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.
Clickbank.com, an online retailer for digital products, has been around since 1998 and has sold digital products to more than 200 million customers around the world.
I’ve been selling products on Clickbank since 2008, and for the past five years I’ve been one of their “Platinum” members – meaning that I’m one of their top earners.
I earn my money both as a vendor and as an affiliate. I’ll explain these terms in a moment.
Before we continue, let me clarify what I mean by “digital product.” It simply means a product that is delivered to the customer digitally.
This could be an ebook, a video, an audio book, or a course that includes all of those elements. Customers can read, watch or listen to a digital product on their computer, smart phone or tablet.
Digital products on Clickbank routinely sell for $30 and up. Mine are typically in the $37 – $67 range. One of the beautiful things about digital products is that you can charge much more than you would for an ink-and-paper book.
It would seem outrageous for Barnes & Nobles to charge $47 for a paperback book. But customers pay $47 for digital products all the time. It’s all in how you PACKAGE your product, and present it on your sales page.
If your product consists of an ebook + a series of instructional videos + a couple more short “reports” on the topic (and maybe an audio version of the book), now you’ve got much more than a “book”—you’re selling a “course,” a “program,” or a “system.”
Therefore, you can get away with charging more for it. And yet, this product costs you nothing to reproduce. It’s just a few digital files.
Once the customer pays, they get instant access. This makes it extremely convenient for the customer, and it’s highly profitable for vendors like myself because there is no need to print up books, store them, or ship them.
There is no physical “store” to run, either. Customers can visit your website 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and purchase your digital products while you’re asleep, or on vacation.
When I started out in this biz, there was a stigma attached to “shopping online.” Consumers worried about entering their credit card details into a website.
The idea of purchasing a “digital product” – namely, an ebook – seemed even more strange. Kindle and iPads did not exist yet. Read a book on your computer screen? It didn’t sound appealing.
But this has radically changed. Buying digital products online (including digital products, such as books and music) is now perfectly normal.
Just think of the millions of Kindle book sales being made, and the tens of millions of songs, TV shows and movies that people pay to download from Itunes.
When you have a digital product on Clickbank, the sales process works like this:
• Someone arrives at your website. They see the sales page that you have created to showcase your product. These days, many sales pages feature a VSL (Video Sales Letter) that uses persuasive copywriting to convince them to buy your product.
• The customer clicks a button on your page to buy the product. This button (which typically says something like “Add To Cart” contains a hoplink, which is coded with your unique Clickbank ID.
• The customer is taken to the Clickbank order form, where they fill out their information (including their email address and credit card details).
• Once their payment goes through, the customer is taken to a Download Page on your website, where they can view or download their product instantly.
• Your Clickbank account is credited with the sale. You will see the money show up in your account immediately. Clickbank takes 7.5% of each sale plus $1.
So if your digital product costs $50, Clickbank would keep $4.75. ($3.75 + $1.) I see this as very reasonable when you consider everything Clickbank is handling and providing.
Click here for my free “Day Job Destroyer” Video Training Course, and I’ll go deeper into how to generate money on Clickbank – not only by having your own product, but by promoting OTHER people’s products.
Recently, an internet marketer contacted me and asked if I would I send some “test
traffic” to a men’s dating offer he was putting out on Clickbank. It was his first attempt to create an offer and VSL in this niche.
I agreed to send some traffic, and give the dude some feedback on how he might improve his conversions (since I’m a veteran in this particular niche).
When I was done sending the traffic and seeing the sales come in, one statistic stood out. It’s an important metric you should pay closer attention to when you review Clickbank stats on one of your own offers, to determine how well your sales letter/VSL is working compared to the competition.
This metric is Hops Per Order Form Impression vs. Order Form Sale Conversion.
(This screenshot is just a random example from one of my accounts, to show you the stats I’m referring to.)
Now, I had promoted ANOTHER men’s dating offer the previous week, called “Sexual Sparks.” This gave me a good frame of reference when looking at the stats that had just come in for the new guy.
Both offers – “Sexual Sparks” and the other one, which I’ll call “Offer B” – had VSLs with a delayed “add to cart” button. (This is standard with VSLs. The “add to cart” button does not appear at first; it appears below the VSL at a predetermined time point.)
With “Sexual Sparks,” for every 7 clicks I sent to the VSL, one person clicked through to the order form. (Hops Per Order Form Impression: 7)
With Offer B, for every 5 clicks I sent to his VSL, one person clicked through to the order form. (Hops Per Order Form Impression: 5)
That might sound like a good stat for Offer B. 1 out of 5 people watched the VSL for a good long while, and clicked the “add to cart’ button when it appeared, and reached the order form.
But “Sexual Sparks” solidly out-converted Offer B, because of the much more important stat,
which is Order Form Sale Conversion.
Sexual Sparks had an Order Form Sale Conversion rate of 14.29%.
Offer B had an Order Form Sale Conversion rate of 3.88%.
This means for Offer B, among the people who watched the VSL and waited until the “add to cart” button appeared, and clicked on it, less than 4% of them actually filled out the order form and completed their purchase.
Why would SO FEW people buy the product, after spending 15, 20 or 25 minutes watching the VSL?
Well, the Clickbank order form itself might have something to do with it…
Clickbank doesn’t allow you to do a lot of order form customization, but I’ve found that it does help to include some nice graphics (especially in the header image), and in those graphics you can show off your product some more, and re-state how it’s “instant access” and how you have a 60-Day Money Back Guarantee…
So that’s one way to get those shitty order form conversion numbers up…
But I believe the TIMING of your “add to cart” button drop is what really matters with this stat. And this is critical to the success of your VSL.
Drop your button too early, and sure, you’ll get more people who click on it and reach the order form…
But those people are often “tire-kickers” who are clicking your button out of curiosity, to see what happens next, or to see how much it costs.
The VSL has not sufficiently convinced them to BUY – so they see the price, and realize they need to actually pay $37 or $47 for this thing, and they bail out.
Now here’s where the Lesson Of The Day comes in…
I sent these stats and observations to the “Offer B” guys, and asked them how they had determined the timing of their button drop.
Had they split-tested different timings? No, they told me. They’d simply followed the advice given in a high-priced VSL course from a well-known internet marketing guru.
The advice this guru gives is to ALWAYS drop your button at a certain point in the VSL.
(I don’t what his “certain point” is, but it’s probably the product reveal, or the price reveal.)
In my experience, this is flat-out lousy advice.
Are you telling me a VSL targeting people with a debilitating or embarrassing health issue…who need a solution NOW…should be timed and constructed the same way as a VSL for dudes who want to know how to pick up women? Or learn how to train their dog?
Totally different sets of emotions, wants, and needs…
And this isn’t taking into account the MASSIVE difference between hot/warm traffic and cold traffic, and how the “right” timing for a button drop can vary dramatically, depending on your traffic source.
So in my opinion, NO, you cannot say “drop your button at exactly 15 minutes.” Nor can you say, “always drop your button when you state the price.”
This is a critical element of your VSL and sales funnel that must be TESTED.
So here’s a suggestion for Clickbank product owners like myself:
#1 Look at how your Order Form for your offer is converting for your affiliates. It’s right there in your Clickbank analytics.
#2 Compare how your Order Form is converting for the BEST offers you promote as an affiliate.
If your offer’s Order Form Sale Conversion percentage is a lot lower than the best offers that you are promoting, it could mean:
1 – Your copy is not powerful enough. It may be creating enough curiosity to get them to watch your VSL long enough to click the button when it appears, but they aren’t feeling a white-hot desire to BUY the damn thing once they reach the order form.
(They’re click on your button, glancing at your order and price, and then bailing out. Back to checking Facebook or watching some dumb-ass YouTube video…)
2 – Your button is dropping too early. Time after time, with all of the VSLs my team and I are putting out, I’m surprised by how the longer delays always seem to win during testing.
(I think our record for a button delay is close to 40 minutes, and it destroyed all other variations.)
We have several new VSLs + offers rolling out shortly, and I expect them all to have button drops beyond the 30 minute mark, once our testing is done.
3 – No guru or high-priced course can tell you exactly what will work best for YOUR offer. Their tips can be very helpful, but at the end of the day, testing is the only way to know what works best for YOUR offer, to YOUR crowd.
Testing your copy is first and foremost, but testing that order button drop can be huge. And use all of the stats at your disposal to figure out how to improve your numbers.
Buried in your Clickbank analytics are the KEYS to making your offers convert better, so that you can put your income on steroids.