Facebook + Amazon = $$$

Free ebooks seldom paid off in sales, as I wrote about in yesterday’s post. I then tried featuring some that weren’t free by presenting them to special interest groups I belong to on Facebook. The Civil War and genealogy group members had liked my free postings and were willing to buy a few books on their topic.

Books just didn’t give enough commission to be worth the time, but I’ll still share them on Facebook as a service to my friends and fellow enthusiasts.

Next, I tried sharing more expensive products. To avoid being a spammer, I coordinated these to times a friend mentioned a specific product. I’d simply comment, “I see they have these on Amazon” and post the link. No one took offense since they were already talking about it.

Here’s where you get the link to post (if you are an Amazon affiliate). Also, notice the SHARE option in the stripe below. That gives you the ability to post on your Facebook timeline, to a friend, or in a group and also to Twitter. It includes your affiliate link.

Sometimes, I’d feature a product on my status if I bought a new garden wagon or other product. If I was already sharing about my activity and included the link, it fit in fairly well.

Still, my friends and family were not large enough numbers to result in many sales. They weren’t a targeted audience, and it was merely by chance that a product would hit the spot and result in a sale.

Then, I noticed the paid ads that littered my timeline on Facebook. There were ads for hair products, suitcases, massagers, scanners and other pricey products. I looked at the comment section where hundreds of people said they really needed and wanted these items. BINGO!

I checked on Amazon for a product just like the one in the Facebook ad. When I found an exact match, I put the link with a comment on the Facebook advertisement. My comment usually is “I see some very positive reviews on this on Amazon.” People saw the comment and click on the link to read the reviews. A few went ahead and bought the product while they were there, possibly because they trusted Amazon more than the Facebook vendor or because they had a Prime membership or because the price was better.

The green bars are Amazon sales. The red line shows the number of clicks and the yellow line shows orders.

Now those annoying Facebook ads don’t bother me anymore. Instead, I see them as opportunities. I look forward each day to checking my Amazon sales to see what luggage or overpriced product people couldn’t resist. It has boosted my commissions quite nicely.

A friend sent me some of the fine print from the Amazon Affiliate guidelines. Now, I’m trying to puzzle out how to post my affiliate disclosure information with each link so the FCC doesn’t get upset with me.

Here’s what I’m currently doing:




Sharing Amazon Books on Facebook

My online writing friends and I share anecdotes on how tough it is to make sales on various websites. Most of us are Amazon affiliates and a variety of other affiliates as well. Sites like Squidoo (now defunct) and Hubpages don’t have the earning power that we would like.

Some months ago, I started sharing Amazon links for free ebooks. I posted these on my Facebook status and my friends and family told me they liked hearing about these. When I put the link, I always included my affiliate code.

That may seem a waste since the ebooks were free. Now and then, someone would click-through for the free ebook but then go on to shop for additional items. In those cases, I earned a commission from Amazon.

Even when they bought another book at $2.99 or even $8.99, the commission was pretty low. Now and then, someone would go on a shopping spree after clicking through on my free ebook link. I really appreciated it when someone bought a big batch of Christmas gifts for their kids after clicking through on my link.

Then, I had an epiphany and changed my pattern of Facebook posting of products. My earnings went up from $10 or $20 a month from Amazon/Facebook links to 10 times as much. I’ll do a follow-up post on this one with steps so you can try it too.

Increasing my Amazon affiliate earnings (photo by Virginia Allain)


My Entry in the Tier One Challenge on Squidoo

A Squidoo friend on Facebook mentioned the challenge and posted a link to the forum. Since I’d been traveling, I’d missed hearing about it until it was ten days underway. Sigh, I’m starting with a handicap, but can’t resist participating.

I chose What Is an Old Book Worth? for my lens to prep for tier one. For those unfamiliar with Squidoo, the tier system dictates the monthly payout for the lenses. Tier one has been paying about $20 a month for each lens that maintains the rank for a month. To be in tier one, a lens must be ranked at 2000 or higher. I currently have four lenses in tier one, but would love to get more moved up to that level.

One advantage I have in the challenge is being able to see what the other lensmasters are doing with their lenses to boost their rankings and what techniques are proving effective.

The lens I choose is ranked at 24,000 right now, but has been as high as 11,000, so I know it has potential. First I need to create some backlinks for it (this blog entry makes one backlink and posting it in the Squidoo Forum counts as another).

Trying out a New Writing Site: List My Five

Lots of my old writing buddies from eHow are trying out the site List My Five. Many of them felt rather lost after eHow forced them over to Demand Studios to publish their how-to articles. They didn’t like the restrictions on topics and the editorial meddling.

I’d encouraged them to try Squidoo which was working out great for me. I don’t know if they were daunted by learning the module system on Squidoo or what, but few seem willing to try it. That’s why I started my Squidoo lens about my earnings on Squidoo so they could see how it pays off.

I was curious about all the buzz being generated about List My Five, so I took a look at some of their articles they were posting there.  What the heck, I thought, I’ll try a few. After posting a couple of articles, I could see what was exciting them. You can choose any topic you want, so my first one was The Top Five Reasons to Love Squidoo and my second one was The Top Five Ways to Get Rid of Chipmunks Without Killing Them. Within a few days, I’d made 3 cents on the chipmunk article. A few pennies doesn’t sound like anything to get excited about, except the eHow crowd remembers how they started with pennies on there.

As I built up a library of over 400 articles on eHow, it went from pennies, to dollars, and now I earn residuals of over $300 monthly. Think of it like a savings account. You bank your articles, then wait for the interest to accrue. Maybe that’s a bad example with interest rates being so low. The really great part is that they articles keep paying back over months and years, so eventually the pay is quite good. In the short-term it looks petty, so you need to remember to keep the long-term in mind.

I’m compiling comments from fellow eHow and Squidoo writers plus other information about the site on List My Five: A Fun Website Where Writers Earn Residuals.

Did You Squidoo?

I tried out the Squidoo site a few times in 2008 and found it unfathomable at first. About a year later in 2009, I gave it another whirl and found it fun. Mostly I figured out how to plug-in the different frameworks they provided to host your content. It went rather quickly after that as I added Wikipedia articles, YouTube videos, Amazon books plus my own photos and writing.

The site sure gave a lot of options so you ended up with an interesting website which they called a lens. The site ranked them and gave statistics on the number of visitors.

The first topics I tried on the site were a tribute to my sister who had died, a page about a lake resort in Kansas, a page about my 85-year-old mother publishing her childhood memoir, and one with some genealogy information about my dad’s family. Pleased with those, I wrote about how to self-publish a book using Blurb and one about writing childhood memories for the Our Echo website.
If you have something that you want to promote, like a book, Squidoo gave you lots of options. Hey, it was also free to get your info posted on the web.

I got hooked on creating Squidoo lenses on all sorts of topics relating to my life and interests. Then I realized that one could actually make money from high-traffic topics and from selling things on the pages. Over the next 5 years, I created over 600 lenses there. Some I gave away to help newbies get started.

It was fun and profitable. Over the years, I made a grand total of $37,000 from my pages, met lots of interesting people who visited my pages and grew close to other writers. I appreciate having the opportunity to share what I knew.

Unfortunately, the site changed direction and the last year and a half wasn’t fun at all. The rules kept changing so the writers scrambled to rework their pages to meet guidelines that shifted weekly. It became drudgery and the earnings dwindled as well. Finally the end came, and the site sold out to Hubpages.

Writers who remember the glory days of Squidoo with the good earnings, the networking and the open creativity have had a tough time adjusting to a new site. I learned a lot during my time at Squidoo and now must recreate myself and my content elsewhere.