8 Reasons Affiliate Marketing is Best for Students (What is a Student Affiliate?)

January 19, 2024

Reasons affiliate marketing is best for students are:

  • Affiliates can work any time, anywhere
  • Students can join affiliate programs for free
  • Affiliates use basic resources
  • Affiliate income can be passive
  • Students will develop many higher-level skills

A 2021 study by the Journal of Mathematics and Computing Science revealed that 83% of students worldwide work part-time. This trend is due to the financial need to support their studies, according to the 2011 Student Income and Expenditure Survey by Matthew Williams, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Employment Studies based in Brighton, United Kingdom. It’s also the reason students venture into affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing helps students sustain their daily needs and fund their educational journey to university life. Because of the business model’s flexibility and income potential, many students start their own affiliate marketing business and partner with trustworthy affiliate programs like Amazon Associates, Rakuten Advertising, and ClickBank. However, succeeding in this industry takes more than just research and free time. It requires skill development, market knowledge, networking, and customer targeting.

According to the Influencer Marketing Hub, an affiliate marketer has a 1% success rate in affiliate marketing. This translates to about 0.5% to 1% in conversions. Thus, it is crucial to get information on the benefits and disadvantages of affiliate marketing, the most profitable affiliate programs for students, and your earning potential. Moreover, knowing the 8 reasons why affiliate marketing is best for students is pivotal to deciding if this business model is worth it now and in the long run.

8 Reasons Why Affiliate Marketing is Best for Students

1. Affiliates Can Work Any Time, Anywhere

Student affiliate marketers can work at any time and in any location. This is the biggest benefit of working as a student affiliate. The affiliate marketing business model can be adjusted according to your class schedules and extracurricular activities. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey (ATUS) states that college students have about 3-6 hours of free time daily. This means that you can work in between classes, during breaks, or even when you get home.

3-6 hours per day is enough to create a blog post or video that promotes your affiliate product. Student affiliates can work in the cafeteria, a coffee shop, the library, or a nearby park.

2. Students Can Join Affiliate Programs for Free

According to Jack Flynn’s article in Zippia, there are around 11,400 affiliate programs in the U.S. alone. Datanyze pushes this fact further by stating that 107,179 companies globally make up the affiliate marketing industry. This proves that student affiliates can choose from any program they want and think is the most profitable. All of these affiliate marketing programs are free to join.

Affiliate networks like ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, and Awin have thousands of brand affiliate partners. Correspondingly, affiliate programs such as eBay Partner Network and Shopify are some of the most popular. Potential affiliates should also watch out for pay-to-join programs and other related scams.

3. Affiliates Use Basic Resources

Student affiliates only need basic resources to start and grow their affiliate marketing business. You can maximize your smartphone instead of getting a laptop or desktop computer. There are also free affiliate marketing software online like Ahrefs (keyword research), Grammarly (content creation), and Canva (graphics).

Some student affiliate marketers utilize their social media following to drive more affiliate product sales. While you can post on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, other affiliates leverage video content on TikTok and YouTube to promote their affiliate links. These are called “influencers”. By employing technology and digital marketing, you can drastically slash your startup costs.

4. Affiliate Income Can Be Passive

You can earn significant passive income as a student affiliate. According to Bill Widmer’s article on Ahrefs, the average annual affiliate income of online marketers is $30K to $50K ($2.5K-$4.2K monthly). You can scale this amount to up to $100K+ depending on the niche and products you choose, how you advertise your affiliate link, and your affiliate marketing strategy.

The average cost of attendance (COA) for stay-in college students in a public in-state university is $26,027 yearly as per Education Data Initiative’s 2024 article by Melanie Hanson. This means that if you can make between $30K-$50K yearly, you can pay your tuition yourself. And because of recurring commissions from subscriptions, software, and coaching programs, student affiliates can scale their monthly sales and boost their affiliate commissions.

5. Students Will Develop Many Higher-Level Skills

You can learn practical skills like digital marketing and social media management through affiliate marketing. Moreover, being exposed to content creation, website management, and keyword research will push you to master high-level skills such as email marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), influencer marketing, and data analysis. These valuable skills can help you during your university life or professional career. Online tools and software like Google Analytics, Yoast SEO, Mailchimp, and other marketing tools can help student affiliates expand their capabilities.

6. Students Can Expand Their Network

According to Demand Sage, the global growth rate of the affiliate marketing industry is 10% yearly. This shows how fast the industry is growing. Student affiliates can utilize this uptrend to meet other industry professionals and brand representatives and expand their network internationally. In the Amazon Associates Program alone, you can interact with over 900K members as per Statista’s records.

Affiliate marketers create lasting connections by engaging with reputable affiliate partnerships. Social media platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn are also great ways to find like-minded individuals and experts. By building your audience base and affiliate marketing network, you gain more opportunities in the future.

7. Affiliates Need To Utilize Minimal Technical Skills

Affiliate marketing is easy to set up. All you need is good foundational knowledge and a basic grasp of content creation, graphic editing, and digital marketing. Potential student affiliates don’t need numerous technical skills to succeed in this industry. You can boost your affiliate sales by simply finding the right way to engage your target audience and launch cost-effective marketing efforts. In fact, a survey by Orbit Media Studios led by Andy Crestodina on New Blogging Statistics (2022) revealed that search engine traffic using SEO is the most significant online marketing tactic used by 71% of online marketers and bloggers. This was followed by social media at 58% and email marketing at 44%.

8. Students Will Gain Experience for Their Personal Portfolio

An article by Pete Musto on the Voice of America (VOA) website featured a survey by the Adecco Group which unveiled that 74% of college graduates felt unprepared for real-world situations. This is where affiliate marketing is a big advantage. It helps student affiliates acquire high-level skills like content marketing and brand awareness strategies to help them be more confident and succeed in their chosen career.

Your affiliate marketing achievements are also a good addition to your professional portfolio. Gaining positive and outstanding results on your Average Order Value (AOV), conversions, organic/search engine traffic performance, and sales volume contributes to how potential employers value you as a company asset.

What is a Student Affiliate?

A college student who works as an affiliate marketer is a student affiliate. They are part-time online marketers who want to learn how to start an online business as a student. Moreover, they engage in affiliate marketing programs and partnerships to promote big brands and small businesses' products and services. Student affiliates earn passive income through affiliate commissions for every sale they forward to their affiliate partner. These affiliates earn money online by choosing the best affiliate programs to support their university tuition and expenses.

What are the Best Affiliate Programs for Students?

Amazon Associates, Grammarly, and Coursera are the best affiliate programs for students. Because most students use these platforms, student affiliates can easily market these to their classmates or friends of friends.

First is Amazon Associates. According to Bigcommerce, Amazon has over 12 million products. This expands a student affiliate’s potential income. You can earn around 1% to 5% on average selling commonly bought products. If you're into high-ticket affiliate marketing and promoting luxury items and Amazon games, you’re looking at a commission rate of 10% to 20% per sale.

The second one is Grammarly. Based on the 2011-2012 Grammarly User Survey Analysis, 79% of the respondents were attending a university or college. This proves that the platform is helpful and significantly saleable to other students. Grammarly has a 20%-30% commission rate, with free sign-ups amounting to $0.20 per successful processing.

The last one is Coursera. This platform has over 7,000 courses available, from personal development and hobbies to software and other technical skills. And according to Skillademia, this online learning service has more than 100 million registered students worldwide. Thus, Coursera’s earning potential is high. It has a 10% to 45% commission rate per sale. This means it’s a good affiliate program for students.

Is the Amazon Affiliate Program Good for Students?

Yes, the Amazon Affiliate Program is good for students starting in the affiliate marketing industry. Because this platform has millions of everyday products, it becomes easier for affiliate marketers to increase their online conversions and potential passive income. Amazon affiliates earn an average of 1% to 5% commission per product on these common items. While this program offers low commissions per sale, content creators can use high-quality, engaging posts and vlogs to boost their potential sales.

How Much Can Students Make in Affiliate Marketing?

Students can make $6,000 to $50,000 yearly in affiliate marketing. This amount is easily scalable to more than $100,000 per year, depending on the niche, product, and program they choose. Alternatively, Authority Hacker states that the average earning of an affiliate marketer is $0-$80K annually. As a student affiliate, choosing reputable programs and developing creative content is key to increasing your affiliate income and attaining a steady volume of purchases.

How To Start Affiliate Marketing for Students?

To start affiliate marketing for students, you should consider popular and profitable niches with saleable products. A good option is to join an affiliate network like Awin or CJ Affiliate to gain access to numerous affiliate offers. This step is crucial in determining your income potential, future affiliate relationships, and business success.

Next, choose high-value, high-demand products. Partner this with enticing and relevant affiliate marketing campaigns to capture your target market’s interest. You can maximize social media platforms and other digital marketing initiatives.

Lastly, monitor your sales performance, online traffic, and conversions to adapt to the latest trends and market movements. You must learn to shift to high-selling products and high-performing online marketing techniques. Joining the best affiliate marketing courses is another way to make your affiliate marketing journey easier.

What Makes Affiliate Marketing Difficult for Students?

Tight competition, uncertain income potential, and intensive time requirements make affiliate marketing difficult for students. According to an article by Brittany Sawyer in Travelpayouts, the affiliate market is expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 7.7% from 2024 to 2030. This shows that the industry is growing quickly, with potential affiliates and affiliate marketing programs increasing month after month. Because of this, student affiliates’ potential income decreases. Upturning this situation requires significant time and effort. Consequently, student affiliates must optimize their affiliate content and strategies to keep up with the competition. Besides affiliate marketing, it’s also pivotal to consider other ways college students can earn great money online that are less difficult for students.

Affiliate Marketing Related Articles

  • 10 Reasons Affiliate Marketing Does Not Work - Affiliate program restrictions, fast-paced industry trends, and affiliate market saturation are some reasons affiliate marketing does not work. This article focuses on the 10 reasons this business model is challenging, the success rate of affiliate marketing, and why affiliate marketers fail.
  • Is Affiliate Marketing Easy or Hard? - Affiliate marketing is hard because of tight competition, market saturation, and constant content creation. However, this business model is easy to start because of its low startup costs, free-to-join programs, and unlimited earning potential. This article also discusses affiliate marketing strategies and practical ways to start an affiliate marketing business.
  • Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It in 2024? - Affiliate marketing is worth it in 2024. In fact, affiliate marketing spending in the U.S. increased by $5.7 billion from 2012 to 2022, according to Statista’s research. This article also features the business model’s fastest-growing industry and profitability. Plus, 7 free affiliate marketing tools.
  • 5 Undeniable Reasons Affiliate Marketing is the Future - High income potential, schedule flexibility, and the rise of video and influencer marketing are some reasons affiliate marketing is the future. This article also discusses the future and profitability of affiliate marketing in 2024 and beyond.
  • 6 Proven Reasons Affiliate Marketing is Booming in 21st Century - Increased digital operations and mobile device usage, influencer marketing boom, and multiple affiliate revenue opportunities are some reasons affiliate marketing is booming in the 21st century. This article also features the potential drawbacks of this business model.

Local Lead Generation is Easier and More Profitable for Students in 2024

Affiliate marketing works for students who want to earn passive income to fund their studies and day-to-day allowances. Moreover, affiliate marketing is good for college students who want to be financially prepared for the real world after graduation. Student affiliates can make around $500 to $5,000 monthly by choosing profitable niches and high-ticket products. They can further scale this to over $8,000 monthly using innovative digital and content marketing strategies and the best affiliate marketing programs.

While the affiliate marketing business model is flexible, has low startup costs, and offers skill development, generating a stable monthly income is challenging. This is due to market saturation, affiliate program restrictions, and fast-paced industry movements. In fact, 95% of potential affiliates fail because of these factors, according to Vera Kuhr’s article in Entrepreneurs Unstuck.

On the brighter side, other online business models offer more stable income. Take the local lead generation biz for example. It is easier than affiliate marketing because you don’t need to constantly create highly engaging content whenever you promote a specific product. Local lead generation deals with digital assets like websites. It works by building microsites for specific services and cities and organically ranking them on Google. Once your website ranks, local leads will start contacting you. You can then forward these leads to local businesses and make around $20K to $50K in passive income monthly. It is more profitable and scalable for students in 2024.

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  1. I'm a college student, and I do affiliate marketing on the side to make a little extra money. I use Amazon associates. It's an easy program to generate links with, I just wish their commissions were higher. I also am a member of the Mybookcart affiliate program. They sell used textbooks, and I make a decent commission on each sale.

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