For those of us who have been in the online business for a while, Amazon.com is no small name. And yet, even the big boys can change sometimes.
As of May 1, 2009, Amazon will no longer pay their associates any referral fees for paid search traffic. This spells trouble especially for Internet Marketers who based their entire internet model on direct linking to Amazon (I know a number of them). This would mean that the family of these unfortunate Marketers better find an alternative quick or they will be living in the streets.
Is there a way around this?
With regards to direct linking to Amazon — No.
With regards to making Money through Amazon’s Associate Program — DEFINITELY!
And how are we going to do that? By doing what Amazon wants us to do, setting up a website that promotes their products. Yes it is going to take some time, but it is definitely achievable.
So here are the 10 steps to overcome Amazon’s Change in their Associate Policy
Step 0: Setup stage -current Amazon’s associate please go on to step 1-
(This is for newbie Marketers who want to tap onto Millions of buyers and products that Amazon offer and affiliates who do not have a website)
Setup 1) Get an Amazon’s Associate account. Go to Amazon.com and scroll all the way to the bottom. You would see “Join Associates” just above their Privacy Notice. Click on it and follow their simple yet comprehensive instruction to become one of Amazon’s associate.
Setup 2) Decide to use paid hosting / free hosting / a blog as your business model
There are advantages and disadvantage with the 3 options above. Do a little research on each of them to see what suits you the best.
In general, paid hosting will give you the most flexibility, however it also requires you to have quite a bit of knowledge with the servers and domain setting. Not advisable for newbie.
There are many paid hosting out there. Here are a few:
Paid Hosting Sites
Free hosting and Setting up a blog is very similar. Nowadays it would seem like a smarter idea to start a blog as people out there are hunger for new stuff and blogs just feed these people.
Free Hosting Sites
By the Way, if you are taking this seriously as a business. Pay close attention to the domain name of the website or blog that you are getting. It will play a major role in shaping how your business would be like in the future. E.g. you can’t expect to make a lot of money through Amazon if your domain is giveyoufreestuff.com.
This domain is training your audience not to buy from you.
There are two types of domain, general and specific
E.g. a general domain would look something like yahoo.com – where the domain name would not reveal any information about what the site is about. A specific domain would look like dictionary.com where you have a sense of what the website is about just by looking at the domain name.
Once you have gotten your Website setup and you are approved by amazon’s associate program, the set up is complete and it’s time to move on officially
Step 1: Choosing Your Niche
Although it is possible to have a generic website to promote Amazon’s products, it may be a wise choice to pick a category like Digital SLR Camera to target audience that are very specific. The more relevant your website is to them, the higher the potential of the website making money for you.
There are several ways to find a niche, I will teach you the most direct one in relation to Amazon.com. It is actually quite simple. Go to amazon.com and look for their best seller list. Why the best seller list? Because you know that there are buyers that are paying real money to get these items.
HOLD YOUR HORSES!
Not all the products in the best seller list are niches that we want to focus on. Yes they may be having a lot of sales now, but what about 1 year down the road? 5 years? How about 10 years in the future where you might just want to retire? If you want to let Amazon Associate Program be a business for you, you need to learn how to capture evergreen niches (or at least one that can last you a couple of years)
“So how do I it?”
Very simple, go through the best seller list check out the products. Your objective is to find products that either stays around for a long time, which is rare… very rare. One of which might be the Harry Potter series. There might be a spell cast on people as the people just keep buying books from the series even though there is already 400 million copy sold worldwide.
So if we can’t find a product that can last a lifetime, what is the next best thing? We would broaden our niche. Using Harry Potter as an Example, instead of doing just the Harry Potter series, we can broaden our niche and target the niche “Best Science Fiction Books”.
Think about it, science fiction would always be around (evergreen) so even if there comes a day where people forget about harry potter, I can still dig up the Science Fiction “gold mine” in Amazon.
So after you filter out a niche, it’s time to go to step 2
Step 2: Decide on the Direction of Your Website/Blog
Once you got your website/blog up (See step 0 if you have not), you need to decide on how you want your website to evolve. (From now on I will refer your website and blog as just “website”.)
There are mainly three types of website that we will be using: Content website, Comparing/Reviewing website and a hybrid of the two of them
Content website are sites that are content rich. They would provide a lot of information about a particular product. A typical content site should have at least 20 pages if not more. This would give the site more weight and credibility. Content sites usually have very detail information which would educate the visitors on the products. Some even go as far as talking about the history and the future of each product.
If done well, content website would be able to be their own authority in their niche such that people would come back time and time again to the site so as to get information that they are looking for
Comparing/Reviewing websites are sites that compare several similar products so that the audience can decide for themselves which is the offer that they want to take up. Usually these sites are only a few pages long and are very straight to the point. They do very little in terms of educating the visitors to the site and mainly compare the benefits and weakness of the different offers given
Comparing/Reviewing sites work especially well for niches that have a lot of competition as this would mean that the buyer would either be confuse about what is going on, or that the buyer have to research a lot in order to find the best deals.
Hybrid website are sites that provides reasonable information and also an evaluation of what is good out there. May be very attractive, but this also mean more work to be done.
At the end of the day, which direction you want your website to lean towards really depends on your resources and ability. If your resources can hold out, you might want to consider testing all 3 types. Who knows, you may just get one that fit your lifestyle and needs.
Step 3: Getting Relevant And Attractive Content to Your Site
In order for a site to be attractive the site would need to provide values for the visitors. Providing informative content and review services are a few things that visitors would look for when scouting for a product. So where can we get these content?
If you have some background with regards to the niche that you have an advantage as you can create content or even share your own personal experience about the product and niche.
Note: Regardless of how old a product or niche is, having testimonials and reviews of the product is always welcome as different people would have different experience with the product and hence would have different feedback about it. If I am someone who is researching on the product to buy, I would love to see as many testimonials and user experience as possible to make a sound judgment.
“What can I do if I am totally new in this niche?”
If you are stepping into a niche that you have absolutely no background in, fear not, the solutions that I am about to share would be more than enough to build up the site
So this is what you do if you have no background of the niche:
1) Google it
Google’s algorithm is very targeted hence any search term that you key in to Google search would lead you to information that are very relevant to your niche. All the relevant information should be within the first 4 pages of the search, anything more than that would either be of little relevant or simply irrelevant.
Niche that is too board would have information that spreads over dozens of pages. (You can thereby use Google to gauge how you niche is doing.
More than 4 pages – too wide / tough competition
Equal to 4 pages and below – good chance and opportunity
Less than 5 relevant search result (not pages) – either “gold mine” / no competition / niche too narrow / keyword not precise/too precise
2) Wikipedia it
Wikipedia is evolving into becoming a “Bible for Knowledge”. Because of its editable nature, information in Wikipedia is not credible in scholastic studies and institution. But are we final year students that have to submit our reports to professors? All I know is that people want information from Wikipedia and they are interested in them. You can get a ton of keywords and information that you can use for your site when you Wiki it.
3) Forum it
People in the online community come together and craft their identity through special interest groups and forums. Take the time to join a few of the forums in your niche and you can open up doors that can lead you to information that you never knew existed. One of the main advantages of using the forum is that most likely the people in the forums are going to be your customers at some point in time if you are building a content driven site for your niche.
4) Read about it
No one ever say that you can’t go to the library or that you can’t buy any books in your niche right? Think about it, if Plato and Albert Einstein can learn their knowledge from books, why can’t we do the same? So make your trip down to a decent library or bookstore and learn about your niche
Step 4: Integrate your site with Amazon’s Associate Program
If you go into the Amazon Associate Area, you will realized that there are tons and tons of tools that Amazon have provide for their Associate and you would need to run through them to see what would work for you the best. Take into consideration the visitors experience and moderately insert your affiliate links in appropriate places.
Using Search boxes, text link, banners, astore, Widget etc. are just some of the ways that you can integrate your site with Amazon.
Step 5: Directing Your Direct Linking Traffic to your Website
Now comes the easy part. Change all your direct linking / paid traffic previously linked to Amazon to the specific pages associate with the product(s) in your new website.
By now you would have accomplished 2 things:
1) Overcome Amazon’s Policy Change of no direct linking to Amazon’s pages
2) Build a potentially passive money generating website that is in an evergreen industry
For those of you who have found this Article useful, Do check out the Resource Box below and contact me to find out how to get: Step: 6 – 10 – Skyrocketing your Amazon’s wealth.