Hey! By the way… This blog earns money via affiliate marketing – meaning that I earn commissions when you purchase a product or service after clicking a link on this site. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank YOU in advance – I really appreciate it.
The Amazon ecosystem is the beast of all beasts when it comes to eCommerce and making money online. If you don’t fully understand how eCommerce and internet marketing works – you may share some common misconceptions regarding Amazon and how money is made.
Did you know that many people think that Amazon is actually the seller for all of the items listed on its website?!? People assume that Amazon operates the same way as a normal brick-and-mortar retail store. They think that Amazon purchases all of the inventory and then sells it on their platform. This is nowhere close to true!
While Amazon does buy and sell some of the products you see for sale on their site – most of the products for sale on Amazon are sold by private sellers. Amazon simply provides a platform and allows (almost) anybody to sell on their website for a fee. This is how and why you can find almost any product imaginable for sale on Amazon.
So then, how can an average Joe (or average Jolene) make money on Amazon if they don’t have a product to sell? Well – there are ways. There is more than one way, in fact. I’m going to tell you about just one of those ways in this post. It happens to be the most popular way and is one of the easiest strategies for how to make money on Amazon without selling anything.
Here is the Easiest Way to Make Money on Amazon
The easiest and fastest way to start making money on Amazon is by becoming an Amazon affiliate. As an affiliate – you will promote products that are already for sale on Amazon and when somebody that you refer makes a purchase on Amazon – you will receive a small commission!
The Amazon affiliate program is called Amazon Associates. You can signup and get started on the very same day! But I need to forewarn you that there are many rules and regulations that you need to follow. Be sure to read through Amazon’s policies and/or find a good online tutorial that can walk you through the most important rules.
For example: If you are promoting Amazon affiliate products on a website or blog – you need to have an Amazon affiliate disclosure statement and Amazon has strict rules that you must follow. Meaning, you must reveal your affiliate relationship with Amazon on any web page that promotes Amazon products and you must do so in a clear and conspicuous location before the user has a chance to click on any of your Amazon affiliate links.
Affiliate Marketing Tip: Highlight the benefits of a product rather than the features
A common mistake that affiliate marketers make is that they only talk about the features of the product that they are promoting. They might even compare the product and its features to competing products.
Talking about features is good – but you should lead with the benefits that your audience will receive as a result of using the product. Talk about before & after scenarios and results that can be achieved from using the product that you are promoting. What transformation can your audience expect if they purchase the product that you are describing and promoting?
How to Generate Amazon Affiliate Commissions
There are really only two things that you need in order to start generating Amazon affiliate commissions.
- You need steady traffic to your content
- You need affiliate links with your content
Create Content and Get Traffic
First – you must choose your platform and which type of content you wish to produce.
- Written content (blog posts, website articles)
- Video content (YouTube videos)
- Audio content (podcasts)
Written content tends to perform the best for Amazon affiliate marketing. If you really want to be successful as an Amazon affiliate – you should strongly consider starting your own website or blog. Even if you prefer video or audio content – you should still have some sort of website or blog to go along with it. With written content – it’s extremely easy to insert affiliate links and make them enticing for your audience. If done correctly – your audience won’t be able to resist clicking on your affiliate links!
Video content is the next best way to promote Amazon affiliate products. But, it’s not easy to place affiliate links within videos! For example – if you’re using YouTube to grow your audience – you’ll need to place the affiliate links in the description below the video – or link to your website which contains the affiliate links. Ask yourself this… how often do you actually look at the description text after watching a YouTube video?
Audio content is probably the least effective way to promote Amazon affiliate products. It’s impossible to generate an affiliate click through a pair of earbuds! If audio content is going to be your main platform – it will be imperative to have a website or blog to go along with it and you’ll have to verbally tell your audience to visit your website. Only a small percentage of them ever will – which means only a small percentage of that audience will ever have the chance to even see your affiliate links.
Affiliate Link Placement
Amazon gives you affiliate linking options that aren’t too difficult to figure out. If you login to your Amazon Associates account then visit any product page on Amazon – you will be able to use the SiteStripe bar to easily grab an affiliate link for the product on that page. The SiteStripe bar looks something like this…
If you are using WordPress (like most bloggers) to create content – there are some good WordPress plugins for Amazon affiliates. AmaLinks Pro is easily the best one for most bloggers or website owners – as it is the easiest to use.
After you figure out how to insert Amazon affiliate links (more on that below), you next need to know where to insert Amazon affiliate links.
One rule of thumb is to insert your Amazon affiliate links early and often.
Inserting your Amazon affiliate links early is really important because a large percentage of your readers will not read your entire page. They start at the top and many never make it all the way down. Many of the most successful affiliate websites tend to use product comparison tables near the top of their posts to highlight Amazon products.
Inserting your Amazon affiliate links often is equally important. You want to give your readers every chance possible to click on your affiliate links and get them over to Amazon to set your affiliate tracking cookie. As long as they arrive to Amazon via one of your affiliate links – you will earn a commission on anything they purchase within the next 24 hours! But, you must also remember to strike a balance and only insert your affiliate links where it makes sense. Don’t go overboard and make it seem obvious that you are just trying to get that affiliate link click to earn a commission.
Here are some common link types that Amazon affiliates typically use:
- plain text links – link text in your article to Amazon
- image links – link images in your article to Amazon
- CTA buttons – call-to-action buttons are really just text links with nice styling around them to make them appear as buttons
- showcase boxes – AKA product information boxes – a nice styled box that typically contains a title, and image, some descriptive text, maybe the price, and a CTA button
- product comparison tables – a nicely formatted table that displays more than one product with each row/column displaying different sets of data (like image, title, price, Prime eligibility, CTA button, etc.)
Affiliate Marketing Tip: Know the product that you are promoting
One of the biggest mistakes that affiliate marketers make is not knowing the product that they are promoting. If you want great success with affiliate marketing – get to know a product before you promote it.
Knowing a product inside-and-out will shape the way you talk about and promote the product. Your knowledge about the product (or lack thereof) will show and it will affect the trust that your audience has in your recommendation. As an Amazon affiliate – it might not always be possible to own and use every single product that you promote. But, you will find that your most successful efforts as an Amazon affiliate will be the ones where you talk about products that you actually use and know a great deal about.
What type of content is best for affiliate marketing?
As a blogger or content creator – there are SO many different types of content that you can produce. Listed below are several of the types of content that affiliate marketers typically use to promote products to earn commissions:
- Product Reviews – content about one specific product containing pros & cons, features, reviews, etc.
- List Posts – content about a specific topic with several subsections that ‘list’ out and describe related products
- How-to Guides (Tutorials) – content that gives specific instructions on how to do/build/accomplish something
- Checklists (Cheat Sheets) – content that lists out tips or products for a specific reason
- Interviews – content that features a person answering questions from an ‘interviewer’
- Guest Blogging – content written by somebody else to publish on your blog (or vice versa)
- Newsworthy Articles – authoritative content on the latest news/trends in your industry or niche
- Personal Stories – content written by an individual about their own experiences
- Case Studies – content that displays results from trying a tactic or using a certain product
For a more detailed explanation of each of these types of content (with examples), I highly recommend you take a look at this post on the AmaLinks Pro blog about how to monetize ANY blog post with Amazon affiliate links.
Which type of content will yield the most affiliate commissions?
The following three post types are favorites among affiliate marketers and tend to yield the best results for raking in those commissions.
A dedicated review for one specific product is one of the most obvious and effective ways to earn Amazon affiliate commissions. If traffic makes it to your page reviewing one specific product – it is highly likely that those readers are already in they ‘buying’ phase and are just looking for more information before completing their purchase. If you provide them the information they need – and then they click through via one of your affiliate links – you will earn the commission!
An example would be… a post that targets a “review” keyword, like – Kootek Camping Hammock Review. The post would contain every last bit of information that any potential buyer could possible want regarding that specific product. It would include product specifications, uses, pros, cons, images, and much more. It might even contain a comparison table to compare that specific product to other similar products.
In the Amazon affiliate marketing world – you will find that list posts are easily a favorite among website owners whose goal is to earn Amazon affiliate commissions. In many cases – lists posts really do work great.
An example would be… a post that targets a “best” keyword, like – What is the Best Hammock for Camping? The post might contain some informational content with tips for camping with a hammock – and then it would list out several different hammocks – each with its own subheading. Each subsection would be its own mini-review for the product and would contain affiliate links.
How-to Guides (Tutorials)
While list posts are great – I tend to think that how-to guides or tutorials are even better for affiliate marketing. Did you read the first Affiliate Marketing Tip in this article where it says to highlight the benefits of a product rather than the features…? This is essentially what a how-to guide or a tutorial does by nature.
An example would be… a post that targets a “how-to” keyword, like – How to Build Your Own Hammock Stand. The post would contain specific instructions for how to build your own hammock stand then would include a list of products and parts and tools that you would need to do this yourself – and yes, this list would include links to Amazon where the reader can easily purchase all of these things – including a list of popular hammocks!
Affiliate Marketing Tip: Help your audience with something and the commissions will follow
The amount of money you earn with affiliate marketing will almost always correlate with how much you are able to help your audience. Show your audience how to do something or achieve something or how to build something – then suggest products that will help them do whatever it is that you are explaining in your content.
Tell your audience what they can hope to achieve with your instructional content, then show them how to do it – and finally, show them the results. If your content strikes a chord – a good percentage of them will buy the product(s) that you suggest with your affiliate links.
Amazon Affiliate Marketing: The Nuts and Bolts
Although it is possible to make money as an affiliate marketer without having your own website – I highly recommend that you get your own website. It isn’t difficult at all to buy a domain and hosting and get started with your own WordPress website. Even if you plan to run a YouTube channel or host a podcast as your primary way of building an audience – it will still be highly advantageous for you to have a domain to send your audience to. This would be the very best place to place your Amazon affiliate links to promote products.
Step 1 – Choose your domain and setup your website
Brainstorm to find a unique brand name that has a matching domain name available. Purchase the domain then purchase website hosting and follow instructions from the host that you choose to get your domain connected and your website live. This page will help you get started with buying and setting up your first domain and getting your website up and running.
Step 2 – Sign up for Amazon Associates
Signing up for Amazon Associates is fairly easy and straightforward. Click here to get started right away on Amazon or visit the following link for a detailed explanation for how to get started with Amazon Associates.
Step 3 – Create content and insert affiliate links
WordPress makes it really easy to create and publish content online. If you can write words on a word processor (like Microsoft Word or Google Docs), then you can publish articles online – it’s that easy! WordPress also gives you the ability to style pages however you like and add images and even embed videos if you want to.
Inserting Amazon affiliate links can be a manual process if you choose to use the free tools provided by Amazon. Alternatively, you can use a premium WordPress plugin, like AmaLinks Pro, to make your affiliate link insertion process so much faster and easier.
Step 4 – Get traffic to your website and continually repeat Step 3
Research and learn traffic generation techniques and strategies. There is far too much to discuss to even remotely try to cover that in this article. But figure out how to get traffic to your website then repeat Step 3 over and over again to continually increase the amount of traffic to your website. If you find success with this – the affiliate commissions will be sure to follow!
Affiliate Marketing Tip: Be upfront and identify yourself as an affiliate
Not only is it required by law (the FTC in the United States) and by Amazon that you disclose your relationship as an affiliate – it is also the right thing to do. Your audience will appreciate your honesty and will be happy to purchase via your affiliate link if you provide enough value to them.
Don’t use trickery and pretend to be someone or something that you are not. Simply explain that you are an affiliate and that you will earn a commission if they purchase after clicking on one of your links. Simple as that. See the affiliate disclaimer at the very top of this page to see how I do it.
How to Make Money on Amazon Without Selling Anything
I hope this article has given you a better understanding for how it is totally possible to make money on Amazon without selling anything. Technically – products are being sold. But YOU are not the person doing the selling. As an Amazon affiliate – you are just pointing people to the place where they can buy. Somebody else is doing the selling – and you are just collecting a small commission for pointing them there.
In my own experience – I’ve seen all sides of Amazon affiliate marketing. I’ve had my own successes with it over the years and I’ve also had my share of failures. Just like anything else in life – the amount of money that you can earn depends on how hard you are willing to work. If you put in the time and learn some traffic generation and affiliate marketing strategies – you can accomplish success that pushes the limits of your greatest desires!
Matthew Allen is a full-time trucker, part-time blogger, and imaginary entrepreneur. He is the only known trucker who is blogging about creating passive income online. He is also the co-founder and co-creator of the most popular WordPress plugin for Amazon affiliates – AmaLinks Pro.