There are numerous ways in which you can make money online and we have a vast amount of experience selling businesses with varies models in a multitude of niches. A business that sells particularly well is a website monetized through affiliate revenue. A popular affiliate network is, of course, Amazon Associates.
If you’re not already an Amazon Associate here are some key advantages of Amazon over other affiliate programs:
- It is a trusted and established brand, has a good conversion rate and most people already shop at Amazon.
- Scaling is easy as the commission structured is tiered.
- Amazon is a stable, established company so there are less concerns about not being paid your commission.
- The approval process is simple and easy.
- If you want to sell your website in the future, there are a wide range of buyers who are interested in websites monetized in this way.
Amazon recently extended an invite to their top affiliates (we made the list!) from a variety of niches to come to their headquarters to give feedback on the Amazon Associates program. It was a great opportunity to get an insight into not only Amazon themselves, but also what was working for 20 other top affiliate marketers in different verticals.
Below are the key learning points from the meeting with Amazon on how you can increase your associates revenue.
The Zero Moment Of Truth (ZMOT)
The ZMOT was a macro study commissioned by Google to investigate the decision making process with respect to shoppers. The study found that the average shopper looked at nearly double the amount of information sources over the space of a year when it came to making a decision to buy. Shoppers are doing a greater amount of research than ever before.
Your Amazon cookie will only last 24 hours and if a customer enters through a different affiliate link your cookie will be replaced. If a shopper is looking at more sources before making a decision to buy, there is a good chance that someone else’s affiliate link might be clicked.
You need to give your reader little to no reason to go elsewhere to search for information. If you have reviewed a product, include information about the alternatives and include affiliate links to them too. A comparison table showing each product and their features would work well. If Amazon is cheaper, show a price comparison of rival sites showing that it is cheaper. Implementing this within your content will reduce the likelihood of a reader going elsewhere and losing you your commission.
Utilize Authority Websites
Successful affiliate marketers are leveraging the power of authority websites. For example, you could produce a short product review or ‘how to’ video on your YouTube channel. If your video titles are keyword optimized well you can normally get these videos ranking well in Google. The first line of your video description should always be a link back to your website which has an in depth review with affiliate links.
Simply put, rather than relying solely on your own website’s search rankings, you can piggy back off a website that will naturally rank well and you can build links to your YouTube videos more aggressively with little to no risk.
Conversion Rate Optimization
On a lot of websites we see, the conversion rate can swing between 5-10% for Amazon Associates. It was interesting to learn that Amazon’s top converting associates have conversion rates of 20%+. This can be dependent upon how targeted your traffic is and where they are in the decision making process e.g. are they just curious, researching products or looking to buy? Nevertheless, there is always more conversation rate optimization to be done.
There are two conversation rates that require your consideration:
- Amazon’s own conversion rates which are shown in the reports on Amazon Associates Central. You should be sending the right traffic to the right products. You should link directly to product listings rather than Amazon generally or a search page. Test this for yourself but sending traffic directly to a product listing has a better conversion rate.
- You should also consider your on-site conversion rates too. It is not quite enough to merely link to Amazon via a text link. For example, using Amazon colours and button types can act as a trust signal. Using a similar star rating for your reviews can also embed the direction of the buyer journey. There are a few marketing psychology tricks that you can use to increase your conversion rates.
Transition Customers to Amazon Quickly
The average amazon associate earns commission on a 60/40 split between a customer buying a product that they originally clicked on and another item altogether. Roughly 40% of commissions are earned on unintentional product referrals.
Firstly, it is important to note that you need to get your readers over to Amazon so that your cookie is dropped and any sales will be credited to you. Secondly, Amazon has such a diverse arrange of products and you can earn a commission on anything they buy.
Whilst your intention may not be to sell a particular product, you will still benefit which is why being an Amazon Associate is a great way to monetize a website. For example you may refer someone to a personal healthcare product and instead they buy things like a home security system, a batman cape, digital cameras or hiking boots. It was not the original intent but you will still earn affiliate commissions nonetheless.
Monetize International Markets
Affiliate marketers quite often leave money on the table by only monetizing their domestic market via Amazon. Take a look at your Google Analytics to see which countries you are receiving traffic from. Even a small amount of traffic can generate a decent level of income over time and supplement your existing commissions.
If you are running a WordPress website one solution is GeoRiot which is free up to 1000 clicks per month and $10 for 10,000.
Depending on where the reader is coming from it will change your Amazon link to the appropriate website. Some affiliates have managed to increase their total Amazon earnings by 38% by using a link localizer plugin and collecting commissions in different markets.
Finally, just a useful tip about collecting Amazon commissions. You will need to sign up to each individual Amazon Associates for each country that they offer the program as you will get a unique affiliate code for each. For programs in countries that you do not reside in you will be paid by cheque. If cash flow isn’t a major concern we would recommend increasing the minimum pay out threshold so that you aren’t charged foreign cheque transaction fees too regularly.
Amazon is here to stay and building, growing and selling an Amazon affiliate website is a safe-bet when it comes to making money online. The business model has been proven and what’s more there is a hungry group of buyers out there who want to acquire a website monetized in this way.