How to make money with affiliate marketing as a student

How to make money with affiliate marketing as student

So you are a student.

Right now you are at a point in your life journey where you are moving towards your future career.

You may be a long way off, but you are full of hope and expectation (and maybe even a little fear).

And if I’m right, you’re broke too.

That’s because college doesn’t come cheap.

In fact, the average cost of a single college student is $25,487 for a single academic year.

Should You Panic?


To calm oneself down.

There are a lot of ways you can make extra money.

And no, I don’t mean waiting for tables at the nearest Wendy or KFC.

(That is exhausting.)

What I mean is to take advantage of the lucrative digital world and build a nice fat side income on the way through school.

Yes. I’m talking about affiliate marketing.

With affiliate marketing, you can make enough money to pay your college tuition, buy books, rent a cozy house, and go out of town on random weekend trips…

…and who knows?

Maybe even buy your own dream home and travel the world.

(It’s been done before.)

But the thing about affiliate marketing is that you have to start in the right place.

You need a tried-and-tested blueprint to get off the “what the heck is affiliate marketing?” to “I did it and I’m making enough money to make my way through college smoothly!”

If you want that blueprint, I’ve got it.

In this blog, I have outlined a detailed guide to affiliate marketing for college students.

I’ll show you what affiliate marketing is, why it’s so promising and how to get started (step by step).


Let’s dive right in.

What is affiliate marketing?

okay okay

I know the term “affiliate marketing” sounds big and scary.

Maybe you have no idea about marketing.

The mere thought of selling stuff is enough to send you screaming to your room, where you pull the covers over your head like they do in horror movies.

Just relax.

Affiliate marketing has nothing to do with cold-calling random people and getting 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 all about helping people make good buying decisions.

It all starts with gaining an audience.

You can start a blog or become an influencer on a social platform like Facebook or Instagram.

Once you have a strong following, sign up for partnerships with good brands related to your expertise.

You then promote those brands’ products and services to your followers and earn commissions on every sale.

Affiliate marketing according to Investopedia:

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is an advertising model in which a company compensates third-party publishers to generate traffic or leads to the company’s products and services. The third-party publishers are affiliates, and the commission fee incentivizes them to find ways to promote the company.

And according to Shopify

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is an online sales tactic that lets a product owner increase sales by allowing others targeting the same audience—“affiliates”—to earn a commission by recommending the product to others. At the same time, it makes it possible for affiliates to earn money on product sales without creating products of their own.

Clear as mud?

Alright, here’s an example.

You love books, so start a blog reviewing your favorite fiction and non-fiction books.

Over time, you’ll gain a strong following of people who share your passion.

So they sign up for book affiliate programs offered by bookstores.

In your blog, you promote your books to your followers…

…and when they buy through your special links, you earn commissions on every sale.

Awesome right?

But will it work?

Can you really make a decent income from affiliate marketing?

Also, how much money will you need to invest? (If you’re already drowning in student loan debt, you may not be able to invest in any type of business.)

These questions lead us to…

How much you can earn as an affiliate marketer

The truth is, I want to jump right in and tell you, YES, student affiliate marketing IS WORTH IT.

However, you should not take my word for it.

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 per year, with $35,000 on the low end and $124,000 on the high end. (Imagine this: even if you make $35,000 a year, that’s enough to cover all your college expenses plus extras.)

Glassdoor-How much does an affilliate marketing make

  • PayScale’s stats put the average at $52,367 per year (still not bad!), with $37,000 on the low end and $73,000 on the high end.

PayScale's-Average Affiliate Marketer Salary

  • Zip Recruiter stats are the most attractive averaging $154,700, $11,000 on the low end and a whopping $401,500 on the high end.

Zip Recruiter's -Affiliate Marketer Salary

So yeah, I could scream it on the rooftops right now:


This brings us to our next question.

How much money do you need to get started?

As a (probably broke) student, can you afford that?

Surprise surprise.

You don’t have to be in debt to start a lucrative affiliate marketing business.

In fact, you may start the process for less than $50.

(Yup, just borrow the $50 you need for a Namecheap hosting plan from your parents and you’re done!)

In case you still haven’t digested all this, because it sounds too good to be true…

… let me say it again.

You can start an affiliate marketing business for as little as $50.

And that can get you up to $401,500 a year at best.

Now let’s get to the step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Affiliate Marketing for Students: The Foolproof 4 Steps Guide

Ok, I said that getting into affiliate marketing isn’t going to cost you a lot of money.

However, it is not a get-rich-quick program.

You won’t go to bed one night and wake up with thousands of dollars in your bank account the next morning.


you need time You have to work hard.


…you have to do things the right way, step by step.

That’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this next section.

Let’s go!

Step #1: Pick Your Niche

Excited to start your affiliate marketing journey?

If so, you’re probably ready to sign up for ALL the best affiliate programs out there.

I mean the more the merrier right?

Not so fast.

Remember, affiliate marketing is about building trust.

So, first of all, you need to pick a niche and establish yourself as an expert in it.

Let’s look at an example.

Here is Nomadic Matt, a well-known and successful affiliate marketer.

Nomadic Matt blog

However, note something about his blog.

It’s not a random platform promoting a bunch of unrelated random affiliate links.

Instead, it’s a valuable, trustworthy, and fun blog all about travel.

This is Matt’s niche, and the products and services he promotes are all travel-related. (Think of travel insurance, hotels, flights, etc.)

So before you start promoting affiliate products…

… you need to establish yourself as a well-known name in your industry.

And of course, before you do that, you need to choose an industry (or niche).

So how do you choose a niche?

Here are three guidelines to help you:

  • Choose a niche related to something you love. are you a bookworm or A health fanatic? A dog lover? Pick a niche that you can talk about with all your heart and you’ll never run out of stuff to say.
  • Find out if the niche is profitable. While you may love star-shaped tomatoes and dying blue cats, there probably aren’t many people who relate to you. So before you decide on a niche, make sure there are people who will follow you and eventually buy what you are promoting.
  • Perform keyword research to find low-competition, high-volume keywords. What people type into Google shows you what they’re interested in. This is why keyword research is a must when it comes to choosing a niche. You can subscribe to a reliable keyword research tool like KWFinder for only $29.90 per month.

If you can tick YES to all three, you have a good niche on your hands.

Step #2: Build your audience

In order for you to start making sales, you first need an audience of people you love and trust.

I mean, why would anyone believe the recommendations of some random, obscure blogger?

The question is, how do you build your own loyal following?

Here are three steps to take:

  • Start a blog. In 2022, blogging remains the best way to succeed in affiliate marketing. That’s excellent news for students.. Because starting your own blog won’t cost you the moon. In fact, you can start one with Namecheap for less than $50/year.
  • Conduct keyword research. Keep this in mind: if you write about obscure topics, you will be ignored online. Therefore, you must first find out what your audience is interested in. Don’t worry though. No need to take surveys or spend hours a day cold calling. That’s because you can sign up for a reliable keyword research tool like KWFinder for just $29.90 per month.
  • Create unique, delicious content. Starting a blog is not enough. You also have to give people a reason to visit it. The best reason? Outstanding Content. When you entertain, enlighten, and enlighten your readers with valuable content, they will be drawn to you like a moth to a flame.

Note: social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can help you build a following. However, this is far more complex and time-consuming.

Step #3: Join Affiliate Programs

Do you already have a strong following?


Now is the time to sign up for affiliate programs.

However, keep in mind that not all affiliate programs are created equal.

Here are three indicators that the program you choose is the right one:

  • It’s something your audience will benefit from. Affiliate marketing isn’t just about making extra money. It’s all about helping your audience and making their life better. So if you think a product or service isn’t going to benefit your followers, remove it from your list immediately.
  • It is profitable for you. Unfortunately, some affiliate networks will only pay you pennies on the dollar in commissions. Or have an extremely low conversion rate. And so forth. So before you join a program, read its terms and conditions first.
  • It’s something you trust. Of course, you should never promote products and services that you don’t believe in. In a perfect world, I would say never promote something you haven’t tried. But since the world is far from perfect, you can read reviews and do additional research about the programs you want to promote.

To find affiliate programs that fit your niche, you can join affiliate networks like CJ Affiliate and ShareASale.

Or you can research a company you love, find out if they have an affiliate program, and sign up for it.

Step #4: Promote Your Links and Start Making Sales

So now you have a blog and a sizable audience.

They also found and joined lucrative affiliate networks.

The next step is to promote your affiliate links to your audience.

However, remember that affiliate marketing shouldn’t be about haphazardly copying and pasting your links onto your site.

Of course, to be successful, you need to encourage these links.

You can write reviews, compare products, or create a resource page with a list of all your favorite products and services.

Check out SmartBlogger’s resource page for more inspiration.

SmartBlogger's Resource Page.


Being a student does not have to mean that you are broke.

That’s because there are a ton of ways you can make a nice, fat side income in 2022.

Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective methods.


With an investment of $50 and a little time and hard work, you could be making $30,000, $70,000, or even $100,000 a year in affiliate commissions.

So, go ahead and take the plunge.

Go through this blog again and re-read the steps one by one.

Sign up for affordable web hosting services. Start the blog you’ve always dreamed of. Start promoting your affiliate links.

In no time you’ll be sitting on a nice pile of money wondering why you ever thought being a student was tough or expensive.

To Your Success!

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