How to Rock Affiliate Marketing When You Stink at Sales (Plus an Interview with Michelle Schroeder-Gardner)
When I started blogging, I thought that it was as simple as you just write posts and you make lots of money. I had no idea how it happened, but somehow it just happened. (Hold the applause. I know, I’m a genius.)
Once I found out that I needed to make money through affiliate marketing, I almost quit blogging.
What’s “affiliate marketing?”
“Affiliate marketing” is the internet world’s way of saying “sales.” And I’m 100% the worst at sales. THE. Worst. It’s only a little bit disheartening as someone who just stinks at anything involving getting someone to buy something to have to use affiliate sales in my sales strategy for my blog.
Here’s how “great” I am at sales. True story: I couldn’t sell Girl Scout cookies when I was a kid. What?! Who can’t sell Girl Scout cookies?! They practically sell themselves, right? If you’re me, the answer is “no.”
I carried that inability to sell anything throughout my childhood into adulthood.It was bad. And now, I have to sell things in order for my blog to get to the next level?! Oh my gosh. I’m in trouble.
Then I took the Elite Blog Academy class. It was the best decision I ever made. But at the end of the class, I found myself sitting there thinking “how am I going to make this work?” The course went into great detail about some great strategies, but there was still some assuming that you could sell something… anything! And I couldn’t.
I didn’t need a 101 class in affiliate marketing, I needed a 001 class.
I needed some more serious hand-holding to show me step-by-step how to make this into a part of my income strategy. I needed to know how to rock affiliate marketing when you stink at sales.
You can only imagine how excited I was when I saw that there was an affiliate marketing course from one of the most successful bloggers I know: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents. Michelle has had beyond-amazing success with affiliate marketing and she finally made a class to share all of her affiliate strategy secrets.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is the course that Michelle started and it has been the missing piece in my affiliate marketing strategy. She goes through every step that she’s ever taken to be successful in affiliate marketing and shared it with the world.
So how good is Michelle at affiliate marketing?
How’s $102,911 last month sound? Pretty good, maybe? Yeah. It’s like that.
I knew that if I could take this course and learn as much as I could from it that I would be able to make it in the blogging world.
My affiliate income has increased by more than 300% since I started taking the class! There is no way that I could have done that on my own in less than 2 full months. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is the hand-holding answer to my problem with sales. My mindset shifted from thinking of it as “selling,” to thinking of it as helping connect people with answers to their problems. Maybe I don’t stink as much as I thought!
I got the privilege of interviewing Michelle on the secrets to success as an affiliate marketer and blogger. So grab a notepad, because her answers will definitely be worth remembering!
Could you tell us a little bit about how you started blogging and who you are?
Hey, everyone! My name is Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I run the blog Making Sense of Cents. In August of 2011, I started my personal finance blog after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. I got hooked on that website and my interest in blogging just grew from there. Before August of 2011, I didn’t even know that blogs existed. I didn’t know what they were, I didn’t know that they could make money, or anything like that.
I did not create my blog with the intention of making money blogging. It was really all just a hobby. I then realized how much I loved blogging and realized that it was for me, so now I am a full-time blogger! It’s funny how life can change so much.
On Making Sense of Cents, I talk a lot about different ways to make extra income, money saving tips, living your dream life, RVing (me and my husband RV full-time), and more. I love running Making Sense of Cents and I am very happy that this is now my full-time career, my business, and pretty much my life.
What’s your best piece of advice in general for a new blogger?
My best piece of advice would be to network as much as you can with other bloggers. You should attend conferences, go to local meet ups, network on social media, and more as much as you can. Networking is extremely important in the blogging world, yet many bloggers don’t do that at all because they see other bloggers as competition. This is a huge mistake because bloggers should be your friends and colleagues.
How long was it before you started making substantial money from affiliate income?
I’ve always been interested in affiliate marketing since I started blogging, but I never thought it was possible before. I always thought that you had to have a huge following and a ton of page views in order to be successful with affiliate marketing.
Well, one day I decided to give myself a goal of earning affiliate income, and I worked towards achieving that goal. I started by making a little bit each month, and then it just continued to grow month after month. I now know that you don’t need a ton of page views or a huge following in order to make a great income through affiliate marketing.
What is your favorite part about affiliate marketing?
I love affiliate income and affiliate marketing because it can feel quite passive. 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. With affiliate marketing, I can enjoy life more and know that I am still able to earn a great living promoting products that I use and enjoy.
What would your best advice be for a new blogger looking to start earning from affiliate income?
I want everyone to know that YOU can make money through affiliate income, and you can do it in a non-salesy way. So many people are afraid of affiliate marketing because of two reasons: 1) They don’t think they have a large enough platform; 2) They are afraid of being too “salesy.” I have never had someone tell me that I’m salesy or pushy, and I’ve even had people ask me how I make money through affiliate marketing because they never see me try to sell things. So, yes, it is possible to provide high-quality content for your readers without being pushy!
What’s your top earning affiliate program?
My top earning affiliate programs are work from home opportunities, such as web hosting and teaching others how to start a blog, survey companies, and online courses. My blog focuses a lot of pursuing extra income methods in order to manage your financial situation better, so this makes sense. Plus, the beginning of my blogging career consisted almost entirely of me trying multiple different ways to make extra money so that I could pay down my student loan debt quickly.
How did you best market your top earning affiliate?
I market the various products that I’m an affiliate for in many different ways. These ways include blog posts, reviews, a resource page, email newsletters, and a few other ways. I believe the best way is to give your readers lots of great information and making them more and more interested in the product. I do this by either getting them to subscribe to a free email course of mine, making a series of blog posts that give them unlimited amounts of knowledge on the subject, and so on.
Michelle has been such an inspiration and has provided such great motivation for me since I started blogging (we’re in the same niche, so I’ve been following her since before I even started blogging).
Not only is the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing class amazing, but you then also get access to the private Facebook group where all of the other students get access to one-on-one time with Michelle asking her questions and really getting to know her.
I think honestly one of my favorite lessons has been to really love something that you’re promoting and that will help you sell it more easily. If you’re a blogger, even if you’re a selling guru, definitely check out Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
Being a personal finance blogger and a cheapskate at heart, it makes me so happy that this class is so cheap! Michelle could have easily charged $500 for this class and people still would have been lined up to get in. But, because she’s amazing, it’s $197 for the whole class (with monthly options available). If you don’t like it or you just think that it’s not for you, there’s a money back guarantee. You really can’t go wrong.
I want you to rock affiliate marketing when you stink at sales. I really want you to do well when you start blogging and I don’t want you to spin your wheels forever getting nowhere, if you sign up for the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing class through my link, you’ll get some really amazing freebies that I’ve made that have helped me to stop spinning my wheels and get on the right track making a profit from my blog quickly.
So when you sign up for the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Class you’ll get:
1. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing with all of the printables and step-by-step guides to help you know exactly what you need to do and how to make money from affiliate marketing.
2. Access to the exclusive Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Facebook group with answers from very experienced bloggers. You can ask as many questions as you’d like and you’ll always get an answer from Michelle as well as the other bloggers. Super bonus with this: Michelle always asks for pins to promote. Every week she’ll repin your content to her thousands of Pinterest followers. This is great exposure if you’re trying to build a following on Pinterest!
3. My Ultimate Blog Resource Guide to help you know the best or the best people to follow, steps to take to get a blog started, where to make money from your blog, plug-ins to install to take your blog to the next level, website designers and technical support people who will help you with everything you need, and everything you need to know about Pinterest!
4. My Best of the Best Blogging Courses Guide to know which courses are worth the investment so that you can stop wasting precious time and money. These are all courses that I’ve personally taken and absolutely love.
5. My Time Blocking Schedule that shows you how I manage to work 10 hours each week and still bring in an amazing paycheck from passive income. This is the 30-minute schedule that I use to stay on top of my work while still managing to have a life.
6. My Customizable Media Kit page that shows you the page that I send out when I want to work with sponsors and other companies. This is a great resource that will help you know what companies are looking for from bloggers.
To get all of these amazing bonuses, make sure to click through on my link!
So for the cost of the course, you’re getting the Facebook group with the one-on-one coaching sessions ($100/hr., so basically $100 every time you ask a question), as well as all of the bonuses that I’m offering ($79 in bonuses) all for $197.
This course will pay for itself very quickly and you’ll be an affiliate marketing guru in no time. This is an amazing opportunity to learn from the best and to grow your blog the right way from the start.
What’s your biggest struggle with affiliate marketing?