So, you’re a student.
Right now, you’re at a point in your life’s journey where you’re moving towards your future career.
Maybe you’re still far from the finish line, but you’re filled with hopes and expectations (and maybe even a little fear).
And if I’m guessing right, you’re also broke.
That’s because no, college isn’t cheap.
In fact, the average cost of a single college student is $25,487 for a single academic year.
Should you panic?
There are a ton of ways you can make extra cash.
And no, I don’t mean waiting on tables at the nearest Wendy’s or KFC.
What I mean is taking advantage of the lucrative digital world and building a nice fat side income as you make your way through school.
Yep. I’m talking about affiliate marketing.
With affiliate marketing, you can make enough money to pay your tuition, buy books, rent a cozy house, go out of town on random weekend trips…
…and who knows?
Maybe even buy your own dream house and travel the world.
(It’s been done before.)
But the thing about affiliate marketing is, you need to start right.
You need a proven-and-tested blueprint to get you from “What the heck is affiliate marketing?” to “I’ve nailed this and I’m making enough to sail my way smoothly through college!”
If you want this blueprint, I’ve got you.
In this blog, I’ve outlined a detailed guide on Affiliate Marketing for Students.
I’ll show you what affiliate marketing is, why it’s so promising, and exactly how to get started (step by step).
Let’s dive right in.
What Is Affiliate Marketing? (Definition and Example)
I know the term “affiliate marketing” sounds big and scary.
Maybe you know nothing about marketing.
The very thought of selling stuff is enough to drive you screaming to your room, where you pull the covers over your head like they do in horror movies.
Affiliate marketing has nothing to do with cold calling random people and badgering them to buy the latest stuff they don’t need.
You don’t even have to be an extrovert to take part in this super lucrative business.
Because the truth is, affiliate marketing is simply about helping people make good buying decisions.
It all starts with gaining an audience.
Once you have a strong following, you sign up for partnerships with good brands related to your expertise.
You then promote these brands’ products and services to your followers, earning commissions each time you make a sale.
Here’s affiliate marketing according to Investopedia…
Clear as mud?
Ok, here’s an example.
You love books, so you start a blog reviewing your favorite novels and nonfiction reads.
In time, you gain a strong following of people who share your passion.
So you sign up for book affiliate programs offered by bookstores.
In your blog, you promote their books to your followers…
…and when they buy using your special links, you earn commissions for each sale.
But will it work?
Can you really earn a decent income from affiliate marketing?
Also, how much of an investment do you need to make? (If you’re already drowning in student loan debt, you might not be in the position to invest in any kind of business.)
These questions lead us to…
Affiliate Marketing for Students: Is It Worth It? (+How Much You Can Earn as an Affiliate Marketer)
The truth is, I want to jump right in and tell you that YES, affiliate marketing for students IS WORTH IT.
But you really shouldn’t just take my word for it.
So here are some stats to show you how much you can make as an affiliate marketer.
According to Glassdoor, the average affiliate marketer makes $66,029 a year, with $35, 000 on the low end and $124,000 on the high end. (Imagine: even if you earn $35,000 a year, that’s enough to cover all your college expenses, plus extra.)
PayScale's statistics puts the average at $52,367 a year (still not bad!) with $37,000 on the low end and $73,000 on the high end.
Zip Recruiter's stats are the most attractive, with $154,700 as the average, $11,000 at the low end, and a whopping $401,500 at the high end.
So yes, I could scream it on the rooftops right now.
AFFILIATE MARKETING IS WORTH IT.
Which brings us to our next question.
How much do you need to invest to get started?
As a (probably broke) student, can you afford it?
You don’t need to bury yourself in debt to start a lucrative affiliate marketing business.
In fact, you can get the ball rolling for just under $50.
(Yup, simply borrow the $50 you need for a Bluehost hosting plan from your parents, and you’re all set!)
So in case you haven’t been able to digest all this because sure, it sounds too good to be true…
…let me say it again.
You can start an affiliate marketing business for only $50.
And this can lead to you earning, in the best scenario, up to $401,500 a year.
Now, let’s get down to the step-by-step on how to do it.
Affiliate Marketing for Students: The Foolproof #-Step Guide
Ok, I did say that getting started in affiliate marketing won’t cost you a ton of money.
But that said, it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme.
You won’t go to sleep one night, and wake up the next morning with thousands of dollars in your bank account.
You need time. You need to work hard.
…you need to do things the right way, step-by-step.
This is exactly what we’ll cover in this next section.
Affiliate Marketing for Students Step #1: Select Your Niche
Excited to begin your affiliate marketing journey?
If yes, you’re probably ready to sign up for ALL the best affiliate programs out there.
I mean, the more the better, right?
Not so fast.
Remember, affiliate marketing is about building trust.
So first of all, you need to pick a niche and set yourself up as an expert in it.
Let’s look at an example.
Here’s Nomadic Matt, a well-known and successful affiliate marketer.
Notice something about his blog, though.
It’s not some random platform promoting a bunch of unrelated, random affiliate links.
Instead, it’s a valuable, trustworthy, entertaining blog on all things travel.
That’s Matt’s niche, and the products and services he promotes are all related to travel. (Think travel insurance, hotels, flights, and so on.)
So before you start promoting affiliate products…
…you need to set yourself up as a well-known name in your industry.
And before you do this, you’ll naturally need to pick an industry (or niche).
So, how do you select a niche?
Here are three guidelines to help you:
Pick a niche related to something you love. Are you a bookworm? A health enthusiast? A dog lover? Pick a niche you can talk about from your heart, and you’ll never run out of things to say.
Find out whether the niche is profitable. Although you may love star-shaped tomatoes and dying cats blue, there probably aren’t a lot of people who relate to you. So before you decide on a niche, make sure there are people who’ll follow you and eventually buy what you promote.
Perform keyword research to find low-competition, high search volume keywords. What people type on Google shows you what they’re interested in. This is why keyword research is a must when it comes to selecting a niche. (For a complete guide on how to do keyword research, read our blog How to Find Good Keywords for Affiliate Marketing (4 Simple Steps to Strategically Plan Your Way to Success. And don’t worry. You can subscribe to a reliable keyword research tool like KWFinder for only $29.90 a month.)
If you can tick YES to all the three points above, you have a good niche on your hands.
Affiliate Marketing for Students Step #2: Build Your Audience
In order for you to make sales, you first need an audience of people who love and trust you.
I mean, why would anyone believe in the recommendations of a random, unknown blogger?
The question is, how can you build your own loyal following?
Here are three steps to take:
Start a blog. In 2023, blogging remains the single best way to do affiliate marketing successfully. And if you’re a student, this is good news. That’s because starting your own blog won’t cost you the moon. In fact, you can start one with Bluehost for a meager $50.
Do keyword research. Take note of this: writing on obscure topics will get you ignored online. That’s why you first need to find out what your audience is interested in. Don’t worry, though. You aren’t required to conduct surveys or spend hours a day cold calling. That’s because you can sign up for a reliable keyword research tool like KWFinder for only $29.90 a month. When you’ve signed up, read our guide on how to do keyword research the right way.
Create unique, mouthwatering content. Starting a blog isn’t enough. You also need to give people a reason to visit it. The best reason? Standout content. When you entertain, educate, and enlighten your readers with valuable content, they’ll be magnetized to you like a moth to a flame.
Note: you can also gain a following through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But honestly, this is much harder and will take you a longer time to accomplish.
Affiliate Marketing for Students Step #3: Join Affiliate Programs
Already have a strong following?
It’s now time to sign up for affiliate programs.
But remember: not all affiliate programs are created equal.
Here are three indicators that the program you’re picking is the right fit:
It’s something that will benefit your audience. Affiliate marketing isn’t all about making extra cash. It’s primarily about helping your audience and improving their lives. So if you think a product or service won’t do your followers any good, cross it off your list immediately.
It’s profitable to you. Sad fact: some affiliate programs will pay you peanuts in commission. Or have an extremely low conversion rate. And so on. So before you join a program, check out its terms and conditions first.
It’s something you trust. Of course, you should never promote products and services you don’t believe in. In a perfect world, I’d say never promote something you haven’t tried. But since the world is less than perfect…you can go for reading reviews and doing extra research on the programs you plan to promote.
Or you can research a company you love, find out if they have an affiliate program, and sign up for it.
Affiliate Marketing for Students Step #4: Promote Your Links and Start Making Sales
So now you have a blog and a strong following.
You’ve also found and signed up for profitable affiliate programs.
The next step is to promote your affiliate links to your followers.
Remember, however, that affiliate marketing shouldn’t be about randomly copying and pasting your links to your website.
To succeed, you must promote these links naturally.
You can write reviews, product comparisons, or even a resource page listing all your favorite products and services.
To give you an idea, check out SmartBlogger's Resource Page.
Affiliate Marketing for Students: The Single Best Way to Make Passive Income in 2023
Being a student doesn’t have to mean being broke.
That’s because in 2023, there are a ton of ways you can make a nice, fat side income.
One of the best ways is through affiliate marketing.
With a $50 investment and a little time and hard work set aside, you could be earning $30,000, $70,000 or even $100,000 a year in affiliate commissions.
So, go ahead and take the plunge.
Go back over this blog and read the steps again one by one.
Sign up for affordable web hosting services. Start the blog you’ve always dreamed of. Begin promoting your affiliate links.
In no time, you’ll find yourself sitting on a nice pile of cash, wondering why you ever thought being a student was hard or expensive.