This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
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My husband Silas and I had done pretty well with traffic from Pinterest since starting our blog in 2016. Our income reports showed that. But the problem was that we literally felt chained to ad revenue.
If site traffic was strong and healthy then our revenue went up, and if our traffic went down our revenue also went down.
That was ok for a time, but after a while, we realized we had to diversify our income streams if we wanted to succeed long term.
Despite not creating an email list straight away (seriously guys, starting an email list from day one is a must), after a while, we’d managed to build up a decent-sized list.
We knew it was time to learn how to properly do affiliate marketing in a way that engaged my audience, wasn’t pushy and didn’t feel like we were just spamming and selling them a product.
Sure, we could have just winged it, but we felt that our readers deserved better than that, and secondly, we felt that the return on investment from learning how to do it properly would be worth it in the end.
And after looking into learning from a course, we found that Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing was right for us.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Review
- Why I Chose Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
- About Michelle Schroeder-Gardner
- The Impact of Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
- An Overview of the Course
- What I like Most About the Course
- What I like Least About the Course
- The Exact Structure of the Course
Why I Chose Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
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Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing was a perfect fit for me and my husband Silas.
There are SO many affiliate marketing online courses out there that it’d take ages to list them all.
Most compete directly with each other, whereas a few tailor to specific people who are wanting to venture into the world of affiliate marketing.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is one such example of an online course that tailors to a specific audience.
The course focuses predominantly on affiliate marketing for bloggers. This was one of the main reasons I chose to take the course.
Another reason was that I knew the person who invented it, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner.
I first came into contact with Michelle from Pinterest.
Like our Pinterest profile, she was getting good traffic from Pinterest to her site Making Sense of Cents.
I kept in contact with her and was interested in taking Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing when I first heard about it.
Michelle had a proven record of making good money from affiliate sales, so I knew I could trust her. Furthermore, she came recommended to me from other bloggers.
So…3 years ago, I took the plunge and bought her course.
A Bit About Michelle Schroeder-Gardner
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner runs the award-winning personal finance blog, MakingSenseofCents.com
She started blogging entirely as a hobby back in 2012, but she’s now currently earning over $100,000 a month blogging, with around $50,000 a month of that coming from affiliate marketing.
Since 2015 she travels full-time with her husband and her financial advice has been featured on sites such as Huffington Post, Forbes, Yahoo, and many more.
If you’d like to read my interview with Michelle where we talk about how she started making money blogging, you can check it out here!
The Impact of Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
I’ve had access to the course now for about 3 years, so I can tell you exactly how it’s impacted me from a short-term and long-term perspective.
Over the past 3 years, we’ve covered the cost of the course ($197 as a one-off payment or 2 payments of $105/month) by about one hundred times over.
And that’s not even exaggerating.
The money we’ve made from affiliate marketing based off of what we’ve learned from this course makes its cost completely pale in comparison.
Sure, you could say this would also have been true had we taken another affiliate marketing course, but this is still pretty incredible and speaks volumes about the quality of the course itself.
Another positive long-term impact this course has had is from the support Facebook group you get invited to after enrolling.
Once you’ve worked your way through most of the material in the course and start implementing what you’ve learned, this Facebook group starts to become more and more valuable to your long-term success.
You can ask questions, receive feedback, and discuss strategies with others who may be more knowledgable than you are and further ahead in their affiliate marketing journey.
Quick note! Here are some other courses you seriously need to check out that have helped our blog make $10,000+/mo:
- Stupid Simple SEO — This course teaches you how to rank your posts higher on Google so that your site gets more visitors. Read our full review of the course here.
- Elite Blogging Academy — This course takes you by the hand and actually teaches you how to become a full-time blogger! Read our full review of the course here.
We paid off the price of the course in only a few months and we immediately saw an increase in affiliate sales after implementing the lessons in this course.
Moreover, what you learn in the course immediately sets you on course to win at affiliate marketing—whether you’re just beginning or are more advanced.
So whether you’re like us and ready to begin selling affiliates to an engaged audience right away, or are just starting out and want to get things right from the get-go, this course is for you.
The tools that you learn from protecting your blog legally, to learning the best affiliate marketing practices, to the ins and outs regarding the technical side to affiliate marketing, immediately set you on course for success.
The main challenge is just keeping it up by being consistent with it long-term, but you’re even guided on how to do that in Module 6, “Rinse and Repeat”!
An Overview of the Course
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing contains 6 core modules, over 40 lessons, a workbook and over 10 worksheets, bonuses, and an exclusive (and super helpful) Facebook group.
The course covers topics such as:
- What affiliate marketing is, how it works, and why it’s great.
- The exact steps Michelle took to earn over $300,000 from a single blog post.
- How to pick the right affiliate products and different. strategies to promote them.
- How to increase conversions.
- How to build trust and not lose followers
- Required disclosures and legal stuff you need to know about.
- Affiliate marketing and Pinterest.
- The one major tool you need for affiliate marketing.
Let’s now look into each individual module closer.
Module 1 is called “What Is Affiliate Marketing?” and you’ll learn the ropes as to what affiliate marketing is all about.
- Why affiliate marketing is important.
- How affiliate marketing is a cheap, easy and passive way to earn income.
- Some good niches to get involved in as an affiliate marketer.
Module 2 is called “How To Find and Apply To Affiliate Programs” and you’ll start looking deeper into affiliate programs and the roadmap of affiliate marketing.
- How much site traffic you’ll need to start affiliate marketing.
- Why loyalty and engagement matter more than traffic.
- How to work out what your readers want (worksheet included).
- How to choose the right products to sell (worksheet included).
- How to find affiliate programs.
This module also comes with a great resource containing 80+ affiliate program ideas for different niches.
Module 3 is called “Follow The Rules” and it’ll help you make sure you stay on the good side of the law as an affiliate marketer.
- About no-follow links and why Google requires them for every affiliate link.
- Legal requirements you need to follow in the United States.
- What to do if you live in a Nexus State.
Module 4 is called “How To Get Your Readers To Convert” and will help you turn your readers into buyers and everything else you need to know at becoming a successful affiliate marketer.
- How to make your affiliate links look pretty.
- How to build trust with readers.
- How to pick the right product (worksheet included).
- All about “Click-through” rates.
- How and when to include bonuses in your offers (worksheet included).
- How to improve your top 10 blog posts so that they make you more money (worksheet included).
Module 5 is called “Strategies and Ways To Promote Affiliate Links” and goes into different ways you can start using your affiliate links.
- Different strategies to promote your affiliates (worksheet included).
- How to create the perfect affiliate review post (worksheet included).
- How to optimize your Resource page.
- How to sell affiliates via email marketing.
- How to sell affiliates by teaching how to use them.
- How to do affiliate interviews.
- How to sell a ton of affiliates on Pinterest.
- How to sell affiliates on other social media.
- How Michelle earned $500,000 from one affiliate product.
Module 6 is called “Rinse and Repeat” and will help ensure your affiliate sales stay consistent and healthy.
- How to keep the relationship between you and your affiliate manager strong.
- What things you need to check up on regularly to keep sales churning (worksheet included).
- How to track your affiliate marketing progress (worksheet included).
- The 10 things you do NOT want to do as an affiliate marketer.
- How to make your affiliate marketing long-lasting.
- How to increase sales during the holidays.
The last module is a bonus that contains a variety of helpful goodies and topics, including:
- How to get a ton of site views from Pinterest.
- How to maximize profits with Facebook ads.
- How to always get approved to affiliate programs.
- A “ 9 Things You Must Do When Something Goes Viral” PDF file.
- An affiliate link checklist to help you create the perfect affiliate link.
- Writing strategies to help increase sales.
- How to legally protect your blog.
What I Like Most About the Course
1. It makes affiliate marketing feel SO simple
With Michelle guiding you, affiliate marketing feels eerily easy!
Seriously, almost ANYONE can do this.
And what’s even better? It’s knowing that your instructor has literally made THOUSANDS of dollars herself from following these steps.
She guides you step-by-step through affiliate marketing. First by laying the foundation of the basics (which is actually really helpful even for experienced marketers), to the more nitty-gritty and technical questions that come later on.
Furthermore, the worksheets that come with the course have a way of making you ask the questions that bring out the best answers.
For example, questions such as what affiliate product to sell or what kind of blog posts you should write.
Recently I’ve started working through the course again and, even after completing it once before, I’m still getting so much out of it—and I’ve been doing affiliate marketing for years and making good money off of it!
2. The low price
Considering that data has shown that affiliate customers spend more and more frequently than regular customers, affiliate marketing is a great way to make good money.
Michelle herself makes over $100,000 a month with the biggest chunk of that coming from affiliate sales, and we typically make several thousand a month from affiliates too.
Therefore, considering that this course costs $197 (or two monthly payments of $105), what you learn and what you can earn if you put it into practice over the long-term can make the cost almost negligible.
Michelle adds updates to the course from time to time.
So for example, in September 2018 she added a new segment to exclusively help us out with Apple’s ITP 2.0 update.
This is a huge plus for me because affiliate marketing isn’t a skill you learn just once; it’s something that changes and adapts over time.
So it’s great to see that Michelle hasn’t just abandoned the course 3 years after creating it.
4. The support & community
The support for this course has been phenomenal in my experience.
Correspondence with Michelle is by email and is super fast. I’ve never been waiting around for a response!
While taking the course, she sends out a few emails checking up on you and your progress. And you can always email her on your own with any questions that you might have too.
Furthermore, after using the course for a few years (as I have) the community surrounding the course becomes more important than ever.
Luckily, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing has a large and active (6 posts per day) Facebook group for you to post questions, seek help, and to tweak and perfect your long-term marketing strategies!
What I Like Least About the Course
Despite this being an excellent course, it’d be dishonest to say that it’s perfect in every way.
Here are just a few things I do NOT like about this course.
1. Lack of videos
This is, without a doubt, the biggest downside of the course and is why, at the beginning of the article, I only gave 3.5 stars out of 5 for its teaching method.
While the overall teaching method is of good quality (it’s well written, to the point, and put in a language anyone could understand with lots of helpful worksheets and PDFs), the fact that there are only two video lessons in the whole course is a bit of a letdown.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still easy to learn lots of info in this course in how well it is presented, but don’t expect to be able to put your headphones in and learn by listening/watching.
2. Too focused on the United States
I’m from the US so this didn’t bother me personally, but a minor criticism of this course is that it is a little too US-focused.
For example, Module 3 is all about legal info and advice that is only applicable to the US. If you’re from Europe, this 3rd module will be like 60% redundant for you.
While this isn’t a problem in other modules, in this day and age where the whole world is more connected than ever, this should be better.
3. Too much common sense at times
A pretty weird criticism, right?
However, when you pay good money for a course you kinda just want to cut to the chase and be given all the info straight…Or is that just me?
Well, at times, some of the “tips” given in the course stray too much into the realm of simple common sense.
For example, in the PDF given in the Bonus module called “9 Things You Must Do When Something Goes Viral”, the last thing you’re advised to do when a post goes viral is to “have fun” and enjoy it being viral.
While that may help one recognize the importance of intentionally taking a step back and enjoying your affiliate marketing successes, I felt that it wasn’t necessary for myself personally.
While there is PLENTY of incredible tips and information in this course that makes it well worth the cost, some of the “tips” are a little too simplistic at times.
Some people may like this as it definitely gives off the vibe of being accompanied throughout the whole course by Michelle, but others may find these kinds of tips a little bit distracting from the actual juicy tips found in the course.
The Exact Structure of the Course
Now you have an idea of the overview of the course, here’s a complete look into the structure of the course so you can see exactly what you’re paying for.
Firstly in video format just below that gives a very brief look at inside the course, and secondly written out fully in text below it.
Note: The numbers in brackets indicate how long a video lesson is.
- Introduction to the Course
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Facebook Mastermind Group
1. What Is Affiliate Marketing?
- Why Affiliate Marketing Is Great
- The Basics Of Affiliate Marketing
- How Affiliate Links Work
2. How To Find and Apply To Affiliate Programs
- The Amount Of Traffic You Need
- How To Determine What Your Readers Want
- Worksheet – Brainstorm What Your Readers Want
- How To Find Affiliate Programs
- 80+ Affiliate Program Ideas For Different Niches
- Worksheet – Affiliate Programs You Are Interested In
3. Follow The Rules
- Requirements and Disclosures
- Understanding Nofollow Links
- What To Do If You Live in a Nexus State
4. How To Get Your Readers To Convert
- The Tool You Need To Master Affiliate Marketing
- How To Build Trust
- Worksheet – How To Pick The Right Affiliate Product To Promote For Your Brand
- Deep Linking 411
- The Importance Of Your Click-Through Rate
- The Value of a Bonus
- Worksheet – My Bonus Ideas
- How To Have Affiliate Marketing Success
- Improving Your Top 10
- Worksheet – Improving Your Top 10
5. Strategies and Ways To Promote Affiliate Links
- Introduction to the Different Strategies
- Creating Successful Affiliate Reviews
- Worksheet – Creating The Perfect Affiliate Review
- Teaching With Tutorials
- Having A Helpful Resources Page
- Using Interviews To Drive Sales
- The Money is in the List
- Your Average Blog Post Can Lead To Affiliate Success
- How To Rock Affiliate Marketing On Social Media
- The Crazy Impact Pinterest Can Have
- How I’ve Earned Over $500,000 From One Affiliate Product
- Worksheet – Strategies To Promote Affiliate Products
6. Rinse and Repeats
- The Importance Of A Strong Relationship
- Maintaining Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy
- Worksheet – Regular Maintenance Checklist
- The Things You Do NOT Want To Do
- Making Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy Long-Lasting
- Tips To Improve Your Affiliate Income Around the Holidays
- Worksheet – Tracking Your Affiliate Income Progress
- Start September 2018 Update: Affiliate Marketing And ITP 2.0
- How to Always Get Approved To An Affiliate Program
- How To Drive Thousands of Visitors To Your Blog With Pinterest (33:02)
- 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
- How to Maximize Your Reach, Your Impact, and Your Revenue with Facebook Ads
- Editing And Writing Strategies That Will Take Your Content To The Next Level
- How To Legally Protect Your Blog (20:37)
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Pin for Later!
In conclusion, this step-by-step affiliate marketing strategy course will show you how to increase your affiliate income and make more money blogging.
Ideal for bloggers especially, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing was the ideal solution for us to get our affiliate marketing in shape and to help us make even more money.
While the course isn’t perfect, we’d still definitely recommend it to bloggers who are starting out with affiliate marketing.
We’d also recommend it to bloggers who already have some experience with affiliate marketing, but feel it’s perhaps best for those who already have a blog running and want to start venturing into affiliate marketing.