As any marketing program, affiliate program requires a budget. While it is true that comparing to many other types of online advertising, affiliate marketing generally requires a significantly smaller budget, it does require one. Below you may find a basic breakdown of expenses that you should be prepared to incur:
- First of all, you will have to pay for the platform on which your affiliate program will be run. Be it an affiliate network or an affiliate program tracking/management software, you will be either charged some setup fees, or have a choice of one-time or monthly fees [more on networks in this post and on software here].
- Secondly, you will want to put together a creative inventory for your program (banners, deep-linked text links, and possibly even Flash and video creatives). If you will have to hire someone to do this for you, this will be an additional investment.
- Thirdly, (a) if you’re a online retailer, you will want to supply your affiliates with a detailed product feed, or (b) if you sell services online, you’ll want to experiment with different landing pages. Depending on your in-house capabilities, this may cost you something in programming, or web-design and conversion optimization fees.
- Finally, and most importantly, you will have to have someone manage your affiliate program (from its announcement and recruitment of first affiliates on through the ongoing policing of affiliate compliance with your program’s rules, activation of stagnant affiliates, keeping the program fresh and attractive, etc, etc). Non-management is not an option. You may either have one of your in-house staff handle this, or hire an outsourced affiliate program manager [more about OPMs here].
The sum total of all of the above 4 expenditure points can vary anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars; and much will depend on your (or your company’s) own involvement in the affiliate program’s setup, launch and management.