How Much Money Do You Need to Start Affiliate Marketing?

Veranika Minina 25 April 2024 Beginners

Table of contents:

  1. Do you Need Money to Start Affiliate Marketing?
  2. How Much Does it Cost to Start Affiliate Marketing?
  3. Affiliate Marketing Courses: Is it Worth It?
  4. Is it Difficult to Make Income through Affiliate Marketing?
  5. The Most Common Mistakes in Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing presents a lucrative opportunity for affiliates to earn. One common question that arises when considering affiliate marketing is, “How much does it cost to start affiliate marketing?” While there is no fixed answer as the costs can vary depending on various factors, it is important to understand the potential expenses involved.

In this article, we will explore whether you need money to start affiliate marketing or if it is possible to do it for free.

Do you Need Money to Start Affiliate Marketing?

First of all, it’s necessary to mention that you can start affiliate marketing without money. It means that you don’t even need to have your own website to start promoting offers and earn commissions. Use YouTube, social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, forums or online communities. And you can find offers for promotion in CPA networks that collect offers from diverse advertisers.

Various affiliate networks may impose varying levels of stringent requirements when accepting new marketers. As a beginner, you might face rejections, which can delay your initiation into the field. Here is a list of Best 10 CPA Networks For Beginners that less often or almost never deny registration to newcomers.

How to choose an offer to promote it without money? Here is a small, but useful guide:

  1. Choose Vertical with Low Entry Barrier

Understanding what niche you want to work and earn in will allow you to make a strategy properly. There are niches with a low barrier to entry and simple conversions: Sweepstakes, Mobile Downloads. It is more difficult for newbies to work in verticals such as Casino, Gambling, Crypto, Finance, Nutra/Health, eCommerce. One of the reasons is high competition among affiliates.

There are several ways to choose your vertical. You can either choose a niche that you’re already interested in, or you can first find good affiliate networks and consider the verticals these platforms work with.

  1. Choose Less Competitive GEOs

Choosing a country to promote offers is also usually cost-neutral. In affiliate marketing, you can face “Tiers,” which are groups of GEOs based on the buying power of customers in a given region:

  • Tier-1: It is the set of GEOs with the most active buyers, including high-value goods. These are also the most technologically advanced countries, with fast internet coverage, online payments. These are also the most competitive GEOs for offers and advertising;
  • Tier-2: These are GEOs that are less competitive and have average purchasing power, less likely to buy than Tier 1;
  • Tier-3: GEOs include mostly developing countries where 4G/LTE is being massively adopted but buyers are not yet as active. In this case, it is easy to get users interested in advertising as they are not yet saturated with it.

Based on these characteristics, you can select the most attractive GEOs as a beginner, and promote offers only on these locations. But pay attention to offers’ requirements to understand if the countries could be used.

  1. Use Ad Materials Created by CPA Networks

Affiliates often have to create promotional content on their own. In this case, you will really have to engage a designer and spend a certain amount of money on it. But if you don’t want to get involved in developing creatives and lendings, spending large sums of money on it, you can ask for help from the team of the CPA network you are working with. Also, some offers already include ready-made materials like creatives, landings and prelandings, so you don’t have to spend time and money on them.

How Much Does it Cost to Start Affiliate Marketing?

The cost of starting affiliate marketing can vary depending on several factors, such as the platform you choose, your marketing strategies, and the scale of your operations. Here are some common expenses to consider.


If you engage in CPA marketing, opt to create landing pages to drive paid traffic, you will need to develop proficiency in budget management. In general, you’ll need around $300 to conduct several tests and generate some earnings. For your initial campaign, it is advisable to target customers from Tier-3 GEOs.

The cost of traffic sources should be taken into account by beginners. Paid traffic includes social, banners ads, contextual ads, paid search like Google Ads, native ads, etc. As a newcomer, you can choose free sources: YouTube, social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, forums or online communities.

One of the biggest mistakes newbies make is focusing on so many traffic channels at once. They start accounts on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Pinterest, while trying to promote offers with SEO, native ads, banners — it’s too much.

Each of these channels takes time to understand how they work. And each can be time-consuming enough to become a full-time job.

Instead, choose one or two main sources of traffic. And don’t forget that offers can also include prioritized as well as disallowed traffic sorts.

Spy Tools

Spy tools are valuable resources that help affiliates to discover successful ad campaigns of competitors. They also provide insights into the type of advertisements you should create. These apps or websites typically start at a price of $40 and offer various features like keyword research and analysis of search results pages. While free alternatives exist, their functionality is often limited.

Landing Pages Templates

There are platforms that create landing pages. A reputable landings builder might cost approximately $20. It is essential to select a tool that allows you to download the landing pages to avoid being tied to a specific vendor. For example, such platforms as Canva, Leadpages, Landingi, Zapier Interfaces are often used by affiliates.

Localization Tools

If you aim to target a profitable geographic region, language should not pose a barrier. Diverse platforms offer translation services, typically priced around $5 per one text. Translation agencies usually charge based on the number of words, and unless you require an entire advertisement to be translated, the cost should not be too high.

For shorter texts, relying on Google Translate might suffice. However, opting for professional translation services enhances the credibility of your ads. For brief translations, services usually charge less than 10 cents per word. Pricing varies based on the selected language.

Ad Creatives

The use of free stock images has gained popularity, but it’s important to note that many users can easily identify them. Paid platforms such as Shutterstock and RawPixel provide a wider range of options and typically require a monthly fee of approximately $29.


If you have decided that you want to promote offers on your own resource, then you will need to create your own website. Obtaining a domain name and securing hosting services are essential steps in starting your affiliate marketing journey. Acquiring a domain name typically incurs an annual cost of approximately $15. Additionally, hosting services can range from $5 to $50 per month, depending on the specific package and provider you choose.

Affiliate Marketing Courses: Is it Worth It?

Pay for an affiliate marketing course is not obvious for earning money in the field. There is an abundance of online resources such as videos, blogs, podcasts, and forums available that can help you begin, manage, and expand a successful affiliate business.

However, it’s important to note that accessing reliable guidance is likely to enhance your learning process, minimize mistakes, accelerate your progress, and enhance the likelihood of achieving your financial goals.

So, only you should decide whether you need paid affiliate courses or not.

Is it Difficult to Make Income through Affiliate Marketing?

Generating income, in general, can be challenging, particularly if you lack prior experience in affiliate marketing. Succeeding as a marketer, similar to any fruitful pursuit, entails a significant learning process and experimentation.

There is no universal formula or timeline for affiliate marketers to achieve financial success. The speed at which individuals can generate income varies greatly. Beginners can not earn during the first months. But gradually the earnings will increase, starting at $50, $100 and so on.

So, with experience and expertise, it is possible for a skilled affiliate marketer to earn a moderate to substantial income on a monthly basis within six months to a year.

The Most Common Mistakes in Affiliate Marketing

There are various reasons why some affiliate marketers don’t raise their income:

  • Neglecting to track performance and analyze data;
  • Launching campaigns without testing;
  • Targeting highly competitive keywords without a solid strategy.

So, it’s vital to control each process and continue to enrich your knowledge base in affiliate marketing.


Starting affiliate marketing can be pursued with various budget levels, and the costs involved can vary depending on individual choices and strategies. While it is possible to begin with limited financial resources, it is essential to consider certain expenses. These may include investments in traffic generation, spy tools for competitor analysis, landing page templates, localization tools for targeting specific regions, ad creatives, and potentially educational resources. By carefully assessing these costs and making informed decisions, aspiring affiliate marketers can embark on their journey with a clear understanding of the financial requirements.

Veranika Minina
Veranika Minina is a fan of affiliate marketing. Veranika's articles are carefully crafted to simplify complex concepts, making them accessible to beginners while also offering fresh perspectives about CPA-networks for experienced marketers. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned marketer, Veranika's writings are sure to inspire, educate, and motivate, guiding you towards a profitable affiliate marketing journey.
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