How To Start Your Online Business as an Amazon Affiliate


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Starting your online business as an Amazon affiliate is simple. If you have an active website, mobile app, blog, or YouTube, all you need to do is to apply to become an affiliate or Amazon Associate.

Key Takeaways:

  • Anyone with a website, blog, app, or YouTube channel can apply to join the Amazon affiliate network
  • Affiliate marketing is a very popular and effective sales tactic, which is why 81% of brands have an affiliate program
  • Starting an online business as an Amazon affiliate is easy but takes a lot of time and effort from you to make it profitable
  • You’ll need research, SEO, and content creation skills, among others, to start an affiliate marketing business

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing banner.

Affiliate marketing is a sales strategy employed by online vendors, retailers, or product creators to generate more revenue through other people or companies.

Affiliates promote a product or service of their choice on their websites, blogs, or social media to earn a commission on any sales or referral traffic they generate. Sellers track these using the unique affiliate links from the promoters.

Affiliate marketing is a very effective tactic for engaging existing customers and getting new ones, which is why 81% of brands have an affiliate program. About 83% of marketers use affiliate marketing to increase brand awareness.

The beauty of affiliate marketing is that sellers don’t have to participate ― the affiliates do all the work. Of course, sellers must pay their affiliates, but since the commission depends on sales, it’s a good sign when their payouts are high.

Things to Consider When Starting a Business as an Amazon Affiliate

You should consider the time, effort, and money it would take to make a go of your business as an Amazon affiliate. Success in this space depends on the traffic you get for your site or app, and generating traffic is a big challenge.

With about 1.9 billion websites as of 2021, you have your work cut out for you when it comes to competing for attention.

Another consideration is deciding on the products you’ll promote. It is tempting to go for the big-ticket items or product categories with a high commission rate. However, you should choose products that are relevant to your niche.

For example, promoting clothing, shoes, and beauty products makes sense if you have a fashion blog, and it makes less sense to promote dental supplies. You can, but it is a stretch.

If you have an e-commerce website, you should choose non-competitive or complementary products to whatever you’re selling.

How Amazon Approves Your Affiliate Application

Affiliate marketing Amazon banner.

Making money as an affiliate is easier when you have an existing online business, especially if you have a blog with good traction with your target audience.

Amazon looks at those things when considering your application to their affiliate program. If this is you, becoming an Amazon Associate can add to your revenue stream. You lose nothing if you do, and it might just be a moneymaker if you play your cards right.

However, if you plan to build a business website primarily to get into affiliate marketing with Amazon, that’s a whole other ballgame. You’ll need to spend a significant amount of time and money on this project.

These costs include building the website, creating content, and executing marketing campaigns to grow your audience. You need to consider if the return on investment (ROI) is worth it.

Of course, you can always save money by using a website builder with a free plan.

Example of a website builder with a large image of fresh vegetables on the example site.
Source: Weebly

How Much Does Amazon Pay Out?

Amazon has a table of fixed standard commissions that depend on the product category. The commissions range from 1% (Amazon Fresh, Physical Video Games & Video Game Consoles, Grocery, Health & Personal Care) to 20% (Amazon Games).

Amazon also has other offers for Bounty Events and such. You’ll find the updated table here.

Here’s an interesting note: Amazon will pay commissions for all purchases of a customer that used your affiliate link to go to Amazon within 24 hours. If the shopper leaves and comes back, the Amazon Affiliate cookie will still record transactions up to 24 hours. These include products to which you didn’t link.

While the Amazon affiliate network is just one of many, Amazon has a disproportionate market share at 39.77%, with affiliate marketing company CJ Affiliate a distant second at 8.99%. At $6.8 billion in affiliate marketing spending in 2020, that means 78,327 Amazon Associates collectively earned $2.704 billion in that year.

In a perfect world, that would mean each associate made $34,522 in 2020; unfortunately, that’s not the case.

You can make anywhere from $0 to $20,000 a month. In rare cases, payouts can even be six figures.

What Skills Do You Need to Start?

As with any marketing strategy, you need three skills to start with affiliate marketing, whether on Amazon or other networks — research, SEO, and content creation.

You’ll Need Research Skills

Expect to do a lot of research before and after starting with affiliate marketing. These will include product, keyword, and content research.

If you plan on building a website to serve as an anchor for your affiliate marketing business, you’ll need to research the best e-commerce platforms and web hosting providers.

Choose those with features to help you with marketing and promotions, such as email marketing.

You Must Have SEO Skill

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for affiliate marketing. You need the skills and knowledge to create an effective SEO strategy and increase the visibility of your website, app, blog, or YouTube channel.

If you want that big payout at the end of each month, you should focus on getting to the top of those search engine result pages (SERPs).

Content Creation Skills Are Equally Important

Woman sitting in her home office while on her phone.

You need content for better SEO, so it’s equally critical when starting with affiliate marketing.

While content includes images and videos, the star for SEO is text. Therefore, you should have basic writing skills to create anchor texts for your affiliate links.

If writing isn’t something you’re great at or want to do, you should outsource.

Do You Need a Business Account To Become an Affiliate With Amazon?

No, you don’t need a business bank account to become an Amazon Associate, and Amazon lets you choose how you want to get your payouts.

It can be a direct deposit to a bank account in your name, through a check, which comes with a $15 processing fee, or via an Amazon gift card.

In case you’re wondering if you can use an Amazon gift card outside of Amazon, you can. You can even buy Bitcoin with it.

What Products Should You Start With?

Amazon products graphic.

The quick answer is to do some product research first by checking the most popular products on Amazon for your niche.

You’re more likely to get relevant keyword search action if you choose products that many people buy. A quick and free way to do product research is to go to the Amazon Best Sellers page or use a tool like CamelCamelCamel.

Choose those products that compliment your online store. Make sure the products are between $10 and $50 because these fall within the impulse buying range. Your goal is to get people to make a purchase. Finally, remember you’ll need to create content around these products, so don’t go too much off-brand.

Amazon doesn’t limit the number of affiliate links you can create or use on your site, app, blog, or channel. Your only restriction is your ability or capacity to create content and implement SEO to make sure you can promote these products and maximize your payouts.

What To Do Next

Don’t worry; you never have to pay Amazon for anything as an affiliate. They pay you if you get in and advertise for them.

Once you get approval, Amazon assigns you an Associate ID, and you can create custom affiliate links using tools available to Amazon Associates.

Start earning money by placing these unique links in your blog posts, website, or mobile app for people to click. You earn referral fees when they buy the product, and there’s no catch because you’re already making money.

Starting your online business as an Amazon affiliate is the easy part; the hard part is getting enough people to click on your links and buy products so you can make some real money. Until you’ve managed that, don’t quit your day job.

Visit our page on starting your own e-commerce business to help decide if working with Amazon or building your own business is right for you.

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