Last month, I did an episode on the 17 different income streams I was working on.
One of the smallest on that list generated the largest response, and that was the Amazon Influencer Program.
At the time of that recording, I’d made only $9.50, but I mentioned it was the easiest money I’d ever made online. A month later, I’m over $100.
Now, there were a lot of questions about the program, and we’re going to attempt to answer those in today’s episode to see whether the Amazon Influencer Program could be a new income stream for you!
To better explain how the program works, I’ve enlisted the help of two Side Hustle Show listeners who’ve been in the program for longer and are now earning around $2k a month from their product review videos.
The first is Jon Corres, who encouraged me to test the program. You might remember him from episode 413 where he discussed how he made $10k/mo on YouTube without being on camera.
And second is Tyler Christensen from TylerChristensen.com — a serial side hustler, teacher, and dad of four who has also been doing well with the program.
Tune in to the Side Hustle Show interview to hear:
- how to get accepted into the Amazon Influencer Program
- Jon and Tyler’s best practices for review videos
- other revenue streams they’re involved in
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Getting Accepted Into the Amazon Influencer Program
The Amazon Influencer Program is a new way to make money on Amazon. How it works is you create product review videos, which Amazon then features on its product pages.
If someone watches your video and makes a purchase, Amazon credits you with a small commission. In my case, I earn 2-4% of the product sales price.
(I think it’s one of the best side hustles right now because it doesn’t require any additional marketing!)
Like a lot of Amazon programs, you first have to apply to get in. But it’s unclear how big of an “influencer” you have to be to get approved. In Tyler’s case, he got his foot in the door by growing his Instagram account.
He already had an existing YouTube product review channel called Reviews of Cool Stuff where he reviews anything and everything, so it would’ve been a good fit. However, it only had around 300 subscribers at the time.
Jon, on the other hand, recommends leveraging TikTok. “Just start a TikTok account, post for about a month every single day, and try applying,” he advised.
As Jon and Tyler both mention, you won’t get penalized for applying and getting rejected, so you can keep trying until you get accepted.
How Do You Stay in the Program?
Getting accepted into the program is one thing, but staying is another.
According to Tyler, once you get into the program, you have to upload three videos for Amazon to review. You can be rejected on those first three videos up to three times, with the third one resulting in a dismissal from the program.
“You can actually lose your spot in the program if your videos aren’t up to their standard, which we don’t know what that standard is,” Tyler said.
For what it’s worth, at least at press time, it seems that standard is probably pretty low. I’ve 30-60 second videos with only my iPhone — no heavy editing involved. The only one that’s been rejected was where I mentioned the price of the product.
Jon, who has uploaded just a little over 300 videos, had three videos get rejected because he showed the packaging box still with the shipping label attached. Jon simply refilmed the reviews with the products only.
Tyler has had videos get rejected for including those two things — prices and shipping labels — but he’s also run into trouble for including “medical advice.”
In one video, he reviewed some type of medicine he had in his cabinet and claimed it worked — something you can’t say on a product review. “You can just say what it’s supposed to do,” Tyler told me.
Product Review Best Practices
Jon and Tyler shared their best practices for doing product reviews.
Keep It Simple
Tyler’s best-performing videos are the ones where he focused on what he liked and didn’t like about the product. He shot those with his phone on selfie mode, usually in a single take.
He realized the value in keeping his product review videos as simple and as honest as possible when Amazon rejected a highly edited video he did. The video took several hours of editing and even included a couple of drone shots. Tyler believes it was rejected simply because it had too much information.
Jon likes to shoot his videos the old school way: horizontally.
Horizontally is how we’ve historically watched TV shows and movies. It’s how TV screens and computer monitors are shaped, so horizontal videos aren’t going anywhere.
Answer a Problem With the Product
One thing to keep in mind when doing product review videos for Amazon is you want to actually convince the viewer to make a purchase.
Jon says a great way to do that is by presenting the viewer with a problem and answering it with the product you’re reviewing.
Take, for example, a breakfast sandwich maker Jon recently reviewed. Instead of just doing a simple review of the product, he created a pitch that went something like, “Want to know how to make the best breakfast sandwich? This is the product you need!”
This tactic has resulted in a lot of high-converting videos for Jon, and it’s helped inform how he ensures future videos have good conversion rates.
Don’t just talk about product results — show them.
In one video where Jon reviewed a teeth whitening product, he didn’t just unbox the product and show it. He also showed the product’s effect on his teeth after seven days of using it to convince viewers to buy.
Jon says this strategy will take your reviews to the next level in terms of driving conversion.
Keep Your Thumbnail Organic
Jon likes to keep his thumbnails pretty straightforward. He typically just clips an image from his review and uses that as the video’s thumbnail.
He also makes sure that his hand is in the thumbnail to show he’s using the product being reviewed.
Stick To 1-2 Minute Videos
Both Jon and Tyler recommend shooting 1-2 minute videos.
More complicated products like tech gadgets might need longer videos, but that range is typically good enough for most products.
According to Tyler, if your video is less than a minute, a viewer has to watch 90% of it for you to get credited with a commission. If your video is more than a minute, they only have to watch 30 seconds or 50% of it.
By sticking to the 1-2 minute range, your average view duration will likely be over 50%.
Finding Products to Review
Jon didn’t have to buy a whole bunch of products to get started. He simply went through his purchase history on Amazon and exported those onto a spreadsheet. That gave him about 200 products to start with.
When he finished reviewing those, he reached out to close family and friends and asked if he could review things they had in their homes. That led to another 100 products or so.
Tyler employed a similar tactic but found that he had to wade through over 800 products, many of which he could no longer find on Amazon. “It was easier for me to just go around the house and just pick a room at a time. Do everything in the room.”
Tyler wasn’t picky about products either. “If I bought [a product] at Walmart but it’s listed [on Amazon], I would make those videos.”
Prioritizing Products to Review
As far as prioritization goes, Jon advises reviewing products that don’t have a lot of videos tied to them.
He also likes to review high-ticket items, even if they’re already popular, mainly because Amazon has low commissions.
Tyler adds that it’s also worth reviewing high-ticket items on your YouTube review channel because YouTube gives preference to new videos.
One tool that’s particularly helpful for figuring out which products are worth reviewing is Fluencer Fruit by Liz Saunders.
The tool is a Chrome extension that overlays onto the Amazon shopping page, and it will show you things like the available video slots for a product and a product’s expected commission percentage.
What Happens When You Run Out of Products to Review?
Here’s how Jon and Tyler get more products to review when they run out of the ones they or their friends and family already have.
Buy Products on Amazon
If you’re thinking about buying products specifically to review, there are a few things to consider.
First is: does the product actually need a video review? If the answer is yes, Jon advises checking out the product’s recent customer reviews and actually reading them.
A product with several one- or two-star reviews likely won’t convert. But if a product has several good customer reviews and fewer than six video reviews, then that’s a product worth doing a video about.
To date, Jon has spent just a little over $400 buying products on Amazon specifically to review.
Do Sponsored Reviews
Tyler says the longer you’re an Amazon influencer and the more videos you’ve posted, the more you’ll have companies reaching out to you asking you to review their products.
Companies will often send you the products for free or give you a commission. Tyler says he’s had offers from companies to review other products that he’s been wanting to buy anyway.
Sometimes, he gets as much as 10-15 review requests a day, and when it starts to get overwhelming, he’ll charge a fee for the review.
For Jon, this is when the side hustle really starts to get fun. “A lot of opportunity there in terms of the revenue not just from making commissions from Amazon Influencer [Program], but also … sponsored reviews.”
Just make sure that you have legitimate ways in which companies can actually contact you easily. And if you plan to make sponsored reviews, make sure that you get paid up front. Also, be clear in your review that the product was specifically sent to you by a company.
Tyler finds that charging $25-$30 for a sponsored review works for most companies, and in the last 10 days, he’s made some 30 sponsored videos, which netted him about $400. Typically, he makes a few hundred dollars a month on sponsored videos and 10x that from Amazon.
Any Other Income Streams?
Jon and Tyler’s bread and butter are Influencer commissions. They also earn money from doing sponsored reviews and YouTube ads when they republish their videos on their channels.
But Jon has another source of income up his sleeve: Amazon returns pallets. Each pallet contains 40 products and costs around $500.
At one point, Jon spent over $400 to buy 10 products on Amazon specifically to review, so the pallets were a huge game changer for him.
The good thing about the pallets is most of the items are in perfect condition, so Jon is able to make review videos on them and resell them on eBay.
“You don’t know what you’re gonna get in these pallets. You don’t know whether it’s broken or whether it’s missing parts. But even if it’s broken, you can still make a review video on it.”
His YouTube subscribers loved watching his videos unboxing these pallets so much that he started a new YouTube channel called Pallet Picks.
Tyler hasn’t resold a single product he’s reviewed, but he likes to get rid of stuff through class auctions and local giveaways.
Any Mistakes or Surprises Along the Way?
What surprised Tyler the most over the last several months of doing product review videos was the work it took. But he also found that he got better at it as he went along.
Meanwhile, Jon didn’t anticipate that many of the things he had lying around in his house were on Amazon. That meant he didn’t have to buy a whole bunch of products to do reviews.
And as far as mistakes go, Jon said he’d once reviewed low-ticket products with really negligible commissions.
Jon’s main focus moving forward is his new YouTube channel Pallet Picks, where he films himself unboxing and reviewing Amazon return pallets.
“It’s like a treasure hunting YouTube channel, which is just really really exciting for me,” he said. Currently, Jon is prepping for Prime Day 2023 and Q4.
Tyler, on the other hand, is looking forward to taking what he has learned from the program and applying it to other projects.
“I feel like it’s making me a better school teacher. It’s giving me ideas for other YouTube channels and things that I want to do there,” he added.
Tyler’s #1 Tip for Side Hustle Nation
“Create a review YouTube channel.”
Jon’s #1 Tip for Side Hustle Nation
“If you don’t get in, keep trying.”
Links and Resources
- The 17 Income Streams I’m Working On Right Now
- Amazon Influencer Program
- Jon Corres on The Side Hustle Show (Faceless YouTube Videos)
- Tyler’s Book: How to Get Free Stuff with Online Product Reviews
- Reviews of Cool Stuff
- Fluencer Fruit
- Pallet Picks
- How to Get FREE Stuff with Online Product Reviews
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