In this article I’m going to talk to you about a very different and, potentially, even more promising way to make money on Amazon. I’ll explain how Amazon Associates works and look at whether or not it is as good as it sounds.
With this way of making money on Amazon you don’t need to see or touch a single product. In fact, you don’t even need to have a product. You don’t need to do any selling either. Amazon sees to all that for you. It’s a method that, with time and effort, could make you even more money than selling something on Amazon – from a lot less work than a conventional product stocking, buying-and selling operation involves.
It’s all possible thanks to Amazon’s very clever and comprehensive affiliate program that is known in Amazon-speak as Amazon Associates.
Of course, you’re probably saying, affiliate programs are nothing new. And you’d be quite right.
But Amazon Associates isn’t just any old affiliate program. It’s a program that is tried and tested, highly professional, relatively easy to get started in, and on top of all that free to join. Not only that, but it allows you to hitch a ride on the back of the famous, highly- respected brand that is Amazon. That’s why if you’re new to affiliate schemes, or have tried others before and been disappointed by the results, Amazon Associates could be well worth a closer look.
What is an affiliate scheme?
You probably know what an affiliate program (or scheme) is, but in case you don’t I’ll briefly cover what they are here. Essentially, an affiliate scheme is an arrangement which allows one Internet marketeer (you in this case) the opportunity to promote the products and services being sold by another and get paid a commission (or referral fee as it is sometimes known) for doing it. It’s a very simple idea and it is proven to work.
Amazon’s affiliate program is a very advanced and sophisticated yet user-friendly affiliate scheme. When you sign up for Amazon’s Associates program you don’t need any products of your own. Instead, you introduce or refer potential buyers to Amazon’s huge and ready-made range of products. More about exactly how that works shortly. If they then buy something, Amazon pays you a commission on the sale.
Put in very simple terms what is happening is that Amazon are paying you for finding and sending them potential customers. It’s basically a classic Pay Per Action or PPA arrangement.
You can be an affiliate for all kinds of companies of course. But one of the advantages of being an Amazon affiliate is that people already know and trust the Amazon brand. So it is (or should be) much more likely that those you refer will buy – and buy more – than other unknown or run-of-the-mill affiliate schemes.
How does Amazon work with affiliates?
Amazon call their affiliate scheme Amazon Associates. Actually, that is a bit misleading. When you join you’re not really an associate of Amazon. You’re an affiliate pure and simple. The Amazon affiliates program is one of the oldest on the Internet. In fact, Amazon pioneered this method of marketing when the Internet was still in its infancy. It works like this:
1. You set up a website and generate traffic for it.
2. You sign up for the Amazon Associates program.
Once approved by Amazon you have access to a range of tools and techniques which allow you to refer visitors to your site to any or all of Amazon’s portfolio of products.
3. You choose the products you want to promote. You then create affiliate links on your site which point to Amazon. If a visitor to your site clicks on one of the approved affiliate links and goes to Amazon and buys something within a certain time period you get a commission on the selling price.
The pros and cons of Amazon Associates
* Pro. You don’t need products or services to sell. You don’t need to spend time developing, creating or manufacturing them.
* Pro. You don’t need to store, handle or ship products. Amazon does that for you.
* Pro. You don’t need to handle payments. Amazon does that for you too.
* Pro. You don’t need to provide customer back- up/support. The product supplier does that for you.
Now, I said affiliate schemes are basically simple. And essentially they are. But there are one or two drawbacks you need to know about before you start.
* Con. There can be stiff competition. Because affiliate schemes are simple to get into there can be competition from other people doing much the same thing as you. Lots of people are already Amazon affiliates, so there’s already a fair bit of competition to tackle.
* Con. There’s no product exclusivity. Anyone else can sell the same products and services as you. And you can’t control the price… at least not with Amazon.
You’ll need to choose a good niche and work hard to persuade customers to buy through you – more about all this later.
* Con. It’s not an entirely hands-off business – despite the claims made by some people promoting affiliate schemes. You’ll still need a website (in most cases). You’ll need to spend time and money generating traffic for it. That can be tricky when you’re new to the whole thing.
* Con. Affiliate program commissions can be quite small. A matter of pence per sale in some cases. You need to generate a good volume of referrals to earn a good income. (Amazon promise up to 10% but frankly you’d be safer to bank on 5%.)