Succeeding with the Amazon Affiliate Program
May 21, 2008
After three years of participation in the Amazon affiliate program I've finally figured out how to achieve (moderate) success with it.
It's only since the beginning of this year that I've started receiving monthly payments from Amazon. The other day, I generated a bunch of reports, and took a good look at what was selling for me.
Which made me realize something.
What makes the Amazon affiliate program work? Traffic.
That seems to be about it. My list of items sold is the most eclectic list I've ever seen. If I wasn't using different tracking codes, I'd be hard pressed to say which site made which sale, because the actual item sold often has very little to do with the niche of the site from which the sale came.
Early this year, I began adding Amazon links to a couple of sites of mine that were high traffic but poorly monetized. It was more or less a "well, why not" thing on my part. I had a bit of time, so in went the links. Once my traffic started hitting those links (and I find that Amazon links tend to get a higher clickthrough rate than a lot of other merchants' links), I started seeing sales. Not usually the product I was linking to, but sales nonetheless.
My theory is that people click through to Amazon because the product linked to sounds interesting, then when they get there, they either remember something they meant to buy at Amazon, or one of the very many links on that Amazon page leads them deeper and deeper into the Amazon labrynth. They eventually emerge from somewhere deep within Amazon, order placed, but what they order will often have absolutely nothing to do with the product link they initially clicked.
I know, because I've done this many times myself. And my sales reports confirm this.
So if you have a site that gets a nice bit of traffic but isn't making as much as you'd like, find some related products from Amazon, put in your links, and see what happens. Chances are, if you can draw the clickthroughs, you'll make the sales. Sales of what? That's the interesting part - you won't know until you've made them!
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I'm not to the point of getting checks from Amazon monthly yet, but you're right that you do end up selling the damnedest things -- I get sales of everything from diapers to jewelry, and I only send traffic on gadgets and kitchen gear.
The ones that really amuse me though are when I write a review totally panning a product, link to it on Amazon anyway, and people buy it regardless of how bad I tell them it actually is -- it kind of makes you wonder why I even bother writing anything meaningful...
Posted by: Chuck Lawson | May 21, 2008 12:36:12 PM
That's funny about people buying even though your review is critical of the product. I wonder what goes through people's minds when that happens!
The strangest thing I ever sold was some food item, in bulk - I can't remember exactly what it was, but there was a LOT of whatever it was. Up until then, I never even knew Amazon sold food!
Posted by: BJ | May 21, 2008 2:05:45 PM
Huh. Now that's interesting, and it totally makes sense.
Maybe I'll give Amazon one more shot.
Posted by: Sapphire | May 28, 2008 2:47:32 PM
There's a plugin in the affiliate center too that you can use on a WordPress blog that will automatically link to Amazon anytime it finds a keyword in a post. I've noticed a lot more clicks and a few extra sales since I started using it on my craft blog.
Posted by: Loretta | May 29, 2008 11:23:07 AM
@Sapphire Yes, definitely give Amazon another shot, especially if you have a high-traffic site that's not really making much money. Post links to products that your visitors would find interesting, and you should start seeing some sales.
@Loretta Yes, the WP plugin is great! Very useful.
Posted by: BJ | May 29, 2008 1:36:19 PM
Amazon is sort of a labyrinth of goods. I know a couple people who use the Amazon affiliate program and have had great success.
Posted by: violet | Sep 3, 2008 3:30:00 PM
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