I know what some folks say – ClickBank is yesterday’s news.
You signed up to ClickBank, chose a high commission product to promote, dreamt of the money you would make and then heard crickets, right?
But in this guide, I’m going to cut your learning curve in half, or better.
Let’s get started…
ClickBank, for those who aren’t familiar, is an affiliate network that serves as a middleman between creators of digital products and affiliates who promote those products to earn commissions.
If you’re an affiliate, you can jump right in, grab your unique affiliate links and start promoting thousands of products.
ClickBank generates close to a quarter-billion dollars in revenue each year. And digital products – the only kind of products ClickBank handles – have the highest margins possible and thus the highest commissions possible. In fact, you can earn as much as 75% of each sale you make.
Plus, you don’t need to be approved for most offers before you can start selling. If you have no track record as an affiliate, this is a huge benefit.
As a product owner, you pay $49.95 one-time activation fee to become a seller. This keeps some of the low-quality vendors out of the platform.
As a seller, you don’t have to worry about things like collecting state or VAT taxes. You do, however, have to pay $1 + 7.5% of each sale. And you’re charged $2.50 each time you take out your money, as well as .50 or %1.00 for refunds.
How can you make money with ClickBank?
You’re going to follow the same formula as any successful online venture. First, you need a solid product that customers want to buy.
Next, you’re going to create a funnel to convert your traffic. Then, you’re going to build traffic, test to optimize your funnel, and when you’re profitable, scale the entire thing.
Sounds easy, right? But you and I know this takes time and effort. There is a reason why 90% of affiliate revenues are made by just 10% of affiliates.
Let’s go through the steps, one by one:
Step 1: Picking the right product to promote
Want to make money quickly? Then start as an affiliate, promoting pages that have already been optimized for a product proven to sell.
This is one of two places where so many people go wrong on ClickBank. They grab the first good looking product they see and start promoting it like crazy, not knowing why it’s not converting worth a darn.
Choosing the right product is extremely important. The right product and mediocre traffic will make you money. The wrong product and highly targeted, stellar traffic will leave you broke.
ClickBank Metrics Deciphered
Initial $/sale: The average amount of money affiliates make per sale.
Avg %/sale: The percent of the sales price affiliates take as a commission on average.
Grav: Gravity, the number of affiliates that sold this product in the last 12 weeks.
Avg Rebill Total: Average $ affiliates take as a commission as a result of rebills.
Avg %/Rebill: Percentage of rebills paid to the affiliate, on average.
What to Look for in a ClickBank product:
Low-cost initial offer with up to 3 up-sales
Video sales pages & “native” sales pages (pages that feel like content)
Products with good reviews online (low refunds = more money and less list burnout)
Gravity above 20 (means that the page converts fairly well)
Either ask for review copies of the products you’re interested in promoting or buy your own copy. Go through it from start to finish. Pull out points that will be of interest to your readers, so that you can speak knowledgeably when you promote this product.
Do you LIKE the product? I mean really, would you recommend your best friend BUY it? What about your mother, daughter or your boss at work?
If you don’t personally like a product and believe it delivers on its promises, then DON’T promote it. Remember, your reputation is everything online.
Step 2: Decide How to Promote Your Chosen Product
This is the second area where most affiliates screw up. They paste some banners on their site promoting the product and then wait for the sales to come pouring in. Except that they seldom do.
Then they try using content links – recommendations embedded directly in their text. If you do a good job of building trust throughout your article, then your conversion rates will likely be better than if you were using banners.
Next, ClickBank affiliates become more sophisticated and they write a product review. If the review page has enough SEO to get it to page 1 of Google, then it’s almost assuredly going to make sales.
The key to reviews is to write them as a genuine reviewer would write them – not as a salesperson would write it.
And of course, you need a steady volume of traffic to SEE your review. Traffic on review keywords tends to be low and competition tends to be fierce. And there’s no way to scale reviews, making it hard to grow your traffic.
Using the above 3 methods, you won’t get a lot of content shares because most people don’t like to link or share stuff that sells. This means you’ll have to pay for traffic or become really good at SEO.
So, what’s an affiliate to do?
Build a Value Rich Sales Funnel
20 years ago, there was a method of online marketing that entailed giving away free content, adding value, and then selling to the people who wanted the free stuff.
This method still works.
The key is to keep your front end clean of any sales pitch. Think of yourself as a media company, offering free content to your readers.
Offer lead magnets through content upgrades, opt-in pop-ups, bonuses on other people’s products and retargeting.
Once you’ve got their email address, THEN you can start linking to your offer from your thank you page and also begin your email sequence promoting your offer.
I know what you’re wondering… “If I only make my offer to those who opt in for the free offer, I might be losing sales.”
Most likely, no.
If they aren’t interested enough to get your FREE offer, why would they PAY for something on the same topic?
Here’s how your funnel might look when you get it completely set up. Please note, you don’t have to do ALL of these things immediately. Just add in steps as you are able.
- Send traffic to your blog post that offers a content upgrade (lead magnet).
- This traffic might come from Facebook ads, Google ads, be organic (such as guest blogging and social media) and come from content distribution networks such as Outbrain.
- Some people will grab the lead magnet, others won’t. If they don’t, then retarget them using a service such as AdRoll to get them to come back and grab the lead magnet.
- When they do give you their email address in exchange for the lead magnet, redirect them to your affiliate offer. If they buy the affiliate offer, their email address goes into your main list. If they don’t buy, they get a follow-up series encouraging them to take another look at the affiliate offer.
This system keeps your front end clean of commercial offers. Now you can get plenty of links and shares because of it.
You can target trending topics and high traffic keywords related to the problems your affiliate offer solves.
You can completely avoid PPC if you want.
You’re building an email list – meaning you OWN the audience. Maybe they don’t purchase your initial offer, but you can continue to demonstrate value, build rapport and sell more things to your list.
How do you get traffic?
SEO: If you’re creating content, you may as well optimize it for the search engines. Take a basic SEO course and you’ll find this is not as difficult as you’ve been led to believe.
Facebook: Odds are, your audience is already on Facebook. You can get cheap traffic by paying for it or build an engaging fan page and drive your traffic through organic reach.
Content distribution networks: Taboola, Outbrain and others can help you get your content seen, especially if you have a wide-ranging topic.
Your own social media accounts: Whenever you post new content, remember to tell everyone on social media. And don’t just tell them once – share the content several times over the course of days or weeks.
Guest blogging: This can work really well, especially if you plan ahead. Place ‘how-to’ articles on your own site, and then guest post in a way that allows you to link to those articles. For example, your guest post could be on how to plan for a week-long bike trip, and it could link to articles on your site that cover roadside emergencies, how to get the best camping deals, and how to monetize your trip so you get to go for free.
For all four of these traffic methods to work, be sure that your content is clean of promotions (aside from your opt-in), give value and establish yourself as an authority. This is going to make you stand apart from nearly all the other affiliates out there.
Getting the Opt-in
I hinted at this in ‘guest blogging,’ but here’s how to get your opt-ins – create complementary pieces of content that go with your original article.
If your article is on 3 tips for getting traffic, your opt-in piece might be on 7 more methods. If you kept the reader engaged during the first 3 tips, they’re almost certainly going to want to read the next 7 as well.
Consider using opt-in pop-ups, since they tend to convert better than using a sidebar or even top bar opt-in.
At the end of your content, issue a great final call to action, such as offering your content upgrade.
And for the people who don’t take your offer on your website, add them to a retargeting list on Facebook and send them the opt-in page to download the bonuses.
To create all of these, you might consider using Thrive Leads.
Your Thank You Page
Once people opt-in, it’s time to redirect them to a thank you page where you … are you ready for this? … finally promote your offer.
The key here is to bridge the offer with the lead magnet. The worst thing you can do at this point is to confuse your new subscriber into thinking they now need to PAY for the lead magnet they just signed up to receive.
Making it clear that the offer and the lead magnet are two different things is simple: Place wording, perhaps in a banner, at the top of the page that indicates the lead magnet and the offer are two separate things. For example, you might write:
“Important: Read this page BEFORE you use the Magic Weight Loss eBook (Please allow 10-15 minutes for delivery)”
You can then explain why the lead magnet – while being a good start – is not going to cover everything they need to know to achieve the result they’re looking for. Let them know why they should take the offer you’re presenting along with the lead magnet, to get the very best results possible.
In the case of a lead magnet on traffic generation, your product might show them how to convert a higher number of those visitors into sales.
Or in the case of a lead magnet that outlines a diet plan, your product might be a high-intensity interval training program that will give them maximum results when combined with the diet.
Your thank you page is introducing the sales page – it isn’t the sales page itself. It’s important to set them up to be receptive to the sales page, rather than just throwing them headfirst into the sales situation with no prior warning. The more receptive you can make them to your offer, the better your offer will convert.
I’ve even seen marketers use a series of pages to walk the new subscriber to the sales page. By the time they get there, they’re already 3/4ths sold!
To build these landing pages and thank you pages, you might want to use Elementor or Thrive Architect.
Your email list
You’ll notice that instead of throwing traffic at a sales page, you’re collecting email addresses so that you can continue to market to them over and over again.
This begins with the offer you just made. While some will take it, many more won’t, and that’s okay. You now have the chance to follow up repeatedly and show them why the offer makes good sense for fulfilling their needs. You already know they are a good fit, since they downloaded the related lead magnet. Now you just need to overcome their objections with stories and questions and answers.
For example, you might do a four-part autoresponder series like this:
Email 1- Features and Logic
This is where you send them the link to the lead magnet again, just in case they missed it the first time.
Ask them if they saw the offer, give them bullet points on why this offer is right for them, and add in a powerful testimonial.
Finish up by asking a question or starting a story you don’t finish. The idea is to create an open loop that gets them to open the next email.
Email 2 – Play with their Emotions
Remember the question you ask or the story you started in the previous email? Here’s where you give the answer or finish the story.
Then you help them to visualize the success they will have with the product and all the things they can do when they allow this product to solve their problem.
For example, if the product you’re promoting is about driving traffic, then you can paint pictures of them driving hordes of eager buys to any offer they choose.
Or if the product is about weight loss, you can have them visualize what it will be like to be slender again, to fit into their clothes, to look and feel younger, to be attractive to others and to have tons of youthful energy.
Bring out all their positive emotions and link those emotions to the product you are promoting.
Email 3 – Frequently Asked Questions
Your FAQ email is a great place to not only answer questions, but also to clarify points and bring out information that will help your readers to make a buying decision. Keep your FAQ a reasonable length – 3 to 7 questions is good.
Email 4 – Scarcity
It’s time to encourage your readers to take action right now. You might offer a discount if you can, or a limited time bonus that’s going away at the deadline.
Remind them that they need something new to fix their problem. If they could have fixed it with the information they already had, then they would have already done that. They need help, and this is the answer.
You might use a tool such as Deadline Funnels to open and close your offers on the schedule that you set, to create real scarcity. Limited access does increase sales, usually dramatically, so be sure to use it.
Always write with the expectation of helping people – not of taking their money. It might sound like I’m splitting hairs, but readers will feel the difference in your writing and respond far better when they know you’re on their side.
Once you’ve done all of this, it’s simply a matter of repeating the process. Create a new lead magnet that leads to a new product and offer that new lead magnet to your current subscribers as well as to new traffic.
If you use this method for every single Click bank product you promote, you’ll get results. Yes, it does sound like a lot of work. But remember that you can use each of these lead magnets for years to come, to continue building your lists and making your sales for you. And you can do this in as many different niches as you like, too.
Remember to use Facebook and other retargeting services to greatly increase the number of subscribers you get. Tweak your headline and ad for maximum effect, and you could see extremely high opt-in rates. This is because they’ve seen you and your ad before, and now you’re becoming familiar (and trustworthy) to them.
To track where your conversions are coming from, be sure to create a new affiliate link each time you place a link.
Once you know which emails, ads and pages are converting, you’ll be able to do more of what works and eliminate or change what doesn’t work.
To track IDs in ClickBank, create a unique ID for each link and place it in the ‘Tracking ID’ box.
When your funnel is successfully running, you might create more SEO content for related keywords to bring in more traffic.
And you might want to expand that autoresponder series we talked about, too.
A/B test your opt-ins and pop-ups to increase your conversion rate.
And then for the secret sauce…
Creating Your Own Offer
If you’ve been selling a ClickBank affiliate offer (as opposed to your own ClickBank product) then once you’ve reached a certain level of success, you might want to take things to the next level.
By creating your won product, and swapping the affiliate offer with your own.
This way you get to keep all of the money, and you can have affiliates selling the offer for you, too.
You’ll then control the upsells, the sales page, and you can (optional) purchase traffic that you send straight to the sales page.
Once you’ve got a proven funnel, this can be one of the best ways to increase your own revenue.
When you know how to make ClickBank work for you, you can generate excellent revenue, almost on autopilot.
And you can also use the system outlined here with other affiliate networks, too.
One word of caution: Offers do sometimes get pulled. If you are promoting only one offer and you have no backup, your revenue can go from great to nonexistent overnight. Always have a backup product, and whenever possible, create more than one funnel.
Of course, since you’re also building list(s), it will be easy for you to swap out products in your autoresponder as well as sending other offers to your list while you adjust your funnel to accommodate a new product.
Your first step in all of this is to pick a product you believe in – one that you can feel good about recommending – and then get started on building your lead magnet and sales funnel.