How Much Money Do You Need To Start Affiliate Marketing?

One of the most common questions in the affiliate marketing industry is the one that you just asked – ‘How much do I need to invest to start affiliate marketing?’

Well, it’s a popular one that I get asked a lot about as well.

So, in this guide, I’m going to answer it in a very unique way and let you know everything from top to bottom about how much you really need to spend to get started with affiliate marketing.

Other than that, I’m also going to cover whether or not you can start this online business without investment.

Let’s not waste any time further and get into the content, learn stuff, and take action…

How Much Money Do You Need To Start Affiliate Marketing?

affiliate marketing how much investment

Well, first of all, there isn’t any easy answer to what you just asked. I mean, you could start affiliate marketing with no money in your bank account, you can start it with a hundred dollars, and you can start it with a thousand dollars.

But hey, I am not done answering yet. I have actually been able to frame an easy answer for you:

To start affiliate marketing sustainably, individuals need a minimum of $450 which includes business expenses like domain and web hosting, analysis tools, email marketing tools, tracking tools, etc.

Yes, that’s how much you need to kickstart your affiliate marketing journey the right way. And yes, some of these expenses will be recurring (you will have to pay for some tools every single month).

As a matter of fact, I posted this Twitter poll and asked affiliates how much money they think a beginner should arrange before getting into affiliate marketing, and the majority of people said – anywhere from $300 to $500.

Here’s the Twitter poll I posted:

affiliate marketing budget twitter poll

By the way, if you want to follow me on Twitter, don’t do that! Subscribe to this blog instead, by using the signup form in the footer menu (I know I’m smart).

Coming back to the topic, even after we have a few opinions from people working in the industry, there isn’t any figure you can take blindly.

Everybody’s situation is different and everybody’s way of working is different…and since there are such many differences, I have a full breakdown of how much money is required if you want to become an affiliate via different ways.

Hang tight and grab yourself a cup of coffee because it’s going to be a bit long! And it’s not just ‘lengthy,’ it’s ‘worthy.’

1. Budget For Affiliate Marketing With A Blog/Site

So, one way you can get out there and jump into the pool of affiliate marketing is via a blogging website or niche website.

In this method, you will have to get a domain name, create a website, design it, set up pages, research keywords, write or publish content, and add affiliate links with the help of link trackers or conversion optimization tools to start earning substantial amounts of money.

But before you get excited about making those bills, come, take a look at the expenses:

  • A Domain Name
  • A Web Hosting
  • A Good Theme
  • A Keyword Research Tool
  • Content/Articles
  • Conversion Optimization Tools/Trackers

Let’s take a look at the cost breakdown now:

1. A Domain Name

This is going to be the first step of the process. A lot of the time, hosting companies offer a free domain when you buy a plan but when you pick a basic plan, you might need to purchase a domain name separately!

And guess what? That costs money! With domain name registrars like Namecheap, you can get a brand new domain name for as low as $5.98 per year.

Yes, that’s all you need to pay per year for a domain name. So satisfying, right?

2. A Web Hosting

Without hosting, no one will be able to see or find your website on the internet. You will need at least somebody to host your website for people to see it.

And when you are choosing a company, make sure you don’t go for the cheapest one because if you do that, all you will be left with ‘frustration.’

And why is that? That’s because cheap hosting companies don’t offer good uptime and this will make your website go offline over and over again.

Nowadays, you don’t really have to pay a lot to get a host, with companies like Bluehost, you can get started for as low as $2.65 a month.

3. A Good Website Theme

What is the first thing you would do if you open a store? My guesses – you would arrange everything in order and decorate it, right?

Well, that’s what you are going to want to do when you start a website! And, to do that, you will need a paid/premium theme.

Okay…how much do premium themes cost? Um, themes will cost anywhere from $45 to $100 (with a permanent license). If a theme is costing you more than a hundred dollars, you can always look for an alternative because it’s not ideal to pay thousands for a theme when you are just getting started.

4. A Keyword/Content Research Tool

Another important investment you will have to make for launching your affiliate marketing business is to pay for content research or a search analysis tool.

Before you can publish content on the blog, you will have to find valuable keywords that have search volume and low competition. If you don’t do that, you will find a hard time driving visitors to your blog for years (maybe even decades).

Well, keyword research tools aren’t that expensive if you use them the right way. A lot of them offer free trials or trials for very cheap. What you can do is, use the tool as much as you can during the trial period and then cancel the subscription.

For keyword research, tools like Ahrefs (costs $7 or 7 days) and Ubersuggest (costs $12 a month) work just fine.

5. Content/Written Articles

At the end of the day, you are a human. You can’t keep writing articles every single day. You WILL need to outsource some of the content and hire freelance writers.

The minimum number of articles you should publish on a site (according to my own experience) is 100. So, what you can do here is, outsource 20 of them (costing anywhere from $200-300) for reducing workload.

You can choose to save all of this money if you stay focused calm, interested, and productive while working on the projects.

6. Conversion Optimization/Tracking

The last thing that will require you to spend money while running an affiliate marketing business with a website is conversion optimization tools.

It’s crucial to track your website visitors, affiliate link clicks, user experience, and conversion rates as it helps greatly in increasing revenue.

And for doing that, you will have to pay for tracking tools. Tracking tools will cost you around $10 or $20 a month. One such tool is ClickMeter and it costs $19 a month.

By the way, you can check out a big list of these tracking tools by reading this article about ClickMagick alternatives.

Final Budget (Affiliate Blogging)

Now that I have stated how much you need for starting an affiliate marketing business via blogging, here’s a final budget for the same:

  • Domain = $5.98 per year
  • Hosting = $2.65 a month
  • Theme = $49 one-time
  • Research Tools = $7
  • Content = $200-300 (optional)
  • Tracker = $19 a month
Domain$5.98 per year
Hosting$2.65 per month
Theme$49 one time
Research Tools$7 one time
Content$200-300 (optional)
Tracker$19 a month
Total Budget$256 one time, $5.98 per year, $21.65 recurring

2. Budget For Affiliate Marketing With A Site (Organic)

The second method you can use or implement to start affiliate marketing is to drive organic traffic from various sources and then monetize the same.

To be able to do this, here are the following things you need:

  • Video Editing Software/Graphic Designing Software
  • Landing Page Builders
  • Email Marketing Tool
  • Tracking Tools

Let’s not waste any further time talking about fluff that doesn’t matter and get into the expenditure analysis real quick:

1. Video Editing Software/Graphic Designing Software

When it comes to doing affiliate marketing without a website yet organically, the only sustainable ways that someone can think of are social media and video marketing on YouTube.

If you want to create serious content on YouTube and social media, you WILL require editing and graphic designing tools.

And here’s how much they cost – anywhere from $51.99 per year (Wondershare Filmora) to $299.99 one-time fee (Camtasia).

I would recommend you go with software like Filmora as they are much more affordable and provide similar features or functionalities as others do.

Similarly, you will require designing tools for graphic designing and they cost anywhere from $6.99 a month (Canva) to $14.95 a month (Placeit).

2. Landing Page Builders

Since you aren’t using a website or a blog in this strategy/method, you will require some kind of webpage that you will send visitors to for collecting leads, data, and getting them into the sales process.

And you can’t be sitting out there like a duck and creating an HTML page for that, right?

What you can do instead is, use landing page builders that cost a few bucks a month and pour your full energy into content creation (i.e. creating videos/social media posts).

Generally, these landing page builders are going to cost you somewhere around $15 (for GetResponse) and $27 a month (for, respectively.

3. Email Marketing Tools

Another important expenditure item we have is an email marketing tool. When you start affiliate marketing with a website, you don’t have to spend money on email marketing right away because content should be the focus while doing so.

But that’s not the story with the business model when you are doing it without a website. It’s a must to build an email list right from the start! Though I recommend the involvement of email marketing in all the strategies.

Great, but how much does an email marketing tool cost? Well, variant tools cost variant money but email tools aren’t that expensive.

You can manage to get one for a small monthly fee of $15. The pricing will go up as the size of your mailing list increases.

4. Tracking Tools

And the last critical expense an affiliate will have to bear is a tracking tool. As I have already talked about these tools above, let’s just put the pricing ($19 a month) and then move on to our final budget.

Final Budget (Content/Social & Affiliate Marketing)

We have individually discussed how much investment is required if you want to start affiliate marketing with content marketing and social media marketing.

Let’s see a final breakdown now:

Video Editing Software$51.99 per year
Graphic Designing Tool$6.99 per month
Landing Page Builder$27 per month
Email Marketing Tool$15 per month
Tracking Tool$19 per month
Total Budget$51.99 per year, $67.99 recurring

3. Budget For Affiliate Marketing With Paid Ads

Now, the last method that can be used to run an affiliate marketing business is paid advertising. Paid advertising isn’t something new here.

You will find thousands of videos on YouTube teaching you how to run advertisements on various marketing channels like Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Quora, and Twitter to start generating affiliate sales.

And with paid ads, you have the following liabilities to cover up:

  • Landing page builder
  • Autoresponder
  • Ad research tools
  • Ad creatives
  • Cost for running advertisements.

Since I have already mentioned (and will in the upcoming table as well) how much landing page builders and email autoresponders cost, let’s keep it concise and figure out the cost of other ones in the list.

1. Ad Research Tools

The first expense of running or launching a paid advertising affiliate marketing campaign is an ad research tool.

Ad research tools basically help you find out what your competition is doing and what kind of advertisements perform well in your industry.

These tools cost around $49 a month and can go all the way up to $200 a month. If possible, try to use some free alternatives to these tools as you can possibly save on a lot of cash that can be used to run ad campaigns.

2. Ad Creatives

A lot of people think that they’ll throw in a bunch of images as ad creatives and generate tons and tons of leads/sales.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen that way. Since you are on a tight budget, you can’t actually spend a lot of money on testing, and for something like that, my friend…you will require professional ad creatives that work like magic.

You can use services like Fiverr to get the task done for a couple of bucks, actually. A good ad creative costs around $10-20. Yep! That’s it!

3. Actual Ad Budget

This is where the real spending comes in. The minimum I would recommend you spend on a campaign is $15 per day.

So, if you run an ad(s) for 20 days, it’s going to cost you $300. Now, if you make 5 sales worth $100 each, you can make $500 in total and then optimize things for further results.

But, a minimum of $300 is recommended for an ad campaign that’s run by a newbie affiliate. I’m not claiming that you will make $500 right after your first campaign is finished. It can be less, it can be more. All I gave was an example.

Final Budget (Affiliate Marketing & Paid Ads)

Once again, we are here with a table that tells us the overall money required. Let’s see what we have got this time:

Landing Page Builder$27 per month
Email Autoresponder$15 per month
Ad Research Tool$40 one time (optional)
Ad Creatives$10-20 one time
Ad Budget$300
Total Budget$360 one time, $42 recurring

I know, any of these tables don’t exceed $400 but that $50 is a safety in case the pricing of tools or ad platforms increases.

Saving Opportunities For Beginners

Just because I have stated that you need $450 to get started as an affiliate doesn’t mean you will have to spend the same amount.

Here are some cool ways to save some money:

  • Ask for extended free trials from the companies – you can do it by simply contacting the customer support team members.
  • Search for promo codes/coupon codes – there are always some kind of coupon codes available. Try to search them and you will end up saving a lot of money.
  • Try to work hard – get good creating content, editing videos, and designing graphics/pages and this will make a big difference.

Can You Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money?

The answer to this very question is a huge YES! You can actually start affiliate marketing with no money. All you have to do is start a YouTube channel or a social media account, create content on a regular basis, build a loyal following, and then monetize the same.

But what you need to be aware of is that it’s not going to happen as fast as you would do it with investing money! It’s going to take more time and more effort as a lot of testing will need to be done.

To Conclude

Well, first of all, I would like to say it to all of you that there isn’t a fixed value when it comes to how much of an investment you need to make for starting affiliate marketing.

Your journey, your strategies, and your challenges are going to be different. Even if you lose your budget and nothing works – stick to it, keep learning, keep testing, and you will find a way.

I really really hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did writing it. If you have anything to ask, please navigate to the comments section down below.

Leave a comment.