How Much Does it Cost to Start an Affiliate Marketing Business?

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Affiliate marketing businesses can be very inexpensive to set up and maintain. Affiliate marketing, done correctly, can be a win-win-win situation for you, the affiliate and the customer. You'll need to create a website related to the products you decide to promote. Advertising campaigns are a way of driving more traffic to your website and affiliates. Building email marketing lists can also generate customers for your affiliates through regular exposure.

Affiliate Marketing

  • Affiliate marketing is way of monetizing your website by selling other company's products or services. This can be achieved by posting links on your site that direct traffic to other companies, known as affiliates. When a sale is made by traffic generated by you, the affiliate compensates you with a portion of their profits. Affiliates benefit because it's greater exposure for them and it costs them nothing -- until you make a sale. And, you benefit by generating extra income for your efforts.

Website Related Costs

  • Starting an affiliate marketing business is relatively inexpensive. The first item you will need is a website. Hosting plans vary and range from less than $20 to several hundred per month. Domain names generally cost around $15 per year, as of 2011. You can also purchase website templates for as little as $50. If you prefer more customization you can hire a professional designer, but expect to pay more. Professionally designed websites can be a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars to create.

Advertising Campaigns

  • If you don't have an existing website or blog with a loyal following, consider starting an online advertising campaign. Google Adwords is an advertising service that only charges you when someone clicks on your ads. Alternatively, you can build relationships with blogs who specialize on topics related to your site. Whenever a sale is made from traffic directed by the blog, you give them a portion of the profits. Thus, you incur no out-of-pocket expenses, until a sale is made.

Email Marketing

  • Another free marketing technique is email marketing. Email marketing allows you to stay "top-of-mind" with your prospects on a regular basis. There are email marketing services that charge various fees, but some don't. Consider MailChimp (mailchimp.com) if you want to keep your costs low. MailChimp doesn't charge you anything for basic services like email campaigns, social media applications and sign-up templates, if you have less than 1,000 subscribers.

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