you can capitalize on this home-based income opportunity, read on.
Amazon Associates Affiliate Program Overview
The Amazon Associate program is essentially an affiliate marketing program to help anyone who wishes to sell products. Individuals like sellers, website owners, bloggers, stay-home moms & dad and others are leveraging on this opportunity.
Basically, Associates can create product links, banners, widgets and aStores and post them on their websites or blog sites in order to monetize their websites and blog sites. When customers click through those links and buy Amazon products from their sites, Associates earn up to 8.5% (Canada) and 15% (US) in referral fees. It's free to join and the tools provided make it easy to use.
Note: You DON'T get paid to refer others to become Associates - you only earn a referral fee when customers buy from your unique links.
To become an Associate or Affiliate, visit the Amazon Associate website and follow the steps below:
- Choose the country at the top-right corner of the website;
- Click the "Join now for FREE" (blue button);
- Enter your email address;
- Choose "I am a new customer";
- Click the sign-in button and follow the instructions
- As soon as you complete the application process, you will receive an email welcoming you. However, Amazon will review your application and in case there are any issues they will get back to you. If your application is rejected, you can re-apply.
Note: you will have to provide the URL(s) of websites and/or blog sites that you will be using to display and promote Amazon products. Please read the Associate Agreement carefully to ensure you understand the terms of the affiliate agreement.
Amazon allows its Associates to create text and image links, banners, widgets and aStores in order to promote products that they are advertising for.
These promotional tools can be customized based on what you want to display. You can even change the colors to match your website or blog. If you'd like to, you can include Product Previews to enhance the product links. Once you are happy with the way the promotional tool looks, you just copy the automatically generated HTML code and paste it to your website and/or blog site.
Below you will find examples of a sample product link, banner, widget and aStore that I created in the Amazon back-office. It's a fairly straight forward and simple process.
Amazon Text & Image Product Links
Text and Image links can be used to create product links on pretty much any products available on the Amazon website.
You can create either a text, image, or text and image links to showcase the product that you wish to promote on your blog or website.
In order to make it simple, they have provided associates with Site Stripe feature that makes it easy to create these products links. Once you have created the product link, an HTML code is generated which can be copied and pasted on your blog or website. The image that you see here is a screenshot of the product link tool in the Associate Central section of the website.
Amazon Banner Links
Banner links are promotional tools that are pre-made image links. These banners are available in different sizes and shapes like square, rectangle, tower.
Amazon banners are available for various categories of products like electronics, music, home and kitchen, beauty, books, sports, etc.
There are also banners for special promotions or special occasions like Back-to-School, Christmas, Mother’s Day, etc. For each banner, there is an HTML code generated which can be copied and pasted into your blog or website.
Amazon Product Widget Link
Widgets are similar to text and image links, however, they provide more flexibility. For example, you can add multiple products to a widget to be displayed.
With widgets you can create products to be displayed as a slideshows, or create a wish list of products, or create a search box with several products already included, or showcase Best Sellers. These are some examples on how you can use Amazon widgets to promote products. Similar to the Text-Image links, and widgets, it generates an HTML code that you copy and paste on your blog or website.
Amazon aStore Product Link
The Amazon aStore is another useful promotional tool which allows associates to create a professional-looking online store.
With the aStore, you can showcase different products or products from a particular category. It is similar to the widget promotional tool, however, the eStore also includes a shopping cart to facilitate multiple product purchases. You have the flexibility to show product information, search feature, recommended products, product reviews, etc.
Creating the aStore is relatively simple and once completed, an HMTL code is generated to which can be placed on your blog or website. The image here is an aStore that I created showcasing the Kindle Fire tablets.
Amazon Associate Program Tracking Reports
Keep Track of Amazon Affiliate Sales and Earnings
Amazon provides detailed affiliate reports in order to identify consumer preferences, traffic, conversion rates, earnings, link types, etc. to help effectively optimize the performance of the program.
You can use this information to determine what's working and what's not, and accordingly make necessary changes. Earning money via the Amazon Associate Program will require time and patience, so if you want to make money using this online avenue, you will have to dedicate yourself to learning and pace yourself for the long haul.
Amazon Associate Report Types
Amazon provides its affiliates various types of reports for customer orders, earnings, referrals, daily trends, payment history, and many other types of reports to help affiliates to keep track. As you can see from the above screen-shot, you can choose different types of reports as well as specific time frames. You can view the reports directly in the back-office or download the report in TSV or XML formats.
Below is a sample Amazon Associate Earnings report which lists down details of customer orders like items ordered, price paid, items shipped, as well as advertising rate and fees applicable for individuals items ordered.
Amazon Associate Sample Report
SEO & Affiliate Marketing
This book is written by Chris Guthrie who has earned a six-figure income as an Amazon Associate. The book provides practical information on how to make money with this affiliate program and also includes real-life case studies.
How to Optimize Your Blog or Website?
Amazon Associate Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
One of the key ingredients in making any blog or website successful is by drawing targeted traffic to it. If you read that sentence again, you will notice I said "targeted" traffic. You want interested people to come to your blog or website so they can benefit from your content and ultimately shop.
Today, most people when they are looking for something whether it be answers to specific questions, directions to a destination or comparison shopping, they use search engines. I'm sure at some point you've "Googled" when looking for stuff. Currently some of the most popular search engines are Google, Yahoo and Bing (MSN).
In this particular section, I'm not going to get too in-depth into search engines, however, sufficed to say that people are using the internet (through search engines) when looking for stuff. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play. Simply put, SEO is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to your website or blog.
So let's discuss how we can achieve this, thereby bringing your website or blog to the forefront of those people looking for the content, services or products you have to offer.
Content is Still King
One of the most important things to always keep in mind is to provide quality content. As they say "Content is king"! Some people are so focused on SEO that they compromise on the content, please don't do that. There is are ways to balance the two as I discuss below, the power of using keywords and keyword phrases in your content. Also, another important aspect about content is to keep it focused and not cover too many topics in one post or page.
Inbound links is another aspect of SEO which will help in optimizing your sites. Search engines looks for quality and high rank links that your sites are connected to. There are many ways of doing this - one of the effective ways to do so is to interact with other website owners or bloggers in the same area of interest as you. Another way to get inbound links is to join groups or directories of similar interest to your topics and submit your links to these sites.
Keyword or keyword phrase research will help you before you write your content so you can incorporate them into your writing - in essence, you're making your content "keyword rich". Google has a free tool called Google Keyword Tool. Basically, once you identify the keywords or keyword phrases, you ensure that you include these in your URL, title, sub-title, bold keywords, name images with keywords and of course include them in the body of your content. Having said so, please don't stuff your content with keywords. The norm is to not exceed about 15%, some go higher, but I would not recommend that and more importantly keep it relevant to your topic.
Organize your blog or website so as to allow readers to easily find your information. This can be done in several ways: having a neat archive of posts or articles which are listed under specific topics, having a site map, table of contents, inter-linking your posts and pages to one another so as to facilitate easy access to relevant content, making it easy for readers to go back to the Home page (if they get lost).
Pinging search engines is a way of nudging them to let them know that you have updated your website or blog. Sometimes it does take a while until your website is indexed by search engines and pinging them is a way to do so instead of waiting. You can either notify them individually, like using the Google Ping Tool to notify the Google search engine or notify multiple search engines at once. To notify multiple search engine at once, check this web page that covers several Ping Service Websites.
And finally, don't forget to keep your website or blog updated regularly bearing in mind that SEO is a process and may/will not happen overnight. The key is remaining consistent with quality content and like I said, keeping it regularly up-to-date!
Poll: Amazon Associate Program - What are your thoughts on the Amazon Associate Program?
I've contacted a few Associates and most of them have said that they are either making some money with it and/or see the huge potential of the program.
I've came across one guy who is making a 6-figure income with this program. I personally see the potential in the program, however, the key is to effectively optimize websites / blogs sites and tie the products with quality content.
Is the Amazon Associate Program worth it?
Share your thoughts on the Amazon Associate Program
Are you an Associate? What has been your experience with it? Please feel free to provide your candid feedback below...thanks!