Depending on where you are in your affiliate career (research phase, beginner, veteran, etc.). You may or may not have encountered this inevitable question: what the heck do I sell? More important than the “what,” even, is the “for whom?”. Products are only as reliable as their vendors. After all, and every part involved in the sale – affiliate, merchant, and product – reflects on the other two. That’s why many affiliates across the spectrum choose Amazon affiliate marketing.
When it comes to eCommerce, Amazon is about as reliable as it gets, which I will break down in more detail below. Beginners and veterans alike use this affiliate platform, which they call “Amazon Associates,” to sell virtually (get it, virtually?) everything under the sun.
Consider this your all-in-one introduction to Amazon affiliate marketing.
What is Amazon Affiliate Marketing?
If you’re new to affiliate marketing in general, here’s the gist of it: you own a website, blog, YouTube channel or some other form of digital property. Amazon has bazillions of products, and they’re always looking for new ways to reach more customers. By becoming an Amazon affiliate, you post affiliate links to their products on your content.
If a sale occurs, you get a commission – simple as that. In the case of Amazon, you can even earn commissions on other products (not just the specific product that you link to). If the customer uses your link, whatever they buy on Amazon is a fair game for a commission within a set amount of time.
So, yeah – reason #1 to use this platform is the fact that they have over 550 million products listed. That’s not a joke – 550 million and counting. We’re talking Himalayan salt lamps, Darth Vader cooking aprons, and much, much more. If it exists, you can probably find it on Amazon.
Now that you know how the linking and commission system works, let’s talk a little bit about signing up to become an affiliate with this little up-and-comer of an eCommerce site.
How to Become an Amazon Affiliate
It may be slightly irritating to you at first, but it’s not unreasonable that merchants want to know a bit about you before you start hawking their wares. You are an extension of them, remember? So, if your website content is super sketchy, they don’t want their links slapped all over it.
That being said, the Amazon Affiliate program will ask you some basic information about your digital presence.
What’s the purpose of your site?
What do you intend to sell?
How will you drive traffic to your site?
These are three of the big ones. Also included in your application will be more logistical questions about your store ID and so on.
All in all, the signup process is a breeze, which brings me to reason #2 why Amazon Associates is awesome. This one’s kind of a “two-parter.” First and foremost, you have the opportunity for instant approval, which is always nice.
Also, it’s completely free. No weird “commission on your commissions” structure, sketchy gift card and/or rebate mumbo-jumbo or any of that.
Simply set up your payment method, make sales, and get paid. For free. Is that legit or what?
Now, Amazon’s not the only game in town. It’s healthy for you to be a bit skeptical of anyone when becoming an affiliate, so let’s take a realistic look at the pros and cons.
Amazon Affiliate Marketing Pros and Cons
Alright, in the spirit of optimism, let’s start with the pros.
Possibly the most important reason to choose the Amazon affiliate program is their sheer authority and recogniz…ability (I want that to be a word, so today it is). That’s my reason #3 why Amazon is legit – everyone knows who they are.
Business Insider reports that Amazon oversees more than 300 transactions per second. 3oo. Per friggin second. That was back in 2012! Can you imagine how much more that has increased?!
Any affiliate who has been around for a while is trained to salivate at the words “authority,” “trust” and “recognition.” As someone referring to Amazon, you have all three. You’re like a mouse who somehow befriended a rhinoceros. Just sit on his back, and you’ll soon be taken much more seriously.
Next in our list of pros is the fact that for which I provide a hint earlier. You have 24 hours after the customer clicks on your link to earn a commission. This is reason #4 why you should strongly consider Amazon Associates. If you’re promoting that sweet Darth Vader apron, but the customer is more of an Obi-Wan fan, no problem.
Last but not least. The Amazon affiliate program is one of the most versatile merchants when it comes to adding value to your content. Think about it – by choosing a merchant that only sells digital info products or one that offers a limited range of more specialized products, you have to bend your content to maintain relevance.
Amazon has so much frickin stuff, though, that you can easily and naturally (another mouth-watering word) add value to any content. That’s reason #5 right there, my friends.
Alright, so let’s take a realistic look at the cons of Amazon affiliate marketing now. Amazon isn’t without its blemishes, of course, so let me be upfront about them for a moment.
First and foremost, you’re not looking at massive commissions. Amazon has changed its commission structure a few times already. As it stands now, you can earn somewhere around 4% for most product categories.
When compared to other merchants like Clickbank, who offers a staggering 30, 40 or even 50% commission, this isn’t exactly ballin’.
However, Amazon products are indeed reliable in the sense that they’re trusted and recognized by many. They’re not dependable in terms of creating recurring income. What I mean by that is, Amazon doesn’t offer subscription services with recurring commissions. You make one sale, you get one sum – that’s your only option.
Finally, I will not say that Amazon is the worst in terms of strictly protecting their affiliate links. But they’re not exactly great, either. As pointed out by Angela Davis, if you want to promote your links via email, eBook or PDF, you’re out of luck. The links must be visible for the world to see in order of the sale to count.
Important Points to Remember
In summary, these are my top five reasons to consider Amazon affiliate marketing:
- They have an insanely huge selection of products
- Get approval instantly and make real money
- You can refer trusted, recognizable products from an eCommerce authority
- Cookie length allows for a greater chance of earning commission on other sales
- You can add value to your content without compromising it.
Last but not least, remember to always disclose your affiliate links verbatim how Amazon instructs you to do so. This is required by the FTC for those of us in America, anyways.