Finding products can be a major hurdle on the road to building an affiliate marketing business.
While high-ticket affiliate programs and working directly with companies are viable options, Amazon gives you the opportunity to promote thousands of products to turn your side hustle into a profitable venture.
The Amazon Associates program, also known as Amazon Affiliates, helps content creators, publishers, and bloggers monetize their traffic, taking up 45% of the market share of affiliate networks.
What’s more, people love to shop on Amazon. Research shows that 67% of people over the age of 18 like using the platform. So sending people from your content to Amazon products could result in higher conversions.
Sounds interesting? Learn how to become an Amazon associate today with this guide, featuring tips and examples for selling.
Struggling to grow sales? Learn how to go from first day to first sale in this free training course.
What is the Amazon Associates program?
The Amazon Associates program is the largest affiliate marketing program online. It allows creators, publishers, and bloggers to monetize web traffic by promoting Amazon products in their content.
Once you sign up for this free program, you’ll get links to promote to your audience. When someone clicks on your link and buys a product, you’ll receive a commission. Amazon commissions range between 1% and 20% depending on the product category.
Amazon’s affiliate program is perfect for entrepreneurs and marketing newcomers. “When it comes to reputation and reliability, Amazon is among the top. It’s the largest online shopping site where you can get, and sell, everything. That’s why it’s perfect for new affiliate marketers,” says Elise Dopson, founder of Sprocker Lovers.
“Sprocker Lovers is a niche website about the sprocker spaniel breed,” she adds. “We promote pet supplies to help readers care for their pets. Amazon sells over 380,000 pet products we can promote and earn affiliate commission from.”
Elise also appreciates that the supplier vetting is done by Amazon. She knows she can trust the products she recommends will be high quality and get to readers’ doorsteps in a timely manner.
For example, say you start a blog about the husky dog breed. You decide to blog and write an article about scent games to play with your pup. Similar to Sprocker Lovers, you could promote Amazon products in your article.
Notice how Elise includes an Amazon link in her Facebook video embed, directing readers to the marketplace to purchase plastic cones.
It’s easy to see why both new and veteran marketers become Amazon affiliates. In minutes, you can sign up for the program and get access to tens of thousands of products to promote and earn commission from.
Amazon Associates has been a critical factor for monetizing our blog traffic and providing readers with reputable, quality product options.
How much do Amazon affiliates make?
Your affiliate earnings can vary based on a few factors: the size and engagement of your audience, your niche, and how much work you put into your digital marketing. Amazon affiliates can make as little as a hundred bucks a month or as much as six figures per year.
According to ZipRecruiter, the national average salary for an Amazon affiliate is $55,434 per year. The top 1% of earners make between $111,500 and $121,000, while the lowest 10% earn between $16,500 and $26,000.
Your earnings are also defined by commission rates. For Amazon affiliates, those rates differ between product categories:
Amazon also has fixed rates ranging between $0.50 and $25 for “special commission income” relating to service (rather than product) offers.
You can earn good money with Amazon Associates. I started my men’s lifestyle blog at the end of April of 2021. In November, we made $963.69 from Amazon Associates and the number keeps growing. Amazon has opportunities for every niche to make money.
Amazon affiliate program requirements
To earn money from the Amazon Associates program, you must apply to join. To be eligible for the program, there are some requirements you must meet:
Enrollment and eligibility. The most basic requirements include: your site (or mobile app) must contain original content and be publicly available. Your site also can’t contain sexually explicit, violent, or otherwise obscene material (including the promotion of it), promote or undertake illegal activity, be aimed at children under 13 or collect their data, use Amazon trademarks, or violate any other intellectual property rights.
Links on your site. Using special links allows Amazon to track, report, and calculate income. Therefore, you’ll also need to have a robust cookies policy.
Responsibility for your site. You are responsible for the development, operation, and maintenance of your site.
Promotional limitations. Under the agreement, you won’t engage in promotional (online and offline) or other advertising activities in connection with Amazon that aren’t permitted, e.g., using special links in printed material, ebooks, email, private messages.
Distribution of special links through software or devices. You can’t use special links in any client-side software (e.g., a plug-in, toolbar, or widget) on any device, including television set-top boxes or smart TVs.
- Content on your site. There are 25 sub-clauses here, but mainly you can’t try to buy Amazon’s trademark or bid on its keywords, hide your affiliate links or make it unclear you’re linking to Amazon, offer “rewards” in exchange for purchasing, use fake product reviews, or generate fake traffic.
These are the main six participation requirements outlined in Amazon’s thorough program policies. While there are a lot of legal clauses, most of them are common sense and honest affiliate site owners won’t need to worry (but it’s still good practice to read them).
Becoming an Amazon affiliate: pros and cons
While there are a lot of great reasons to become an Amazon affiliate, it’s not for everyone. Let’s look at the pros and cons to decide whether Amazon affiliate marketing is right for you.
- Amazon links are trustworthy and well known.
- You’ll have access to a global marketplace.
- You can choose to be paid by direct deposit, check, or Amazon gift cards.
- There are millions of Amazon products for you to choose from.
- You can build an ecommerce Amazon affiliate store on Shopify, which gives you access to the Shopify app store and other benefits.
- The cookie window for purchase is short—only 24 hours. This could affect your conversion rates.
- You can’t promote products via email.
- Commission rates are low (compared to direct brand programs).
- If you’re an influencer on social media and don’t have a website (yet), you’d be better off going with Amazon’s influencer program.
For some, access to a huge worldwide market with virtually unlimited products is enough to sign up. But for others, not being able to promote affiliate links in emails can be a deal-breaker (especially those with a large email list already).
If earning money as an Amazon associate sounds good to you, read the step-by-step tutorial below on how to become one.
How to become an Amazon affiliate
Signing up to become an Amazon affiliate is easy. Though there is an important part that comes before signing up: having a website, app, or YouTube channel.
Before you head to Amazon, make sure you have one of these options that are up to date and already have some content.
From there, you can apply for an Amazon Associates account.
1. Go to the Amazon Associates center and click the Sign up button
From there, you’ll be asked to either sign in with an existing Amazon account or to create a new one. If you only have a personal account, it would be best to create a new one to separate your business. However, if you have a phone number linked to your personal account (and no business phone number), you won’t be able to create a new account.
2. Fill in your information
Here you’ll need to fill in your affiliate account information for Amazon to be able to pay your earnings correctly.
3. Add your website, mobile app, or YouTube channel
You can add up to 50 websites or mobile apps. If you have more than one digital home, feel free to add them.
Once you’ve added a website and hit the Next button that appears, you’ll also be asked if your site or app is targeted toward children under 13 (these sites aren’t eligible for the program).
4. Set up your profile
This section asks you to fill out the information about your website (as well as your preferred store ID, which will normally be your business name). Amazon wants to know what your website is about and what type of products you’ll build links for.
5. Explain how you drive traffic to your site or app
The next section asks you to explain how you drive traffic to your site (you can choose more than one option). You’ll also need to share how your website or app currently generates income, how you build links, your total unique visitors, and why you want to join the program.
After that, you’ll need to complete the security CAPTCHA and agree to the operating agreement.
6. Add your tax and payment information
Once you’ve completed the application, you’ll be prompted to add your payment and tax information, though you can choose to do it another time. From there you’ll be able to start using Associates Central to create affiliate links.
7. Use the Amazon Associate Connector app
If your website runs on Shopify, you’ll be able to use the Amazon Associate Connector app. Using the app allows you to import Amazon products into your Shopify store with ease.
This way you can create a high-quality Amazon affiliate website, earning from existing products rather than selling your own. First, log into your Shopify store from the app page and then link your Amazon Associates account.
From there, you can import specific products using the product URL (searching Amazon products in the app requires Amazon Webservice credentials). After adding a product, you’ll see it in your products window like so:
Clicking the View on Shopify link takes you to the product page editor in Shopify, where you can customize the details, like so:
Note: the product details will automatically fill with whatever is included in the original Amazon product linking.
Once you’ve added the product through the connector app, it will be displayed in your Shopify store, where people can purchase it, and you’ll earn a commission.
Marketing tips to boost income
So you’ve applied to be an Amazon associate, and you’ve connected the Amazon Shopify app to your Shopify store—what next? It isn’t enough to have your store exist. To make the Amazon affiliate program work, you’ll need to strategize.
So here are some tips and strategies on boosting your affiliate income and building a stream of passive income.
Find a niche
As with any brand strategy, for customers to buy from you, they need to know you’re what they need. You do that by establishing yourself in a niche. A niche is a segment of the larger market defined by its own needs and knowledge. It becomes your specialty as an affiliate marketer.
If you featured a random assortment of products on your website, people won’t know what kind of site it is (and are less likely to find it in a Google search).
Focus on a particular product category you are genuinely interested in. That way it’ll be easier to market, as well as help you stay engaged with building the business. For example, Beardbrand is a store focused on male grooming products, with a particular focus on beards.
While Beardbrand sells its own products, you could build an affiliate site centered around male grooming and link to products being sold on Amazon.
So, how can you find your own niche? Consider the following criteria:
- It’s a topic you’re interested in learning about. Good affiliate marketers become experts in their industry over time. One way to become an expert is staying on top of trends, taking part in events, and constantly learning.
- You can solve the niche’s problems. People will follow you because they enjoy your insight and you help them solve problems. Sprocker Lovers, for example, focuses only on sprocker spaniel care and education. The brand taps into people’s desire to raise healthy, happy spaniels.
- The niche is profitable. You don’t want to invest time and energy into your content, only to find out the niche is not profitable. Run a Google Trends search to see how popular your niche is. Look at market research reports and check how often people search for your niche topics. This can signal whether or not people are ready to buy.
Dive into your niche and really know the ins and outs of it to be able to solve the problem someone might have with a particular product. Affiliate marketing is about adding your own insight and perspective and becoming an authority for a particular niche or problem.
Learn more about finding a niche by reading Opportunity Knocks: 9 Niche Market Examples With Untapped Business Potential.
Create original content on different platforms
As an online entrepreneur, you already know the value of original content. It helps you stand out, build credibility, and foster trust with followers—all things you need for successful affiliate marketing.
But creating original content isn’t enough anymore. You also want to distribute content across multiple platforms, considering that multichannel customers spend two to five times more than single channel customers.
Let’s look at Package Free, for example. Package Free is the storefront for the blog and YouTube channel Trash is for Tossers, a zero- to low-waste lifestyle brand.
Both its blog and YouTube channel are full of content designed to help people live a more sustainable lifestyle. By creating this content and showing expertise, they’re able to attract the type of people who are likely to trust and eventually buy from them.
Share your experience with the product to customers and always give the best and the worst points about it with examples. Customers want to know why you like it and what you didn't because they have a particular fear of buying the product that can disappear after reading your experience, making them purchase it faster.
Another reason to create original content elsewhere is to target long-tail keywords in multiple formats. In the image above, you can see some of those long-tail phrases on playlists such as “easy zero waste alternatives” and “zero waste shopping.”
Keep in mind that building a content library is a long-term process. Like any affiliate marketing strategy, time and dedication will lead to significant results down the road.
Invest in SEO
If you want people to come to your website through Google or any other search engine, you’ll also need to think about search engine optimization (SEO). Making sure your website is optimized for search engines helps make it so that you come up in search results.
However, SEO isn’t about keyword-stuffing. So how do you make sure your website is optimized for search engines? You create web pages or include content that helps them understand your website better.
Including product reviews serves a dual purpose. They help create social proof for potential customers as well as bolster your SEO. This is because they keep your content fresh and up-to-date. You can also create buying and gift guides for products you recommend as an affiliate.
This Is Why I’m Broke, for example, writes gift guides as part of its content strategy. The post below titled “Cheap Last Minute Stocking Stuffers Under $20” helps readers figure out affordable gifts for their loved ones.
Each product recommended, like Death Wish Coffee and Penguin Waterbottles, is supported by an Amazon affiliate link. If a reader wants to purchase the recommended product, they can click the link and buy it on Amazon.
Whether created as blog posts or dedicated web pages, product comparisons are also a great way to boost SEO, since 81% of customers research before buying. Offering comparisons to similar products helps customers with their research.
A great example of product comparison articles comes from TechRadar. The publication covers the latest technology news and reviews, publishing many best-of articles with links to Amazon to buy.
TechRadar makes it clear to readers they’ll purchase on Amazon by using the call-to-action button “View At Amazon.” This sets expectations and can improve conversions, since readers already trust buying on Amazon.
It can be easy to forget about SEO for your homepage when most of the effort goes toward design. Some easy ways to optimize your homepage include having your target keyword in your homepage title, optimizing the page meta description, making it mobile-friendly, adding SSL, and keeping the loading speed fast.
These are just a few areas you can look at for SEO, but another way to get to the top of Google is to build a blog. When you post high-quality blog content consistently, you build credibility about a specific topic, which can help you rank higher for related keywords.
In my experience, the best way to drive organic traffic to your blog and generate a sufficient amount of revenue is to combine high-quality content with SEO. If you invest in SEO, they will gain more exposure and drive affiliate sales naturally.
Start a blog
Building a blog is similar to the points raised in creating content on other platforms, except this content lives on your website’s blog. The main reason to post content on your blog is to help build your subject matter expertise, help with SEO, and direct people to your products.
Let's take the Trash is for Tossers example from before, except look at its blog.
The Trash is for Tossers blog has posts that talk about all things zero-waste. So if anyone is interested in that topic, they’ll find all of their questions answered there.
As an Amazon affiliate, blog posts are where you’ll place most of your affiliate links—create a post that involves your affiliate product and link away!
- How to Start a Blog You Can Grow Into a Business
- Build Your Brand: 8 Ecommerce Blog Examples for Better Content Marketing
Earn more with Amazon today
Entering the world of affiliate marketing is easy and free with the help of the Amazon Associates program. All it takes is a website, app, or YouTube channel, signing up to Amazon, and creating content that you can include affiliate links in.
However, you can take it a step further by creating an Amazon Affiliates Shopify store and connecting it with the Amazon Associate Connector app—allowing you to display full Amazon product listings on your storefront, but with your store branding. If you’re looking to create an affiliate program for your own products, read How to Create a Successful Affiliate Program for Your Business.
Ready to create your business? Start your free trial of Shopify—no credit card required.
Amazon affiliate marketing FAQ
How do I become an affiliate marketer for Amazon?
- Head to the Amazon Associates website and click Sign Up.
- Enter the required information.
- Add your website, YouTube channel, or mobile app.
- Set up your affiliate profile.
- Show how you drive traffic to your site.
- Add tax and payment information.
- Use the Amazon Affiliate Connector app for Shopify.
What are the benefits of becoming an Amazon affiliate?
- Amazon is the largest online marketplace in the world.
- Consumers trust buying products on Amazon.
- You can get paid by direct deposit, check, or Amazon gift cards.
- There are millions of products to choose from.
- You can connect your Amazon Affiliates account to a Shopify store.