How Much Does It Cost to Start Affiliate Marketing?

If you have a website, a YouTube channel, an Instagram meme page, or a Facebook group, you may have considered advertising for brands to earn money. Affiliate marketing is an excellent option for monetizing your online assets and earning commissions by promoting products and services. Many successful affiliates have turned it into their primary source of income. 

However, starting an affiliate marketing business does require a financial investment. In this article, we will break down the potential costs involved in starting and running an affiliate business, so you have a clear idea of how much money you need to set aside.

Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing

To get started as an affiliate marketer, there are a few key steps you need to follow. First, you need to purchase traffic, which involves understanding paid traffic methods. Joining a reputable affiliate network is the next step, where you can choose from a variety of offers. Different networks have different acceptance criteria for affiliates, so you may face rejections initially. However, you can use that time to research the market and refine your strategies.

The amount of money you need to invest in affiliate marketing depends on the offers or programs you choose. As a beginner, it is advisable to avoid high-payout offers, as they can be challenging to optimize for profitability. 

Instead, start with low-payoff offers that are easier to run and learn from. A recommended testing period is 3-5 days, with a daily budget of around $100 for most low-payout offers.

The Costs of Starting an Affiliate Marketing Business

To start as an affiliate marketer, you should budget around $500. Keep in mind that some of the tools you use may have monthly fees, so you will need to reinvest a portion of your earnings each month. 

Let’s break down the potential expenses:

1. Paid Traffic

If you choose to drive paid traffic to your offers, you will need to budget around $300 for testing purposes. It is recommended to focus on Tier-3 customers in developing countries, as they offer less competition and cost-effective advertising opportunities.

2. Competitor Research Tools

These tools help you identify high-performing competitors and create effective ads. Prices for these apps or websites start around $40, but there are limited functionality free options available.

3. Landing Page Builder

If your CPA network does not provide ready-made landing pages, you may need to invest in a landing page builder, which can cost around $20. Make sure to choose a builder that allows you to download your landing pages to avoid vendor lock.

4. Stock Images 

While free stock images are available, paid platforms like Shutterstock and RawPixel offer a wider selection. These platforms usually cost around $29 per month.

5. Affiliate Marketing Education

While not necessary, investing in high-quality affiliate marketing education can significantly accelerate your progress. Prices for such courses can range from $50 per month to $997 per year for one-time payments.

6. Outsourcing

As your business grows, you may need to outsource certain tasks to freelancers. These tasks can include website design, content editing, email content creation, and social media management. Freelancer costs vary depending on the scope of the project and the freelancer’s experience.

7. Website Costs

If you don’t already have a website, you will need to invest in one. The upfront cost of building a basic website is around $200, with a maintenance cost of approximately $50 per month. This cost includes the website domain, hosting, SSL certificate, website template or theme, apps and integrations, and SEO and marketing expenses.

Learn more: How to Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money?

Keeping Your Expenses Low

While having a budget is essential, it’s also important to devise a strategy to keep your expenses low. Here are some tips to help you maintain healthy finances:

  1. Learn Hosting: By understanding how hosting works, you can save money and gain a better understanding of the technical side of your campaigns.
  2. Short Holding Periods: Look for CPA networks with shorter holding periods for withdrawing your earnings. This way, you can launch your next campaign sooner and stay on schedule.
  3. Plan Ahead: Estimate your daily budget, taking into account the holding period and tool selection. Planning ahead ensures that you can make the most of your budget and avoid overspending.
  4. Promote Specific Offers: When working with a limited budget, focus on promoting specific offers. Consider running campaigns in smaller GEOs, choose a single vertical, optimize campaigns after gathering enough data, and use white and blacklists effectively.
  5. Understand Auto-Optimization: If you decide to use auto-optimization systems, make sure you fully understand how they work to leverage the traffic’s full potential.

By following these tips and carefully managing your expenses, you can start and run an affiliate marketing business without breaking the bank.


Starting an affiliate marketing business requires a financial investment, but the costs can vary depending on your approach and the tools you use. By budgeting around $500, you can cover the essential expenses such as paid traffic, competitor research tools, landing page builders, stock images, affiliate marketing education, outsourcing, and website costs.

Additionally, implementing cost-saving strategies can help you maintain healthy finances as you grow your affiliate business. Remember, success in affiliate marketing also relies on your dedication, hard work, and continuous learning.

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