How Much Money Do You Need To Start Affiliate Marketing?

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Last Updated on 6th February 2024

Are you looking to start your own affiliate marketing business but feeling overwhelmed by the thought of the initial investment?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

The question on every new affiliate marketer’s mind is, “How much money do you need to start affiliate marketing?

Well, fear not, my friends, because in this article, we’ll delve into the world of affiliate marketing together as I give you some tips and tricks to kickstart your affiliate marketing journey without breaking the bank.

So sit back, relax, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s explore how you can start with affiliate marketing on a budget.

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What Is Affiliate Marketing?

In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is the process of promoting someone else’s products or services and earning a commission in return. It’s like being the ultimate middle-person who connects customers with the brands they love.

Think of it as a win-win-win situation: the company gains exposure and sales, the customers find awesome products, and you, the affiliate marketer, earn a slice of the pie for your efforts. Plus, the best part is that you don’t need to create your own products or deal with customer support – pretty neat, right?

It’s a popular way of making money online, and the good news is that it is accessible to anyone with an internet connection and a computer.

You know, the exciting thing about affiliate marketing is not just that it can be an absolute goldmine when done well, it’s also a business venture that’s low on start-up costs!

Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t some magical money-making scheme. Just like any business out there, you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. After all, no success story ever began with zero effort.

To truly thrive in the world of affiliate marketing, you’ll need to invest a good chunk of time and energy.

So, let’s dive into the details in the next few sections, shall we?

We’ll be exploring what factors can influence the amount of money you might need to pump into your affiliate marketing gig. And hey, if you’re strapped for cash but bursting with ambition, don’t worry!

I’ll also share some practical tips on how to kick-start your affiliate marketing journey on a shoestring budget.

How Much Money Do You Need to Start Affiliate Marketing? (3 Key Factors)

Man saving money

The answer to this question is, it depends…

The amount of money you need to start with affiliate marketing depends on several factors. For the most part, these things include:

  • The niche you choose
  • The tools you choose to run your business
  • Your traffic generation strategy

Here’s how each of these areas can affect how much money it might cost you to run your affiliate marketing business

1. The Niche You Choose

The niche you choose can significantly impact the amount of money you need to invest in affiliate marketing.

Some niches are more competitive than others, and you may need to invest more money in advertising and, or content creation to get your affiliate links in front of your target audience.

For instance, if you choose a highly competitive niche like weight loss or make money online, you may need to up your marketing budget if you’re running paid ads, or increase your content production efforts in order to get traction and stand out.

On the other hand, if you choose a less competitive niche, like pet care or gardening, you may not need to invest as much money in ad campaigns, or time into creating content.

2. The Tools You Use

To be successful with affiliate marketing, you need some essential tools. Having said that, it’s not essential to spend a lot of money here when you’re first getting started. I have even included a completely free tool that is more than enough for any new affiliate to start making money with (see below).

Depending on your strategy, you’ll need anywhere from just a handful of tools, to a whole suite of software apps.

Many successful affiliate marketers run 6 and even 7-figure businesses with just a few essential tools.

For example, if you’re prompting your business using free websites like YouTube and various social media platforms, or if you’re relying on paid ads to generate traffic, then you can make decent money with a simple funnel or landing page builder, and an email autoresponder.

Once you start to build an audience you can make even more money by offering bonuses (such as mini-courses, eBooks, and other resources), so an online course builder is also another great tool to add to your toolbox.

To save money here, you can start off by using an all-in-one platform.

All-in-One Marketing Tools

There are also a few good platforms that offer all of these tools and more under one roof. Using one of these platforms can save you a significant amount of money.

Here are some good all-in-one marketing platforms I recommend:

Link Tracking

Link tracking is also very important for affiliate marketing.

With good link tracking you’ll be able to monitor your clicks, get crucial analytics info, and protect against click fraud.

One of the most important reasons for using link tracking is so you can easily see which campaigns are working for you, cut the crap ones, and scale up the good ones. Doing this will help you to significantly increase your affiliate income.

Don’t make the mistake of relying on the link tracking provided by affiliate networks, or by a private affiliate program. This type of tracking is very limited and will not give you enough info to be able to make wise choices that will increase your affiliate income.

Besides this, if you are using 3rd party link tracking software (which I recommend you do), then this will give you additional protection if and when there is a misunderstanding on how much money an affiliate partner owes you.

Yes, unfortunately this can and does happen (fortunately not very often). Most instances occur due to a technical tracking issue on the part of the affiliate program provider. However, I have also heard of some affiliates who partnered with a less ethical company who was trying to get out of paying affiliate commissions.

If this happens to you and you have good 3rd party tracking set up, then you’ve got proof of the level of traffic you have generated from them, and will therefore, have a much higher chance of getting paid.

There are a number of click tracking tools on the market. However, some are quite good, and others are terrible.

Here is the link tracking tool I recommend for affiliate marketing.


While a website is no longer an essential tool for affiliate marketing, if you want to make money through SEO (search engine optimization) and blogging, then a website is a must.

In this case you’ll need a domain name, a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, and hosting:

  • Domain name (typically around $10 per year)
  • WordPress – free
  • Hosting – (anything from $5 – $50 per month)

If you’re just getting started, then I recommend you choose SiteGround for your website hosting.

SiteGround are one of the best low-cost hosting providers out there. They have a great reputation, excellent support, and they even have additional features that will speed up your website and make your pages load fast when visitors land on your pages. This is a big plus point in Google’s eyes and can help your overall SEO strategy.

3. The Traffic Generation Strategy You Use

Traffic generation is a critical part of affiliate marketing. It’s arguably the most important job of an affiliate.

The more targeted traffic you can drive to your affiliate links, the more sales you can make.

However, generating traffic can be costly, especially if you choose paid advertising as your traffic generation strategy.

Platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads require you to bid on keywords or audience targeting, which can be expensive if the competition is high.

On the other hand, if you choose free (organic) traffic generation strategies like SEO, or various content marketing methods (like creating YouTube videos), you can generate traffic without spending a lot of money. However, these strategies require more time and effort.

5 Tips to Start with Affiliate Marketing on a Budget

A person working out how much money do you need to start affiliate marketing

Alright, now that we’ve covered all the nitty-gritty details about how much moolah you gotta put into affiliate marketing, let’s get down to business and share some awesome tips on kickstarting your affiliate marketing journey without breaking the bank.


Let’s do this!

1. Choose a Low-Competition Niche

As I mentioned earlier, choosing a less competitive niche can save you a lot of money on advertising costs.

Look for niches that have a decent audience size but are not too crowded with competitors.

To help you do this, I recommend you read my guide on how to find an evergreen sub-niche. you may also want to check out my article on 267 micro niche ideas.

2. Join Affiliate Networks with Low Entry Barriers

While most affiliate networks are free to join, a lot of them want to see that you already have a website (or at least a landing page) set up, you have an email list, or you already have an established audience before they will approve you.

Don’t worry, there are also quite a few networks out there too that have very minimal entry requirements, such as ClickBank and Digistore24.

By joining these networks, you can start promoting products without having to invest any money on setting you your business upfront.

Once you start earning commissions, you can reinvest those earnings to scale your affiliate marketing business further.

3. Use Free Tools and Resources

As I mentioned earlier, you need some essential tools to be successful with affiliate marketing. However, you can find free alternatives to many of these tools, which are more than enough for beginners to get started.

Here are a few good ones I recommend:

If you look in the right places, you can even find free training like this free affiliate course here.

4. Leverage Social Media Channels

Social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube can be powerful tools for promoting your affiliate business.

By creating engaging, high-quality content and building a loyal following, you can drive traffic to your affiliate links without spending any money on advertising. Bear in mind though, the trade off for this is your time. It will take you more time to create content, and you need to be consistent with it.

In all of your affiliate marketing efforts, your primary focus should be on building and nurturing your email list, and not just trying to make affiliate sales on the front end.

Affiliates that focus on building their list are fare more successful over the long term. This is because you can continue to market to the same people over and over once you have a list.

5. Be Patient and Persistent

It’s totally normal to feel excited and eager to see those big earnings rolling in when you start out.

However, it’s important to set realistic expectations. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t make thousands of dollars right off the bat.

Instead, focus on delivering value to your audience, building trust, and steadily growing your business over time.

Remember, patience is key. It may take a while to see significant results, but with persistence and a positive mindset, you can absolutely achieve success in affiliate marketing without draining your bank account. Keep at it, and you’ll get there.

Bonus Tip

If you know where to look, then you can also find some free tools to use for your affiliate business. While I don’t recommend on building your entire business with free tools (they’re free for a reason), there are actually some amazing tools out there that are completely free.

Unfortunately, it can take years and a lot of trial and error to find the good ones.

That’s why I’ve created this list of some of the best free tools for affiliate marketing for my audience.


Frequently asked questions

Q: Do I need a lot of money to get started with affiliate marketing?

A: It depends on several factors, including the niche you choose, the affiliate network you join, the tools you use, and the traffic generation strategy you use.

However, having said that, is is also possible to start affiliate marketing with no money.

Q: Can I start with affiliate marketing for free?

A: Yes, there are several affiliate networks that allow you to join for free and start promoting products right away. Here are my recommended networks and programs for beginners.

Q: What are the best traffic generation strategies for affiliate marketing on a budget?

A: Organic traffic generation strategies like SEO, YouTube affiliate marketing, and social media marketing are great options for generating traffic without spending a lot of money.

Q: Do I need a website for affiliate marketing?

A: While having a website can make it easier to promote your affiliate links, it’s not necessary, especially if you’re relying on social media platforms, YouTube, or paid ads to drive traffic.

Q: How long does it take to make money with affiliate marketing?

A: It takes time and effort to build a successful affiliate marketing business. Don’t expect to start earning significant amounts of money overnight. However, with the right strategy, persistence, and patience, some new affiliates start making money within a few months.

Q: How much commission per sale can I earn with affiliate marketing?

A: The commission rate varies depending on the affiliate program and the product you are promoting. It can range from a few percent to well over over 50%.

Some affiliate marketing programs (like the Amazon Associates program) only pay out tiny commissions. However, there are also quite a few high-ticket affiliate programs out there, as well as recurring affiliate programs, which are great for passive income.

How Much To Start Affiliate Marketing – My Final Thoughts

So, there you have it!

If you’re looking for a nifty way to earn extra money online, or replace your current income on a budget, all while sipping your morning coffee, then affiliate marketing might be a good fit for you.

It’s an excellent business model to earn passive income online, and it’s accessible to anyone with an internet connection and a computer.

Bear in mind though, the amount of money you need to invest in your affiliate business depends on several things. So, consider carefully the niche you choose, the affiliate networks you join, the tools you use, and the traffic generation strategy you go for.

By following my tips above, you can get started on a budget and make your affiliate marketing journey a successful one. Remember to be patient, persistent, and focus on providing value to your audience.

So, how much money do you need to start with affiliate marketing? It’s up to you to decide. With the right mindset, strategy, and approach, you can start your affiliate marketing business with little to no investment.

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