Giant Squid and Amazon Affiliate Marketing Expert Erica Stone is stopping by today to share her favorite Squidoo tips for this installment of our Passive Income Business Challenge.
Each of us has our own reasons for wanting to earn an income online and my reasons are probably not much different than those of other working mothers.
Several years ago, my full time job had me traveling between my home in Phoenix to locations in Florida and New York almost weekly as part of a long and intense project. This was nothing new – I’d spent as many as three weeks of every month on the road since my children were very young. However, my children were getting older and they were starting to feel the strain of not seeing Mommy on a daily basis – and Mommy was not holding up well, either.
One morning, during a week I would not have to travel but would be working in town, my 9 year old wandered down from his bedroom to the kitchen, gave me a big hug and asked where I was going. I told him I was getting ready to head to my office. “Oh…”, he said, as his look changed to one of obvious dismay, “which one this time – New York or Florida?” The poor child didn’t even realize I HAD an office in Phoenix.
Only another mother can understand the searing pain that struck my heart when I realized how my children were being impacted by my time away from home and how much of their life I was really missing out on. I quickly reassured my son that I would be home that night for dinner and for every night the rest of that week. I got into my car and drove to work wiping away the tears sparked by the intense feeling of complete failure as a parent.
That was the first time I seriously considered making a career change in order to be more available to my children but it would be another few years before I would make that dream come true. The change came in a most unexpected way.
While exploring how to build a family website, I tripped across a site called Squidoo. It’s a web 2.0 platform – a site that lets you use their resources to write online. It was free to join and would allow me to experiment a bit with HTML which I’d realized I’d need to know more about in order to design my own website.
While on Squidoo, this whole new world opened up to me! Did you know that people can make money by sending their site visitors to retailers to make their purchases?! What? I was shocked!
Obviously, affiliate marketing was a completely unknown concept to me at the time. I was so intrigued, though – what if I could make a living doing this? Was it REALLY possible? Could this be the answer I’d been looking for as a way to continue earning an income while also being home with my kids?
The answer, it turns out was YES!
Oh, it wasn’t easy – it took a lot of work. More work than it might have because I was stubborn and determined to figure this whole affiliate marketing thing out for myself. I spent months reading about important things like “keywords” and “traffic strategies” and “ranking in Google”.
Slowly, though, the pieces came together and I actually started to make money as an Amazon affiliate through Squidoo. In February of 2010 I quit my full time job and became a self-employed, stay-at-home, internet marketer.
While I’ve gone on to create my own Amazon product review websites, coaching, and ebooks, I’ve never left Squidoo. It’s one of the simplest ways to get started as an Amazon affiliate marketer and still extremely effective.
Best of all, we are coming up on an Amazon affiliate marketer’s favorite time of year – the time of year when people FLOCK online to buy Christmas presents. I make money all year long from Amazon but the money from sales in November and December is amazing. There’s no better time to get started!
However, because we are into November right now, you want to avoid some of the most common mistakes when you get started and focus on a few things that will really help you be as successful as possible as quickly as possible:
1) If you don’t have an Amazon Associates account already, don’t worry. Squidoo will let you use theirs. They have Amazon modules you can put into your lenses (that’s what Squidoo calls the pages you build on their site). All you have to do is pick the products to put in those modules. Squidoo splits their Amazon commissions with you when you use their modules but as they sell so many products each month, this often will give you a slight boost over what you’d make just starting out on your own. Later, you can switch the links over to your own Amazon affiliate account links.
2) Do not try to cover too much in one lens (a lens is what Squidoo calls the pages you create on their site). It is much better to serve up information about a very specific topic then it is to try to solve world hunger in a single lens. This means a lens on “red and white striped slippers for women” is great. A lens on “new slippers” is not so good. “New slippers” could mean for men, women, children, infants, red, black, brown, blue, green, purple, animal shaped, striped, fuzzy, plain….see how that’s just too much to talk about in a single page?
3) Keywords are the phrases people type into the search engine to find what they’re looking for. There are clues in those keywords that help you decide if it is “buyer targeted” or if the keyword is being used to find only information. Words like “how”, “what”, “ideas”, “make”, and “recipe” inside of a keyword are usually a sign that someone is looking for information. Try to avoid those keywords and focus on the ones that describe something someone can buy on Amazon such as “purple table lamps with white shades” or “Hello Kitty onesies for babies”. See how those phrases are things that you can buy on Amazon? Those are great buying keywords.
4) Get involved in the Squidoo community. They’re a very supportive bunch and love to help new lensmasters. Visit other lenses, comment on those lenses, and join their Facebook group. You’ll learn more quickly and get feedback on your lenses that will help you grow.
5) Think of yourself as a personal shopper. You shop for things all the time anyway, right? Why not put that experience to good use! You’re job is to build a page that shows the best selection of products matching your keyword so your visitor won’t have to search all over Amazon to find what they want.
But won’t people just go to Amazon to find these things? Why try to replace Amazon? That’s a question I get all the time. Guess what? Amazon is NOT perfect. That’s one of the reasons they pay affiliates to help them out.
Have you ever tried to find just the right color of something for your home on Amazon? Typing just “red vase” into Amazon and drilling down to Decorative Vases shows me some red vases and then there’s a clear one with red dots, several brown ones, and even a red and yellow one. You don’t just see a list of all the vases that are red. Amazon doesn’t do a good job of sorting colors.
If you take the time to put the best collection of red vases together – even breaking the page down into sections so you have one area for all cherry red vases, one for dark red vases, and one for light red vases, you’ll be offering an easier shopping experience and helping people find what they want more quickly.
You don’t even have to be a master writer to get started. You will have to do some writing but it’s pretty easy. Just be sincere, helpful, and think like the person who will be visiting your page. If you like to shop, are looking for an easy way to get started as an affiliate marketer, and don’t want to miss out on the great holiday shopping season, I encourage you to take a look at Squidoo.
One of the easiest ways to get started is to follow my simple Squidoo course called Squid Pro Quo. It includes copy and paste HTML templates so your lenses will look great even if you’ve never created a thing online before. You’ll also find complete and thorough instructions for finding those great buyer-targeted keywords I mentioned using absolutely free tools to do so. This is as beginner friendly as you can get.
I love to see people succeed online because I know how much doing so has changed my life and that of my children. Be willing to put in the work, find a strategy you can believe in and commit to for at least several months and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
For ongoing mentoring and advice regarding Amazon affiliate marketing, you can join me on Online Business Insiders - a members-only forum established to connect you with experts across a number of internet marketing strategies and skill sets. As the resident expert of the Amazon Affiliate Marketing section of this forum, I share tutorials, answer questions and conduct case studies to help internet marketers improve their performance results. There is a very reputable list of experts on that forum covering topics such as WordPress, Traffic Strategies, Social Media Marketing and Writing. We’d love to help you establish and meet your online income goals and look forward to working with you.
Wishing you the best of luck in your online efforts,