If you've got a web site, you can make money with Amazon.
When Amazon.com started out, books were their main focus. The appeal was you could find pretty much any book in the world through Amazon. It was a good deal. So good, in fact, that Amazon decided to branch out. They started to offer other, non-book items. Amazon was trustworthy, careful, and professional; business continued to be great. So they kept branching out farther and farther, until they became the powerhouse we know them as today. You can order nearly any product online through Amazon.com.
"Well, that's great," you might think. "I can do the same with eBay." True. And eBay is often the place to find that super rare item that Amazon just doesn't carry. But the difference between Amazon and eBay is trust.
When you buy through Amazon, you buy through a company that has proven it will uphold its end of the bargain. When you buy through eBay, you're often buying from a new seller each time. Many transactions on eBay are person-to-person. So there's no corporate history of good business there. All you know is how the seller treated their previous customers, and maybe how they handled a previous transaction with you. There's a big difference between eBay and Amazon.
Many people feel much safer dealing with Amazon. Personally, if something I want to order is on Amazon, I don't have to worry about eBay. The great thing about Amazon is that the prices are usually better than you'd find in stores. There's a decent discount that you'll find on most products that is highly appealing. And most orders over $25 can be shipped free.
So Amazon is great. How can you make money with them? By becoming an affiliate.
Lots of sites out there like to have ordinary people like us push their products to others. "Hey, Joe, why not buy through these guys?" Joe takes your advice, and you get a referral commission. You get a percentage of a sale that you made happen. Being an affiliate marketer (selling other people's products) can be a great way to make money online. You don't handle the goods, you simply deal in ideas. It's your job to make your product sound so great that your visitors just can't stand not buying it.
What really helps smooth things over with a potential buyer is when they can trust the company you're recommending. You can sell them on the best product in the world, but if they don't have faith in the seller, you won't get a commission. That's what is so good about Amazon. They've already proven to most people that they can be trusted.
The basic Amazon Affiliate process is this: You sign up, get approved, and then gain access to a part of Amazon where you can create links and widgets advertising Amazon products. You put those links and widgets on your web site. If someone clicks one of your links or widgets, they'll be taken to the Amazon site through your referral link. That creates a 24 hour window. If within that window the customer buys an item, you will receive a 4% referral fee. That means that if they purchase a $100 item, you'll be credited with $4. Once a purchase is made, the 24 hour window closes. If the customer adds an item to their shopping cart, but doesn't buy it, you'll still receive the referral fee once they buy it, as long as it happens within 90 days. If the customer goes through your link to Amazon, leaves, and then clicks on someone else's referral link, your 24 hour window will close.
You can earn a higher % referral fee (up to 8.5%) if you refer lots of customers to buy. There are other products you can earn even higher percentages on. Right now referring Kindle products (the Kindle is Amazon's new $399 ebook reader) will earn you 10%. Amazonmp3's will get you 20%.
So, let's go through the signup process.
Go to Amazon.com, and scroll down to the bottom of the screen. You should see this:
Click the Join Associates link.
Click the Click Here link.
You can use the same email and password for your customer account with Amazon, or you can create a separate account specifically for your use as an Associate. Assuming you already have a customer account, and will be using it for Associate purposes to, you'll be brought to the following page.
Fill in all the information, agree to the terms, click continue, and you should see this:
"You can start making money today by adding links to your Web site or creating an aStore now! You choose the links you want, we create the HTML for you, and you paste the HTML into your site."
Once you've got access, you can begin to familiarize yourself with all the different options for creating referral links. There are simple, classic links, and some newer flashier ones. My advice would be to try each one. You may find that some fit the theme of your site better than others. Most of the widgets are highly customizable. Blending (making new links, widgets, etc. look like they belong) is usually a good idea.
Be sure not to post anything like, "Sponsored by Amazon" on your web site. I once read about a site that did that. A visitor emailed Amazon complaining about that site. They were shocked that Amazon would sponser them, because they didn't feel the content featured there was morally upright. Technically, no site is sponsored by Amazon just because it uses their affiliate links. Amazon decided to sever their agreement with that site. No more referral commissions for them. Don't make the same mistake.
The trick to make the most money is once you've got your affiliate links all set up, drive as much traffic to your site as possible. The more people who encounter your links, the more who will click, and the more who will buy.
Good luck, and happy Amazonian trails.If you enjoyed this post, I'd be delighted to have you as a subscriber to my RSS feed.