Imagine waking up in the morning and receiving an email that you made a couple of sales while you were asleep.
This occurrence is actually commonplace when you’ve mastered affiliate marketing, one of the best passive income sources for bloggers and online entrepreneurs.
When done right, affiliate marketing can be lucrative. That’s why I highly recommend that those who are serious about making an income through affiliate marketing invest in a course or two to learn how to do it properly. There are specific things to understand, from legal disclosures to link tracking.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is the best course I’ve taken about affiliate marketing so far. In this review, I’ll talk about the pros, cons, and everything in between to help you decide if Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a worthy investment for you.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links as explained in my disclosure policy
What is Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing?
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is an online course that teaches bloggers the fundamentals of making money through affiliate marketing. It is taught by personal finance blogger Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, who consistently makes $50,000 per month from affiliate marketing. Michelle runs the popular blog Making Sense of Cents. She created Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing in 2016 to share her extensive affiliate marketing knowledge and tips with bloggers. She covers not only the strategies but also the mindset of a successful affiliate marketer. That way, students can set the right expectations and understand exactly what they need to do to succeed.
Who is Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing for?
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is for bloggers who want to understand the ins and outs of affiliate marketing and earn a consistent income from it. I would say that this is a beginner-level course. If you’ve already know how to join affiliate programs and write affiliate reviews, you won’t find this course useful.
I had been blogging for just four months when I purchased this course in January 2018. At that stage, I wasn’t getting much traffic. Still, it was an ideal time to plant the seeds to make money with affiliate links as my traffic grew. As Michelle explains in the course, it is never too early to get started with affiliate marketing.
I would describe Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing as the ultimate guide to affiliate marketing. In the course, Michelle covers virtually every aspect of affiliate marketing, from how affiliate links work to WordPress plugins for affiliate tracking to promotional strategies for affiliate products. After taking this course, I really didn’t need to take any other courses on affiliate marketing, but I’m a course junkie. The information in this course is sufficient to build a long-term affiliate marketing strategy for your blog.
My experience with Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
In my blogging career, I’ve taken four affiliate marketing courses:
- How To Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours ($25)
- Pin To Profits – Affiliate Marketing ($47)
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing ($197)
- The Super Affiliate System ($997)
Of these four courses, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is the one I found the most transformational. In fact, I’ve printed out the course and put it in a binder so that I can refer to it whenever I need to. I purchased the course in January 2018, just a few months after I started my first blog. At the time, I was in learning mode so I was also taking a few other courses. That’s why it took me six months to complete all the modules. I think you could get through all the content in this course within a week.
By the time I completed all the modules in June 2018, my traffic had increased significantly due to Pinterest. That’s when I doubled down on promoting affiliate links. I used the workbooks in the course to plan out my promotional strategy for each affiliate product. Then the sales started rolling in. Within six months, I grew my affiliate income from $0 to about over $1,000 a month, which was a big deal for a new blogger like me.
What do you learn in the course?
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a text-based course. It includes workbooks, exercises, and actionable steps to create and implement an affiliate marketing strategy for your blog. As you work through the course, you’ll gain clarity on what affiliate programs to join, what products to promote, and strategies to promote them.
There are six modules, each of which covers one pillar of affiliate marketing. The modules are as follows:
- Module 1: What Is Affiliate Marketing?
You’ll learn about what exactly affiliate marketing is, why companies have affiliate programs, and how affiliate links work.
- Module 2: How To Find and Apply To Affiliate Programs
You’ll learn about how to choose the right products to promote and where to find affiliate programs.
- Module 3: Follow The Rules
You’ll learn about the legal disclosures that you must include in all affiliate posts to abide by FTC guidelines.
- Module 4: How To Get Your Readers To Convert
You’ll learn about the strategies to get readers to click on your affiliate links and make a purchase.
- Module 5: Strategies and Ways To Promote Affiliate Links
You’ll learn about the best promotional channels to advertise your affiliate products so that you can increase your chances of earning commissions.
- Module 6: Rinse and Repeat
You’ll learn about how to maintain a long term affiliate marketing strategy. This section includes an affiliate strategy maintenance checklist.
What’s included in the course?
In addition to the six modules, the course comes with workbooks, checklists, bonus materials designed to help you accelerate your affiliate earnings. The bonuses are:
- How To Always Get Approved for Affiliate Programs
- How To Drive Thousands of Visitors To Your Blog with Pinterest (Video)
- 9 Things You Must Do When Something Goes Viral
- How To Increase Your Page Views
- 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 (Video)
What I liked most about Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
The section on legal guidelines
It is so important to understand the legal aspects of affiliate marketing in order to stay out of trouble. Before taking this course, I knew that there were FTC rules for disclosing partnerships on Instagram, but I didn’t know they also applied to affiliate links! There is a section of Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing dedicated to FTC guidelines for affiliate marketing. Michelle has researched this area thoroughly over the years and teaches you exactly how to disclose affiliate links to be compliant.
The breakdown of promotional strategies
I like how Michelle spells out all the ways to promote affiliate products. She also includes specific examples of how she has implemented those promotional strategies and the results she has achieved. For me, this was among the most valuable sections for the course. After completing this section, I went back to my top affiliate products and devised new ways to promote them. I credit this action with helping me go from virtually $0 in affiliate marketing to $1,000 in 6 months.
I found the workbooks included in each section incredibly valuable. Whenever I wanted to come up with a promotional strategy for a new affiliate product, I would print out the workbook and go through the exercise. It helped me implement what I learned from the course. Even today, I still print out the workbooks when I want to come up with a strategy to promote an affiliate product.
The Facebook community
It seems like every online course has a Facebook community these days. I would say that 90% of them are inactive. That is not the case with the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Facebook group.
Michelle is available in the group on a regular basis, answering student questions and providing tips. She also hosts weekly sessions for students when they can ask her any question. This is a woman who makes $50,000 a month from affiliate marketing so being able to ask her questions directly is priceless.
What I didn’t like so much about Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
It’s completely text-based
I’m a visual learner so I like to see videos, graphics, and images. Unfortunately, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a text-based course. After scrolling through so much text, my eyes needed a break. It would have helped to have some visuals included throughout the course. They make digesting and retaining information easier.
The workbooks and worksheets aren’t editable
As I’ve mentioned before, the course comes a handful of workbooks and worksheets to do things like brainstorm affiliate products to promote and keep track of your affiliate programs. Some of these are tasks best done on a spreadsheet or at least an editable document. However, all the worksheets, although nicely designed, are pdf documents. If you use the affiliate tracking worksheet, for instance, you would have to write out all your raw affiliate links on paper. That makes little practical sense. I wish Michelle had given more thought to the user experience when creating these worksheets and workbooks.
Is Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing worth the money?
When it comes to spending money on courses, I have a different perspective, which some may consider reckless and others may consider bold. I don’t care how much the course costs. The most important question I ask myself is:
If I implement what I learn in this course, can I achieve the result I want faster?
That’s why I’ve invested $30,000 on courses and coaching over the years. Some of them absolutely changed my life. Some were just okay. Others, I don’t remember the login password. I don’t believe in spending money you don’t have on designer clothes or fine dining.
However, I believe in investing in education and personal growth even if you don’t have money. Hear me out for a second.
- You got where you currently are based on your beliefs, knowledge, and skills.
- How do you expect to get to a new level with the same belief, knowledge, and skills?
You’re going to stay exactly where you are because you don’t know what you don’t know. At some point, you will have to take a risk to achieve the life you want. I learned this the hard way – after years of sitting in a cubicle and being miserable. You have to take a chance on yourself, and that means giving yourself the tools to be successful as an online business owner.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is one such tool – it’s a powerful resource for affiliate marketing beginners that has helped countless bloggers grow their affiliate income. In the grand scheme of things, $197 is a small price to pay for the invaluable knowledge, strategies, and mindset you’ll learn from this course. The course is far from perfect, but it ticks most of the boxes.
Don’t let $197 be the only thing that stands between you and a better life. You can either make one payment of $197 or two payments of $105. If for whatever reason, you are not happy with Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, you can get a refund. The course comes with a 30-Day money back guarantee.
Tips for Success
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a self-paced course so you can take as long as you want to get through the course material. It took me six months to complete this course because I was working through other courses simultaneously. I definitely wouldn’t recommend that approach.
It’s best to get through the course as quickly possible. Don’t drag it out for months. Maybe block out 1-2 hours a day for a week to complete the course. The sooner you can get through the material, the quicker you can start implementing the strategies. Here are some additional tips for success:
- Print out the workbooks and worksheets provided throughout the course. This will help you reinforce what you learn and also plan your affiliate marketing strategy.
- Join the free Facebook group. You will get answers to most if not all of the questions you may have. You also get to ask Michelle questions directly.
- Read all the bonus materials and watch the bonus training videos! These golden nuggets of information from guest bloggers and entrepreneurs will provide you with additional strategies to accelerate your affiliate income.
Making money with affiliate marketing requires a strategy that goes beyond slapping links on your website and hoping for the best. Unfortunately, many bloggers approach affiliate marketing with this mindset:
- Sign up for some lucrative affiliate programs
- Insert some affiliate links throughout your posts
- Wait for the commissions roll in
It rarely works out that way. If you want to build a sustainable income stream from affiliate marketing, then it’s a no brainer to learn from one of the best. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a comprehensive resource taught by one of the top affiliate marketers. I truly believe that if you apply the strategies in this course, you can achieve remarkable results, just like thousands of other students.
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