With the holidays almost upon us, now is a time for bloggers who are Amazon Affiliates to act to capitalize on what is usually one of the most profitable times of the year.
While Amazon is not my biggest source of income (it makes up around 5% of total income for me) it does spike at this time of year. Here’s how Amazon performed in 2010 and into the early months of 2011 for me.
As you can see, December is always the biggest spike in commissions for me, but November and January are the second and third highest earning months of the year.
Obviously the holidays are times when people are in a buying mood, and with all the holiday sales already under way, now is the time to act to maximize your commissions with Amazon if its an income stream you want to get the most out of.
Tips for maximizing Amazon commissions
So how do we get our commissions up in the coming weeks? Here are a few quick tips to start with:
1. Get people in the door
Okay, this isn’t rocket science, but the best thing about promoting products on Amazon is that it’s one of the best-optimized online retail stores. Amazon are known for testing their design and sales techniques and, as a result, if you get people in the door of Amazon.com, you’re well on the way to getting some commissions.
The cool thing about Amazon is that anything people buy once they’re in the door from your referral link will earn you a commission. So while you might suggest a book or a camera, if they end up buying a ride-on lawn tractor you’ll take a commission for that (don’t laugh—I sold one of those once)!
So drive people to Amazon and let the site do its work. Much of what I’ll outline below are some techniques to get people in the door.
2. Promote the sales
Amazon currently have a lot of sales going on. Black Friday sales are already underway and Cyber Monday sales will follow—in fact, in the leadup to Christmas there will be regular sales and promotions going on in most departments.
The key is to watch for what is currently on special and to be promoting the best of it. For example, in their photography department they have some great cameras on special including one that we use at our place—the Canon Powershot S95. I promoted it a couple of times on social media earlier in the week and saw several sales.
So keep a watch on what’s on sale in terms of products that relate to your niche. Choose the ones that will fit with your audience the best and promote them!
3. Bestseller lists
People love to see what other people are buying to help them determine what they should buy. There are many ways to utilize this in your own promotions on Amazon.
- Use one of Amazon’s bestseller lists: Almost every type of product on Amazon can be sorted based upon what is selling best. For example here’s their Best Selling Digital Cameras and Gear list. You can refine these further to hone in on specific types of products, like DSLRs, Lenses, Point-and-Shoot Cameras.
- Affiliate stats: Another way to create a bestseller list is to look at the stats that Amazon gives you as an affiliate to see what people have bought previously via your affiliate links. This will only work if you’ve referred a decent amount of sales, but it’s particularly useful if you do, because you can present the list as being the bestselling products in your community. That’s how I created the Popular Digital Cameras and Gear page, which is my top-earning Amazon affiliate page on dPS. I similarly do smaller focused bestselling lists like this one for lenses.
- Surveys: Surveys are another way to create these lists. Survey your readers to find out what their favorite products are, and report back to them the results (example).
4. Buying guides
Another type of list post that readers love, and that converts well, is the “buying guide,” where you walk your readers through a variety of products of a certain type or price point. It’s like a list of mini-reviews of products that your readers might find useful.
An example of this that worked well for us last year was 15 Must-Have Photography Accessories under $25.
This one is a little from left field, but has worked well for me on two occasions (and I’ll be running it again in the coming days). On each previous occasion I gave my readers a hypothetical sum of money to go and spend on Amazon on cameras.
The challenge was to go and research what cameras they would buy from the Amazon Camera section and then to come back and report on the products they’d buy. The links to the section I suggested they go to were affiliate links (I also made some suggestions on cameras that they might like to look at) and in the days after the post went live commissions spiked.
Readers also loved the challenge—we had hundreds of people come back and share what they’d buy with their hypothetical money! Update: I’ve just posted this year’s hypothetical post here.
Other great techniques for making money during the holidays with Amazon
There’s a lot more tips and techniques to read on making money with Amazons Affiliate program. I’ll link to some more extensive articles below but wanted to highlight these five techniques because I think they particularly relate to this time of year.
Here’s some further reading from a series of posts on the topic. The tips are not specifically holiday-related, but will give you a great overview of how to make money with Amazon. They also contain a lot of tips that would be relevant to other affiliate marketing efforts.