Author: Will Blears

by Will Blears Will Blears 12 Comments

Potential Course/Mastermind Update

I’ve been doing some significant thinking after the response I got on FB when I asked if anyone would be interested in a private FB group / live case study thing. Well, I’ve almost come to a decision and before you go on and read, let me just highlight that it will be significantly limited (20-25 people) and priced quite high. I just want to tell people this now before you continue reading as my original post on FB never mentioned a price or limited spaces.
 
Initially, I am looking at doing a private mastermind for 20-25 people, all of which would need vetting (not sure how yet) to ensure they’re action takers and not time wasters.
 
In the mastermind, they’d get access to one live case study (happening in real time) as well as the data/results for two additional case studies which would follow the exact same strategy but these last two would be private (again in real time).
 
The mastermind would officially last 6 months and would include:
 
Private FB Group
Skype Mastermind and potentially weekly calls (or hangouts which could also be recorded for those who can’t make it)
Video Recordings of the entire process as well as access to the first case study site so you can see how I set up the site, design, layout e.t.c
 
A few Q&A:
 
Why only 20-25 people? I want to be able to work with these people directly and I can’t work with more than this, it would be too crazy.
 
Why make the last two sites private? The wrong question, it’s more a case of ‘why three?’ well, there is strength in numbers, I know by now that not every site is a success so by doing three sites I am increasing the chances that one of them is a success.
 
What’s the end goal? For the case studies, it’d be that one of the sites hits $500 a month. For the members, it would be that they hit their goals (which we can discuss together prior to beginning). This could be going from $1k to $2.5k or starting a new site and hitting $500 or multiplying conversion rates by xx% or growing a site by $xxx
 
As well as this, it’s knowledge – everyone does things differently, I am not the best but I’ve done pretty good. I’d say my strengths lie in finding markets, setting up sites and on-page optimization (both SEO and conversion rate) and my weaknesses are off page SEO – so for anyone looking for awesome link building strategies, then I am definitely not the person to listen to ;D
 
Now for the not so fun part…price
 
This is difficult for me, it needs to be a figure that is both affordable for some, but also consciously seen as an investment – I won’t be accepting just anyone, at the end of the day this is the first time I will be doing something like this so I need members who take action, I want members who take action, I don’t want anyone who is simply going to read and then not act. That’s partially why I want to do things via FB and Skype, it’s more interactive and allows me to catch up with people to see how they’re doing.
Also, as this is the first time I am doing this – I need you to take action, as I need you to be successful, if I ever want to do something like this in the future I need the members to see results and that won’t happen unless you take action.

So, the price – it would be around $1,000 for the entire time, I think this is a good price for beginners who are ready to take things seriously and also those who have maybe tried and failed and maybe have one or two sites hitting a few hundred per month. This probably wouldn’t be for those making mid four figures plus per month, sure you would be able to see how I do things and probably apply that to your own sites, but I’d just be worried you might not get enough out of it.

If you are interested, even at this price point – then please comment below (interested) and if you have any questions then again fire away below, this is not a 100% confirmed plan, still building the idea and would love for everyone’s feedback.
by Will Blears Will Blears 6 Comments

How I increased revenue by 86% in just one month!

INCREASING AFFILIATE INCOME

Update: Totally forgot to mention this but two added benefits of working with affiliate networks/programs and brands directly are 1. payment terms can be negotiated and often are more efficient than Amazon’s 60 days. 2. Cookie length is generally 30 days, and again can be negotiated, I think I have 180 days and lifetime on some of the offers I am promoting.

In late February, Amazon surprised the world of associates with news that they would be revamping their commission structure which in many cases meant a significant reduction in monthly revenue (20 – 40% reductions for larger affiliates seems the norm). After doing some quick math, it appeared that I’d be one of the more fortunate associates as the majority of my sales lie within the home sector which only saw commission reductions of 0.5%, which meant I would be seeing an 8-10% monthly reduction in revenue. Comparing this to friends of mine who were forecasting losses of 20 – 40% I felt lucky, but I was still pissed – 10% is still 10%…and I did not want to accept that my business would suffer a loss at all.

So, instead of sitting there crying about it, I began working on ways to counter this forecasted loss. In fact, I must highlight that I was already looking at ways of diversifying my income, even before Amazon released the news. I had taken very little action, but the plan was in place to roll out throughout the upcoming months, the Amazon announcement simply forced me to take action much quicker and I am so glad I did.

In this post, I am going to discuss exactly what I did – now before I get into it I must mention that this strategy won’t work across all Amazon Associate websites. As of right now, I’ve only done this on one of my websites and I know that it won’t even be worth trying on a few of my other sites. Having said that, this isn’t the only way of diversifying and multiplying income. For example, publishing and selling your own digital guide may be a fantastic strategy for some Amazon Associate websites, Google Adsense, CPA offers, selling leads e.t.c there is a whole array of options available it all depends on the niche.

Common Misconceptions

Before I get into the specifics, I think it’s worth discussing a few common misconceptions that Amazon Associates seem to have about diversifying their website’s income.

  • The classic ‘nothing converts as good as Amazon’ is complete bullshit…

Sure, Amazon can and very often does convert very well, it is not rare to see conversion rates of 10% or 15%, especially on niche websites. However, the same can be said for driving visitors to other niche specific retailers, in fact in some cases the conversion rates are even higher.

Why?

Well, think about it – if you have a website about fishing, I think it would be fair to say that most of your visitors are going to be avid fishermen, even if they’re beginners they are going to be aware of the main fishing brands. If you then go ahead and recommend a fishing reel, let’s say an Abu reel (it’s a brand of fishing reel) then the visitors might expect you to send them to Abu’s website, not Amazon – when they land on the Abu website they’re immediately comfortable, they’re in the hands of ‘fishing experts’ a well-known, established brand and as long as they (Abu) have their shit together from an E-commerce perspective it’s likely that recommendation you made will land you a sale.

All I am saying is, niche sites can definitely convert significantly better when directing people to brand specific retail websites and not Amazon – it doesn’t always work, but it can work.

I guess the main pitfalls are that retailer websites might not have an affiliate program, if they do it might be utter garbage, their retail site might look and function like it was built in the 90s. However, if all looks well, the affiliate program is competitive and the E-com side of things is good then try it out!

  • You make so much more money on other items you sell…

Speaking from experience at least for me this has been another load of bullshit – I will say I definitely noticed I sold more random stuff when I was a smaller affiliate when I had fewer orders per day but I think that was simply because I noticed it more. Nowadays, most of my sales are highly related to the niches I am in, I, of course, get the odd few random sales but nothing worth shouting about, the majority of times it’s some random small value shit and then once in a blue moon some customer goes crazy and spends his life’s savings.

Let’s talk money…

Before we dig into the how and why let me just cover the revenue figures for the site we’re discussing in this post.

Prior to Amazon changing their commission structure, all of my product recommendations went directly through Amazon and Amazon Associates was my only source of revenue. Below you will see my revenue earnings for February, March, and April forecasted.

February (prior to Amazon changes)

Amazon Associates – $17,760.55

Total – $17,760.55

March (after Amazon changes)

Amazon Associates – $15,981.64

Other affiliate programs – $17,205.00

Total – $33,186.64

As you can see from the above, my Amazon Associates income dropped by 10% in March compared to February, however, my total income increased by a whopping 86.85%.

Note: I only added other affiliate programs to the site from the 10th March, so these figures don’t even represent an entire month.

To add perspective, this is my forecast for April:

Amazon Associates – $12,171.09

Other affiliate programs – $28,461.60

Total – $40,632.69

All in all, if you look at the growth from February to April (forecasted) that’s an increase in revenue of 128% which in all honesty is fucking ridiculous, obscene, ludicrous.

So, how the heck did I do this?

Let’s find out… be warned, there is no major secret, crazy strategy, it just entails a bit of business know-how and common sense.

It all began at the start of the year, the site has been performing very well, however, I was missing out on a large portion of the market which did not sell on Amazon. I knew at some point I was going to have to begin reaching out to these companies and start establishing direct relationships with each and every brand and try to come to a deal for me to review and recommend their products on my website.

Side note: it may come to a surprise to some of you, that not every company wants to sell on Amazon, it’s definitely worth researching the main brands in your market and to see whether or not they list their products on Amazon. Also, if they do – do they actively promote their own Amazon listings, some companies have a product placement on Amazon but don’t actively promote it – usually they have very few reviews, it’s out of stock or its priced higher than their own site price.

Throughout January & February, I created an Excel document which listed all of the main brands in the market, whether or not I could sell their products via Amazon and also included other information such as:

  • Brand URL
  • Affiliate program (direct or through an affiliate platform)
  • Commission rate (commission % or flat fee)
  • Contact address (E-mail / Contact form)

In many cases, the commissions offered by these companies were significantly less than Amazon (pre-Amazon commission changes) so you can kind of see why I didn’t pursue it with haste. However, when the rumors began being released about the Amazon commission changes, I did begin to brick it, thinking the end of the world was coming. I then decided to begin taking action, many of the brands on the list were part of a handful of affiliate platforms such as:

Most of these platforms (I think all) I had accounts already set up on due to previous offers I promoted on a toy website I used to run, so I was familiar with the interface and I also didn’t need to wait for manual approval. If they weren’t part of an affiliate network, they either ran a public affiliate program directly from their own website or appeared to not have an affiliate program at all.

Side Note: I said appeared to not have, doesn’t mean they do not have – I found that several brands had private affiliate programs which were not publicly promoted but were easily accessible once you contacted the brand directly. Basically, they just want to ensure they can assess and manage the quality of their affiliates, it also allows the brand to easily manage the messaging as well as where affiliates promote and display the brand, gives the brand significantly more control.

I requested to join their affiliate programs via the platforms or messaged them directly with an E-mail that followed a similar template as follows:

Hi there,

I am the founder of xxxxxx.com and we’d love to review and potentially recommend your product on our website. We currently receive xx,xxx organic visitors per month and we’re growing at a significant rate. To date, we’ve sold more than xx,xxx products and are currently top affiliates for xxxx brand and xxxxx brand.

If this is something you may be interested in then please get in contact with me.

Thank you.

Key Points

  • Always mention their competitors and the fact that you are promoting them and selling their products.
  • Always mention traffic stats, brands love traffic stats.
  • Always E-mail from yourname@xxxx.com, not a Gmail or Hotmail or some other email messaging service.
  • Always include a professional E-mail signature with logo, position e.t.c

Once I had begun a dialogue with the brands I continued to E-mail them, discussing partnership opportunities such as free swag for competitions, free swag to review, other products they have that I might be able to review and promote and most importantly negotiating the commission.

Fuck, we need an H2 tag for this: Negotiating Commissions

Joining affiliate programs is easy, adding links on your website is easy but what most affiliates forget to do is negotiate commissions, especially Amazon Associates. We’ve never had the opportunity to negotiate before and most people automatically assume if a brand is offering 5% then that’s what they’re offering, no less and no more, right? Wrong.

You should always ask for more – what can they do for you? It’s you who is in the driver’s seat, you don’t need them, they need you and don’t you forget it. Now the way you go about negotiating really depends on what leverage you have at your disposal.

If you have an established site selling a considerable amount of products, they’re competitors products (even better) then you have solid leverage. If you have huge organic and targeted traffic = huge leverage. If you have a large, highly engaged social following = huge leverage. Use this, simply contact the brand and discuss the possibilities of increased commissions, whether it be increasing the standard commission from 5% to 7.5% or adding in performance-based tiers for hitting xx number of products sold in any given month or adding a fixed fee bonus for hitting xx number of products, discuss them all. The important thing is asking if you don’t ask you don’t get.

What have I been able to negotiate?

So far, I’ve been able to negotiate a few commission increases from standard commissions of 5% to 8% or 10% to 12% and fixed fees from $50 to $75 or $100 to $150. However, my biggest win so far has been negotiating commissions from $100 to $150 and then negotiating further an additional commission based on volume, not much just another $5 per sale for every additional unit above xx and then another $5 on top of that above xx. Interestingly, we’re now discussing additional flat fee bonuses to be added when hitting xxx number of units sold. All in all, these negotiations have probably banked me a further 25% of my revenue and if the flat fee bonuses get implemented next month, that will no doubt be another 10% on top of what I am currently earning.

The never discussed bonus of promoting products outside of Amazon

I don’t think I’ve ever come across someone that’s discussed the really awesome added benefit of promoting products that are not listed on Amazon. What’s that I hear you saying, well the fact that every other man and his fucking dog are not promoting the product.

If it’s not on Amazon, then it’s more than likely that those 100,000 other Amazon Associates are not all writing about how it’s the bees fucking knees of coffee grinders or kitchen knives or blenders or whatever else it is you promote.

What I am trying to say is that from an organic SEO perspective, it’s significantly less competitive which means you rise above the shit quicker and reach the top where the air is crisp. OK, so I am just chatting a bit of shit now but you get the idea.

Not on Amazon = less competition = easier to rank = more monies for you

And that’s it…simple as that folks!

No jaw dropping secrets here, just basic business.

As I said at the beginning of the post, this won’t work for every market – but I can guarantee there is a way of diversifying income and multiplying revenue no matter the niche, sometimes you just have to get more creative.

Questions

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you asap, also be sure to join the Facebook group!

by Will Blears Will Blears 10 Comments

Authority Site Project – Month 13

authority site project month 13

Welcome back to the thirteenth month of the authority site project.

If this is the first time you are reading my authority site project then check out the first post which explains the strategy and the long-term goals, you can read it right here.

There have been some huge changes in March which have massively affected the site’s performance, I am talking about Amazon commission changes and also Google updates. In this update, I am going to discuss how these changes have negatively affected the site and what I am going to do about it, but first, let’s have a look at performance for March 2017.

March 2017 Amazon Associates Commissions

In March, the decline in revenue continued as I hit $1,669.92 compared to February’s $3,472.07 a 51% MOM reduction.

PPC Costs

OK, so I must confess – I made a huge mistake in March when managing my PPC activity, which I hate to admit, especially considering I am an expert when it comes to PPC advertising. What happened? Well, I re-activated approximately 50 inactive campaigns which I forgot were still using a bid strategy which I was testing months ago. That bid strategy combined with an old shared budget on an account level meant over three days (when I wasn’t even watching the account) I spent just under £700 with no increase in conversions, I burnt through £700 with zero return, extremely painful. However, it just goes to show that even an experienced PPC advertiser can make rookie mistakes when they take their eye off the ball.

Due to this stupid error, I managed to actually make a loss in March, how embarrassing >_<

PPCCostsMarch2017

Last month I mentioned that PPC activity was down month on month and this is true, except for those three days of silliness, the average daily traffic from PPC activity was less than 400 clicks compared to February where I was hitting 1,000 clicks per day. I’ve continued to reduce PPC activity, and I’ve paused the activity in April whilst the developer and I work on the website as we’ve had a few database outages and a few downtimes this month due to all the heavy lifting and the database just exploding with too much data, ha. Hopefully, in May we can re-launch activity though, with a completely overhauled site (although it might get into June before we can launch).

SEO Activity

As I write this, I am actually becoming a little depressed lol – March was such a shit month for this project.

So, on top of the Amazon commission changes which have reduced my revenue for this project by 30-40% month on month based on the commissions, as this site had a lot of electronics, kitchen appliance, tools and sports sales. The Google update also screwed me big time.

Amazon Authority Site Organic Traffic March 2017

As you can see from the above screenshot taken from Google Search Console for the month of March 2017 – the decline in organic traffic hit began just after the 12th March and continued all throughout March and has continued in April. This aligns with the Google update everyone has been discussing that took place at the beginning of March. Although, no one knows for sure what that update targeted I don’t believe my site was targeted for link building activities.

With regards to this specific site, I think the issue lies with a number of pages which have zero content or zero content above the fold. The website’s current design means that above the fold there is simply a title and a comparison table and on those pages which do have content this is below the fold. I honestly think that’s what Google has penalized my site for, which in my opinion is completely understandable.

The new site design is going to hopefully remove these issues, I just wish I had the design implemented months ago, unfortunately, business isn’t always as simple as it might seem. Therefore, I will have to bite the bullet and be patient, I am building more links to the site but very few are from PBNs, most are guest posts, press releases, social signals and web 2.0 links.

Once the new site design is live I can also focus on adding even more unique content to the site and above the fold as well as within the tables themselves.

April Action Plan

In April, my focus has been getting the backend of the website completed, as I mentioned in March’s update this included 634 pages which needed amendments, this has all been done now. I am just waiting for the developer to finish coding all of the unique page templates (I think there are about 10) and then we can begin putting the new site live.

Apart from this, I am not doing anything on the website, I might get a few backlinks built to the home page. However, I’d prefer to wait until the new site design is live and then see how Google takes the change.

That’s all for this month guys, I hope you enjoyed it – please leave any questions you might have below!

by Will Blears Will Blears 6 Comments

Authority Site Project – Month 12

authority site project month 12

Welcome back to the twelfth month of the authority site project.

If this is the first time you are reading my authority site project then check out the first post which explains the strategy and the long-term goals, you can read it right here.

Apologies for the delay in writing this, as most people will be aware there have been lots of changes taking place throughout the month of March, Amazon changing their commission structure being one of the biggest. Fortunately, we were able to get a decent month of revenue in the bag before those changes went into action.

AmazonCommissionFebruary2017

In February I managed to generate $3,472.07 in commission from Amazon Associates, a slight reduction from January which generated $4,777.15 however, I am still happy with the progress.

PPC Costs

If you have been following this case study you will know that for the past few months I’ve been actively driving traffic via Google Adwords. The cost of this activity in February was $2,179.93 which brings my net commission (after PPC costs) to $1,292.14.

PPC Activity Metrics for February

In February the PPC campaign generated a total 25,113 clicks compared to 36,905 clicks in January 2017. This reduction in clicks and cost ($3,179.94 – $2.179.93) directly impacted the total commission I generated. The main reason that PPC activity reduced so much was due to me hiring a web developer and beginning work on the second phase of the site design and backend development. As well as the fact the site is running like dog shit right now, it’s awfully slow and just a heap of shit ha.

It’s the 22nd March whilst I write this, trust me – March numbers are down drastically due to how slow the site is, but we can discuss this next month!

AmazonCommissionPPCCost

You can see from the graph above, whilst commission is down, the cost is down at a similar level as January, therefore our profit margins haven’t been drastically affected by the poor site performance.

SEO Activity

I honestly don’t want to speak about SEO activity right now… it’s not good.

seo traffic authority site project

This graph isn’t up to date, it’s now the 22nd March and this screenshot above is a custom date range to the end of February 2017. As you can see from the above it looks pretty healthy, no huge increases, no huge decreases – consistent growth, as slow as it might be, progress is being made. The average position (green line) is such a shit metric, I really should remove it from these graphs as its very misleading.

The positive from this screenshot is that impressions and clicks are on the up with us seeing a peak on the 26th February 2017 at 285 clicks. During February, I hired a guy to help build authority links from sites like dzone.com and several other business/tech related sites. Unfortunately, dzone.com has now switched to no follow, same as HuffingtonPost and many other sites – it appears a lot of big authority sites are switching at the moment.

March Action Plan

  • Link Building – yes more of this, I am currently targeting 6 key pages for ‘best xxxx’ type keywords this includes web 2.0 links, press releases, guest posts and social signals. I am also continuing to build authority links to the home page to help increase the overall site authority & strength.
  • Web Development – the developer has now added a few new backend features which allow me to have more control over the product selection for the comparison pages. Unfortunately for me, I now need to go through 634 pages and manually change every product on every page, that’s 634 pages x 10 products = 6,340 products on a site which is nicknamed turtle because of its speed. It’s just one of those things, for progress to be made, sacrifices need to be made and the sacrifice I am making in this endeavor is definitely time. In March the web developer will begin coding the design, this will take 3-4 weeks due to their being so many different unique elements in the design.

That’s all for this month – just a quick note I have a few random posts I am going to be doing soon, including a very interesting post on how I’ve managed to triple my revenue after Amazon changed their commission structure, so be sure to subscribe to the site and also join our group!

If you have any questions, just leave a comment below and I will reply as soon as possible.

by Will Blears Will Blears 21 Comments

BIG NEWS – Amazon US Commission Changes – Removing Volume-Based Commission Model

Amazon US Commission Changes

So the rumors were true, Amazon Associates US are changing their commission structure after all.

This announcement comes off the back of multiple stories of people getting contacted directly by Amazon Associate employees to discuss changes to their commission structures, including a few friends of my own. The changes that are being made are big and bold and will certainly change the nature of the game drastically and have a significant impact on the niches that Amazon Associate affiliates choose going forward.

What are these changes?

Amazon US are scrapping the entire volume based model; you will no longer begin at 4% and have the capacity of hitting 8.5% commission rate each month based on the volume of sales you generate. Instead, Amazon is putting into place category specific commission ratesmost of which are under the 8.5% top tier which many full-time affiliates have been enjoying for the past several years.

You can see the official changes on Amazon’s operating page here: new vs. old

Let’s compare the changes

Amazon Associates Commission Changes

Amazon Associates old and new

I’ve put together the comparison chart above which illustrates the changes in commission rates.

Note: to explain the columns in the old row which have a dash (-) mean they are new categories and were more than likely, previously a part of the volume tier model (4% – 8.5%).

The columns with a dash (-) in the new row are no longer there; they may have been merged with other categories or are now under the ‘all other categories’ category at the bottom of the table.

Remember: the old volume-based model was exclusive of the categories noted in the column named ‘old’ above. This means that if you sold a graphics card under the old model, you would have received 2.5% commission which is equal to the new model. However, if you would have sold a lego box set, you would have received between 4% & 8.5% commission (depending on how many sales you generated throughout the month) compared to the new model which means you would only generate 3% commission.

This is the old volume-based model:

Amazon Associates volume based model

This is being completely scrapped this commission model will no longer be in action from the 1st March 2017, and you will instead have category based commissions as you can see in my illustration above.

Why is Amazon making these changes?

Honestly, no one knows, and no one is ever going to know the real reason. Once the official E-mail is sent from Amazon, perhaps they will give us a reason, perhaps not – even if they do it could (and most likely will) be some bullshit. So, let’s just forget the why and move on.

Note: before people start whining and saying things like ‘Amazon hates affiliates, they are pushing us away e.t.c, that’s bollocks, they wouldn’t go ahead and invest time and money into the Amazon Associates interface, sponsored advertisements or the official WordPress plugin. They are a business at the end of the day, a business which until recently has never made a profit, so they’re entitled to make changes, as much as we may hate them for it.

Since the birth of Amazon, it has been 100% focused on growth, what better way to grow an online retailer than to lure an army of affiliates into the program by offering them commission rates which tickle us in places we would rather not talk about!

What do I think of these changes?

While scrutinizing some of the changes drops in commissions I’ve seen quite a few which have taken me by surprise.

Let me begin with things that haven’t surprised me:

Toys, PC & PC Components, Televisions – the margins as a business on these are pretty tight already, so Amazon was doing huge favours in the toy market with the whopping 8.5% commissions (for people hitting the highest tier) I highly doubt they were making much money (if any) in this category with the volume based tier. So, it does not surprise me that toys have dropped to 3% and the same goes for PC’s which were previously included in the volume tier model but capped at $25.

Side note: it makes me lol that Amazon have added a category for Amazon Gift Cards & Wine at an incredibly tempting 0.00% >_<

Outdoor & Kitchen – I am quite surprised that Amazon created a specific category for Outdoor and reduced it to 5% from the previous volume tier model (4% – 8.5%). I would have thought the margins on outdoor products would be sustainable at a higher commission rate than 5%. Also surprising is the Kitchen category, I thought that would have been higher than 4.5% this is going to hurt a lot of people since Outdoor & Kitchen are both incredibly popular for affiliates.

Home & Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden & Pet Products – on the other side of things, I am massively surprised that this category has been given an 8% commission rate.

However, behind every decision that Amazon has made when creating this new commission model, there is a reason.

Let’s speculate

I think we can all agree that Amazon has one of the biggest and best selections of products in the kitchen and outdoor market, with a huge amount of FBA sellers in both markets which have helped Amazon offer products at significantly lower prices than many of it’s competitors. With this being said, I think Amazon understand that no other online retailer can compete on a mass scale in these markets. Sure, there are more specialist retailers for outdoor products (fishing retailers, camping retailers, hunting retailers) but Amazon is going for mass market, no one can compete.

Another point to made, going back to the FBA sellers for Kitchen & Outdoor products, I think people are less brand loyal. When it comes to purchasing a tin opener, wine glasses, knife sharpeners, tents, camping seats, flashlights, most people are not going to be bothered what brand name is on the product you simply want the best for the most affordable price and Amazon does a fantastic job at offering you this.

However, if we now discuss the home & home improvement market I think this is where consumer perceptions change, if you are looking for a sofa you may want to test it out, which means researching offline and this also means you may purchase offline (easier to organise delivery, potentially better offers in store) and if you decide to purchase online then you want one of the products you have already tested in the store in which case you go to the stores online shop or direct to the retailer. This isn’t just the case for sofas, but any home furniture.

Then you also have things like the wood grains, the quality of finish – all of which are incredibly difficult to gauge online, then you also think about lighting, how subjective is lighting, a floor lamp that I like due to its retro design may be completely opposite to your chic style. You don’t get subjective when looking for a tent or a set of kitchen knives or a garlic press.

I think by now you understand my point, there are significantly more important factors at play with the home and home improvement market so I can understand (whilst being surprised) why Amazon have opted for the higher commission rate here, there is still a lot of room to grow in that market.

With regards to the pet products market, I am not as sure about this, my speculation begs me to consider that similar to the UK, there are a few large online pet retailers who dominate the market. Pet owners do tend to be quite brand loyal, especially if they find food, treats, toys from a particular brand which get a unique and positive reaction from their pets, I’d go out on a whim here and say that Pet owners are more inclined to pay for a particular brand vs. generic products.

I also know from family and friends experiences that pet products do differentiate massively in regards to quality based on brand, so taking into account pet owners may be more brand loyal there maybe a few big online pet retailers who stock particular brands then again I can see why Amazon want to offer affiliates a good incentive to start a pet website to help take a larger share of this market.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about why Amazon has chosen certain commission rates for certain categories, whether you think they’re higher or lower than what you think they should be offering, please share in the comment section below!

Will other online retailers take advantage of this?

This is an interesting question, I don’t think there are any online retailers as large as Amazon, that cover as many product categories while offering such an efficient service (think Amazon Prime, competitive prices) that can take advantage or compete with Amazon, even at a higher commission rate.

However, one definitely comes to mind that might try… jet.com, they are owned by Walmart and they’ve been very loud and public about wanting to increase their online market share and they’ve done a pretty good job so far in taking action and doing that – 29% increase in Q4 2016.

How will these changes affect my earnings?

For those of you who are interested, I’ve not yet accurately calculated the reduction in monthly income, I forecast that I will see reductions of 15-20% revenue. However, I am not just going to sit back and take the hit, since I originally heard about the rumored changes I’ve been researching and contacting retailers directly regarding affiliate programs and I’ve been offered some pretty fantastic commission rates and bonuses so far.

What should you do?

If you are an established Amazon affiliate and are already earning four or five figures per month then follow my suggestions below:

Step 1 – Analyse your sales data

Go into your Amazon Associates account and begin analysing last months sales data, if you have one or two authority sites you will no doubt find a handful of products you sell consistently. Highlight these, then begin to research those brands behind the products, find out if they have E-commerce websites, if so then contact the company. In the E-mail, mention that you already sell xxx number of their products via Amazon and that you would love to do a deal directly.

This a win-win situation for both you and the brand, they win by removing Amazon from the equation, automatically recouping at least 7% on their margins, meanwhile they will be able to offer you a better deal than what Amazon can offer you as well as potentially offering you bonuses for hitting xxx number of sales.

Another benefit is the communication, the networking and the relationship that you can now build with said brand. This is absolutely massive in terms of moving your business forward (yes your website is a business) you can begin discussing marketing ideas with the company, perhaps they could mention you on their website with a quote from you on how good the product is. You can of course get free samples to review and also consider doing competitors to your social audience (haven’t got one, now is the time to build one) which will help attract more people to your brand, allow you to grow your social following and for the company it helps build brand awareness and of course helps with your own brand credibility.

Step 2 – Look outside of Amazon

This a biggie – until now, almost every Amazon Affiliate has solely focused on promoting products that are on Amazon’s website. Why? Because it’s fucking easy and most affiliates are fucking lazy, simple.

Well, if you don’t want to go and crawl back to your boss and ask for your old job, then it’s time to get your finger out of your ass and shift your weight. If you want to make more money then start acting like it, we’ve been very fortunate in that Amazon has made it so incredibly easy for us to make money, just rinse and repeat.

With these changes come opportunities and some of these opportunities were always there…

Have you ever done keyword research and found a load of searches for a product that isn’t on Amazon and just said fuck it, I am not going out of my way to join another affiliate program or contacting this company to try and rank in Google for a product that isn’t even on Amazon.

Honestly, I am 100% sure every market is full of these products – now is the time to begin setting up pages and promoting these products too!

It’s time to diversify

For example, if you sell coffee machines – believe it or not, Amazon isn’t the only company that sells coffee machines, and some big coffee machine companies don’t even use Amazon to sell their machines. So, get in contact with these companies, similar to step 1, but this time talk about their competitors who you’re selling xxx number of products a month, and you’d love to sell their machines as well.

If you are not an established Amazon affiliate and you are just starting out, then of course look at the categories with the higher commission rate, but also note that these categories are going to be significantly more competitive than other categories because the incentives are higher. So don’t just look at the category commission, but also consider what the AOV of a product would be in that market 2.5% of $500 is much better than 6% of $100 and also do the normal market research, competitor analysis, and keyword research that we should always do before entering a market.

Wrap it up

I am going to wrap this up now, we’re at 2,200 words, and it’s getting a bit crazy – I am going to be blogging more frequently now and also going to try and finish of the Youtube series I began and also start some other shit, so watch this space! Oh also, I am going to be writing a post on ‘life outside of Amazon Associates, opportunities for entrepreneurs’ which will discuss things like dropshipping, FBA, lead generation as well as those old school methods like digital products (Clickbank) e.t.c

P.S. Sorry to cut the post short, there is so much I could write about, but I don’t want to overwhelm people or jump around too much.

Please share this post and comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts about these changes.

by Will Blears Will Blears 8 Comments

Amazon US rumoured to be changing to a category based commission structure

amazon and your doneWord on the street: Amazon may change to a fixed category commission, rather than their current volume-based commission tier (similar to the UK).
 
A few friends of mine have been contacted by Amazon reps informing them that their commission structure will be switched to a category based commission on the 1st March 2017.
 
Now it appears, a thread on WF (link) is also suggesting the same if this does happen it will have a greater impact on those like myself who already achieve the 8.5% commission tier each month. For example, if you predominately promote and sell products in the home category and are currently hitting 8.5%, if this changes to the same commission structure as the UK then this will be reduced to 5%. If that did happen you would go from $8,500 per $100,000 of revenue to $5,000, that’s a huge drop.
US Amazon commission structure (currently)
amazon associates us commission structure
UK Amazon commission structure
amazon uk commission structure

Personally, I am not 100% sure if this will happen on the 1st March 2017 for everyone, if Amazon reps are contacting certain people individually then it suggests to me that they maybe rolling it out to a smaller number of affiliates first to examine the impact. On the other hand, they could just be telling a few affiliates first and letting it spread via word of mouth, as it is doing right now.

I don’t think there telling just the biggest affiliates first as one of my friends is generally on a similar revenue as myself (except for Christmas), so if they were targeting certain tier affiliates then would have probably contacted me as well.

Does Amazon care about its affiliates anymore?

Yes, obviously they do – they’ve invested a significant amount of time and money into the Amazon Associates platform throughout 2016 and continue to do so in 2017 with the interface updates, shopping ads and their latest update the official WordPress plugin, and there is more to come.

This change, if it does happen is obviously just motivated by Amazon’s margins, but what annoys me is that they already charge sellers 6.5% as a referral fee when they sell on Amazon, so they’re covered up to 6.5% on every single sale from a third party vendor. If we just assumed 25% of sales were generated via affiliates then they’d be covered by the 6.5% they charge sellers.

Is changing to a category based model the best idea?

No, it’s not – if they want to increase their margins and have the least impact on their affiliates then perhaps change to a revenue-based model, rather than a volume based model – this way they can ensure their affiliates are motivated to seek out higher ticket items (those which make Amazon a higher percentage based on their own Amazon seller fees). Meanwhile, it ensures affiliates are not getting 8.5% commissions on small, low margin items.

If this happens, what’s my plan of action?

Whether this happens or not, next week I will be downloading all of my sales data and highlighting any singular brands where I sell a lot of products. I will then research if that company sells directly and also if they have an affiliate program, if so then I will make contact with each company and begin negotiating commissions if I were to sell directly. We may as well be prepared for the worst case scenario!

Note: I just threw this article together very quickly, I am entertaining guests tonight, so I am supposed to be cooking dinner right now. I will update this tomorrow with a larger, more in-depth reaction and look at this potential change. For now though, please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

by Will Blears Will Blears 11 Comments

Authority Site Project – Month 11

authority site project month 11

Welcome back to the eleventh month of the authority site project.

If this is the first time you are reading my authority site project then check out the first post which explains the strategy and the long-term goals, you can read it right here.

OK scrap quarterly updates, we’re going to continue with monthly updates, not every update will have a lot of golden tips, but at least you will be able to follow along and perhaps find a nugget or two of information amongst them all!

Commission-January-2017

Fortunately, the growth continues! Unfortunately, it’s not from organic traffic.

In January I generated $4,777.15 in commission from Amazon, compared to December’s $3,706.58 giving me an extra $1,070.57 in commission. But at what cost?

Well, the cost was high – the PPC spend for January is a whopping $3,179.74 on compared to December’s PPC spend of $915.71 that’s $2,264.03 more in spend. Whilst I didn’t generate as much profit (after PPC cost) in January as I did in December, it was all purposely done. Sure, I’d loved to have that commission without spending so much on PPC, it just wasn’t realistic. There were a few reasons I decided to ramp up spend and those are:

  • Data – increasing spend on PPC gives me a vast amount of keyword data to explore
  • Limits – I wanted to see what my limits were and what sort of margins I had, basically where my break even point was.
  • Commissions – Sure, I was spending more money but I was going to generate a profit so I am happy.

Interestingly, off the back of the PPC activity I was able to get a whitehat backlink, someone found my site and added it as a source to their website, they forgot to remove the gclid (Google Adwords auto-tagging) so I knew they had entered my site via a PPC advertisement.

Not only this, but I’ve also seen brand related searches appearing in Google Search Console, so I am also thinking that with the level of traffic I am generating via PPC, people are actually beginning to search for my brand after entering my site via PPC – brand awareness in play!

PPC Activity Metrics for January

In January, the PPC campaign generated a total 36,905 clicks compared to 12,854 clicks in December 2016. The increase in clicks is an effect of increased daily budgets and a slightly increased average CPC, as well as additional campaigns being built for new pages on the website.

ppc-cost-january

You can clearly see that the increased PPC cost did not directly result in the same increase in commissions. I knew this was going to happen, once you begin opening the floodgates for PPC traffic, you rarely get the same results. I am happy with this, as I mentioned before, data, limits, and commission make this a worthwhile cost.

SEO Activity

seo traffic authority site project

The screenshot above shows the past 90 days activity according to Google Search Console.

Interestingly, you can see the green line (average position) consistently declining from about the 25th December onwards, now I am not 100% sure why this is. However, I’d suggest that it’s an effect of more pages being built, more content being published which equals more keywords (especially long tail keywords) appearing within Search Console which would impact the total average position (its a bit of a redundant metric to highlight on an account level really).

What’s positive from this screenshot is the increase in impressions and clicks, we’re now consistently hitting 200 visitors per day from organic search and impressions are rising weekly.

The below snapshot shows you organic sessions for the past 3 months:

seo traffic authority site project

This really annoys me, I hate not seeing growth, but I have to just remain positive, SEO takes time. What I have noticed is building an authority site, a site like this that covers every category on Amazon takes a lot longer to gain strength in Google. Comparing this site to a site which is an authority in a single market, this site never wins – at least not initially, but what I am hoping is once Google gives the site the thumbs up, we then begin getting a flood of traffic across all of our categories.

February Plan of Action

Content Plan

I am ceasing the content creation for February for two reasons:

  1. Money – I am investing the money that I usually spend on content creation into link building this month to try and build up the website’s authority and I am also beginning to target specific internal pages with a few keywords targeted which will help bring in the traffic and the income once I am ranking.
  2. Development – I’ve found another developer to take on the project, this time I am hoping he can do the job. It’s a big job and is costing a fair chunk of cash to do. If he is able to do it, I am positive it will be one of the most aesthetically pleasing affiliate sites out there. Not to mention, it will be very useful and much, much easier for me to build on.

Link Building

As I mentioned, I am investing approximately $2,000 $2,500 this month into link building this includes several contributor accounts I have acquired as well as several editors/guest post writers I know who will be helping me with this.

As well as this I also have a virtual assistant doing blog/forum commenting.

Outreach Manager

I’ve hired the outreach manager, she has yet to start working with me properly as I’ve been a little slow on this front and have delayed her slightly.

2017 Milestones & Goals

For this year the targets I have for this site are as follows:

  • Launch the second phase of the website by March 2017
  • Launch UK, Canada & Australian websites by May 2017
  • Hit 50,000 organic visitors per month by May 2017
  • Have at least 1,000 pages of content published by May 2017
  • Hit $10,000 in monthly commission (after PPC cost) by May 2017

From the milestones I’ve set above, I think the most difficult, or at least most daunting to look at right now is hitting 50,000 organic visitors by May 2017. If we compare that with the December’s 4,000 visitors it’s a huge increase, however, I know that if I can rank just a handful pages on the first page for a few keywords that this will be realistic.

If you have any questions, just leave a comment below and I will reply as soon as possible.

by Will Blears Will Blears 16 Comments

Authority Site Project – Month 10

amazon authority site project

Welcome back to the tenth month of the authority site project.

If this is the first time you are reading my authority site project then check out the first post which explains the strategy and the long-term goals, you can read it right here.

In my previous post I mentioned I would be doing these updates quarterly, however with Christmas just gone and 2016 in the past, I thought it would be good to recap over the year and briefly discuss 2017 goals. First off, let’s get started by looking at what the site earned in December 2016.

Christmas amazon commission

As expected, December was a great month for the website; I hit $3,706.58 in commissions with a PPC spend of $915.71 making a total profit after PPC costs of $2,790.87.

PPC Activity

In December, the PPC campaign generated a total 12,854 clicks compared to 9,775 clicks in November 2016. The increase in clicks is solely down to the increase in demand, due to the Christmas season, the average CPC remained the same.

Amazon Associates PPC Marketing

As I mentioned in the previous post, this graph above does show that I am making significantly more commission than I am spending on PPC. However, what it does not factor in is the organic traffic and the revenue being generated there.

SEO Activity

Amazon Affiliate Marketing Organic Traffic

The screenshot above shows the past 90 days activity according to Google Search Console, as you can from the 24th November 2016 onwards (where the initial peak is, about midway on the screenshot) traffic began to improve and then continue to improve with a nice spike on the 26th December 2016. This has continued into January; I am now hoping the SEO I’ve been doing as well as the publishing of several hundred thousand words of content has begun to take effect.

The below snapshot shows you organic sessions for the past 3 months:

Google Analytics Amazon Associates

From the above, you can see that there has been a steady incline from October onwards which is the same time I began publishing the 100k of words per month, so it’s to be expected! However, I have to admit that I was hoping to have hit five figure organic traffic results by now.

2017 Onwards

Content Plan

I will continue to publish 100,000 words of content per month. However, I am also going through all of the pages to improve the on-page optimization and also improve the internal linking as that has been pretty abysmal so far.

As well as this, the current site doesn’t have any product review content, just the buyer’s guide, once the developer has finished on the second phase of the website, I will go back through all the pages and have the writers produce the content for each product which is recommended in the comparison table. This should help the site rank for multiple ‘xxxx review’ type keywords as well as bolster the content length for the ‘best xxxx’ related keywords.

Link Building

January has got off to a strong start with me preparing and launching a scholarship campaign, as well as this I am in talks with several people regarding authority guest posts on websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. I am also building a ‘hit list’ in Excel, basically a list of all the sites I want to get links from within the next six months, this includes websites such as the two mentioned above as well as other large publications.

Outreach Manager

I am also looking to hire an outreach manager who will be responsible for building relationships with editors and website owners and liaising with the content writers to create and prepare the content for publishing on the external website.

SEO impact so far

As I discussed earlier, I am not overly impressed with where I am at so far in regards to organic traffic numbers. However, I know the reason for this – to date I’ve focused all my SEO efforts on improving the authority of the site entirely, rather than focusing on specific pages and specific keywords.

The result is that I now have hundreds, if not thousands of pages ranking in the top 100 for ‘best xxxx’ related keywords with very few ranking on the first page. Therefore, the focus now is to shift from solely building the site’s authority, to also focusing on specific pages and keywords.

With that being said, I’ve selected 5-6 pages and a few keywords per page to focus my attention on first. I selected these pages and keywords based on the fact they were close to the first page (second or third page), and the keyword difficulty score was quite low.

2017 Milestones & Goals

For this year the targets I have for this site are as follows:

  • Launch the second phase of the website by March 2017
  • Launch UK, Canada & Australian websites by May 2017
  • Hit 50,000 organic visitors per month by May 2017
  • Have at least 1,000 pages of content published by May 2017
  • Hit $10,000 in monthly commission (after PPC cost) by May 2017

From the milestones I’ve set above, I think the most difficult, or at least most daunting to look at right now is hitting 50,000 organic visitors by May 2017. If we compare that with the December’s 4,000 visitors it’s a huge increase, however, I know that if I can rank just a handful pages on the first page for a few keywords that this will be realistic.

If you have any questions, just leave a comment below and I will reply as soon as possible.

by Will Blears Will Blears 14 Comments

Authority Site Project – Month 9

amazon authority site case study

Welcome back to the ninth month of the authority site project.

If this is the first time you are reading my authority site project then check out the first post which explains the strategy and the long-term goals, you can read it right here.

If you have been following then you should by now know that I ‘ve changed the authority site project updates to quarterly, rather than monthly. There are a few reasons for this, one of the main reasons is that there are not enough new actions being taken on a monthly basis as a lot of actions are dependent on the second phase of the website development being finished which has been an absolute nightmare and is still on-going.

Let’s begin by looking at the monthly revenue comparison, I’ve scrapped the bullet point finances for a nice looking graph instead, I think we can all agree it’s far more visually appealing and easier to follow.

ASPNovember2016Commission

As you can see from the above, November was a huge month, I finally hit four figures for the authority site with $1,279.79 in Amazon commissions. Interestingly, October wasn’t half bad either hitting $875.99 in Amazon commissions which is a huge increase from September, so why did this happen?

Launching a PPC campaign

In September I launched a PPC campaign on Google Adwords to help drive targeted visitors to my site. The reason I did this was to both generate revenue but also to collect data and lastly to analyze the user engagement on the website as I was working on the design for the beta launch.

For September there was no real goal in terms of how much revenue I wanted to generate, I had a budget of £500 to spend on PPC advertising and in September I only spent $188.46. Throughout September I made a variety of changes, optimizing the campaigns based on bounce rates and average time on site (since I can’t optimize based on conversions) and then in October decided to crank it up.

Below you can see the total number of sessions that were generated from PPC activity alone.

google adwords affiliate ppc marketing

That’s quite a decent amount of visitors hitting my site on a monthly basis from PPC alone which costs me just a few cents per visitor, well worth it I think!

In October & November, I successfully made a profit, you can see the spend for Google Adwords activity plotted below.

ASPNovember2016PPCCost

Whilst this graph shows that I am making a profit, what it does not account for is organic sales which are combined in that commission bar above. Unfortunately, due to Amazon Associates restrictions, I can’t split the commissions from each traffic source. Therefore I will just continue to look at it cumulatively, as long as my commissions are higher than my spend then I am happy for now.

Also, the added benefits of spending $800 per month on Adwords activity is that I have access to more than 5,000 queries which I can use for content writing and SEO. Secondly, I can see which pages convert best, what products sell well and analyse how visitors interact with my website. In the future I plan on creating multiple landing pages to compare alternative landing page designs, the end goal being to drive more people to Amazon and generate more orders.

SEO Activity

As we’ve just discussed PPC activity we may as well move straight on to what is happening from an organic perspective.

authority site project amazon search engine traffic

As you can see from the graph above which is a snapshot of the last 90 days organic activity, the site is growing quite nicely, it’s now hitting about 150 organic visitors per day. We’ve also begun to hit the first page for a few ‘best xxxx’ type keywords, however, these are quite low traffic volumes and generally low average order value products.

The below snapshot shows you organic sessions for the past 3 months:

amazon affiliate marketing organic traffic

A slight uplift in November, most of which was around the time of Black Friday & Cyber Monday, even though I didn’t have a Black Friday page setup for this website the demand was higher due to it being a peak retail event.

Content Plan

Part of the SEO strategy is to invest a significant chunk of the £25,000 loan I took out for content. In the past 3 months, I’ve published approximately 300,000 words of content on the website and each month I continue to publish at least an additional 100,000 words.

One of the most difficult parts of this process is finding the best products to create consumer guides for, products which deserve a buyers guide and secondly products which are highly searched and have low competition keywords. I’ve been utilising AHREFs top pages tool for this which allows me to look at my competitors highest traffic driving pages and then I can use this to begin keyword research and decide whether or not the topic makes my list.

Link Building

I am ashamed to say this but very little link building has been done over the past 90 days.

Guest Posts

I did have a fantastic writer who created some guest posts which I then submitted to various sites but most of them have just been stuck in review for the past 45-60 days, which is incredibly annoying. Going forward from January 2017 onwards I am going to be focusing more time on networking, creating business cards and building a proper brand out of this website which I hope will help me generate more natural links and also present a better opportunity when it comes to pitching guest post ideas to websites such as entrepreneur.com and forbes.com.

Scholarships

Apart from this, I have my VA making a large list of universities for me to approach with the scholarship strategy, meanwhile I have created a scholarship page on my website and also created a PDF leaflet to make things look more professional. I will be delaying this, as I will be getting a more professional scholarship page created, as a sort of template which I can use across several of my sites which I hope will increase the conversion rate of the scholarship campaign.

2017 onwards

For December I will continue to publish the 100,000+ words of content and hopefully, the website developer will have finished with the beta version of the website. Apart from this, a lot of December will be used for reflecting on 2016, looking at the goals I set up at the beginning of the year and what I’ve accomplished so far. It will also be time to create goals for 2017 and an action plan on how I can start the year off smashing them and a big focus will be on this authority site!

In 2017 the targets I have for this site so far are:

  • Launch UK, Canada & Australian websites by May 2017
  • Hit 50,000 organic visitors per month by May 2017
  • Have at least 1,000 pages of content published by May 2017

These are some bold targets, however this is whats needed to really take this site to the level I want to take it. To hit those targets I need to stop thinking of this site as another affiliate site and begin treating it as an individual brand, which is why I will be completely overhauling my priorities for 2017 however, I will talk more about that in a future post 🙂

If you have any questions, just leave a comment below and I will reply as soon as possible.

by Will Blears Will Blears 3 Comments

276% Increase in daily revenue, thanks to Black Friday – Find out how!

Black Friday Affiliate Marketing Optimisation

Unfortunately, the sales spike has finally dried out, but it was good, very good!

Today I am going to be discussing the strategies that I implemented for Black Friday that enabled me to hit 276% increase in daily revenue! Before I begin though, it’s important for me to express just how important Black Friday & Cyber Monday are for affiliates. To make this message clear, read the following quote taken from Adobe’s 2016 Black Friday consumer spending report.

Adobe today released its 2016 online shopping data for Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day. More than $5 billion ($5.27 billion) was spent online by the end of Black Friday, a 17.7 percent increase year-over-year (YoY).

Source: i4U – it’s definitely worth reading the entire report

Below there are a handful of strategies that I implemented in preparation for Black Friday and then tweaked for Cyber Monday.

  • HelloBar – if you have never used this before, it’s a free (they have a premium service, but you don’t need it) service which allows you to add banners on to your website with custom messaging and offers. What I did is add the top banner with a message such as ‘Checkout today’s Black Friday deals for crazy discounts on ‘insert product market name’ then you have the button which includes your affiliate link. You can check out HelloBar here!
  • Black Friday deals page – I set up a Black Friday deals page with some placeholder content which discussed potential Black Friday deals, including various brands and had affiliate links going to a filtered Amazon page which was filtered to include only 4+ star products with 10% discounts or above.
  • Black Friday Box – on each of my high traffic pages I added a custom HTML box above the fold which promoted Black Friday deals and asked visitors to click through to check out today’s Black Friday deals.
  • Social Media – I ran a few FB advertisements directing people to my BF deals page and targeted the relevant market through interests, competitor pages, and brands. I monitored this closely and used Google Analytics event tracking segmented by Facebook visitors to see how many users were clicking through to Amazon from Facebook. If I wanted to be even more analytical I could have set up a duplicate BF deals page with a custom tracking ID for FB just for that day.
  • Email Lists – I have a few Email lists from some of my older sites, one of which is about 15,000 users so I wrote a custom E-mail discussing the best Black Friday deals and then sent this out to the users. The links directed them to a best of BF deals page on the site which then promoted relevant deals on Amazon.

Note: I want to make it clear that whilst the above strategies significantly helped drive incremental clicks and conversions. Inevitably the bulk of additional orders and commissions were simply due to the fact it was Black Friday, which always means an increase in organic traffic and therefore an increase in sales. Not even to mention, the fact that most products that visitors are considering purchasing will also be discounted, sometimes heavily… Overall, the strategies I mention are a good addition to what is already going to be a great day of sales, it’s basically a way of optimizing your pages to the best of your abilities.

Don’t leave any money on the table.

Black Friday Results

To be honest, whilst Black Friday gets all the limelight, it’s Cyber Monday which generates the majority of sales.

amazon black friday affiliate optimisation

Note: I calculated my total earnings for these four days as $8,969.78 by calculating the average commission per order as $5.41 based on the shipped items above.

As you can see, Cyber Monday absolutely killed it, in terms of orders, even though clicks were down compared to Black Friday. You may be wondering what did I do to all of the strategies I implemented for Black Friday? Simple, I switched them from ‘Black Friday’ to ‘Cyber Monday Week’, easy!

All of my websites also received spikes in organic traffic, as you can see from the below:

amazon organic traffic affiliate marketing amazon organic traffic affiliate marketing amazon organic traffic affiliate marketing

The important thing to do on Black Friday and the Cyber Monday weekend is to ensure that as many visitors as possible click through to Amazon. That means adding a huge call to action to the top of your page, even if the page looks a little ‘fugly’ for a few days, make that sacrifice to bolster your earnings!

HelloBar results

The HelloBar’s that I setup were also performing considerably better than my standard HelloBars that I have live normally on the sites. Below you can see a screen capture of a summary of performance results from one of my websites Black Friday HelloBar’s compared to the normal bars I have setup.

hellobar amazon affiliate marketing

For the time it takes to set these bars up, it’s so worthwhile. Once visitors land on your website, they’ve instantly presented with an engaging, highly targeted message which usually results in 1-3% of visitors clicking through straight away!

Black Friday deals page results

I created one Black Friday deals page this year for one of my biggest websites, I created it about 1 month before Black Friday so I could try and get the page indexed and ranking as soon as possible. Below are the results for the page, I didn’t do any external linking, I simply added a link in the footer to the page.

amazon associates black friday

To be honest, I was expecting to have more traffic than this, but as you can see from the impressions, the traffic was definitely there. I simply was not ranking high enough for the big keywords, it’s a massively competitive market so its to be expected, next year I will make better preparations. Still, for what took me about an hour to setup, 331 clicks to my page and then additional orders and commissions from Amazon that’ll do me!

How did you do on Black Friday?

I am really keen to hear about the successes that my readers had over Black Friday & Cyber Monday, so please let me know in the comments section below! Also, if you have any questions just let me know!

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