Jim Discussing This Article On Live Radio In Chicago
If you are a regular reader, you are no doubt aware that I have been involved in the world of Internet marketing for several years now. In the beginning, I was utilizing these Internet money-making concepts for the purpose of earning a living from this blog and my website (ChristianMoney.com). In hindsight now, I am realizing that a mistake I have made is not taking more full advantage of the Amazon Associates affiliate program. Yes, I have taught on this opportunity repeatedly in my workshops, but honestly tended to position it a lot lower on the ladder than it deserved.
Why Amazon Associates May Be The Absolute Best Online Business
For those not familiar with the program, you can get more details at the Amazon Associates site. In a nutshell, Amazon will pay you a percentage of any sales you refer to them. For example, you can simply join the program for free and then start sharing links of items you recommend. You can do this through e mail, your own blog or website, or even through your social media account such as Facebook. The referral fees start at 4% but can be as high as 10% (based on your volume and the particular product category). Commissions are paid out as an Amazon gift card or good old U.S. cash through a direct bank deposit.
If you have never participated in an affiliate opportunity, you may not know that the retailer (in this case Amazon) handles everything for you. You don't have to deal with customer service, refunds, shipping, returns, sales tax, etc... This is why this truly can be an amazing part time or even full time business opportunity.
Where I Missed The Boat
Over the years I considered Amazon Associates to be viable, but not something that I believed could represent a major portion of my income. Why? Based on the commission schedule, I was not convinced that I could generate enough volume for this to represent a significant income stream. What I missed in this entire calculation was the Amazon 24 Hour Cookie.
In recent months as I have begun promoting Amazon product links more frequently on my website and blog, I noticed something weird happening. As I logged into my account dashboard I saw dozens of purchases I was receiving commission credit for that I never promoted. I was getting paid on all of these purchases but I had to scratch my head wondering why. I knew that there was some kind of arrangement where Amazon would pay out on other purchases when one of my links were clicked, but I was pretty fuzzy on the details of how that worked.
The Amazon 24 Hour Cookie
When someone clicks on one of my product links it places a small file on their computer (known as a cookie). Of course, Amazon will pay me my percentage if that particular item is purchased, but there is a much bigger opportunity here as well. Amazon will also pay me on any other purchase that this person makes within a 24 hour period. Once I really understood this it was a complete game changer for me. In fact, it does not even matter if the item I am promoting is actually purchased or not! The key is simply getting my link clicked on and then I make my percentage on everything that this person buys over the next 24 hours on Amazon.
Why The 24 Hour Window Is So Valuable
Almost everyone these days buys from Amazon. In my own case, I buy everything from groceries to books to computers... Amazon is great at selling you once you get on their website with all of those product recommendations (are they reading my mind?). Whether it is the great prices, the legendary customer service and return policies, or the free shipping program, it is hard to resist buying something when you are browsing their site. The more people you send to Amazon the more chances you have to make money. So, imagine recommending a book or movie with a link you post on Facebook and getting the commission on a $500 computer purchase. Well, it happens to me all of the time. In fact, there are strategic times during the year that this works especially well. Of course, during the Christmas shopping season, but also around Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Father's Day, and graduation season (just to name a few).
How You Can Get Started Today
The best book I have read on this topic is How To Make Money As An Amazon Associate by Chris Guthrie. Another training I really like is Easy Azon. What is unique about this program is that it teaches you how to set up so called niche websites. There are some really amazing things you can do if you set up a website dedicated to a particular niche product category (e.g. Christian books, exercise equipment, nutritional supplements, etc...). Another way to set up your own Amazon online store is with Associate-O-Matic.
Examples Of How You Might Approach This
You can simply post links to products you recommend on your Facebook and other social media. Some people start blogs where they write product reviews and include their Amazon links there. In other cases, some will start websites focusing on a particular product niche. For example, I have seen many Christians start Christian online bookstores, while others start websites based on a hobby. There is no 'one size fits' all way to work with Amazon Associates. You can go as far as your imagination will take you.
Retiring On Amazon Income
You might laugh, but part of my retirement plan is to live partially on income from the Amazon Associates program. Many of the webpages and blog articles I have created will continue to generate income for years to come. Yes, the work you do once can pay you over and over again using many of these linking strategies. You might even laugh more when I tell you that my Internet income is even planned out in my Will and Trust (yes, it even continues after I go on to my eternal reward).
*** One important note: When you recommend something online, you should always disclose to your friends and followers that you are earning money from your link (FTC rules click here). See my own disclosure in the right hand sidebar of this blog. Even if this was not required, I think it is the right thing to do as a Christian anyway.
Helping you make the most of God's Money!