February 8, 2011

One Month of Selling Travel Mugs – A Case Study Open Book

One month ago I posted an excellent article (if I may critique my own work) on InfoBarrel on How to Make Money on InfoBarrel with Amazon Associates. Along with this article I published a companion article which was a case study / sales page promoting a very specific travel mug which is sold on Amazon. You can read the article on the best travel mug you could possibly buy here.

Anyway, this mug I chose for this sales article and case study was very specific. I had actually purchased this mug for my wife for Christmas late last year and I had purchased it because I truly wanted to buy her the best travel mug I could find. I was convinced this mug was the best and after we used the mug for a few weeks we both were convinced it was the best. I swear it truly is the bet travel mug for sale today – I can’t imagine any other mug being better.

Sounds convincing right? Well it should be because it’s genuine – I own it and I believe it and the reviews on the product backup my claims. As a result this item has sold for me nicely on Amazon. In fact the mug started making sales for me on day five if I remember correctly after I had only lightly promoted it with backlinks.

In the first week I published five related articles on InfoBarrel (signup here) pointing at this page with internal contextual links, I also posted 5 articles on PostUrOwn each of which sent a backlink to the article, 1 article on HubPages (signup here), 5 on Snipsly, and 1 on Squidoo. I then started backlinking each of these articles but the bottom line is that in the first week I only published my main article selling travel mugs and roughly 17 articles for backlinks.

At this point I could have stopped promoting the article because it was already selling travel mugs and other items at a pace of about 1 sale every other day. This would equate to about 15 sales a month for writing between 15-20 articles. That is a good return I would think as sales commissions average well over a dollar a sale making this investment in my time worth well more than a dollar and article a month. I chose however to keep building backlinks.

I built 5 more Ezines pointing to my main sales article 4 more hubs, and then built about 4-6 backlinks to every one of the original 17 supporting backlinks previously mentioned and then started hammering out PostRunner submissions (read about PostRunner here) with each sending backlinks to the main article and one oft eh others on IB. Not even counting all the Adsense income, Chitika, income, and other Amazon income I’ve made over the last month on the other supporting articles I’ve sold 27 items from this one article alone and most of them are actually the exact travel mug I am promoting.

My 1-Month Results Selling Travel Mugs
Today marks the completion of my first month selling these travel mugs and I am now averaging a sale every day giving me a rough estimate of $45 per month in revenue from Amazon from this one article after only publishing it 30 days ago.

It is possible to build Amazon earnings on InfoBarrel. Yes you could build niche sites to sell Amazon products but this experiment is suggesting that you don’t have to if you don’t want to.

As of today’s writing I now have 39 backlinks to this article and an additional 4-6 backlinks built to 17 of those articles. I also have a bunch more backlink articles queued up for publication in the next few days. By weeks end I should have a total of about 55-60 backlinks published thanks to the wonders of the PostRunner guest posting system (available to members of The Keyword Academy).

My goal is to keep backlinking this main article until it ranks number one for “best travel mug”, my estimation tells me this will give me a ton more sales because people really respond to this product. If anything this should show you the power of promoting really good products – don’t just sell anything – sell something good and you’ll do far better even if the commission is small – plus the increased sales volume will push you into higher commission tiers – and you’ll feel better about yourself too. :)

In the past month my best travel mug article had 417 unique page views and it received 149 clicks to the product for a click through rate of 35.7 percent. Then, of those 149 clicks, I sold 27 items giving me a conversion rate of 18.1 percent. As any affiliate marketer knows conversions are where you make your money and you will simply make more by selling a good product – it will sell itself and will convert as a result.

--An interesting side note-- I setup two links on my sales page and am tracking them separately with different tracking codes. The link at the top of the article get’s clicked almost three times as often as the link on the bottom of the article but the link at the bottom of the article converts at 26.2% compared to the top link converting at “only” 15%. Think about that when setting up your sales page.
Overall based on my first month selling travel mugs I can expect a product sale for every 15.4 unique page views to this article and when a sale is worth on average of $1.75 a piece you can see why this is a profitable endeavor and you should see why I feel it’s worth my time backlinking the begeezuz out of my main article to get the article to rank extremely well in the SERPs. Today I am pushing 50 backlinks – next month I should be way higher as I improve the traffic to this article.

This is my take home piece to you – I am not doing anything special. Making money on Amazon is not hard if you choose a product that sells itself. I challenge you to find a similar product that is simply awesome. Find something you’d buy as a Christmas present for a loved one because it’s just that good and then sell it. You’ll see how it ends up selling itself if you set your page up properly and once you see the results maybe you’ll consider getting your TKA membership so that you can backlink it to number one in the SERPs using TKA’s PostRunner backlink tool. Good luck and fire away in the comments below.


If you liked this post read my post from yesterday on Making Money Blogging For People Who Don’t Read Blogs.

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  1. WOW. That is really impressive stuff. It really makes me want to rethink the plan a little bit. How hard do you think it would be to pump out 10 article landing pages like that?

  2. Also thought you should know- I actually subconsciously passed over reading the "-an interesting side note" section because my mental ad filter put it in the advertisement section of my vision. Something about the way it is sort of left justified and light gray text. Interesting in nothing else...

  3. Sorry didn't proof read. I meant RIGHT justified, and interesting IF nothing else.

  4. That is an interesting thought about the blockquote - I'll consider editing my styling on it to make it stand out a bit more.

    Yeah, that landing page is ridiculous! I figured the mug would sell itself but I figured I'd have to try a few different versions of the landing page before I found the best layout and wording - as is I haven't messed with it but I will soon.

    I figure if I can get those numbers on my first try then there has to be a way to tweak them to get even better conversions. The funny thing too is that the conversion numbers are probably lower than they should be because I've had a number of people stop by the article from the IB forums - those people obviously aren't buying a mug they are just looking to see what I did. That means if you take away their casual page views and click throughs my rates are probably even better. Crazy!

    You may also be surprised to know that I wrote that article in about 15 minutes. I took a few extra minutes to set up two new tracking IDs but the article was right off the top of my head. I knew what I wanted to say and how I wanted to layout the article so I just laid it down. Cranking out ten would be easy to do in a day or two - pumping them up with tens and eventually hundreds of backlinks however will take time.

    Definitely let me know if you give something like this a try - I've got a number of similar Amazon products that's I'm going to keep doing this on - some will be public like this one others will not. Good luck Mike!

  5. One thing I am excited about is trying new things like this over time. I'm really strapped down right now getting started keeping with the basics but I love to analyze data. So I'd like to try this along with a few other things, mostly:

    1. I wonder what would happen if you promoted a random article this hard, what kind of adsense/non-optimized affiliate income it would generate.

    2. I wonder how the earnings of this type of article landing page compare to a cheaply made (1 hour type - exact domain match) website. So you think you gain or loose credibility from people by being on infobarrel?

  6. Those are good questions that you'll find answers to over time and with more experience. Some articles will do amazing on Adsense alone if you promote them this hard others will only do so-so it's all dependent on what ads are showing and what type of keywords are bringing eyes to your page.

    I have some adsense pages with CTR's around 30 percent, of course others get tons of views and no clicks - it's all about the type of traffic you are drawing compared to the commercial value of the keywords that bring those visitors to your pages.

    Do a Google search for "leading causes of death in america" I'm near the top on my longevity blog but I have never been able to monetize this page effectively. It's a page that gets thousands of visitors but doesn't give me anything so I took Adsense off of it. It is what it is.

    I've said before (in the IB forums I think) that search terms that are product oriented will generate clicks... but only if there are good ads to go along side of them. The classic TKA method is to find what appears to be excellent articles to monetize with Adsense and then to promote them heavily until they rank number 1 - a lot of people make insane amounts of money doing this because when it comes down to it the most important thing in ranking these days is still anchored one-way backlinks from many other website pages, which is what PostRunner gives you the ability to generate if you put the work in.

    You've got me curious about your second question though - I want to believe the Infobarrel domain helps with credibility and helps the CTR but I don't know exactly. I just know that when I land on obviously poorly made EMDs selling products I never click through - I imagine others would feel this way too. Quality and reputation do indeed count for a lot in my opinion, that's why I also believe that your niche site or affiliate sales page needs to be high quality and preferable promoting the best product possible.

  7. Great case study. I'm finally starting to see how you can really make money on Amazon Associates.

  8. Hi Brian,

    I tip my... bonnet?.. off to you! $45 a month is quite a feat - you should be proud (not to mention excited with the progress and growth your Amazon article has taken after a month of work). Congratulations!

    Have you noticed any changes in income from when Google first changed their algorithm recently? I know this article was published before the change.

    Best of luck,


  9. @Christina - yeah, $45 was really awesome to see in that first month - the second month was much lower - I'm still planning on updating again on the project but right now the article is in the "box" - I get get it to appear in the SERPs for anything at all although it is indexed. As far as I know it will emerge higher ranked than when it went in so I am continuing to promote it. Crazy thing is the article is still making sales even though it's so hard to be found in the SERPs - I can't wait to see how it performs once it's back and ranking higher. :)

    Regarding the algo change - some of my stuff on IB and HP have slumped a bit but on the whole everything is doing almost exactly the same if not a pinch better. The major thing I've noted is an improvement in my person websites. The improvement in them has actually been remarkable.

  10. Hey Brian,

    That's a funny thing - because my earnings on content sites also didn't decrease by much. I did notice some articles were lowered in rankings, but there wasn't much of a change in earnings at all.

    Well, that's a good thing at least, and I only hope it stays that way. :)


  11. I have a feeling that some old articles that weren't ranking well picked up the slack for those that lost ranking - on the whole a lot of people ended up seeing just about a wash in traffic and earnings. Let's just hope the long-term trend just keeps going up.


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