A student’s guide to making money with affiliate marketing

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Soaring energy bills, mounting prices on food, and unregulated rents — it’s certainly a challenging time to survive as an international student. Taking a part-time job may not be feasible if you’re neck-deep in your studies, but thankfully there’s another option to work on a side hustle: making money with affiliate marketing.

You might have heard of this term thrown around together with generating a passive income, but how exactly does it work? It’s an excellent way to earn if the prospect of clocking in at work physically doesn’t sound too appealing, but that doesn’t mean no effort is required on your part.

The quick breakdown

An easy Google search on affiliate marketing will bring you a lot of information that can be overwhelming. Simply put, it’s just a way to make a quick buck by recommending products or services through your online platforms, such as social media channels or a blog.

Think of it as an advertising strategy, and you’re relaying the message between the merchant and the customer. Each time someone makes a purchase through an affiliate link on your blog or social media post, you earn a commission that goes directly into your pocket.

Sounds pretty easy? Not so fast.

Making money with affiliate marketing

It might take only few clicks to start earning, but you need to know how to do it right. Source: Ezequiel Becerra/AFP

Making money with affiliate marketing: The key to success

If cashing in a huge amount of money were as easy as a few clicks, you probably wouldn’t need to study for a degree right now. It takes a bit of patience to learn the ropes as a beginner, but with the right understanding and strategies, it won’t be long before money begins to pour in even when you’re sleeping.

Build your audience

You don’t have to be an influencer to start making money with affiliate marketing. What you need to do, however, is to gauge the existing followers or audience you have through your online presence and observe their spending habits.

For instance, as a university student, your circle of friends or followers on Instagram would likely come from people of similar age groups. This means that they will spend like a student, and most of their expenses will go to food, books, school supplies, clothing, and maybe even online educational courses on upskilling.

From this, it would make sense for you to sign up for affiliate programmes by popular websites most used by students, such as Amazon, so you can get more commissions through higher click rates.

If you’re already running a blog, you can create content that are relevant to the products that you’re promoting, so you can start monetising while growing your audience.

How can I get started?

As a newbie, you might not have built a large audience base at the beginning of your journey just yet.

If you’re testing the waters to see if this is a side hustle you can commit to, Amazon’s affiliate programme is by far the most recommended programme you’ll find for beginners and is one of the largest in the world. You can sign up for it here, complete a few steps to register and get the links for products that you can easily sell to your friends.

You’ll notice that Amazon requires you to key in your website when signing up for this programme. You don’t actually need one — simply provide a link to your social media account that is frequently updated and has the highest number of followers.

The commission rates are comparatively low, so be patient when you’re starting out. Promoting everyday items gives you the chance of earning more by volume, so keep going at it while you familiarise yourself with making money with affiliate marketing.



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