Imagine walking into a casino without money, sitting at the high-rollers table, and winning a few grand without having to put anything on the line. It would be amazing, wouldn’t it? But, as you’re probably thinking already, it also sounds extremely unlikely.
Launching an affiliate campaign is similar to this scenario, minus the gambling of course. Even when some platforms offer great deals and what seems to be the ability to advertise almost for free, it’s impossible to become a successful marketer without making a solid investment first.
In this article, we’ll give you an idea of the budget you need to start your own affiliate business.
“Free-Money” and Low-Budget Campaigns Are Not an Option
Before we go over the expenses that all affiliates need to cover, it’s important that we explain why “free-money” and low-budget campaigns are not a good idea.
It’s also common to see rookie affiliates that want to start a campaign with $10. Needless to say, this is not a realistic option. You can’t scale or get any decent profit with $10.
List of Expenses All Affiliates Need to Cover
In simple terms, you’ll need a budget of around $500 to get started as an affiliate. Remember, some of the tools you use have to be paid monthly. Which means that you need to reinvest part of your gross earnings every cycle.
The list of expenses can be broken down into:
To run campaigns, affiliate marketers must purchase traffic. The price you pay and the platform you use will help define the quality of the traffic. Usually, $300 is enough to run a few tests and make some profit.
The first campaign you build should be targeted to Tier-3 (GEOs). What is a Tier of Traffic? Also, make sure you choose an offer that has a simple conversion flow (i.e. doesn’t require deposits or CC submits).
Platforms like PropellerAds allow you to use the built-in tracker to measure the performance of your ads. But, if you want more flexibility, you can invest in an independent tracker, which usually start at $29 per month.
You should try out a few different demos, which usually last a month, before choosing the tracker you like the most. Most traffic sources also have promo codes that they share with their customers, so explore all of your options thoroughly.
You also have to find a reliable hosting provider that’s suitable for your landing pages and the tracker you choose, if it’s not self-hosted. There are many options in this category, and their price tag range from very cheap to obscenely expensive.
However, you can find decent services starting from as little as $29.
Some of the most popular providers are:
Affiliates that are familiar with the way hosting works can use a free option by Google Cloud. The tech giant offers $300 of free credit for their new customers, which should buy you a decent amount of time.
Additionally, if you have a self-hosted tracker, you may have the option to upload your landing pages to the same platform. This can improve the accuracy of your tracker, and result in more conversions thanks to the reduced number of redirects.
Spy tools help you identify competitors that are performing well, so you get an idea of the type of ad you have to design. These start at $47 and can include a huge number of features like keyword research and search page analysis. There are free options available, but they come with limited functionality more often than not.
Landing Page Builder
Before buying a landing page builder, check if your CPA network provides ready landing pages. If not, you may have to fork out around $10 for a decent builder, but make sure you can also download the landing pages to avoid vendor lock!
Language should not be a limitation if you want to target a lucrative market. Translator services can be found via Upwork, Fiverr, and other freelancing platforms, and they cost about $5 a pop if you get a good deal. Other services you can check out:
Images and Creatives
Free stock images are becoming popular, but the truth is that users usually can tell they are stock images. Paid platforms offer more options and cost around $25 per month, with the most popular ones being:
3 Tips to Keep Healthy Finances
Although having the right budget is crucial, you should also design a plan that allows you to keep your expenses low. Here are some tips to help you keep healthy finances:
- Save on Hosting
If you take the time and learn how hosting works, you may be able to save a few dollars in this area and have a better understanding of your campaign’s technical side.
- Find a Network with Short Hold Periods
As you may or may not know, all CPA networks have a holding period before you’re allowed to withdraw your earnings.
Beginners should try to find networks that have the shortest holding period, which is called Net7 and only lasts seven days. If not, you may have to wait until after this to launch your next campaign, which can interrupt your rhythm.
- Planning Ahead is the Name of the Game
Planning ahead is critical to improving your chances of success. We suggest you estimate your daily budget, keep the hold period in mind, and figure out the best tool selection to maintain smooth sailing.
For example, if you plan for 10 days ahead and your total budget for traffic is $300, then you you should estimate that your daily budget shouldn’t exceeed $30.
Now that we’ve gone over the budget you need to start with Affiliate Marketing, it’s time to start putting the pieces together.
The tips above should give you a good idea of the tools you’ll need and how much it will cost you to get started as an affiliate marketer.
Want to discuss it with fellow affiliates? You know what to do… join our Telegram chat!
Editor’s Note: Originally published in September 2018, this article was updated for accuracy reasons.