When you have a product of your own for sale, you are, in Clickbank’s terms, a vendor.
When you are promoting other people’s products to earn money, you are an affiliate.
Most successful vendors (including myself) do both in order to maximize our earnings.
Every day, new customers and prospects (a person who has been to one of my websites, but hasn’t purchased anything yet) are added to my various email newsletters.
I don’t want to ONLY promote my own products to them. I pitch them products from other vendors who have products I think they would be interested in.
Now here’s why this strategy can be highly profitable. Clickbank vendors typically pay commissions of 75% to their affiliates…or even more!
Let’s say I have a product listed in the Clickbank marketplace. It’s a digital course for guys who want to improve their skills with women. The course consists of an ebook and a few videos.
The course costs $47. Every time an affiliate sends someone to my website and they buy my course, that affiliate automatically receives a 75% commission. ($35.25, minus Clickbank’s commission.)
Here, you might be thinking: “Screw that! Why would I want to put in all the work to write an ebook, and then give away 75% of the money to affiliates?”
This is where you must understand one of the basic principles of internet marketing: your traffic, and the fresh leads coming in, are your lifeblood.
Without them, no one is ever going to see your brilliant product, or have a chance to buy it.
And remember – because you’re selling a digital product, your overhead costs are next to nothing. If affiliates want to send you traffic and customers all day long, and you’re paying out 75% commissions, it’s a win-win!
Plus, every time an affiliate sends you a new customer, you’ll get them on your mailing list. (They get added to your email “newsletter.”)
Now, you have the ability to pitch OTHER products to them.
A customer who makes a $47 purchase from you might wind up spending $500 with you over time, as they continue to receive your email newsletter, and you tell them about other products (your own, or products you are promoting as an affiliate).
An interesting bit of internet marketing history here: when I started out in this business, Clickbank products normally paid their affiliates 50% commission. Which, at the time, sounded perfectly fair.
Then, the more aggressive Clickbank vendors began to slowly increase the commission percentages they paid to affiliates. Some began to offer 51%, then 52%.
(“Hey, don’t promote that other guy’s product. He only pays 50% commissions. Promote mine – I’ll pay you 52%!)
Then, as legend has it, an ingenious marketer who had an ebook about “how to get six pack abs” decided to start paying 90% COMMISSIONS to his affiliates.
And guess what? This strategy made him a multi-millionaire.
Why? Because hundreds of affiliates suddenly stopped promoting his competitors, and started promoting HIM.
He was more than happy to give away 90% to his affiliates all day long. They sent him massive amounts of traffic, and he sold a shitload of ebooks.
How was he able to get rich, when he was “giving away” a whopping 90% of his ebook sales?
He do it by having a strong back end.
Today, 90% commission payouts are standard in “big” Clickbank niches – like fitness, weight loss, and survival. And the top vendors (product creators) are making millions.
That juicy 90% commission is what entices affiliates to send them traffic. But in most cases, the affiliate is only getting 90% on the front end.
Once the customer buys the ebook (on the front end), they are shown a series of additional offers which we call the back end.
And on the back end, the vendor makes their fortune.
Your back end covers all of the ways you engage with your customer AFTER they buy your front-end product. They include:
#1. Your email newsletter (or as most of us in the business call it, your “email list.”)
As I mentioned earlier, once you’ve got someone on your email list, you can then market additional products to them and KEEP the bulk of that money.
You can send your subscribers an email per day for the next 100 days. Or the next 300 days. And in these emails, you can talk about some OTHER product you recommend, and include a link that allows them to go and purchase it.
And when someone lands on your website, they don’t need to buy your product to get put on your email list.
Even if they leave your website without buying anything, you can STILL get them on your list.
You’ve probably seen this strategy in action if you’ve ever visited a website that showed you a sales video: when you attempt to leave the sales page, a box “pops up” and offers you a free gift of some sort.
If you click the button to view the free gift, you are taken to an opt-in form.
This is a form that invites you to receive a free gift (usually a “special report” ebook, or maybe a video) – but you must enter your email address in order to get it.
Once you enter your email address and click the “submit” button, you are put on an
An autoresponder is an email service that delivers a preset sequence of emails.
If you’re in my autoresponder, you’re going to get at least one email per day for the next 100
days or so. My autoresponder is set so that if you signed up at 6:57pm, you’re going to receive an email from me every day at exactly 6:57pm. (Because this is a time of day when you are most likely online and able to look at your emails.)
These emails I send you contain a mix of tips and sales pitches. I’m going to teach you more
about the topic you’re interested in, and I’m also going to tell you about related products you
might want to buy.
(Note, there is always a link in each email that allows you to unsubscribe with one click. It’s
not my intention to “spam” anyone with crap they don’t want.)
Someone who visits my website, and leaves without making a purchase, might wind up spending
hundreds of dollars with me over the following weeks or months, as long as I get them on my email list and their email address is added to my autoresponder.
In addition to the daily emails that get sent to my subscribers on autopilot, I can also send
out a mailing at any time.
This means I can set up an email, and send it out to everyone on my list instantly. (Or, I can
schedule the mailing for a certain date and time of day.)
I do this to notify my subscribers about a new product of mine, or a product I am promoting as
As your business grows, you’ll want to keep building new lists, and setting up autoresponders
for them. I have more than 50 at this point. For each of my products, I have a “prospects list”
and a “customers list.”
Why? Because a customer has already bought your product. So you don’t want to keep pitching it
the same thing to them.
A prospect, on the other hand, hasn’t bought your product yet. So the first few emails in your
“prospects” sequence can be sales pitches designed to get them to buy it. Then you’ll move on
to pitching them other things.
Your customer list is far more valuable than your prospects list, because your customer list consists of people who have shown they are willing and able to pay for a digital
product. It’s going to be much easier to sell them additional stuff down the line.
Here are the next two ways that vendors make their money on the back end:
#2. Upsells and rebills.
Upsells are additional offers that you show your customer after they buy your front end
product. The customer completes their checkout, and BEFORE they are taken to the download area
to get their product, they are shown one or two additional offers which they can “add to their
order” if they wish to do so.
As for what your upsells should consist of, it can can be an “advanced or accelerated version”
of your main product, or it can complement your main product somehow.
For example, if my front end product is about “how to become awesome with women,” my first
upsell could be an ebook called “99 Great Conversation Starters.”
My second upsell could be about “once you’re using these skills to meet lots of girls,
here’s how to turn the one you want into your loving, loyal girlfriend.”
Note: A well-crafted upsell won’t make your front end product sound incomplete. Your customer
should not get the sense that they NEED to buy the upsell in order to get the benefits they’re
(This comes off as scammy, and will annoy customers. Instead, make your upsells sound entirely optional, BUT make them extremely compelling.
Front end product: weight loss program
Upsell #1: 77 delicious low-calorie recipes
Upsell #2: ‘Anti-aging secrets’ ebook
My front end product might cost $47, with much of that money paid out to affiliates. But my Upsell #1 might cost $67, and Upsell #2 costs $197, and I keep 50% (or more) of this money.
So you see, once I get them in the door with that initial front end sale, I’m cleaning up on the back end. You just need to make sure your Upsells are solid. I aim for a 50% “take rate,” meaning that 50% of my customers choose to purchase at least one of my upsells. If you can hit this number, your upsell flow is in very good shape.
Then there are rebills. You can set up a monthly “membership program” and invite your customers to join it for a monthly fee. (I have membership programs that range in cost from $19 to $67 per month.)
Clickbank handles all of the billing. I just sit back and collect money every month. I can choose to pay affiliates a percentage of this rebill money, if they sent me the customer. Or, I can keep all of this money for myself. Clickbank allows you to set the commission percentages for your front end, upsells, and rebils—from zero percent, to 90%.
A third way to generate back-end money is by featuring other products on your Download Page. Underneath the links that allow my customers to download their products, I might place a few banners that advertise other products on the same topic. I place my hoplink in these banners.
Besides your sales page, your Download Page is your website’s most valuable piece of “real estate.” Every person who arrives at your Download Page is a paying customer, and right now their “buying temperature” is HOT!
They’re in the mood to buy stuff. This is your opportunity to show them other offers they might be interested in—and there’s a good chance they’ll scoop those up, too.
So let’s say an affiliate sends someone over to my site. They buy my front end product for $47, and after paying the fees and the affiliate commission, I wind up with around $5.
But then the customer buys both of the upsells ($67, $97) and chooses to join my monthly membership program ($67 per month). And I’m keeping all of this back end money.
That one customer winds up spending $499 by the time we part ways.
Now imagine that your site is selling 200 front end products per day, and steering 200 people into your back end.
(That’s not even a huge number. I know sites on Clickbank that sell THOUSANDS per day.)
We’re talking serious cash here!
So remember, the key to Clickbank riches lies in your back end. After the Clickbank fees and affiliate commission, I might only make around $5-$12 on a front end sale. But if that customer buys an upsell or two, and joins my membership program, I can easily make hundreds of dollars on that customer. All because some unknown affiliate on the other side of the world sent me a lead, without me having to do anything.