Joining Amazon’s affiliate program and selling stuff through the Marketplace are both good opportunities to profit from the site’s huge retail audience.
There are many ways to make money on Amazon. You can join the Mechanical Turk program and get paid to do virtual tasks. You can publish an e-book through Kindle or a printed book through the CreateSpace platform. Or you may be able to deliver items through Flex, if the program is available where you live.
Amazon is the top-selling online retailer, according to e-retail magazine Internet Retailer. As such, two money-making opportunities stand out:
- Joining Amazon Associates, the company’s affiliate program. Participants link to Amazon products on their blog or social media channel and get a commission based on subsequent sales. Amazon Associates is best for influencers who already promote products.
- Selling stuff through Amazon Marketplace, the company’s e-commerce platform. Those looking to start an online business can list products on Amazon Marketplace. It takes an entrepreneurial mind and significant effort to get off the ground. But with the right product, the potential payoff can outweigh the risks.
Here’s what you need to know about both options.
Become an Amazon affiliate
Affiliates earn a commission when a visitor to their website clicks a link to an Amazon product and buys it. The visitor must purchase an item within 24 hours or add an item to their cart and purchase it within 89 days. Commissions are typically 1% to 10% of the purchase price, minus shipping, taxes and fees.
To get started in the Amazon Associates program, you’ll need to have a website that meets Amazon’s site requirements. Next, submit an application. If it’s accepted, Amazon requires you to place its affiliate disclosure on your site. The Federal Trade Commission also requires affiliate marketers to clearly disclose their relationship with retailers in posts containing affiliate links. That means affiliates should make all disclaimers easy for readers to find.
Affiliate marketing usually is best if you already have a loyal following. That’s because you’ll have a built-in pool of potential customers who trust your judgment and will be more likely to buy products you recommend.
Your success as an affiliate depends on tailoring products to your audience. Start by thinking about your audience’s needs and why it follows you. Or go straight to the source by sending a poll or email asking what kinds of products to include on your site. Then spell out the relevant details in your posts.
Say you run a nature-photography blog for beginners. If you’re linking to a $65 aluminum tripod, you might add, “It’s lightweight and compact, so it’s a good option for hikers. I brought it on my three-day trek through Yosemite and it held up well in rough weather.”
Once you get affiliate links up on your site, focus on getting more traffic to those links to increase your chances of earning money. Frequently publishing content, such as blog or Instagram posts, can help engage existing followers. And it may help your site show up in search engine results, thereby attracting new readers.
To add more affiliate links to your site, consider building a product page that lets you list multiple links. That also gives readers easy access to the items you recommend. Or you might start a series of weekly or seasonal posts in which you review products. It’s also good to experiment with Amazon’s link, button and banner options, which can help highlight the products you recommend.
Track your site’s traffic with a tool like Google Analytics and use Amazon’s affiliate reports. They will help determine if your tactics work or if it’s time change your approach.
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