The Amazon Affiliate Debate: Promoting Cheap Products vs. Expensive Items

Generating income from Amazon has been on my list for a long time now and, unfortunately, I haven’t been too good at this. One of the reasons why I failed at making a lot of money with Amazon Associates (their affiliate program) is that it wasn’t my main focus until very recently, but even after launching a blog that I kept calling “my super affiliate blog,” things didn’t change too much.

Having in mind that just a couple of years ago a single article I wrote generated over $3,000 in Amazon affiliate income in one year (yes, you read that right: ONE article made me over 3,000 bucks), I couldn’t really understand how come a website dedicated to generating Amazon affiliate income was making me under $50 per month one year after launching it.

And then, looking at what I did with my extremely successful article, I realized how stupid I was: my approach with the new affiliate blog was wrong and I refused to accept it!

Promoting cheap items from Amazon

When I launched my “super affiliate blog” I decided to go for promoting cheap items. Why? Nobody promotes cheap items and they’re extremely easy to rank. This sounded like the best thing I could do: just write about all those cheap products available on Amazon and get rich. What could go wrong? Well… look at some of my sale numbers for the previous month:

amazon earnings low income

Out of 15 sold items, 9 generated under $1 revenue – the lowest being 6 cents. The next five “expensive” items all generated under $1.50 and I only have one product that made me 4 bucks (which, ironically, is not a product I was promoting).

Although the number of sales is really low (data comes from January which is not the best ever month in terms of affiliate sales for me), the conclusion can still be found easily: low-priced items don’t make you a ton of money. Probably that’s why everybody else runs away from them. They’ve been here and done that!

Promoting expensive items from Amazon

The article that generated $3,000 was about items that gave me a commission between $20 and $25. Using the average – $22.5 per article, it means that I sold 133 items to get the $3,000. For my current “super affiliate blog” to generate the same amount of money with the rates that it’s giving me ($1 per sale), it means that I have to sell a whooping 3,000 items to get the same amount of money as my superstar article did.

The numbers say it all: even though they are cheap, the low-priced items are difficult to be sold in such amazing numbers. I personally believe that selling 100 expensive items is a lot easier to achieve than selling 3,000 very cheap ones. Hell, if we are to look at my blog’s Amazon affiliate sales in January, I managed to make a bit over $15 by selling 15 products. And that’s still about $7 less than what a single item from my top article would’ve made.

Numbers state the obvious: high-priced items on Amazon are the way to go. Don’t make the same mistake that I did and try to go for the really cheap crap. Unless you have a ton of traffic – people who are actually interested in buying – then promoting anything under $50 is not worth it. I’d even go and say that anything under $100 is not worth it.

What’s the catch?

The catch is that I’m not the one inventing the wheel here, nor the one to discover fire. I am the one who decided to say that the earth is flat and not round, and went the long and stupid way to prove it. In other words, I tried what others have definitely tried before me and decided it wasn’t a good idea: promoting low priced items.

Why I did that, though? Because of “the catch”. And the catch is that, as easy to rank for low priced items generally is, it’s equally difficult to rank for high priced items. Since everybody’s doing it, your chances of actually ranking and getting the chance to sell these high priced items are low.

That is why keyword research, solid link building and extremely high quality content is required. Combine that with good hosting and you have a winner! It won’t be easy, but it’s best to risk wasting your time on a project that could make you $3,000 instead one that would need a miracle to get over $300!

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