The Amazon Affiliate Program pays bloggers, website owners and promoters a small percentage of every sale Amazon makes through a link placed on their site. Right now, it’s one of the most popular affiliate marketing programs among Americans, with an estimated 0.9% of all websites using Amazon affiliate links – and counting.
It’s not unknown for websites with high volumes of traffic or popular blog posts to make some serious money using the affiliate program, which Amazon itself calls “Amazon Associates”. That said, anyone from small business owners and niche site bloggers to giant eCommerce businesses can make mistakes and get affiliate marketing totally wrong if they don’t know what they’re doing.
In this helpful Mint Chip guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about Amazon Associates and reveal six simple and straightforward steps you can follow to become a successful Amazon Associate yourself. From mastering the rules and regulations, to using the right tools to get the most out of the affiliate program and more, here’s all the information you need to consider.
How Does Affiliate Marketing With Amazon Associates Work?
Affiliate marketing has exploded in recent years as one of the top ways bloggers and online business owners make money. But what are affiliate marketers? What does it take to become one? And how does Amazon Associates help people get started? Let’s review the key information.
In short, affiliate marketers are just website owners who make money by placing special links on their sites. These “affiliate links” drive people or “traffic” to products and services on external sites like Amazon – where there’s always a chance those who clicked through will make a purchase. If they do, the original bloggers (known as “affiliates”) will rake in a small percentage of each sale. It’s as simple as that – it’s all about driving traffic and making sales.
But what is Amazon Associates? Well, it’s basically an Amazon affiliate program that helps bloggers and virtually anyone else who runs a content-driven site to get started as an affiliate. It pays site owners affiliate commissions on any sales that result from Amazon affiliate links placed on their site. Generally, these affiliate commissions will range from 1% to 10% of the product’s sale price – with different products attracting different percentages as follows:
- Amazon fashion, private label and luxury beauty items – 10%
- Home and garden, furniture, pet and pantry products – 8%
- Clothing, shoes, jewelry, luggage, handbags and accessories – 7%
- Amazon Element Smart TV, Fire TV or Amazon Echo devices – 7%
- Business and industrial supplies – 6%
- Musical instruments and headphones – 6%
- Digital and physical music and video products – 5%
- Handmade items and groceries – 5%
- Kitchen and automotive products – 4.5%
- Health, personal care and baby products – 4.5%
- Sports items and physical books – 4.5%
Amazon Associates’ Rules and Regulations
As with any other affiliate program, Amazon Associates expects website and business owners to abide by certain rules. If you want to be a successful Amazon Associate and make money using affiliate links, it’s important to familiarize yourself with these rules and use them to your best advantage to drive more traffic. You should also note that falling foul of the regulations in any way could result in dire consequences – such as your business or blog getting banned from Amazon Associates altogether.
The latest rules and regulations state that every blog or business that signs up (i.e. you) must:
- Fully disclose in any blog posts or other content that you may earn money from affiliate links or recommendations
- Use Amazon affiliate links in 100% online promotions only – and never offline, in eBooks, PDFs or direct email address marketing campaigns
- Never make false or deceptive claims when recommending affiliate products
- Avoid using link shorteners or altering Amazon affiliate links in any way
- Never refer directly to product prices – as these may be liable to change
Amazon Affiliates lays out it’s full affiliate marketing terms and conditions here if ever you’re unsure of something, but the terms outlined above are the most important things you’ll need to remember.
Who Can Use the Amazon Affiliate Program?
The Amazon Associates affiliate program isn’t just available to bloggers – it’s open to practically any website or online business that has the potential to become a traffic-heavy Amazon affiliate site. Anything content-driven is likely to be a good fit for Amazon affiliate links, so book authors, any website that produces article content or reviews, eCommerce business sites, online or offline service sector companies and more can all take advantage.
Let’s take a look at how different kinds of people and companies can make the most of the Amazon affiliate program:
Bloggers with an established audience in a specific niche can transform themselves into an affiliate marketing site with ease. If you produce content about travel, for example, you’re likely to receive a good conversion rate when placing Amazon product links in a blog post to closely-related items like backpacks or hiking equipment. Turning your WordPress blog into an Amazon affiliate site is just a case of being selective. Display the right Amazon product to the right people, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to spark a few sales.
What profession could be a better fit for Amazon affiliate marketing than being an Amazon Kindle author? If you’re an e-book writer, you can self-promote affiliate links to your own Kindle books on your website for an additional 4% royalty when your e-books sell. What’s more, you can add links to any other Amazon products that might interest your niche audience and convert your avid readers and regular traffic into Amazon’s next customer.
Online or Offline Service Providers
Amazon may stipulate in its T&Cs that affiliate links can only be promoted online, but small business owners and larger firms in the online and offline service sectors can still take advantage of affiliate marketing by promoting appropriate links on their company websites. If your business doesn’t already have one, you can set up your site quickly and easily on WordPress, then produce either descriptive or blog-style content that drives traffic and sales toward affiliate products that tie-in nicely with your niche.
Amazon Associates can help eCommerce companies claw back lost income when supplies are low or popular products have been discontinued. This can be achieved by inserting an affiliate link to a similar product on Amazon whenever a product is unavailable. What’s more, eCommerce companies can set up a blog that will simultaneously drive traffic to their own Amazon online store and generate direct sales, whilst also directing readers to external products across Amazon via further affiliate marketing links. Again, if you don’t already have a blog, simply set one up on WordPress!
Become an Amazon Associate in 6 Fool-Proof Steps
If you want to join America’s growing list of Amazon Associates and start making money through an Amazon affiliate site, the process to get started is actually simpler than you might think. In short, all you really need is a website or WordPress blog, and a passion for creating good quality content that really connects with people. That said, it’s important to take the right steps if you want to be successful – so let’s dig a little deeper and break the process down into easily-digestible chunks of information.
Step 1 – Create an Affiliate Website
Before you open your Amazon Associates account and kick-start the Amazon affiliate application process, you’ll need to build a website that’s well-suited to affiliate marketing. The best affiliate websites are those that connect with a niche audience, and the best platform newbies can use to set up a new blog is by far WordPress – which offers streamlined and straightforward site-building tools.
Whether you’re into classic cars, Italian food recipes or teaching English to foreigners living in the US, it’s important to choose a niche that you or your business is seriously passionate about. Existing website owners with established readers, followers or customers can pretty much skip this step altogether – but the good news for newcomers is that even brand-new WordPress sites can qualify for Amazon Associates before they’ve started to build up any kind of following. So, in short, all you need to do is set up a website that’s suitable for affiliate links, and then visit the Amazon affiliate program site to register.
Step 2 – Create your Amazon Associates Account
Once your website is looking in good shape, it’s time to head over to the Amazon Associates webpage and start the application process. In order to get started, you’ll need:
An Active Blog/Website
This should have been set up in Step 1 using WordPress or a similar service. You’ll need to provide Amazon with the URL to this site during sign up. It’s worth noting that, if you’re a larger business, you can potentially add up to 50 affiliate sites to the same account. This makes Amazon Associates a great long-term hustle for growing firms, just like SEO marketing.
A Normal Amazon Account
This can be either a personal or business account, depending on how much you wish to keep your associate account information separate from your everyday life. A standard Amazon account can be set up here if you don’t already have one. Be sure to have all your information to hand before you get started.
An Amazon Store ID
When you’re setting up for the first time, you’ll need a short and memorable Store ID – which ideally should be synonymous with your primary website name, website address or domain name. Make sure you pick a Store ID that properly represents what you do (or what people can expect to find at your website address).
A Description for Your Affiliate Account
Amazon will ask you a few questions when you register for the affiliate program, so it’s important to have a good idea of what your business or blog is about before you get started. Before you can access anything, expect to enter some basic information regarding your website’s niche, which kind of products you intend to promote in your affiliate links and more.
A Few Blog Post, Article or Review Post Ideas
In your first 180 days as an Amazon Affiliate, you’ll be on a “probation period” and expected to create some affiliate-friendly content and start promoting your first few affiliate links. We’d recommend thinking up 10-20 ideas for either review posts, blogs or other kinds of article content you can roll out early to start gaining followers and pushing traffic toward Amazon products. If you already have a keen following, you might be able to use the Amazon Influencer affiliate program to run extra social media promotions on your first few posts.
Your Phone Number
During the final few steps of registration, you’ll need to surrender some privacy and provide Amazon Associates with your phone number and some other personal information. After this, click “Call Me Now” for a verification call – which involves entering a short, four-digit code to gain access to Amazon affiliate services.
Once you’ve set up your Amazon Associates account, given Amazon your phone number, other information, and completed the relevant fields as per the application process, you’ll need to wait between 12 and 24 hours for Amazon to perform some low-level checks in order to verify your website. You’ll then be contacted to confirm access, and that your probationary period has begun. From here, you’re good to go and can start sharing appropriate links across your website content.
Step 3 – Discover How and Where you Can Get Commissions
As we mentioned earlier, affiliate commissions are how affiliate marketers make money – and commission rates will vary depending on the types of Amazon products you are encouraging your readers to visit on Amazon. Typical commission rates range from 1% to 10% with big ticket and Amazon branded products often attracting the highest rates. However, it’s important to pick and choose products that are most attractive to your followers, rather than just opting for those with the best rates.
Commissions actually function in three different ways, as follows:
Direct Linked Product Purchases
This is when a customer clicks a direct affiliate link to an Amazon product on your website, then purchases the Amazon product you are promoting. For example, if you link to a pair of $100 bass-boosting headphones on your hip hop blog, and a reader clicks through to Amazon and buys them directly, you’ll earn a 6% commission as per the rates we set out earlier – earning you $6.
Indirect Purchase Commissions
One of the biggest benefits of Amazon Associates is that you don’t just make money when people purchase the products you promote in your blogs – you’re also entitled to a commission when a customer purchases any other product on Amazon, so long as the purchase is made during the same site visit. Let’s briefly explain what this means for your business.
Imagine you run a classic car blog and a reader clicks one of your affiliate links to a $400 muffler on Amazon but, upon reading the product description and checking out the photos, decides it won’t fit their Mustang. Now, let’s say they get distracted by the “Customer’s Also Bought…” section and decide to purchase some wash and wax, a pair of luxury car mats and – while they’re at it – a toy for their daughter’s birthday that’s coming up the following week. In this scenario, you as the classic car blogger would receive commissions on all three items.
Amazon is a super-smart site and all visitors who get directed to Amazon products via affiliate links will be closely monitored and tracked. So long as they complete their purchases within 24 hours, you’ll earn a commission on all secondary purchases. In fact, even if the customer adds the items to their cart, forgets to pay and then later logs back on and completes the purchase on a different day, you’ll still get paid your commission as long as the items were originally added in the first 24 hours (and the purchase is finalized within 90 days).
On top of the direct and indirect link purchases, bloggers and businesses with an associate account can also benefit from Amazon Bounties – which are essentially flat-fee commissions you can earn each time someone signs up for an Amazon subscription service. For these to work, you’ll need to display ads for either Amazon Prime, Amazon Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Music on your website via a banner or sidebar. Expect to earn between $3 to $5 as a flat pay-out for each successful subscription garnered from your site.
Step 4 – Master How to Use Amazon Affiliate Links
Whether you’re setting up just a single Amazon affiliate site or multiple blogs that are intended to feature affiliate content, you need to learn how to properly create and use an affiliate link. With Amazon Associates, you’ll get an easy-to-use performance dashboard that enables you to keep track of your clicks, earnings and summaries of your general performance from month to month.
How Do I Create an Affiliate Link?
Creating an Amazon product affiliate link is a lot easier than you might think. There are two ways you go can about this, so let’s review the steps involved in each. With the traditional method, you’ll need to:
- Sign in to your Amazon Associates account
- Click the Amazon “Product Linking” tab
- Click through again to “Product Links”
- Use Amazon’s search engine to find the product you wish to promote (or enter its unique Amazon ASIN number)
- Click “Go”, followed by the Get Link button
- Receive an automatically generated link for that product
- Customize it with image, text and more before copying and pasting the product link to your blog
Once you’ve become more accustomed to how the Amazon affiliate program works, you’ll be able to try out the second method – which involves using side-features and plugins to boost your account and get your hands on links faster and more efficiently. The Amazon Associates Site Stripe feature is a great way to go about doing this, as are applications like AzonPress. Site Stripe enables you to generate affiliate links directly from each product’s page or listing, while AzonPress and other apps can help you to increase your conversion rate by promoting a greater number of Amazon products via more widely customizable ads. It’s almost like skipping straight to the Get Link button stage.
Regardless of how you obtain your links, make sure you always abide by Amazon’s guidelines in terms of using all Amazon product links in online promotions only – and never in offline promotions, targeted email address marketing, eBooks or PDFs. This is important if you want to make it through your probationary period, which will end once you’ve made your first sale.
Types of Amazon Affiliate Links
It’s worth noting that Amazon product affiliate links come in all shapes and sizes. The key types you’ll be using, include:
- Text Links
Which can be inserted right into the text of your website (in blue).
- Image Links
Which can be attached to product photos or images in your content, creating a clickable image.
- Featured Product Links
Which contain customized coding that will automatically update with pricing, reviews and images of Amazon featured products.
- Banner Ads
Which are a great choice for anyone who wants to promote Amazon Bounties in their content.
- Native Shopping Ad Links
Which feature ad sections you can insert into blogs that are automatically populated with best-selling Amazon items, recommendations and more.
You should take some time to think about which link variants are best suited to your site, the niche you are active in and the tastes of your audience. Something to remember as a beginner is not to experiment with too many different link types right away until you’re familiar with how the Amazon Associates affiliate program works.
Step 5 – Create Content and Convert!
If you want to make money with an Amazon affiliate marketing account, you’ll need to create amazing content that really resonates with your readers – and target your audience with product ads these people will genuinely be interested in. Depending on your niche, this can be achieved in a variety of ways, but let’s take a look at not one, but three of the most popular article and content types Amazon Associate users rely on.
Product Review Posts
If you have a loyal following on your blog, there’s a strong chance the readers will trust any product recommendations you make. Writing product reviews provides you with an easy and authentic way of incorporating affiliate links into your content – especially if you want to use image links, text links or a combination of one or more of each to maximize product purchases.
DIY and How-to Articles
If you’re running a handicraft blog or dishing out cooking or gardening recommendations, DIY and how-to articles are probably already part of your oeuvre. Ramp these up by adding affiliate links to promote arts and crafts items, sauces and ingredients, lawnmowers or whatever product it is that best suits your niche.
Product Roundup Posts
People who read blogs love best-of lists and product roundup posts – and you should take advantage of this trend to kickstart your new life as an affiliate marketer. Whether you’re writing about the “Top 10 Baby Products for New-Borns” or the “5 Best Recipes for Thai Curry”, product roundup posts enable you to promote multiple affiliate links within one article or piece of content with ease. You can even insert comparison tables with image links to supercharge your conversion rate.
Step 6 – Reimagine and Revise your Masterplan
All marketing – not just affiliate marketing – is about strategizing. With this in mind, you should treat your Amazon Affiliates probationary period as a time to test out what does and what doesn’t work for your blog.
Keep a close eye on how your links are performing, which products are generating the most reader attention and which link types you feel most comfortable using. More often than not you’ll find there’s something you can improve on. Keep tweaking and adapting and you’ll be a successful Amazon Associate in no time.
What Additional Marketing Tools Can I Use?
If you want to really supercharge your affiliate marketing, there are a handful of additional tools on the market you can combine with Amazon Associates to drive more traffic and product sales. One or two apps you should consider using, include:
Marketed as “the most intuitive WordPress plugin for the Amazon Affiliate program”, AzonPress is a super-clever piece of software and a great way to increase revenue and boost your conversion rate. This can be achieved by generating better-monitored and more frequently updated product ads and affiliate links that help you maximize your product commissions every time.
Formerly known as “GeoRiot”, GeniusLink is a smart tool aimed at US-based businesses with international clients. Through a standard Amazon affiliate link, overseas buyers are usually automatically redirected to their host country’s version of Amazon – which can often lose you a commission whenever someone makes a purchase outside the US. GeniusLink prevents this from happening by adapting your link to different regions so you don’t lose out.
Setting yourself up with Amazon Associates takes patience and perseverance – but can be very lucrative if you invest the right amount of time and energy into getting it right. First, you’ll need to establish a blog or website in the right niche that attracts a loyal audience. From here, you’ll need to follow our six-step process to the letter and spend a good bit of time experimenting with different types of links, products and marketing tools.
As with any new business endeavour, like SEO marketing or setting up an eCommerce store, it’s unrealistic to expect miracles overnight. Long-term success is entirely dependent on creating consistently compelling content that attracts the right people who are willing to make the right purchases. Equally so, it’s absolutely essential to monitor what is and isn’t working at all times, so that you can fine-tune accordingly. That said, Amazon Associates is hands-down the best affiliate program for anyone who wants to monetize a blog or online business. So, take things step-by-step, and you soon could be joining millions of Americans who enjoy an annual passive income simply by placing strategic Amazon product links on their niche sites. What better way to make money?