Idea Hub Don't miss out on news, deals, and tips. Update your email address today.
English - EN
Learn more ›
United States

Resource Center

Meet an Amazon Associate: Graeme McGaw

Meet an Amazon Associate: Graeme McGaw

We’re partnering with seasoned associates to bring you new ideas and proven strategies for improving your success in the Amazon Associates Program.
My name: Graeme McGraw

My marketplace: I reside in Canada, but market to Amazon customers worldwide.

Associate since: 2006

My focus: Book sales

Fun fact: I host a podcast dedicated to betting on Pro Wrestling

Top 5 marketing tips from a fellow Amazon Associate

I've been making a living as an internet marketer since 1996 and have been an Amazon Associate since 2006.

A lot has changed in that time. In the beginning, words, acronyms, and phrases such as "SEO", "Social Media Marketing" and "Influence" were unheard of. Content management systems such as Wordpress didn't exist, MySpace hadn't even been invented (never mind the likes of Facebook and Twitter) and Comic Sans was far too prevalent.

Despite all the changes, a lot of fundamentals have stayed the same. Amazon invited me to share my Top 5 Tips for helping new and aspiring Amazon Associates get started on the right track. One thing I have learned over the years is that many people are approaching internet marketing with the wrong mindset, or simply missing some of the basics that can make or break a new website.

In this article, I am going to provide tips that should stand the test of time. Tips that helped me back in 1996 when I was launching websites with Geocities covering PC games. These are tips that helped me become one of the biggest online poker affiliates during the "online poker boom" in 2003, and still help me in 2020 when I am sitting down to plan an entirely new website using Amazon as its primary source of income.

Tip 1: Never stop learning. Or relearning.

Prior to launching a website, you'll likely spend time looking into the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media marketing and so on. Learning marketing and SEO isn’t like learning most things in life, this isn't a college course.

Everything is changing and evolving. What works one year may not work the next. This isn't just limited to SEO or social media marketing either. There are new trends, different calls to action that people become more comfortable with, and different ways to present content that might work one year and not work the next.

Website visitors are always evolving too. What satisfied them yesterday might not satisfy them today.

Always be open to education and never stop learning. Even if it's a topic that you are extremely familiar with. Amazon Associates, for example, has a detailed Resource Center. They have articles such as "Designing Your Website or Blog" and "Five Reasons to Start a Blog". I've been doing this for 24 years. Do I really need to read those articles? The answer is yes. Even if I don't believe I will learn anything new, it still is good to reaffirm my current mindset and make sure I am not missing any of the basic fundamentals.

Often, you will be surprised what you actually do pick up from these more "basic" articles and what has actually changed within the fundamentals over time.

Tip 2: Implement geo-targeting.

This is a crucial tip that I see being forgotten time and time again - implementing geo-targeting on a website. What this means is sending people to a different website via your affiliate links based on location.

I reside in Canada, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve searched a topic such as “best protein bars to eat before a run” or “Fathers Day gift ideas” and found Amazon Associates websites that link to Amazon.com. Not only is that a frustrating user experience for me – the associate is missing out directly on my purchase because that’s not where I buy.

Geo-targeting used to be a tough process, but Amazon has made it much easier with their OneLink tool which you can use to send international traffic to the likes of Amazon.de and Amazon.ca seamlessly.

There is no reason not to implement this method of geo-targeting, whether it be via OneLink or an external plugin. It takes just a couple of minutes to sign up at Amazon Associates Germany or Amazon Associates France, and then you can start sending that international traffic to their appropriate marketplace and start earning from their purchases.

More importantly - it improves the user experience on your site which is a big factor in becoming a successful Associate. That person in Glasgow who has just clicked through your link isn't frustrated by ending up on Amazon.com. Instead, they are sent directly to Amazon.co.uk, which is a much better user experience and will make them appreciate your website more. Plus, you’ll actually make money from their purchase.

Tip 3: Track your clicks.

As a webmaster and Amazon Associate, one thing you really need to know is "How exactly am I making money?". It's great when you start seeing those first sales, but if you want to improve on your sales and make even more money, you need to be able to track what links people are clicking within your website.

This can also help increase the user experience greatly.

Call-to-actions (CTAs) are essentially offering up Amazon links for the website visitor to click. "Calling" them to perform an action which is clicking on that link to Amazon.

For example - you run a website dedicated to mystery and thriller book reviews. Within each book review, you have multiple calls to action at the top, middle and bottom of the review that link people to Amazon to purchase this book. You start seeing sales for these books. Great news, right?

However, what part of the website was actually selling people on this particular book? Was it the call to action right at the top? Was it the call to action you placed after the general book description? Or are people waiting until they have read your review before clicking through and purchasing the book? Are they even purchasing the book via that link? Maybe they read your article on "Top 10 Books I read in June" where you gave a brief blurb of the book and linked to the review, and they clicked through based on that blurb and never read the review itself.

Knowing what works is vital in terms of converting more people. It will tell you where on your website you should focus on "selling" to people more, and also allow you to remove sales call-to-actions that aren't working, and thus improve the look and experience of your website.

Depending on how your website is set up, there may be external plugins or software that can help track all of this. Another method that I see implemented often is using multiple tracking IDs via Amazon Associates itself. You could create tracking IDs such as:

• yourwebsite-topcta-20: Tracks calls to action of buttons/links at the top of each article.
• yourwebsite-contentcta-20: Tracks calls to action that are text links within the content.
• yourwebsite-bottomcta-20: Tracks calls to action of buttons/links at the bottom of each article.
• yourwebsite-top10lists-20: Tracks calls to actions from a general "Top 10" list you have written.

You can get very in-depth with tracking, or just do it on a very basic level. You need to be able to track what it is on your website that is actually driving earnings. If that “top10lists” tracking ID ended up making up 70% of your Amazon Associate earnings, then you'd know that writing more "Top 10" lists would increase your overall earnings.

Tip 4: Understand your audience.

One big mistake people make with their websites is not taking the time to understand their audience. Not taking the time to sit down and figure out who is visiting their website, what they are looking for, what they are purchasing, and how you can better serve them is one of the biggest mistakes I see.

Using website tracking software such as Google Analytics is integral in learning more about your audience. You can also use Amazon Associates to learn more about the audience who is looking to purchase a product and get a more in-depth look at the shopper.

Using the "Mystery and Thrillers Book Review" website as an example - I would study my earnings report to see what people are purchasing once they actually reach Amazon. What if I see that 80% of visitors are purchasing the Kindle version of a book? Well, right there I understand that the majority of my readers use a Kindle. So I'd look in the Amazon Associates Featured Promotions and Bounties section to see what I can market to that audience.
Knowing that the majority of my readers have a Kindle, I could promote Kindle Unlimited to them due to the bounty on that and the free one-month trial. I'd then study how that goes and be able to learn from that if my audience is interested in subscribing to Kindle Unlimited or not. Another promotion Amazon offers is 20% off a new Kindle e-reader with trade-in. I could spend some time pouring through the reports and determining when people look to buy Kindles. Perhaps I learn that the biggest sales for Kindles are in June, in preparation for Summer vacations. Using that information, in May and June I could put a strong focus on that trade-in promotion offer, knowing it is more tailored to my audience during that time.
One of the great things about Amazon is we earn based on the products our readers purchase so you can get to know your website visitors better based on what they buy. It may not even be related to the product they click through or your website’s general topic.

Do you notice that your audience seems to be also purchasing power drills and drywall sanders even though your website is tailored to the "best men’s jeans"? Well, now you have an idea of what else your audience is looking for, and you could start running the "Deep Discounts on Open-Box Tools" promotion Amazon offers to drum up sales.

Amazon Associates offers the ability to learn so much about our website visitors and what they are purchasing. Embrace it.

Tip 5: Above all else, satisfy that query.

When people come to your website via search engines or social media, they are searching for something in particular.

You need to give it to them.

If they're searching for the 'best running shoes in 2020", you need to be able to provide them with a list of the best running shoes, tailored to each type of runner.

You need to sell yourself, become an authority in the matter and completely satisfy them.

You need to be the best resource for this user. If they search a phrase and open up 5 different websites, yours is the website you want to be their final query. The website where they close all the other tabs because they have found what they are looking for and they're completely satisfied with what you have given them.

You need to be the best possible resource for the user so that they can give up searching.

They don't need to click on any of the other websites.

They don't need to click back to the search engine and try a different phrase.

They don't need to click the "X" in the tab to close your website as you didn’t satisfy their query.

You've given them the most authoritative page.

A page that has completely satisfied that particular query.

And with that satisfaction, they're left with just one more click to go.

To Amazon.
Share this

What do you think?

Do you have a suggestion or comment about Associates Central website? Let us know.