If you remember in our Blog Profit Plan series, I promised to be back with the scoop on affiliate marketing.
Bump. Here it is!
I just finished this amazing course by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, and today I’m sharing what I’ve learned, why I (finally!) decided to buy it, and why I highly recommend it.
Here’s what I’m going to cover in this post:
- A quick bit about Michelle
- How affiliate marketing fits into our Blog Profit Plan
- Why we even need a course for this
- What I’ve learned from Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
If you don’t know what affiliate marketing is, no worries, let me explain. Affiliate marketing is when you earn money by placing an affiliate link on your website or social media account, and have people purchase through your link. Basically, as an affiliate, you promote a product offered by another business.
Before we dive in, this post includes affiliate links! That’s my disclosure there and one of the first things Michelle explains in the course. FTC regulations require you to let people know if you stand to benefit from recommending a product. No biggie here, right? We’re just being transparent and honest!
Ready to do this? Let’s dig in.
First, who is Michelle?
Hands-down, Michelle is the go-to authority on affiliate marketing. She’s been blogging for about 6 years now and from her income reports it looks like she’s making between $50-100K a month from her blog. I call that an expert!
Before I share what I’ve learned from Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, if you’re ready to dive right in, I highly recommend Michelle’s course. It really helped me understand how to approach affiliate marketing the right way, with a full-blown success strategy. Click here to find out more about it!
How does affiliate marketing fit into our Blog Profit Plan?
Seems pretty obvious, right? Money = Profit!
Hmmm… Should we call this part #4 of the Blog Profit Plan series?
Seriously, you may be thinking about skipping affiliate marketing altogether. Maybe it sounds like it’s too hard or that it will be a waste of time, or that your followers just won’t be interested.
If you ask me, that’s leaving money on the table! And if we’re going to build hugely profitable blogs, we just can’t do that. We have to at least give affiliate marketing a try, right?
As long as we’re truly providing value for our audience, this shouldn’t be an issue. I say focus on creating epic content first, which is what Michelle recommends too, and then find affiliate products and programs that fit your content. Think of it like your content dictates ev’rything.
Here are just a few reasons why I think affiliate marketing fits perfectly into our Blog Profit Plan:
- Affiliate marketing is an inexpensive way to start earning money from your blog. You don’t even have to create a product yourself. Woop woop!
- You can create just one blog post or social media post, and potentially earn money from it years down the line, as long as you maintain it and keep generating traffic to it.
- You can earn a passive income doing what you already do and promoting products that you already use and benefit from.
- Affiliate links are much cleaner than ugly banners and ads. Ugh.
- You actually don’t even need a website to get started. You can use social media to build your business by promoting affiliate products!
- Most importantly, you help your readers find quality products that they will love and find useful.
The trick here is to approach affiliate marketing the correct way, and that is exactly why Michelle’s course is so helpful.
Next up, why do we even need a course?
Now I know what you’re thinking. Why do we even need a course, Sandra? Isn’t this stuff we can figure out on our own?
I hear ya! I’m a huge DIYer so anything I can figure out on my own is where I’m headed first!
Here’s the thing, though. I started poking around for guides and articles on affiliate marketing and just couldn’t find what I needed. It was mostly all fluff and no stuff.
What I really wanted was a complete guide to getting started with affiliate marketing, which is exactly what Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is.
These are the specific questions I wanted answers to:
- How much traffic do I need?
- What’s the best way to get started?
- Which affiliate programs should I use for my niche?
- How are referral sales tracked?
- How will I get paid?
- Which affiliate programs require more/less traffic than others?
- How can I make more than $500 a month as an affiliate?
- Which affiliate programs are best for new bloggers?
- How can I write the perfect affiliate post?
- How can I get even more traffic to an affiliate post?
Phew! That’s a lot. And Michelle covers all of this and more in the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course!
What really made me decide to take Michelle’s course?
Ultimately, I decided to dig into my pockets because I take my blog (and my time) seriously. And I wanted a book-ended strategy, not just a nugget here or there.
Ok, in truth I probably would have been able to make sense of affiliate marketing without Michelle’s course. It would have taken weeks to find what I needed and make sense of it all, but I think I could have done it.
HOLD UP: Weeks?
Uh, no. Nope. Why would I waste my time when Michelle has made sense of it already with her Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course? It’s all there in the title, friends!
This is another one of those things that, when you do it right, you will make back your investment, and more!
Remember, most bloggers make little to no money from affiliate marketing. Michelle, on the other hand, is killin’ it. We’re talkin’ tens of thousands a month!
That’s who we want to learn from, no?
If you’re as fired up about this as I am, click here to find out more about Michelle’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course, and let’s both start putting affiliate marketing to work for our Blog Profit Plan, sound good?
What I’ve learned from Michelle’s course
Wow! There’s a lot. Let me try to break this down:
1) Anyone can start affiliate marketing
You don’t have to wait until you have thousands of followers or page visits. Even if you have a handful of followers or if you are a brand new blogger, you can still be successful at affiliate marketing. Michelle even shows you which affiliate programs to apply for if you’re new to blogging.
2) There’s a strategy for success
There are certain things you need to do in order to be successful with it, and there’s also a way not to do it, which is what I think most people do. For instance, it’s much better to go narrow and deep with affiliate marketing. This is a case where less is more! Start with a few affiliate programs, immerse yourself in the products, test promotion strategies and channels, get comfortable with them, and then tweak, update and modify before you move on.
You also want to let your content and your audience dictate your affiliate programs. Don’t just go spamming your posts with 50 different products! Why not create a series from your blog posts first, focusing on content that your readers really love and value, and THEN research products and solutions to offer them?
3) The right way to leverage your blog and social media
There’s a wrong way, a ‘meh’ way, and a golden way to promote your affiliate links. It’s important to know which is which. We’re talking strategic placement, A/B testing landing pages, blog posts, interviews, tutorials, adding direct referral links in social media, and more.
4) How to crush affiliate marketing with Pinterest
Because Pinterest is such a huge component to all of this, Michelle gives you an entire module on how to use Pinterest in combination with email marketing to get the highest affiliate sales and conversions. We already know what a bump Pinterest is for traffic. The strategies included in Michelle’s course take it to a whole other level. Picture this: you create a stunning pin and include a direct link to your affiliate’s product page and that pin goes viral. Or, you direct people to a freebie, and follow up with an email sequence that includes your affiliate link. It’s all in there. Promise.
5) Choosing the best affiliate programs
Think affiliate marketing won’t work for your niche and focus? Think again! Just about every niche is included…new bloggers, parenting, finance/money, travel, crafts, DIY, food and recipes, healthy living, fashion, beauty, wedding, blogging, business…all of them. No more excuses, friend!
Michelle breaks down dozens of affiliates by niche, so you will definitely find programs that are ideal for your blog.
6) How to choose affiliate products
To be successful with affiliate marketing, you have to choose products that will truly appeal to your audience. This seems like a small thing, but is actually a biggie. Sometimes you can think you’re spot on with what your audience wants, and in reality, you can be completely off the mark. Michelle walks you through how to research your audience to make sure that the program aligns with your brand message. She also explains why you should only promote products that you actually use and love. The more focused and authentic you are, the better your conversions will be!
7) Tracking, worksheets, and spreadsheets
One of the things I’ve learned with online marketing is that you need planners and spreadsheets in order to reach your goals. You have to be specific with what you want to achieve, who you’ve reached out to, systems to track your affiliate programs, affiliate links, commissions, and more. This is one of the things I love most about Michelle’s course!
8) Why you need disclosures
Oops, one last thing!
I almost forget to mention my favorite part of the course. Michelle breaks down exactly how she earned six figures from one single blog post! She shows you the strategies she used, including interlinked, cross posting, email sequences, interviews, social media, and more. That alone was worth it!
I’m soooo excited about this, friends, I really am. This is definitely going in our Blog Profit Plan series!
I can’t wait to share our successes. If you’re ready to make money with affiliate marketing, but haven’t known where to start (or how to win at it!), I highly recommend Michelle’s course. You will love it!
Here are the details again:
To find out more about Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, the course curriculum and what you can expect to learn, click here. It’s very easy to follow and if you’re like me, you’ll want to comb through it at least 2x to grab all of the juicy nuggets!
Let’s celebrate our successes! How have you made affiliate marketing working for you?