I have a story to share with you today about one of my lowest points as a blogger, and how I took what I initially perceived to be one of my biggest failures, turned it into my greatest opportunity for growth, and learned how to make money online with affiliate marketing.
It started on November 9, 2016.
It was the day after election day, and I noticed a huge dip in my pageviews, but since every other blogger I knew had been complaining about traffic drops post-election night, I figured that’s all it was and didn’t pay much attention.
But when the trend continued, I knew something was up.
After a full day of digging through my stats and searching through all of my top pins on Pinterest, I made a horrifying discovery.
My Pinterest account had been hacked.
My top-performing pins were being redirected to URLs that were not mine, Pinterest had marked my account as spam, and at a time when ad revenue is at it’s highest for bloggers, my earnings were dwindling away to nothing.
The good news is that I eventually reached someone at Pinterest, my account was re-activated, the hacked pins were removed, and I recovered all of my traffic, but the experience taught me a really big lesson.
Never put all of your eggs in one basket.
Fortunately for me, I had already joined a killer mastermind group with a bunch of bloggers who continue to push me to do things I never dreamed possible, and they had encouraged me to enroll in the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course so I could learn how to make money online with affiliate marketing as a way to diversify my income.
Up until that point in my blogging career, I had never given affiliate sales much thought. It always seemed spammy and annoying, and I had convinced myself it was much more effort than it was worth.
But when I admitted that my blog receives over a million pageviews a month and I had never worked with a single affiliate throughout my entire career as a blogger, my mastermind groupies almost came through my computer and slapped me.
They told me that Michelle from Making Sense of Cents makes over $50K per month in affiliate sales without millions of monthly pageviews, and made me realize that I was literally leaving money on the table by ignoring the potential of affiliate sales.
I was sold.
So I enrolled in Michelle’s course, and it was the best decision I’ve made as a blogger.
Here are my biggest wins from her course…
I learned how to pick the right affiliate products to promote. The biggest challenge I faced when I decided to learn how to make money online with affiliate marketing was knowing what products and services to focus on. I had no idea where to find affiliate opportunities, which ones my readers would be interested in, or how to apply, but Michelle breaks it all down in her course. She even provides a list of over 80 affiliate program ideas for all kinds of niches, like parenting, traveling, crafting, cooking, and healthy living, and I now have a list of 10 core affiliates I work with each month that I stand behind 100% and enjoy writing about.
I learned how to always get approved by affiliate programs. If you’ve ever applied for and been rejected by an affiliate program, this part of the course will blow your mind. It’s taught by Justine Grey – an affiliate strategist who’s worked as an affiliate manager for companies like Shopify and Freshbooks – and she walks through everything you need to do to get approved (almost) every single time you apply to an affiliate program. I found her tips for replying to rejection notices the most helpful as it’s forced me out of my comfort zone and enabled me to land affiliate partnerships I never dreamed possible!
I learned how to build trust and not lose followers. When I first entertained the idea of adding affiliate links to my blog posts, I was worried my blog traffic would tank, but Michelle showed me how to build trust with my readers. Her advice is actually very simple and easy and has actually helped improve my relationship with my readers by finding genuine ways to provide solutions to their problems. My blog posts are even more helpful than they’ve ever been and I make over $1,000 a month from Amazon links alone. That’s a decent chunk of change for very little work!
I learned the best strategies to promote my core affiliate products. I used to think affiliate marketing involved nothing other than publishing product reviews and adding links to blog posts, but I was so very wrong. There are HEAPS of ways to make money through affiliate marketing, and after enrolling in some pretty amazing affiliate programs that pay 40%+ in commission sales to me, email and social media marketing are my new best friends. If I’m selling a $300 product for a 40% commission rate, that’s $120 for just one sale!
Legal stuff. I thought I had it all figured out with no-follow links and disclosures, but Michelle proved me wrong again. Yikes! She breaks down all of the FTC requirements for affiliate marketing, which gives me peace of mind that I’m doing everything I need to do to protect myself and my blog.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing offers so much more, including:
- The basics (the what, why, and how of affiliate marketing)
- The exact steps Michelle’s taken to earn over $300,000 from a single blog post
- How to increase conversions
- The one major tool you need for affiliate marketing
- How to use Pinterest to succeed at affiliate marketing (yes, this includes the newest Pinterest affiliate rules!)
Many bloggers and online influencers skip over affiliate marketing. They either think it’s too hard, that it’s a waste of time, that they will turn followers away, or that their followers just won’t be interested.
But if you want to be successful as an online entrepreneur, you need to find ways to earn passive income while you focus on bigger wins, like developing your own products, creating your own courses, or selling your own services, and learning how to make money online with affiliate marketing is your first step towards financial freedom.
This post contains affiliate links.
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