Today, I’m going to do an in-depth breakdown of the best affiliate marketing courses in 2023.
I’ve personally gone through each course here. That means actually going through their paid content (yes, even buying the courses in some cases), and also seeing what type of activity there is inside of their coaching groups.
If you’ve followed me for long, you know that I fully endorse Affiliate Marketing as a business model (though it isn’t my top choice).
The most important piece (outside of the course content) is the mentorship and coaching. If you botch those, you’re doomed.
That being said, let’s hop in!
Affiliate Marketing & SEO Master
By: Udemy - Adam Bosch
3.0 stars out of 5
Course length: 3 hours 52 minutes Price: $14.99
Affiliate Marketing & SEO Master Course Details:
It’s clear that Adam himself is pretty good at Affiliate Marketing. He teaches some cool hacks that others don’t really talk about.
The big focus is how to use SEO to market products. This means he teaches you how to send “free” traffic to your affiliate products.
If you’ve been in the Searching-For-An-Affiliate-Program space for long, you’ll know that most other gurus are teaching paid traffic methods, so I appreciate that Adam breaks the mold and teaches some organic methods.
Majority of the content is positioned for beginners, with maybe a few little hacks benefiting advanced marketers.
That being said, advanced marketers probably aren’t buying a $15 course and expecting it to change their businesses.
That being said, you can definitely earn money with what he teaches, though it’s going to be a very slow climb.
Adam’s got almost a decade of experience marketing products in various industries. He’s probably not hanging around today if he doesn’t do well with it, so we decided to include him on the list here.
If you’re a super beginner and want to just learn a bit about the business without investing much of your time, this is a good place to start.
If you want a business that is easier to scale, I’d recommend against affiliate marketing in general. I prefer lead generation businesses.
Clickbank Success - Affiliate Marketing Without A Website
By: Udemy - KC Tan
3.2 stars out of 5
Course length: 2 hours 52 minutes Price: $11.99
Clickbank Success Course Details:
Udemy’s Clickbank affiliate marketing course is the “cheapest” quality course you’re going to find.
KC Tan goes a pretty good job at showing you the high level workings of what it takes to make some money with Clickbank.
Most of these methods seem to be pretty standard and proven. You’re not going to learn anything groundbreaking, but then again, true success doesn’t come from reinventing the wheel.
My only gripe (if you’d call it that) is that the PPC content is lacking, and that’s going to be the most important part of getting things right with Clickbank products.
The course teaches you some nifty little SEO hacks that might help you generate some organic traffic.
If you wanna hit real scale, though, you’re going to need to have a strong command over paid advertising.
The Bottom Line
I don’t really recommend Clickbank as an affiliate marketing method to begin with. If you are going to leverage it, at least make sure to use other income sources besides just Clickbank.
Free Affiliate Marketing Course
3.0 stars out of 5
Course length: Variable Price: Free
Skillshare's Free Affiliate Marketing Course Details:
The issue with free programs is that most people do not take action behind them.
If you’ve read my other blogs, you’ll know that it’s rarely the content of a course that makes a millionaire – it’s the mentorship from someone that’s already accomplished what you’re trying to do, and the action that you take as a student that will make you successful.
That being said, this course is OK for what it is – a primer on affiliate marketing in general.
If you’ve already studied different Youtube channels or other affiliate marketing material, there isn’t going to be a ton of value you find with this course.
The main topics it covers are different foundational skills, promotion methods, and affiliate marketing trends
The Bottom Line
Yes, you will learn some things about affiliate marketing in this course. The biggest issue is that there is no mentorship, so most people are likely to give up once they hit their first roadblock.
That being said, if you’re on the fence about what affiliate marketing even is, it might be a good place to check out and get your feet wet.
In my opinion, if you’re already fairly interested in Affiliate Marketing, you’re better off paying for an actual course that has REAL access to a mentor & coach.
Elevated Entrepreneurs: Golden Link Lifestyle Business
By: Andrew James & Stephen Esposito
3.5 stars out of 5
Elevated Entrepreneurs: Golden Link Lifestyle Business Course Details:
What I really like about Andrew & Stephen’s course is that it focuses on becoming a high-ticket affiliate.
That means they teach you how to sell affiliate products that are more expensive than your average run of the mill gadget.
The entire focus of the course is paid advertising. That’s cool, and I’m a big fan of paid ads – it’s just a shame they didn’t cover any organic marketing at all.
They also have a private group that helps out with some aspects of what they do, which is a big plus compared with the other programs listed above.
They actually have their own high-ticket marketplace called Oasis, where you get access to products that’ll land you a 20-40% commission per sale, which is nice.
They don’t accept a ton of people into their Oasis platform, which is a double-edged sword. Harder for you to actually qualify, but if you do quality, the market isn’t going to be mega-saturated with competitors.
Overall, they seem like some nice guys trying to do their best.
The Bottom Line
If you like the affiliate marketing business model and don’t mind spending a good amount of cash, this might be a good option for you (though we have better options listed below)
However, if you’re trying to earn passive income and you thought that affiliate marketing was your ticket…I’m sorry to disappoint you, it’s anything but passive.
Project 24, Income School
By: Ricky Kesler & Jim Harmer
3.6 stars out of 5
Course length: Over 220 Videos Price: $449 First Year, $199/Year After
Project 24, Income School Course Details:
The course gives a great foundational understanding of affiliate niche blogging.
The real benefit is having the information organized for you nicely – there isn’t anything special here that you couldn’t find for free online. For some people, the organization is worth the premium.
There are hundreds of videos, so you’ll at least step away more knowledgeable than you started.
Another major plus is that they actually keep their content relevant & up to date. At time of writing, there were over 50 new videos added over a 3 month span of time.
They also have a podcast for their inner circle, which is kind of cool.
Both founders are accomplished entrepreneurs, so you don’t need to be concerned about if they know their stuff or not.
Ultimately, they seem like they really care about their craft and their students, which is why they made the list.
The Bottom Line
It’s a great primer for affiliate blogging. My only gripe is that they skim over just how much money typically needs to be invested to be successful with an affiliate blog.
For context, I have friends with successful affiliate blogs that had to invest $200,000 into content and links before they saw a single dime back.
Commission Hero Rating
By: Robby Blanchard
3.7 stars out of 5
Course length: Over 50 Videos & Bonus Material Price: $997 One-time or 2 Payments of $597
Commission Hero Course Details:
Robby Blanchard is a pretty well-established Clickbank affiliate marketer.
His story starts back in 2014, when he owned his own Crossfit gym. He used Facebook ads to grow his business, and then eventually moved-on and started running ads full-time.
About 8 years later he’s still at it, which means he’s clearly got a decent enough system.
The main goal of Commission Hero is to hit $1,000/day as an affiliate marketer. He claims affiliate marketing is the #1 way to make money online.
I take two issues with his claims:
- Hitting $1,000/day takes A LOT more time and effort than he makes it out to be
- There are better overall business models than affiliate marketing.
That being said, if you’re 100%, no-questions-asked all-in on affiliate marketing, it’s a pretty OK way to get going with solid coaching and a good system.
Again, his main traffic source is Facebook Ads. I like Facebook Ads because they can scale quickly when you have a winning formula. The important part is actually having a winning formula.
The course basically covers:
- Clickbank setup
- His methods for picking a good offer to promote
- Setting up a Facebook ads account
- His methods for running Facebook ads
- How to track & scale campaigns
- A bonus Snapchat training
The course is pretty easy to follow, there’s nothing out of left-field being taught.
Again, mentorship is super important, so having access to a private group is a plus.
The Bottom Line
If you’re comparing different Clickbank opportunities, this would probably be your safest bet.
If you’re looking for a more sustainable & scalable business, I recommend a different business model, like Digital Real Estate.
By: Kyle Loudon
3.7 stars out of 5
Course length: 160 Lessons - 1500 words each with a video Price: $50.00/month
Wealthy Affiliate Course Details:
The main instructor throughout the Wealthy Affiliate training is Kyle Loudoun.
He’s a pretty clear teacher, especially for those new to the space. Affiliate marketing can get pretty complicated, so it’s nice to have someone that can make the complex seem simple.
Wealthy Affiliate also gives you a 7 day free trial, whereas most courses have zero-refund policies.
They do in fact teach other means of finding affiliate opportunities, but the main offer they promote and recommend is their own program, Wealthy Affiliate. My biggest issue here is that it’s effectively an MLM. You make money by recruiting other’s into the program.
That being said, people have success with it, which is why I chose to include it in this list.
The course will teach you:
- How to set up your own website
- How to start driving traffic
- How to monetize your traffic
- How to use social media to promote
One cool part of Wealthy Affiliate is that they have their own software called Jaaxy which helps with certain aspects of the affiliate marketing process.
Kyle isn’t really very active in the group, so you’re going to have to rely on other group members to answer questions
The Bottom Line
The truth of the matter is that, while Wealthy Affiliate’s content and training is kinda good, it takes A LOT of money to rank a competitive affiliate site.
It’s not unheard of to be 6-figures-deep into a site before you turn a dollar.
It doesn’t mean you can’t find some obscure niche and have an easier go at things, but massive money making out of the gate simply isn’t realistic unless you’re going to invest a ton of money.
If you’re looking for a good, very cheap entry point into affiliate marketing, this is a good one to consider.
The raw truth: Wealthy Affiliate is good, but there are better Affiliate Programs (coming up soon), and better business models in general than Affiliate Marketing
By: Matt Diggity
4.0 stars out of 5
Course length: 22 Hours 51 Minutes Price: $997.00
Affiliate Lab Course Details:
Matt Diggity’s course is focused around SEO-based affiliate marketing. Meaning, ranking websites to the top of Google for high-value search terms.
The entire course is focused mainly on SEO techniques.
Matt has a pretty solid training as far as SEO-based affiliate marketing goes. Getting to the top result for high-intent searches is critical to success, and this course represents a solid attempt to show you how to do that.
There are over 100 videos in the course. I like to see more than that in a really solid course, but the content is quality, so it has that going for it.
There isn’t really a stone left unturned as far as the SEO side goes. He covers onsite SEO, offsite SEO, backlinking, etc. The content may not be 100% perfect, but it’s better than most.
Definitely a nice choice if you’re sold already on Affiliate Marketing.
The Bottom Line
If you’re 100% sold on trying to be an affiliate marketer, this course is a decent start. That being said, there are a lot of other skills Matt doesn’t teach that you’re going to have to learn.
That being said, you’re not going wrong buying from him.
Affiliate Marketing Mastery
By: Stefan James
4.0 stars out of 5
Course length: 20 hours and 21 minutes. Price: $1,997
Affiliate Marketing Mastery Course Details:
The nice thing about Stefan’s course is that it’s built modeling his own success in affiliate marketing.
There’s a cool focus (different from the others in this list) around building a brand as an affiliate, which definitely has merit.
The main focus (which I appreciate about Stefan) is on creating value for customers.
If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know that my #1 business model recommendation (digital landlords) is built around this concept of providing value – so it’s something that I really appreciate about what Stefan is teaching.
When you’re providing real value to real people, you build goodwill, and your bank account grows.
All of the methods he teaches are above-board, meaning you don’t run a huge risk (like with some of the other methods taught in the above courses) of getting banned by Google.
This is REALLY important – I’ve seen entire affiliate marketing empires taken down in A DAY because they used “black hat” ranking methods, and Google changed its algorithm to penalize them.
So overall, you’ll definitely learn some new skills in this course, which is why it’s on the list!
Stefan James has made over $1,000,000 online, and he’s coached others to reach similar numbers.
In my opinion, he’s reached those numbers because his entire pitch is around providing real value to people.
This is a big difference between other models (like Clickbank for example) where you’re just trying to get people to buy some random stuff.
Again, like my criticisms from other courses, it takes a lot of money to rank a big national affiliate site (we’re talking $20K – $50K – $100K – $200K), so your success here isn’t going to be pulling in huge checks a few months from now.
But if you commit to his teachings for 2-3 years and work really hard and sacrifice a lot, you can make it happen.
The Bottom Line
Look, affiliate marketing is maybe my #3 or #4 business model choice if you’re just getting into the “make money online” space.
There’s a lot of false promises with the model (e.g., passive income while you sleep), so it tends to attract the masses of people that want a ton of success without much work.
So while this course is good as far as affiliate marketing goes, don’t kid yourself: affiliate marketing will take just as much work, long hours, risk, & investment as any other business model does.
By: Franklin Hatchett
3.9 stars out of 5
Course length: 31 hours and 6 minutes. Price: $197
Savage Affiliates Course Details:
Franklin Hatchett has been around the online business game for a while now. I remember taking one of his Shopify Dropshipping courses right after graduating college.
He’s a “household name” in the affiliate marketing space and gives away a lot of good content on his Youtube channel.
His course covers:
- Running ads with Google
- Running ads with Facebook
- Organic SEO methods
Another big focus of his program is niche selection.
This is pretty great, because this is where most people f*** up affiliate marketing. They pick a niche that is too hard for them, think affiliate marketing is a scam, and then quit.
So, knowing what to avoid is a big advantage over the other courses listed above.
At a $197 price tag, I can confidently say: “at least you’re not getting outright scammed out of your money”.
The course also covers some other topics like email marketing, tracking, offers, etc.
If you’re looking for a system that’s going to make you cash in less than 12 months, this isn’t going to be it – but that doesn’t need it’s bad.
Franklin gives some good tips on getting small wins earlier on so that you can at least break even on the price you paid for his course – you’re just going to have to work at it.
Franklin Hatchett has made millions of dollars online doing affiliate marketing, so he clearly knows what he’s doing.
My online critique of what he does is that A LOT of his affiliate revenue comes from getting you to sign-up for software (with his affiliate link), just to implement the business model he’s teaching you.
My question is: how much does he actually make off of the niche fishing stores and such that he shows you in his trainings?
The Bottom Line
Save Affiliates has better content than some of the nearly $1,000 courses on this list, so if there is no other option in your mind than affiliate marketing, this is a decent choice!
Super Affiliate System
By: John Crestani
4.0 stars out of 5
Course length: 50 hours Price: $997.00
Super Affiliate System Course Details:
Super Affiliate System is a follow-up to John’s first course, Internet JetSet
The course is structured to take you 12 weeks to go through, but you can get through it a lot quicker than that.
The focus is primarily on paid ads, as well as picking your products and offers.
Kinda like Franklin Hatchett, John Crestani is a household name in affiliate marketing. He’s been featured all over, and seems to be pretty successful at what he does.
I read a source claiming he’s done over $3,000,000 from his various businesses, which is surprisingly low considering his clout, but it’s obviously more than some people will make in their lifetime.
Overall, seems like a good training.
The Bottom Line
I love paid traffic, so I like that this is the focus of his course. If you can get a winning formula, you can scale up nicely.
The only bottleneck is if you have enough cash to actually invest into advertising your product while it’s still hot.
So, Is Affiliate Marketing Even Worth It?
- With huge corporate spenders focused on ranking in Google now, you need a lot of money and a seriously good system for ranking.
- It usually takes over 12 months to actually rank a niche site (before you see a single dollar)
- Once site is ranked, it becomes much more passive
- Big financial investments – my friend invested over $200,000 to rank a niche site before brining in a single dollar (and that was with insights from a cutting edge, $10,000 website ranking course)
- Key to Success: Quality content & powerful links
- Courses: Affiliate Marketing Mastery, Wealthy Affiliate
- Faster results, but you can burn money if you don’t do it right
- Semi-passive: you still need to occasionally monitor ads
- Key to Success: Great ad creative & proven funnels
- Courses: Super Affiliate System, Savage Affiliates
A Story About The Pitfalls of Affiliate Marketing
I have two things I’d like to discuss here.
Thing #1: Empire Wipers
Google has a bad habit of dropping search engine algorithm updates that shake the world.
In 2016, they dropped two huge updates: Hummingbird & Penguin.
Before this update, you could take a fresh site and rank it in weeks using a method known as long-tail-keyword ranking.
Think about ranking for keywords like:
“What is the best way to make money online in 2023 if I have $1K to invest and live in Texas”
“Best way to make money online”
You could rank for that longer search almost overnight!
When Google launched that update, long tail keyword ranking died overnight.
With the rise of AI and Machine Learning, Google is smart enough to know which queries match to which pages on a site – they don’t really need you to tell them like they used to!
When they made that update, entire empires that relied on Long Tail keywords were destroyed overnight.
Just imagine having an affiliate empire that’s exploding, only to have a single update bring your cash-flow to a grinding halt.
And guess what? This isn’t the first time Google has done it!
If you’re old enough to remember, back in the day, sometimes you would search things, click on the first listing in Google, and it would just be a website with tons of random links on it that happened to have your search term on there.
Google used to value backlinks super highly, and then it all changed, and again empires fell.
My brother’s friend had a 7-figure affiliate business (+ another 7 figure software he sold that had powered this business) selling water filters. He even got to go to Richard Branson’s Necker Island for a few days to talk about the business with other entrepreneurs.
After one update, both businesses VANISHED.
My point with all of this?
Google & Facebook HATE businesses that try to game organic rankings, because it means LESS people spending money on their ad platforms.
Think about it: if I could have the same result by ranking my site to the first spot on Google, then I don’t need to run ads!
And so once a year, like clockwork, they put out massive updates that destroy people that tried to game their system.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to invest 2-3 years of my time building an empire that someone can delete at the click of a button.
So my main issue on the “organic” side of affiliate marketing, is that a lot of these courses still make it a point to teach long tail keywords & other outdated methods, even though they’ve been outdated for years.
You can of course make money with the paid methods, but here’s my issue with that:
The course creators made their money with paid ads because they found a product that worked, and spent a lot of time testing to find out why it worked for that product specifically.
Every market is different, every product is different.
My point is – you can’t just take one of their templates that worked well for a dog-walking leash that you wrap around your waist, and simply apply it to a kitchen gadget for grandmas.
So, you’re going to spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel and figuring out which ads will work for your product specifically.
If they gave you their exact ad and product, the market would become inundated with the message, and it would stop working.
If you’re really fortunate, the course is going to teach you the psychology of advertising. They’re going to teach you the principles behind psychological motivation (e.g., reciprocation, commitment, social proof, authority, likeness, scarcity, etc, etc) and how to apply them to advertising.
Then you at least have enough of a footing to think for yourself and make your own ads.
Thing #2: Control
Time for another story.
A few years back, I sold women’s health products via an affiliate offer on Clickbank.
It took me MONTHS of trying & testing different ads to find something that would work.
I spent weeks testing different variations of my landing pages.
Finally, I found a formula that worked, and I was able to sell products at a profit!
Guess what happened next?
They ended the affiliate program for their product.
Just like that, months of hard work and determination vanished.
I realized in that moment that I would never pursue another business model that left so much of my fate into the hands of another.
Between the algorithm updates, the ability to have my products TAKEN from me, & everything else, it just wasn’t for me.
Don’t get me wrong – I still make over $20,000/mo online by running ads that ultimately help other people… but it’s structured in such a way that I control everything.
So, That's Why I Stopped Affiliate Marketing
#1 – Too much trust placed in the “Empire Wipers”
#2 – Lack of control over my business
So, all that being said, I present you 3 options if you’re still 100% bought-in to affiliate marketing.
Option #1: If you’re OK with paying a pricier tag for better information, go with John Crestani.
Option #2: If you want to get your feet wet without fully committing, go with Franklin Hatchett.
Truth be told, Affiliate Marketing can definitely work.
I’ve personally made money with affiliate marketing.
I have friends with rather large ($200K+/mo revenue) affiliate marketing businesses.
So it works…
There’s a ton of free information out there, so what you’re really paying for with these courses is the organization of the information, & (hopefully) the coaching.
Option #3: If your goal is to reach $10K/Mo as quickly as possible, I would recommend checking out the Digital Landlords business model.
This is the model that helps me make over $20,000/mo. It’s not 100% passive income, but’s pretty close, and it’s a legitimate way to make money by actually helping people.
You may have to talk to some actual real-life humans to hit that $10K/mo, but hey – at least you know it’ll work. Also, you can’t live your entire life hiding behind a screen.
If you haven’t read my post about Digital Landlords, it basically means renting websites to local businesses across the country that need help growing.
So in a sense, it’s kind of like affiliate marketing, but without the downsides.
Why I Choose Digital Real Estate Over Affiliate Marketing in 2023
With Digital Real Estate, we focus on targeting niche services in local cities across the country (or the world). We’re not trying to beat out huge spenders for national keywords.
Let me show you.
You see this search term?
Colorado Springs has a population of maybe 500,000 and growing.
There are dozens of concrete companies that serve the local population.
Making this ad profitable is A LOT easier than making this one profitable:
There’s much less competition.
You’re not going up against every affiliate marketer that bought the same course as you.
Even better: you’re going up against some random guy that owns a competing concrete company that’s never run an ad in his life.
So “winning” and sending the best leads to your client is easy.
My mentor calls it “knocking out 3rd graders”.
As a Digital Landlord, you can create $500 – $2,500 per month semi-passively in 3-6 months.
And the cool part is that every time you make another “rental property” and “rent” it to a local business owner, that number doubles.
And to be honest, 3-6 months is A LOT LONGER than most people take. Some people do it in as little as a week!
Let’s look again at my concrete ad.
See where it’s positioned? #1
The top most ad gets most of the clicks.
This is my “digital real estate” property.
This concrete site makes me $1,500/mo, and I haven’t touched it since I made it!
OK, so maybe you need to get in there for an hour once per month to make sure everything is working as expected…
No business is truly 100% “passive” as much as a guru might try to tell you it is – so that’s why I call this “semi-passive” income.
The best part is living life on my own schedule. If I want to grow the business more, I can go out and prospect more customers and build more rental properties.
If not? Hello Hawaii!
Don’t believe me?
Check out my call tracker for the concrete site:
Tell me: what concrete contractor in a small town isn’t going to pay me for sending him 56 potential jobs in a month?
Let’s low-ball it and say they close only 10% of these (actual client closes closer to 40%). If we average out to $2K per job and they close 6 of them, that’s an extra $12,000 in their pocket.
You think he’s willing to pay me a measly $1,500 if he’s making back $15,000?
And with his real numbers, it’s a lot more than 6 jobs.
All you need is to pick a niche (similar to affiliate marketing), get a proven ad campaign (my mentor gives out 30 of them), and then go around the country getting 1 client per city until you’ve had your fill – pretty easy!
This business scales nicely, which is why I love it.
The best part for me? You’re helping someone put food on the table for their families, provide an education for their children, & do whatever else makes their lives just a little bit easier.
You’re really helping them.
Here’s all the reasons why digital real estate is the best:
Look, local businesses aren’t going anywhere. It’s not like an affiliate product where all of a sudden they stop selling it.
What do I do with the profits?
Build out more and more of these properties in different cities, and find someone to fill them.
You’re in complete control of how much time (& money) you choose to make.
That means you can go on vacations as you please, or do whatever else it is you would do if you only had to work a few hours per week.
And since you may be asking: “what happens if you lose that client?”
I just go find another one and forward the phone calls to them instead (just like how a landlord would go get another renter).
If you’re interested in learning more, click here to see which Digital Real Estate program I recommend most.
You won’t really find this level of coaching anywhere else. The program is lead by two founders that each bring their own high-level skills to the table.
With most programs, you’re lucky to get 1 with hopefully-high-level skills.
If you’re not afraid of working hard at a proven system, and are willing to be coached to success, then I look forward to seeing you in there!
It’ll change your life!
(just like it changed mine)