An affiliate program is normally used to get a commission for people clicking on the link to whatever you’re suggesting. But in this case, I recommend the Amazon Associate account (affiliate program) to help you track WHERE people are seeing your book, then clicking on the Amazon link and buying your book (or not buying it).
Track Sales (Where are your readers?)
There are other ways of tracking where readers see your book and take action (clicking on the link). You might even be able to make a connection to a purchase. Might being the operable word here. If you use Amazon affiliate links, you will be able to see if they bought your book. You won’t know who is buying it, but you’ll know where they were when they saw it.
You can use bit.ly or ow.ly or other link shorterner tools. You can also use UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes and Google Analytics. You may not know what a UTM code is but you’ve seen it. Those long URLs… anything after the”?”. I’m not going to go into detail on this (yet?) because I’m focusing on Amazon Affiliate links and I’ve got to draw the line somewhere. Check out the resources below if you want to learn more.
Be sure to keep track of your links. A spreadsheet is perfect to track the URL, where you used it, and even (if you’re up to doing your data analytics) how many clicks in a given time period. Using a spreadsheet is a must if you create a unique link for your book in a specific format (ebook, paperback, etc.) posted on each social media channel, website page, or profile.
There’s really two parts to using the Amazon affiliate links. There’s creating and using the links. Then there is the reviewing and evaluating the results. I guess there’s actually three parts since after tracking the sales and evaluating the data you can choose to do nothing with the information. So, the third part is making a change to what you’re doing in order to increase sales of your book.
Apply for an Amazon Associate account now while you’re still writing your book. If you’re approved then here’s the next steps. I’ve broken down the actions to take based on the effort you want to put in. Again, being honest and transparent about my own efforts, I cycle between all three effort levels depending on what other projects are keeping me entertained. You won’t need to give the maximum effort or even the average effort if your book is only a small part of your personal and business goals. The minimum effort will be more than good enough.
Use the Tracking ID they give you to create text links that you can then put on your
social media profiles
social media posts
Be transparent. State that it’s an affiliate link. It’s not only required, it’s the right thing to do.
Look at your Amazon Associate reports once in a while (interpreted to mean at least once a year) to see how many cups of coffee you can buy for what you’ve earned.
Buy yourself that coffee (or tea or favorite beverage) and celebrate your book!
Do the Minimum Effort plus…
Create additional Tracking IDs to see which page or account provides the most visibility for your book
One ID for each of the various content or page types on your website
any time you mention your book
One ID for each of your social media accounts
Create a list of which Tracking ID & URL is used on which platform or channel. (Hint: use a spreadsheet 😉)
Use the individual Tracking IDs where you’ve assigned them.
Look at your Amazon Associate reports at least three or four times a year to see how many cups of coffee you can buy for what you’ve earned.
Schedule a reminder every three or four months. Oh, and don’t keep hitting the snooze button on the reminder. Look at the reports! (Yes, I hit the snooze button too.)
Evaluate which ID (which page or account) is getting the most traffic and which has the best conversion from clicks to sales.
Decide if there’s something you can do to increase the number of sales. You might...
Update your book page on the website
Direct more people to your website via your email signature
Post more often on the social media platform that is giving you the most traffic
Or a thousand and one other things you might think of and be willing to do.
Choose one action and do it!
Do the Average Effort plus…
Add more tracking links via a link shortener, UTM codes, or email marketing platform
Your email signature line
Inside your ebook or print book
And any other way you get the word out about your book
Look at the data you collect.
See if there’s something that isn’t worth your effort (low ROI — return on investment in time, money, and resources).
Find one or two things that bring the visibility you want.
Take the actions you’ve identified.
Schedule your next review date to evaluate the actions and the data.
NOTE: This is also assuming you’re focusing on selling primarily in your local market, such as Amazon.com for US markets or Amazon.in for India, etc. If you want to make it simpler for international readers, skip the Amazon Affiliate account and use Booklinker to direct your reader to their local Amazon or Apple Books storefront.
~ Apply for the Amazon Associate program. ~ (4 cups of coffee a year and data collection!)
(Sprout Social) The 8 best URL shorteners for engagement and tracking in 2022
(Zapier) The 6 best URL shorteners of 2023
Or search online for “best link shortener” and add the year
Booklinker.com provides a universal link that directs readers to their local Amazon or Apple Books storefront
Choose your tool (or tools) to track where readers are seeing your book.
Start tracking on your website and social media. (minimum effort)
Expand tracking to specific pages and individual channels. (average effort)
Add more tracking tools and locations .(maximum effort)
Evaluate and put more effort where it works.
When you're ready... 2 ways to move forward on your book journey:
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*FYI: I do receive $ from Amazon when you click on product links and purchase items from Amazon. I don’t know what you look at or buy and so far I’ve been able to buy, on average, 3 cups of coffee each year from the income.