"Affiliate marketing has made businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires." stated Bo Bennett, author of "Year To Success".
In fact, an estimated $4 billion dollars is spent on sales through affiliate marketing - and that's just the U.S.
To assist those looking to improve their own site management and help me better understand where the affiliate program industry is going, I asked the leading experts about one program that has become a leader in the industry, Amazon Associates. I wanted to find out their money making tips and tricks, what mistakes they made and what their favorite program really is. Below are some of the most significant insights from the experts
Lesson #1 - The Secret to Success is Working Hard at It
It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that affiliate programs should run smoothly without you working it. A mindset of passive income earning big rewards is a fallacy. So explained award-winning affiliate marketing expert Geno Prussakov who is the founder of popular Am Navigator, "In an industry as dynamic as affiliate marketing, no serious affiliate (one aboard Amazon Associates or any other affiliate program) can ever afford the luxury of resting on their laurels or past achievements/successes. So, don't assume fully automated passive income is possible. Work hard, sticking to your goals and self-educating continuously, and then you will inevitably succeed."
Lesson #2 - Exploit What You Can to Cash In
Several of our interviewees were nice enough to give us some insights into the little known built in loopholes that have helped them succeed.
Grayson Bell of Sprout Wealth shared this tip with us, "Amazon has a little-known rule about their cookie. If you can get an add to cart button from Amazon, then they will extend their cookie to 90 days. This allows you a bigger opportunity to earn big commissions from your visitors. You have to either build an add to cart button in the Amazon Associates dashboard, or you have to use third-party apps to connect via their API."
Jason Leake, of Pro Blog School had this to add, "Amazon has a tiered commission structure based on number of products shipped. You can get into the higher commission brackets quicker by promoting lower priced products." Jason and his wife have sold an average of $1 million worth of product annually over the past 2.7 years and last month they earned a record $26k in commissions, so we definitely take his words as gospel.
Another Amazon Associates success story, Zac Johnson of MoneyReign offered this advice, "Create very targeted niches or product review sites. This will lead to the best sales and conversions." With millions of products for sale, you shouldn't have a problem pinpointing a niche.
Lesson #3 - Learn From These Mistakes
Our Amazon Associates experts made quite a few mistakes along the way to using it successfully. Don't make the same ones!
"All traffic is not created equal. Your most rewarded from the affiliate program if your traffic is directly tied to some physical product niche." said Chris Guthrie of BoostWP, "If you're not building your site specifically to benefit from Amazon's affiliate program than it should only ever be a second tier monetization method."
Jason Leake experienced some growing pains as well, "Well, I sure wish I would have known they were going to reinstate NC into the program before I spent thousands in legal fees and time reorganizing in another state! But something more useful to others is that you can't post affiliate links in 'offline' publications, which surprisingly include email and eBooks."
And Zac Johnson wishes that he could have "built out high quality and useful product niche sites that I could have scaled in size over the years."
Lesson 4 - Amazon Isn't the Only Revenue Stream (But It's One of the Best)
Our experts were asked "What are your top three revenue streams? If Amazon isn't one of them, where does it rank?"
Zac Johnson: "Amazon was great early on, but not one of my big focuses as of lately. Instead it's mostly my own products, sites and partnerships."
Grayson Bell: "Currently, my top three streams are Investing affiliate sales, Google Adsense and then Amazon.
Jason Leake: "#1 is ad network income. #2 is direct sales (net after sales manager's commission), which includes direct affiliate partnerships and sponsorship packages with some display advertising and social media and/or blog exposure. Amazon is a strong #3, and I will say Amazon has much less overhead than #2!"
What kind of success have you had with Amazon Associates? Do you have a favorite affiliate program you use instead? Share with us your insights in the comments!
Jesse Lakes first realized he had an issue with Geo-Fragmentation in 2009. He's been working on a cure ever since. This path has taken him from being the first author about the iTunes Affiliate Program, to a job with Apple as the Global Product Manager of the iTunes Affiliate Program, and now as the co-founder and CEO of GeoRiot. Based in Seattle, GeoRiot is working to eradicate geo-fragmentation and bridge the purchasing gap.
Jesse Lakes is the founder of Geniuslink, a company that empowers marketers to solve their biggest challenges through smarter links. With a background in global marketing, Jesse has created a suite of patented tools that connect consumers with products. Prior to starting Geniuslink, Jesse spent time in Silicon Valley working with companies such as Apple and iTunes. He also discovered his love for the Central Coast, wine, surfing, and the beautiful state of California. With over a decade of experience, Jesse is dedicated to helping marketers succeed through his innovative solutions.