Does Affiliate Marketing Cost Money? Exactly How Much?

You’ve probably seen plenty of people boasting about how much they make with affiliate marketing, but how much did it cost to make all of that money?

Does affiliate marketing ultimately cost money to make money? Let’s talk about that next.

Does Affiliate Marketing Cost Money?

does affiliate marketing cost money

Despite the fact that you can get by with little to no money, affiliate marketing is going to cost you money in order to see great and long-term success.

This is a difficult question to answer overall, given the fact that there are always ways to spend no money and still make money with affiliate marketing. I’ll also┬ábe talking about some of these techniques soon in the article.

Now despite recommending that most new affiliates stay lean when starting up, I think that spending no money at all is a massive mistake.

From what I’ve seen, most new affiliates won’t want to spend money for a wide variety of reasons:

  • It’s “less risky” when you don’t spend money.
  • They don’t have a lot of money to spend in the first place.

The problem with this mindset is that you start cutting corners and looking for shortcuts, especially when you shouldn’t.

Instead of getting premium software (that you might need), you go with a free version that doesn’t allow you to grow.

Or instead of getting premium hosting for a WordPress website, you go with a platform that isn’t great for generating organic traffic.

I can go on and on when it comes to cutting costs with affiliate marketing, as I would know. I pretty much-started affiliate marketing when I was on unemployment, so I didn’t exactly have a lot of money to work with.

Despite that fact, I used my money wisely and invested in things that I needed at the time:

  • Traffic.
  • Easily outsourced tasks.
  • Necessary affiliate marketing software.
  • Information, tutorials, training, knowledge, etc.

In other words, I recommend that you do the same. You don’t have to get “the biggest and best” things that will help you out in the beginning.

You can always start with what you need and then work your way up as you begin to make money with affiliate marketing.

So all in all, you can expect the process of affiliate marketing to cost you some money, but how much exactly? Let’s talk about that next.

How Much Does It Cost For Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing can cost anything from a very little amount of money per month, to hundreds, and even thousands of dollars per month.

The fact of the matter is affiliate marketing is going to massively fluctuate based upon how you want to get traffic and make commissions.

So allow me to give you a few scenarios when it comes to the typical costs of doing affiliate marketing by leveraging different methods and traffic sources.

Affiliate Marketing With No Money

While this is a viable way to make money with affiliate marketing, it’s something that I don’t recommend over the long term.

The reason that I don’t recommend this is for the fact that you’re going to need to invest money in your affiliate marketing business eventually.

By not doing so, you are at a huge disadvantage compared to all of the other affiliates who will invest money, and do it quickly.

Either way, you can make money with affiliate marketing by just leveraging free social media platforms.

These are the types of methods that you can use to be an affiliate while working a full-time job. It’s kind of like using social media, except for affiliate marketing purposes.

Examples of this include using:

  • YouTube: (making videos to review products).
  • Facebook (your profile, groups, and messaging people).
  • TikTok (making videos and directing people to your profile).
  • Instagram (also making posts and directing people to your profile).

Heck, you can even send cold emails to businesses given the fact that there are no costs in doing that.

When it comes to creating videos, I’m going to assume that you don’t need any other special tools to do that. The fact of the matter is that all you need is a smartphone and a laptop to make that work and most people have that.

Plus, there are plenty of free tools that you can use when it comes to recording your screen, and that’s something that I talked about when it comes to making commissions with launch jacking.

Anywho, these methods are good for when you’re first getting started. You can generate leads for affiliate marketing and make sales, all at the same time.

Related: Affiliate marketing versus lead generation.

However, once you start making money, you’re going to want to take advantage of some helpful assets and tools.

And what types of assets and tools am I referring to? Let’s talk about that next.

Affiliate Marketing With Limited (But Necessary) Costs

This, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to start affiliate marketing (when it comes to spending money). The idea here is that you can still start relatively lean, but you also invest in some of the necessary tools.

The good news about the tools? Is that they don’t exactly cost a lot of money. A few examples of this include:

  • Email marketing tool ($10 per month and even less).
  • Hosting and website which usually comes together (around $50 a year).
  • Other helpful tools when it comes to landing pages, sales funnels, video stuff, etc.

The fact of the matter is that you might need to do some shopping around if you want to get the best deals, but that’s completely fine.

The tools that I talked about have been around forever and are great when it comes to increasing your commissions, as well as automating a lot of the affiliate marketing process.

Once you begin to make more money, you can be smart and put more money back into your affiliate marketing efforts.

Affiliate Marketing With Maximized (But Necessary) Costs

Lastly, you have the maximized but necessary costs. This is a big moment when it comes to affiliate marketing, as you begin to realize quite a few things:

  • You’ve got an affiliate marketing system down.
  • You’ve been making a good amount of money with it.
  • You also wonder why you haven’t been investing more money.

There’s also the big lightbulb moment where you realize you’re making a good return on the money that you’ve been investing. The only question after that is:

Why am I not investing more money?

This is one of the most fun aspects of affiliate marketing, but unfortunately, not as many affiliates ever get to this stage because they are too busy focusing on not spending any money (as I mentioned earlier).

So what do you need to do in this situation? Here are a few examples:

  • Invest more money to grow rapidly.
  • Figure out what you are doing and figure out how to scale it.

In other words, whatever it is that you are doing? Do much more of it, and then leverage the money that you’ve made to expedite the process. It could be through the use of:

  • Outsourcing.
  • Putting a team together.
  • Investing more money in traffic.
  • Moving to a new traffic source as well.
  • Upgrading and getting new software that helps you out.

And so on and so forth.

I can’t give you an exact number when it comes to how much this step can cost, simply because this is the difference between making $1,000 per month and affiliates becoming rich (which definitely happens).

If you’ve ever seen an affiliate who makes a ton of money through paid traffic, it’s usually because they’ve gotten to the point where they are making more than they are spending.

That’s the point where they put as much money as possible into the campaign. Wouldn’t you do the same?

Do I Need Money For Affiliate Marketing?

Overall, you’re going to need money for affiliate marketing, even if it’s just a little amount of money when you are first getting started.

With that being said, here is a quick summary of how I recommend you get started with affiliate marketing:

  • Start off lean, meaning that you don’t have to spend a lot of money.
  • Focus on no-cost and lower-cost methods until you make some money.
  • Start reinvesting back into affiliate marketing with software, tools, traffic, etc.

Once you get over the hump of being able to make money, affiliate marketing becomes a pretty fun process.

Just don’t be afraid of investing in your success. That’s how average affiliate marketers think, and average affiliate marketers don’t ever seem to make a significant income.

James Canzanella

A former personal trainer who went from unemployment to online business success. He's been marketing since 2012 and (still) enjoys lifting weights, listening to rock music, and relentlessly quoting movie lines.

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