During my online “career” I have built several sites monetized with Amazon Associates. In fact, 4 of the largest case studies I’ve done on my site here (Niche Site Project 1, Niche Site Project 2,Niche Site Project 3, and now Niche Site Project 4 ) all involved building Amazon affiliate sites from scratch.
During my years of building these sites, I’ve picked up a few tactics and techniques to help me earn more in affiliate commissions from the Amazon affiliate program. Some of these strategies are simple on-page “hacks”, while other are bigger pictures ways of thinking about your business.
I originally published this list near the beginning of 2015, and while many things haven’t changed I thought I should share some additional strategies that are working in 2019 and beyond.
A Word of Warning
I’ve heard stories of different marketers who have had their Amazon Associates accounts banned because of violating terms of service. While I’ve done my best to ensure this guide is up to date and all of my tips are in compliance with their latest requirements for the Amazon affiliate program, here are a couple of excellent articles to check out that help clear up some of the mistakes people make (sometimes unknowingly) that result in a banned account:
Marketing With Sara – Anchor Text and Link Cloaking
Marketever – 16 Common Mistakes That Get People Banned
Now that we’ve moved past the disclaimer portion of the article, let’s talk about how you can maximize your Amazon Associates earnings:
How To Make Money With Amazon Associates Summary
Here’s a short list of all the ways you can make more money with Amazon Associates. We go into depth on all of these in the post:
- Target buyer intent keywords
- Target long tail keywords
- Create awesome content
- Make buying guides and comparison charts
- Create “best” lists
- Use OneLink to get international commissions
- Use eye-catching comparison charts
- Personalize your recommendations using quizzes and email marketing
- Use images (but don’t download them from Amazon)
- Use in-content links
- Use heat maps to see where people click… and monetize those areas
Use Eye-Catching Comparison Charts
When I first started my survival knife site ( from Niche Site Project 1) , I wanted to make my site better than the others that were ranking at the top of Google. One of the ways that I decided to make my site stand out was by creating a comparison chart of the top survival knives on the market.
This produced great results for me not only in terms of quality content, but I found that more people starting buying as they compared using the chart I had created. Since then, I don’t know if I started a bit of a trend, but nearly every Amazon affiliate site I see now uses many of the same comparison chart tactics.
I’ve written an in-depth guide on how to create your own Amazon product comparison charts right here.
Personalize Your Recommendations
One strategy we’ve implemented this year on a site that currently makes over $3,000 per month is actually “quizzing” our visitors to find out what kind of product would suit them best.
By using Thrive Leads (made by one of our favorite theme developers) we set up a multi-step pop-up box that starts by asking a question about a problem that we know many of our visitors have. If they say “yes” we then ask a couple more clarifying questions about their personal preferences, and then at the end we drop them on a landing page that delivers a personalized product recommendation ( Amazon affiliate link) based on their answers.
While it sounds complicated, setting up a multi-step opt in is actually fairly simple with Thrive Leads. The beautiful part about it is that you’re also giving yourself a chance to not only get a click, but also convert better since you really are delivering value to the reader by showing them a product that can help.
Amazon Affiliate Email Marketing: The Follow-up via Email
While adding Amazon affiliate links directly into an email is a no-no, that doesn’t mean you can’t and shouldn’t follow-up with your readers and drive them back to your blog ( where you do have affiliate links) .
We actually use this in tandem with the first strategy of quizzing our visitors and delivering personalized recommendations.
So at the end of our 3 question quiz, we ask people to put in their email address in order to see their results. When they do, we take them straight to a landing page, but we also use an email auto-responder to deliver an email.
The great thing is, you don’t have to deliver a generic email because you do actually know a few things about your visitor and what they want. So you can send an email that says something like “Thanks for sharing what your needs are in a gas grill! We hope our personal recommendation was a winner, but if not click here to read our full guide to buying the right gas grill.”
By doing that, you’ve got another opportunity to show products to that person who is a very targeted visitor.
If you don’t already have an email service, click here to check out one of my favorites, Aweber.
click here to try aweber free for 30 days
Target “Buying” Keywords
When people shop online, they go through a process of general queries to more specific queries. You want to target phrases that people are searching for when they are closer to that buying stage.
For example, let’s say you have a site about sleeping bags. Instead of targeting phrases that are more general like, “sleeping bags” or “what is a sleeping bag”, you should target phrases where you know people are likely shopping…such as “best sleeping bags” or “sleeping bags under $100”.
These searchers are clearly looking for more information in order to make a purchase decision. You will get a much higher conversion rate (commissions!) when you get this kind of traffic on your site.
Another great buying keyword is one that compares one product to another.
For example, “iphone camera vs. samsung galaxy.”
As a member of the Amazon affiliate program, you could put together a really in-depth comparison of the camera features on each of these leading smartphones and then simply link over to Amazon for whichever one they choose to buy.
Again, if a searcher has already narrowed it down between a couple of different products – that usually means they are ready to make a purchase.
If you can get them on your website to compare the key features, that might just end up with some more money in your pocket!
Target Long Tail Keywords… Even with Low Search Volume
Yes, this is similar to the first point; however, it’s important to take this one step further. Don’t just stop at “best sleeping bags” or “sleeping bag reviews”! You should target phrases that are even longer tailed, which could mean going after keywords with very low search volume. I do that here on Niche Pursuits and every blog or website I’ve built.
That’s okay! Even though you may get less traffic per article/keyword, these are HIGH conversion type keywords.
For example, we could be targeting “best sleeping bags under $100” or “cheap sleeping bags for toddlers”. These are some excellent long tail phrases that people would be using that are close to a buying decisions.
Also, if you listened to my podcast with Claire Smith recently, you will know that she does VERY well ( over $10k per month) by targeting these very long tail, very low volume type of keywords. These keywords takes less links to rank for because there is just so much less competition.
As an FYI, I used Long Tail Pro to find these long tail phrases in this sleeping bag example. But KWFinder is also a solid pick. You can try both tools for free.
Click here to try Long Tail Pro for free click here to try kwfinder for free
Don’t Miss International Commissions
If you are using only the standard Amazon US affiliate link, then you’re missing out on potential commissions when you get clicks from international visitors from countries like Canada, the U.K, and many more.
Fortunately, the Amazon affiliate program has their own free version of this link localization called “Amazon One Link. ” While it’s pretty straightforward to install, I know of some people who question how well the official Amazon plugin actually works.
Either way, it’s certainly something you could try and then go with a paid option like GeniusLinks if it isn’t working well on your blog.
By using these services, your affiliate links will automatically change based on the location of your visitor. So a Canadian reader will click your link and end up on Amazon. ca, and you can still earn a commission if they purchase.
My old employee Jake actually used this for one of his sites when he discovered that he was getting about 14% of his visits from the UK and Canada:
I know Jake also uses Genius Link on his site and just by signing up for Amazon Associates UK and Canada he has made hundreds of dollars that would have been completely missed.
Note: You do have to sign up for each country’s Associates program individually, so it might not make sense to do every single country/region you get visits from. However, check out your Geo Location report in Google Analytics and you just might find that you are leaving big money on the table.
Affiliate Link to Images
A simple but often overlooked tactic to improve you Amazon affiliate sales is to link to Amazon using all the images in your post.
When people are reading your product review articles, they will very often click on the image. If the image link simply pulls up the image file on your site, that’s potentially one less visitor you could have sent to Amazon.
However, if your image is actually an Amazon affiliate link, you increase the chances that more people will end up on Amazon looking for products to buy. The more clicks you send to Amazon, the more buyers you will end up with.
If you have ever tried to upload images, position them, label them, and then add an Amazon affiliate link, you know how time consuming this can be. It’s worth it. However, luckily there are many tools that make adding Amazon affiliate image links much easier.
I used EasyAzon for a few years, but there haven’t been many updates to it since I wrote this article years ago! Now I use a combination of AAWP and Amalinks Pro on my Niche Site Project 4. Both make the process of adding links to images, making gorgeous showcase boxes, and adding buttons much easier.
So, if you want to add images that already have your affiliate link in-place, I highly recommend that you try out one of these tools.
Click here to try out AAWP Click here to try out Amalinks Pro
Use In-Content Links
Similar to using affiliate links for your images, you can send more people to Amazon by using in-content links on your niche site. In fact, these in-content links are the most likely links to get clicked!