“Is the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course going to help me make more money with my site?”
Out of all of the questions I've received from blog coaching students or anyone that has taken my free blogging course so far, this question is by far the most common when it comes to monetization strategies. Affiliate income is one of those “holy grails” of blogging, and it's not hard to understand why.
It is pretty awesome to get emails during the day that basically say: “Hey just FYI you made money for something that sold on your site.”
As all of you know, I'm a big fan of putting money into your business. That's the biggest reason I've been successful with blogging so far.
If I see a course that will help me, I take it. I pay for the better themes. I put advertising dollars into my business. So many bloggers don't have success because they treat their site like a hobby instead of a living, breathing business.
This course costs $197 if you do a single payment, or you can choose two payments of $105. As far as online courses go, that's middle of the road and quite honestly a fair price for the amount of valuable information you get.
You can sign up for the course through my exclusive link here and continue with my review below.
A quick overview of the blogger who created the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course:
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, who is one of the best personal finance bloggers out there (and also a super nice human being) runs Making Sense of Cents, and created the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course back in 2016.
Not to get sappy, but on a personal level Michelle has been really helpful and cool to me as I've been doing this full-time. I owe a lot of my success to her business and life tips along the way.
She makes $1,000,000 a year from her site right now, and I'm so stoked for her! It's always nice to see someone “make it” that genuinely deserves to.
Take a look at one of her latest income reports here to get an idea of where she is making her money!
In my opinion, she's one of the smartest bloggers out there that is able to sell things from her site without selling her soul or pushing bad products. From my professional blogger point of view – that's huge. Also, she consistently makes $40,000+ per month in affiliate income…so there's that too.
I'll detail my own experience with the course a little later in this review, but the basics are that I went from making a few hundred dollars a month in affiliate income to $4,000+ per month consistently after taking the course.
That's more than I used to make as a high school band director! It's just nuts sometimes when I sit down and think about it.
Here's what you'll learn when you take the course:
Like a lot of the higher quality courses that are coming out in the blogging world nowadays, Michelle's course is created with Teachable.
The great thing about the Teachable platform is that the course creator can make several different modules, and the student can basically complete at their own leisure. It's the same platform I'll be using to create my “How to Become a Digital Marketer” course later in the year.
The Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course has six modules:
- Module 1: What is Affiliate Marketing?
- Module 2: How to Find and Apply to Affiliate Programs
- Module 3: Follow the Rules
- Module 4: How to get your Readers to Convert
- Module 5: Strategies to Promote Affiliate Links
- Module 6: Rinse and Repeat
It's a text-based course with 30 lessons, and it's basically like reading several blog posts on each aspect of affiliate marketing. If you read Michelle's blog, you'll know that her writing style is clear and very easy to understand and implement.
I finished it in about a day, but have gone back several times to re-read modules and refresh myself on things that I might have missed the first time.
By the time you are done with the course, you will have a solid understanding of how affiliate marketing works, what products will work best for your site and audience, and multiple strategies to use on your own blog.
The organization of the course gets a 10 out of 10 for me.
My personal results from taking the course:
Like I mentioned earlier in this review, Michelle's course was huge for my business. I publish monthly income reports to document where I make all of my money online. My first one was in August of 2016 when I first took this course.
Before August, I was mainly making money from sponsorships and my digital marketing business. I had made around $400 in affiliate sales the month before I took the course.
You can see how my affiliate income grew very quickly and has stayed fairly consistent. This month is looking like it may be my best one yet and I *think* I'll pass $5,000.
Here's what my affiliate income has looked like the past few months:
August 2016: $1,070.16 (This is the month that I took Michelle's course)
September 2016: $4,309.94
October 2016: $4,052.06
November 2016: $3,912.22
January 2017: $4,006.65
February 2017: $3,013.06
March 2017: $4,640.89
April 2017: $4,644.85
May 2017: $4,476.70
So over the past 10 months, I've made $37,252.73 in affiliate income! I can very honestly say that my success with affiliate income is directly from Michelle's course.
I probably would have made some money in affiliate income if I hadn't taken it, but nothing substantial most likely. I didn't really know what I was doing with affiliate income at all before other than just slapping links up and hoping for the best.
Sounds good, but will Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing actually help my blog?
You'll never see me promise that you can get the same type of results that I did – there are just too many variables.
But, I've been doing this professionally and personally coached enough bloggers who have also had their affiliate income rise as a result of this course to give it a strong recommendation.
There was a time that I would have looked at this and thought: “Wow, there's no way that could be me.”
But, here I am. I started at zero readers just like everyone else. In fact, I used to really suck at blogging haha.
A lot of people push affiliate income as “passive”, but I don't believe that at all. You have to put in the work of actually implementing the lessons of the course, while at the same time growing your site in other areas.
How hard you are willing to work to grow your affiliate income is up to you. Michelle is just giving you the right tools to build with in this course.
Do you need tons of traffic to make money through affiliate marketing?
No. Traffic definitely helps you make more money, but it's not always an apples to apples comparison when it comes to how much you can make with affiliate income.
There are several blogs out there that are bigger than mine, but I make more money than them with this income stream. There are other blogs that are smaller and make more.
It really comes down to how well you implement the course strategies, and how much you engage with your readers and build trust.
There is a 30 day full money back guarantee on the course, which means Michelle is pretty confident you're going to like the course and get a good return on your investment.
Also, you have to have patience or you won't make it as a blogger anyways. This is a fairly slow business model, so building trust with your readers takes time. They have to know you aren't going to send them to some boo boo product or service.
Free bonus material you'll receive
There are pretty sweet freebies at the end of the course that you'll find really valuable for your blog. I didn't even realize they were in there when I invested in the course, so it was a nice little surprise and made me feel like I got really good “bang” for my buck.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing has six bonus pieces of content:
- How to Always Get Approved for an Affiliate Program
- Pinterest Strategy – How to Receive Hundreds of Thousands of Visitors from Pinterest a Month
- 9 Things You Must Do When Something Goes Viral
- How to Increase Your Page Views
- Worksheet: My Affiliate Products and Services
- Worksheet: The Perfect Affiliate Link Checklist
For me, the Pinterest Strategy bonus was the most helpful. I can probably speak for most guy bloggers that Pinterest is a little intimidating (just because we don't use it as heavily), and it had some great tips on growing there.
I wouldn't say that it's a full solution, but it's a great start if you aren't getting much traffic from Pinterest right now.
Typically, I'm not a worksheet person so I didn't get much value there. However, it just depends on what type of learner you are if you'll like them or not. Worksheets are very common in most of the blogging courses I've taken so far, so some people must be using them!
Some people that are type A and love organization would really be in to the worksheets and find them useful.
You'll also get access to a private Facebook group for the course, which will give you direct access to Michelle and also put you in touch with other people that have taken the course as well.
Final thoughts on the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course
I wish I had a bunch of cons I could list because I typically like to balance out reviews a little more, but there really isn't a whole lot I didn't like from the course. It worked well for me and I learned a lot.
I've also made a lot of money because of the course. Hard to complain.
The biggest thing I can think of is that it's a purely text-based course, whereas other courses I've taken that are the same quality are video and text. I learn a little bit better with the video, but if all text bothers you I would just digest the course in smaller sessions.
If you're looking at it from an ROI basis, my return on this $197 investment in my site yielded a 18,810.02% return so far.
Yes, that looks ridiculous, and no, I don't think everyone that takes the course will see that type of performance. But let's be real – even an extra $250 – $500 a month semi-passively is a huge win no matter how big or small your site is.
Michelle does a good job of cutting out the “fluff” that you see in other how-to resources, which I'm a fan of. The way my mind works, I just want to know what I need to do and how to do it. I already paid for the course, so I don't need someone to continue to sell it to me so I feel good about the purchase.
I highly recommend this course and think it's a good product for a fair price. It's just solid, actionable information for growing your affiliate income.