The Amazon Associate Program is an affiliate marketing platform designed for online publishers who are looking for ways to generate revenue from their websites.
By signing up to the Amazon Associate Program you are provided with a set of tools which allow you to create links to any product on Amazon. When your website visitors click on those links they are sent directly to Amazon, and if they make a purchase you earn a commission.
You need an active website to apply to become an Amazon Associate, and there is an approval process, so being accepted is not guaranteed.
Fortunately, the Amazon customer support team is excellent, so will be more than willing to answer any questions you might have.
Building an Amazon Associate marketing business requires very little technical expertise, and can generate substantial amounts of money in the right markets.
As with other affiliate marketing models, the bulk of the work involved in setting up an Amazon affiliate website can be outsourced, so all you need is a good idea and the willingness to learn how this type of online business operates.
How Amazon Associate Marketing Works
Being an Amazon affiliate marketer is a type of digital publishing where you promote products featured on Amazon on your own website or blog. When your visitors click on one of these links they are redirected to Amazon, where they can then purchase the product they viewed on your website.
As an Amazon Associate you are permitted to link to any product featured on Amazon, and earn a commission (referral fee) of between 4% – 8%, depending on the type of products you’re promoting.
Each commission you earn is then added to your account balance, which is paid to you every 90 days, either by check or direct deposit into your bank account.
The great thing about Amazon is that they have literally millions of products that you can choose to promote.
The Amazon Associate Program is free to join, but you will need an online property of some kind to feature Amazon’s products on. You don’t need a lot of technical knowledge to become an Amazon affiliate marketer, and this type of business can be scaled to whatever size works best for you.
If you’re already involved in the world of digital publishing then featuring Amazon affiliate links on your website is a hassle-free way of adding to your online income.
Amazon was one of the first online companies to operate an affiliate program, and they’ve gone from strength to strength ever since.
The Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program has added thousands of new products for you to promote, adding more variety to the types of products you can offer your visitors.
How to Make Money from Amazon Affiliate Marketing
The Amazon Associate program operates just like any other affiliate network in that you do need an online presence of some kind to promote the links back to the Amazon online store.
This website or blog must have existing website visitors to refer to Amazon so they can make purchases.
When you’re creating Amazon affiliate sites you have the choice of either monetizing your existing online properties, or you can create brand new websites focused on specific keywords.
When choosing keywords for Amazon you have the choice of either selecting broad topics like “outdoor living” or more niche topics like “airsoft guns”. Niche topics will have less competition, so can be easier to target when you first start out.
1. Existing Site
If you have an existing website you can add Amazon affiliate links to it, with products or offers which will appeal to your visitors. The vast selection of products you can find on Amazon means you’ll be able to find something to appeal to your visitors.
2. Authority Site
A popular approach to creating Amazon affiliate sites is to build one large website on a popular topic. So, for example, you could create a website for preppers, linking to the thousands of different prepper products featured on Amazon that would appeal to this particular market.
Creating an authority site takes more time and effort, but the financial rewards are worth it.
3. Niche Site
Another way of creating an Amazon affiliate site is to research a set of keywords with very little competition on one specific topic, and then build your affiliate website around those keywords.
These sites take less time and money to create but will have more limited earning potential. Most niche sites focus on reviewing specific products and then providing a link to purchase those same products on Amazon.
How Much Can I Make from Amazon Affiliate Marketing
The very top tier of Amazon Associate earners are making around $80,000 per month from their affiliate sites, with some earning in excess of $100,000 per month.
There are tens of thousands of other Amazon affiliate marketers who generate anywhere from $500 to $10,000 in revenue for simply referring people to Amazon.
As with any type of affiliate marketing your earning potential will be down to choosing a profitable market, creating great content for that market which attracts visitors, and knowing how to funnel your visitors to Amazon in the most effective possible way.
With Associate marketing the more products, you sell the more commission you make.
If you sell 1 – 6 items per month you’ll make 4%, if you can move between 111 and 320 items per month you’ll get paid 7%, and anyone selling more than 3131 items per month will make 8.5% commission. One note here is that there are certain products on Amazon which have a capped commission.
Electronic devices (TVs, computers, etc.) are capped at $25 commission per item. So, while selling high-ticket items like TVs and laptops might seem very profitable, you can make just as much money with your Amazon affiliate business by selling smaller, less expensive items in larger quantities.
Remember, the more items you sell each month the higher your rate of referral commission will be. Amazon only pays referral fees 60 days after the sale was made, so if you have immediate income requirements you should take this into consideration.
Examples of Amazon Affiliate Sites
Here we have a great example of an Amazon affiliate site which has expanded past being just a niche site and has become an authority on the subject of pocket knives.
It even goes as far as featuring a guide on the different types of steel used in pocket knives. We would estimate that this site earns in excess of US$10,000 per month in Amazon referral fees.
This site shares cool, unusual items, geeky gadgets, and useless products from space invader chairs to camera lenses coffee cups to jet packs to bacon vodka. The site makes around $20,000 a month, most of it from the Amazon Associate Program.
The best thing about a site like this is that you do not need to produce endless content. As you can see in the screenshot above the product descriptions are only about 40 words long and could easily be outsourced to a writer.
The flip side is that search engines like Google and Bing will never send traffic to a site like this (because of the lack of long-form content) – but ThisIsWhyImBroke.com doesn’t depend on search engines to send them traffic – instead they get most of their traffic from people sharing posts on social media (mostly Facebook).
It wouldn’t take too much work to build a site like this in a smaller niche like Weird Kitchen Items. Here’s another site that follows a similar model but with Kids Items.
This is a gadget site focusing primarily on product reviews, which then lead directly to the Amazon site. Not only is this one of the most popular websites of its type online, but it’s also a great example of where you can take your Amazon affiliate marketing efforts.
Fans of smoked meats will love this site because not only does it provide lots of useful information on electric smokers, even down to the best types of wood chips to smoke your meat with.
This type of affiliate site should be capable of earning $2,000+ per month in referral fees.
Getting Started With Amazon Associate Marketing
The first step in starting your Amazon affiliate marketing business is to choose a niche or market that you’d like to enter, assuming that you don’t already have a website that you would like to monetize.
The extent of the research you conduct on your niche(s) can often dictate just how successful your new online business will be.
You will also need to decide if you want to create a single authority site or multiple niche sites as part of your overall business plan. Fortunately the costs of setting up an affiliate marketing business are minimal, and in theory, you can take your first steps with this business model for free.
Joining the Amazon Associate Program costs nothing, and you could use a Blogger account to publish your content on. The downside here is that using a free site means it could be deleted without any warning, and there are some other restrictions too. Here are some other business expenses you will incur:
- A keyword research tool of some kind. Long Tail Keyword Pro is popular with affiliate marketers.
- You will also need a hosting package, although these are available for as little as $12 per month for hosting an unlimited number of sites.
- Unless you’re an old hand at web design then you’ll need to outsource the design and creation of your site. Budget for at least $500 here.
- You will need to hire an SEO company or expert to help you promote your site, which will require a budget of around $500.
- Each niche website will need its own domain, so budget $10 per site for that.
- Allow another $200 for additional tools you’ll probably need, such as an autoresponder or other marketing tools.
You can use this link to sign up for the Amazon Associate Program.
Best Amazon Affiliate Marketing Courses
Project 24 by Income School
Project 24 is the flagship training from Jim Harmer and Ricky Kesler, the guys who run the website IncomeSchool.com. They are 2 down-to-earth guys who have been teaching online marketing for around 5 years – and they are VERY good at it.
In a nutshell, Project 24 teaches you everything you need to know to build profitable websites in a variety of different niches. From keyword research to setting up a WordPress site to writing amazing content that your readers (and Google) will love.
This course is a comprehensive, step by step blueprint that leaves no digital stone unturned.
This is not strictly an Amazon Affiliate course, they discuss many methods for monetizing your website, but since most of the sites Jim and Ricky discuss in the training are Amazon affiliate sites I included it in this training section.
One of the very best things about Project 24 is that it uses Jim and Ricky’s actual sites as examples. Most of the “Gurus” peddling overpriced training these days won’t reveal their sites. Instead, they use made-up examples in their courses which never seem to ring true.
Actually getting to see the lessons in action on REAL and profitable websites really makes things CLICK for most beginners.
Project 24 is $449, which ain’t bad as it will take you from an absolute beginner to an Amazon site-building ninja.
The Authority Site System
You’ll see The Authority Site System in several of my business model training sections, the reason being that it is one of the most comprehensive courses on how to make money online available online.
The main focus of this course is to teach you how to create an Authority Site, but the Amazon Affiliate Program is one of the main methods they use to monetize their sites, at least in the early stages of the game.
The course is a bit expensive at $997, although they often run special deals where you can get it for as little as $599 – you will have to visit the sales page to see the current price.
If you’re strapped for cash they also run a pretty great free webinar that covers the basics of building an authority site, which also covers the Amazon Affiliate model pretty well. Honestly, this free webinar is better than many courses that Gurus are charging hundreds of dollars for.
I would only recommend buying this course if you eventually want to build your Amazon site into an authority site (think thewirecutter.com).
If you just want to create a bunch of 20 page Amazon sites that focus on narrow products, like bestjuicerreviews.com – I would go with Income School’s project 24 course (see above) as with this course you will be paying for alot of information that you will probably never use.
Amazon Affiliate Marketing + SEO
This is currently the most comprehensive Amazon Affiliate Course on Udemy. It is nowhere near as comprehensive or up to date as Project 24 or TASS but it should be ok to introduce you to the business model and get you started building your first Amazon Affiliate site.
And at $49.99 you can’t beat the price.
How Long Will it Take to Make Money with Amazon Associates?
The length of time it takes for your site to start seeing sales will depend on many factors. Here are some of the big ones:
1. How Many Articles You Publish Per Week
The more articles you publish the better chance you have of one of them ranking in Google.
2. If You Are Building Backlinks To Your Articles
Links to your website are one of the main factors Google uses to decide if your site should appear in the top 10 search results. Links from external sites will definitely help boost your search rankings.
The bad news is – It is VERY hard for a brand new site to get backlinks.
You can take things into your own hands and create backlinks yourself. This process is known as SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Doing SEO is a real pain in the butt and eats up time that could better be spent creating more content at this early stage in the game.
3. The Competitiveness Of The Keywords You Are Targeting With Your Articles
If your articles are targeting keywords like “Best Blenders” it will take you a very long time to break into the top 10 search results (if ever). Even if your site is established and in Google’s good graces (see below) it could take 6 months or more to start ranking for such a competitive keyword.
If on the other hand, your article targets a keyword like “best cheap blender for making green smoothies” you may hit the top 10 in a couple of weeks.
4. What Google Thinks of Your Site
Google has something called “The Google Sandbox”. The sandbox is not so much a box as it is a filter that Google applies to all new sites. It is effectively a probationary period in which Google decides if your site is worthy of being included in the search results.
This “Sandboxed” period can last from 1-6 months and unfortunately, no one has any idea what factors Google looks at to judge your site.
While in the Google Sandbox your site will receive very little search traffic, and make very few sales.
How to Speed up your time to profit
Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to speed things up a bit.
1. Don’t Rely Solely on Google for Your Traffic
Free traffic from Google is great if you can get it – but there are other sources of traffic you can use to drive customers to your site in the early stages.
Pinterest is one of the most popular social media sites to use in conjunction with the Amazon Affiliate business model and can get things rolling while you are waiting for Google to acknowledge your writing genius.
The amount of traffic you receive will depend on many factors. The main one being how good of a fit your niche is for Pinterest.
If you are in any niche having to do with Food, Family or Home & Garden you have the potential to drive thousands of visitors per day to your site.
But this flood of traffic won’t just happen by itself, you will need to be aggressive with your daily pinning routine. Most of the Pinterest pros use a program called Tailwind to schedule weeks’ worth of pins in a single sitting.
2. Buy An Established Site
There are several places online where you can buy already established websites. This is a great option if you have more money than time. Here are 3 of the most popular places to purchase an existing website:
Flippa is a middleman between website sellers and website buyers. They have a massive selection of sites available at any given time, from simple 5-page niche sites not earning a dime to massive authority sites making millions of dollars a year.
If you are a total newbie I would not purchase a site from Flippa.com as you could easily get ripped off. There are hundreds of unscrupulous sellers here who will inflate the value of their sites.
If you are not sophisticated enough to pre-vet the site you will most likely pay more than its worth. If it is worth anything at all!
Empire Flippers only sells well-established websites with a solid record of traffic and earnings.
To sell your site on Empire Flippers you need to go through a very intensive vetting process to make sure that all your traffic and earning claims are 100% true. These guys are totally legit and it is very unlikely you will buy a lemon here.
But, in my opinion, their sites are a bit overpriced.
You can expect to spend 30-35 times monthly earnings for a site here. So, if you purchase a site currently making $1,000 a month, you could end up paying $35,000 for it.
If you built that same site from scratch it might cost you $10,000. But then again it may take a year to get it earning that much.
Human Proof Designs
HPD sells various levels of “Done for You Websites”, from brand new niche sites to aged Authority Sites. They are all great but I think the best option for beginners is their Aged Sites.
These are fully functional Amazon Affiliate niche sites that are at least 6 months old – so they are already out of the Google sandbox and ready to start ranking and earning money.
They are very reasonably priced because they have very little traffic and are not making sales yet.
Human Proof Designs is a super legit and well-respected company so you will get what you pay for no matter which option you choose.
You can check out this page to see the various Done For You sites they offer.
Another very cool service HPD offers that can help you start earning faster are their KGR Keyword Packs.
KGR stands for keyword Golden Ratio – these are longtail keywords that have VERY low competition, that you can start ranking for in weeks instead of months.
You will probably want to learn how to find your own at some point – but if you are just starting out and want to just get things rolling, then these packs are worth the money.