How To Sell Digital Products On ClickBank
For those of you who may be new to ClickBank, it is a marketplace for digital products, selling for the most part e-books, videos and software programs. These products are instantly available upon completion of payment.
There are currently 9 top-level categories, and these are broken down into 104 sub-categories.
There are 24,694 product listings, with 5,841 unique products, across all the categories and they cover every subject under the sun, from gambling to how to improve your sex-life. (Some products are listed in as many as 5 sub-categories.)
The reason this should be of interest to product owners is, that there is an army of affiliates, estimated to be in excess of 100,000, who regularly promote the products listed on ClickBank, to earn affiliate commissions.
ClickBank (CB), handle all financial transactions, (customer payments, refunds, and affiliate commission payments), in return for a fee deducted from the sales price of the product, after which affiliates get their commission, and the owner gets the balance.
As this is not a report on ClickBank, the short overview of ClickBank above, will suffice for our needs for the present.
At first glance, becoming a best selling author on every category of ClickBank might seem like a massive undertaking. It will certainly pose some challenges for you. It is, however, a completely feasible project. You will need to treat it as such, and be completely business-like in your approach.
In other words; you’ll need a plan.
A wishy-washy approach without a concrete plan of attack will see you floundering before you finish your first product. So where do I start?
The place to start is with your mental attitude.
You have to approach this with a ‘can do, will do‘ attitude.
If you don’t get that right, you may as well not bother starting.
Certainly, this is a large project, but, if you break it down into manageable steps, and do each step one after the other, you will get it done.
To help make things easier, I would suggest that you keep a diary (or a log of your progress) during the first stage of the product creation process. Then, when it comes to the second and subsequent stages of the project, you will have something to refer back to. It will remind you of any pitfalls that you may have encountered - together with any shortcuts you might discover. In other words, it will shape and define your processes for later in the project.
If you wish, you could even create a ‘blog’, to which you post daily about your progress, any difficulties you stumbled upon, and, more importantly, how you overcame them. This is something that will require discipline to achieve, but the benefits of following this discipline for the first stage of this project, will pay-off big time in subsequent product creation cycles.
Your Plan of Campaign
You are setting out on a campaign to create at least five, and possibly as many as nine, best selling books, across the various categories of the CB Marketplace. I would suggest you stick to books at this stage, as software production has its own set of pitfalls and product support issues which, would tend to distract you from your overall objective if you were to become embroiled with them.
If you create a ‘Brand’ for all your products at the beginning of the process (i.e. right now), your job of promoting these products will become much easier as you progress through the various product creation cycles.
You should set yourself apart from all the other ‘me-too’ type products out there, by creating high quality products, which over-deliver in all aspects of the information provided.
You will find, that the effort required to promote your products will become proportionately less, the better known your ‘Brand’ becomes.
You will also find that you start to attract high level affiliates and possibly, some of the superstars of the CB Marketplace to help promote your products.
So, that is where I would start, by creating a ‘Brand’ and a ‘mission statement’ along the lines of ‘To provide the very best quality information products which over-deliver at every stage’.
Once your customers experience your ‘Brand’, once they begin to associate your Brand with quality, and over-delivery, and complete customer satisfaction’, your sales process will become a whole lot simpler.
Obviously, you need to come up with your own mission statement, but I would suggest that you concentrate on providing value to your customers, above and beyond their highest expectations.
If you succeed in that vital objective, you will make your subsequent progress very much easier to attain.
Also, if you examine any successful marketer, you will find that by ‘Branding’ themselves and concentrating on their customers wants and needs over all else, their Brand becomes associated with quality and customer satisfaction.
Some examples would be:
- John Delavera and his ‘Turbo’ range of products.
- Mike Filsaime will forever be associated with ‘Butterfly Marketing’.
- Dennis Becker will always be ‘The Five Buck Guy’.
There are many more that I could list, but I think you get the idea.
If you define what your objective is, and the principles that you will adhere to in pursuit of your goal, you will be ahead of 95% of the others out there.
If, in addition to the above, you focus, with laser-like precision, on taking positive action towards your goal every day, you will elevate yourself into the top 2% of online marketers who are successful on a consistent basis.
This section has covered briefly, some of the ‘Why’ elements of your overall strategy in taking on this project.
It’s now time to move on to the ‘How’ we set about achieving our first objective.
Your First Steps
If you wish to become a best-selling author for every category of ClickBank, you have to start with one category and write a best selling book on one of the subjects covered by that category.
“But which one?” I can hear you ask.
Well, a good place to start would preferably be, one about which you have some knowledge, and in which you have some interest.
To begin with just get a blank sheet of paper and make a list of your interests, hobbies, and subjects about which you feel passionate. I.E. things you can talk about off the top of your head, and about which you can hold a reasonable conversation with someone else who shares your passion.
Once you have your list of subjects, one of them should present itself to you clearly, as the most obvious choice.
If you start from this position, you will find that creating your first product will be very much easier than creating a product about which you have no interest or enthusiasm.
Obviously, if your subject is one about which someone has already created a best selling e-book, then the process is going to be even more assured of success.
As an aside, and as I will re-iterate in the next section, the process of becoming a best selling author, is not a ‘do this’ and then ‘do that’ progression. The actions you take all have to be focussed towards your main objective, but it is not a ‘this follows that’ process.
Your promotional activities need to begin almost at the same time as you have decided what your subject is going to be and which particular product you are going to be targeting.
The best way that I have found is to use some form of organisational tool to help visualise the process. The need for this will become more apparent should you decide to outsource some of the tasks that, for the time being, you will probably be carrying out yourself.
Even at this stage, you would be well advised to bring some organisation to your task lists to ensure that you don’t get sidetracked, or lose sight of your objective.
You will find a useful free tool that will help at http://smartsheet.com/. As your task list grows during subsequent product creation cycles, you may need to consider upgrading from the free version to a paid version to make use of the greater scope which comes with various levels of upgrade.
Back to the product selection process.
So how do you find out whether your subject is already selling well?
Simple. You go to the CB Marketplace and type your subject into the ‘keyword’ search box and hit ‘Go’.
If your subject has already got an e-book, or preferably more than one, selling on CB that’s great and you will see these products listed in order of importance. But how do you know if it’s a best seller?
Under the listing for each product, you will see a series of letters and numbers. The two numbers we are interested in are: -
%refd: 86.0% and grav: 146.69
The first refers to the percentage of sales that are referred by affiliates.
The higher this number is, the greater the numbers of sales that are being generated by affiliates.
The second number is a bit more difficult to define, but it gives an indication as to how CB regards the importance of that product within its category. The higher the number, the more sales that product is attracting, and so, the greater the degree of importance CB confers on that product.
The two numbers above, refer to the number one listed product under the keyword ‘dogs’ (correct at time of writing).
If you do a search for dogs at https://accounts.clickbank.com/marketplace.htm (see the screenshot above) you will see the top 10 products using that as their main keyword.
As you can see for the number one product, both of these numbers are high, in comparison to the numbers of the other products listed in the results.
The second and third products also have acceptable numbers in their listings.
Something else you will notice is that the number one products for both ‘dogs’ and ‘cats’, are ‘Branded’ as ‘The Kingdom of Pets’.
Someone else has already got number one, selling products across two distinct categories on CB, and they’ve ‘branded’ themselves.
If they can, so can you!
As a general ‘rule of thumb’, if a product has a gravity in excess of 30, then you can be reasonably certain that there is a market for that product.
So how do you create your ‘own’ product?
Go and buy the number one product in the category. Read it, absorb it.
If you know something about your chosen subject, you will be able to analyse the product and identify any shortcomings, errors, and oversights.
Every product can be improved upon, and that is your goal.
You will then be able to put across (in your own words), the information in the number one product, and improve upon it. Let me stress, ‘in your own words’, because I am not advocating that you simply copy someone else’s work.
A word here about copyright issues.
Under no circumstances is it permissible, or legal, to simply copy the work of another person, unless it is out of copyright. Regardless of where you may be in the world, copyright laws exist to protect the intellectual property of the person who created that product.
Those who simply copy the work of others are no better than thieves and deserve every legal sanction available to be used vigorously against them.
End of Rant
Please note that the foregoing does not constitute legal advice and simply reflects the author’s views on the subject.
That covers the bare bones of producing your first product if your subject is already selling well through CB.
What if there is no comparable product being sold?
However passionate you may be about your first choice of subject, the chances are that someone, at sometime, has produced a product on that subject. The fact that it is no longer being sold, or, if there is a product, but, it has a very low gravity score, that should alert you to one very pertinent fact. There is no market for that particular product at this time.
You need to find a subject that you have some interest in, and for which a product is already selling well in the CB Marketplace, as indicated by its grav: number (the higher the better).
Don’t make the beginner’s mistake of creating a product without first determining that there is a market for it.
‘Just build it and they will come’, is not a philosophy upon which many fortunes have ever been built in the real world.
You therefore need to be flexible about which product to create first.
It may not be your number one choice, but it must have a market, and one that is buying the product.
I have put forward the scenario, which in my opinion will give you the best possible shot at creating a hot selling product straight from the gate.
There is an alternative, and once again it involves finding a best selling product on the CB Marketplace. This method will again involve finding out what information is being sold and improving upon it.
Buy the product, and read and absorb the information being sold.
Then you will have to research your subject extensively, by using all available avenues of research.
Wikipedia is a great jumping-off point for all manner of research, because it references a large number of alternative sources of valuable information on any given subject. Follow those references and make notes of all the data pertinent to your subject. (If you use Firefox as your browser of choice, then an add-on called ‘Scribefire’ can save massive amounts of time in this process.)
For almost any given subject, forums exist and can be found quite easily by using Google, or alternatively go to: http://www.big-boards.com, and use their directory to find forums on your chosen subject.
If you have questions, then active forums will provide one of the quickest ways of gaining an insight into your chosen subject, from people who are passionate enough to devote time and energy to answer questions on the subject, and make useful posts for the benefit of others with no expectation of reward.
If you have some knowledge on the subject, and can contribute useful replies to questions, then, this is one of the quickest ways to increase your profile and status in your target market. This is important when it comes to promoting your finished product in the marketplace, as you will see in the next section.
When researching your subject, don’t forget to visit http://amazon.com and find out what books and other merchandise are selling in hard copy.
Most listings give at least some indication of the chapter headings, and frequently a passage or two from one or two chapters. This might just help when it comes to improving on the product you’re going to compete against on CB.
Another good place to research any product is the magazine rack in your local newsagent or bookstore. Buy one or two magazines on your subject matter and read them from cover to cover. It should give you ideas for adding in additional information to your product. This will help in your goal of improving upon the existing product and exceeding your customers’ expectations, by over delivering.
A trick to remember when writing your book.
It always helps me to imagine that I’m having a conversation with one of my friends. I try to write in the same way that I would hold that conversation. It doesn’t matter if it is occasionally grammatically incorrect. You’re not writing for your English teacher, but your customers. One thing you should try and make certain of and that is your spelling.
Nothing smacks more of amateurism, than an e-book that’s full of spelling mistakes. Most text editors today have a ‘Spell Checker’ and it literally takes five minutes to go through your finished product and correct any glaring errors that you may have missed when typing. And there will be some!
Once you have your product in the rough as it were, it is time to start editing. Give a hard copy to a friend to read and ask them for feedback. Make sure you take heed of that feedback and incorporate any changes required. If you want to go one step further, you might consider having your work professionally edited. It will cost you some money, but professional editing can make you sound a whole lot more professional than your raw copy.
To take things one step further, consider having your e-book recorded to an MP3 that comes as a hidden extra bonus, when your customers receive your product. Remember, your trying to impress your Brand in your customers’ mind as one that over delivers, consistently.
I could go to further great lengths about the ins and outs of product creation, but, for the purposes of this report we will draw this section to a close with one final reminder.
If you aim to always over deliver in the quality and quantity of information that you include with your product, and your unannounced bonuses, you will never have to feel guilty about asking someone to pull out their credit card, and part with their hard earned cash. You are delivering quality and value, and that is something you should always try to include in every product you bring to the market.
One thing that needs to be made abundantly clear is that the process of becoming a best selling author on CB, or any where else for that matter, is not a ‘do this ’ and then ‘do that ’, step by step progression. It is a series of coordinated actions which, when orchestrated properly, result in a product launch that people have been waiting for, credit card in hand.
In fact, one could argue that the process of product creation is probably the last step in the process, as opposed to the common misconception that you create the product and then promote the hell out of it.
The promotion stage should begin at the point in time when you first identify which product you are going to target your campaign against.
At that stage, you should begin to create a number of assets which, when you launch your product will work together to bring you a flood of traffic to your sales page, all eager and enthusiastic to buy what you have to offer.
So how do you orchestrate this asset creation?
The very first thing I would do would be to start blogging on the subject.
This needs to be done consistently and your posts need to be relevant and informative.
One way to do this is to keep abreast of the current ‘conversations’ around your chosen subject, by visiting the relevant forums for your subject and watching and joining in the topics, provided you have something to add to the topic. A reference to your blog either in your sig. file or in the body of your post (if allowed), is one way to begin to generate traffic to your blog.
Be sure to invite comments on your posts and make sure you respond to them with constructive replies.
The blogging aspect of your promotional activities is important for a number of different reasons.
The number one reason is probably the Search Engines and organic traffic.
Blogs, although they have probably been misused more than any other means of traffic generation, are still important to the search engines.
If you post consistently and people leave relevant comments on your posts, (so it is best if you moderate), then the search engines will begin to spider your blog on a regular basis.
To aid your blogging efforts, if you also include article marketing into your promotional activities, you will begin to see a steady increase in the amount of traffic coming to your site.
At an early stage, it would be a good idea to include a couple of opportunities for people to sign up for your newsletter, or to be kept updated as you make new posts to your blog, or if you put a new article out.
All of the foregoing should be ‘Branded’, with the same colours and a logo that you will use for your overall campaign.
Remember, we are talking about a campaign to become a best selling author on every category of ClickBank. Even before your first product is created, it does no harm to make people aware of your Brand, and the principles that your Brand stands for.
This is just the start of that process. This is where the real spadework gets done, because this is where you develop the momentum that will, eventually be like a tap/faucet that you can’t turn off, unless you erase your site from your server.
So knuckle down and let’s continue.
By now, if you have followed the plot so far, you should be seeing an increase in traffic to your blog, and you should be seeing sign-ups to your list. Both of which increase your Brand exposure.
It also increases your status in the eyes of the people who read your blog posts, who read your forum posts, and who read your articles.
You should also be developing a relationship with your list, via your email communications, and your blog posts, and the comments and interaction that result.
At this stage you haven’t released your product to the market, but it might not be a bad idea to start dropping hints about your upcoming product launch.
You could even go so far as to ask your list what they feel their most pressing problems or questions are, in relation to your subject matter and hint that your product, when launched might have some of the answers they are looking for.
You know the sort of thing I’m talking about. You may even have seen it in action, in one form or another.
‘What is the one question you would most like the answer to in relation to such and such a topic?’
You could even reward them with a ‘sneak preview’ of one of the chapters of your new book.
And let them know when you anticipate your new product will be released, and that they will be first in line to get your new product at an advantageous price in return for…
You guessed it! - Social proof! - Testimonials which you will use on your sales page to reinforce your sales message when you take your product ‘public’.
To further widen the scope of your presence on the web, the social networking and social bookmarking aspects of Web 2.0, need to be harnessed to your cause.
To go into every aspect of Web2.0 interactivity is beyond the scope of this report, but a Squidoo Lens is one thing you should seriously consider setting up at an early stage in your promotional activities.
Facebook, Twitter, Technorati, Stumbleupon and Digg are all assets over which you can have some degree of control in adding to the ‘buzz’ surrounding your blog. The various widgets, to enable all of the various bookmarking functions, should be made available on your blog, to allow all the social bookmarking sites to be updated with your various visitors’ views.
All of this activity surrounding your blog will have a number of beneficial effects, not the least of which is an increase in the traffic you will receive.
Your Brand will continue to be exposed, and provided you have remembered the principles of quality, and over delivering in everything you are doing, it should be being associated with just those two ideas.
Additionally, you will be ‘seen’ everywhere your target market happens to go on the web. This will continue to increase your status in your subject area.
I hope that you are beginning now to get an idea about why you are doing all this promotional activity prior to launching your product.
You are developing a relationship with, and a status within, your target market, which will, when you launch your product, ensure that it goes according to plan.
The reason why this is important has not yet been revealed.
As you will be launching your product via the ClickBank Marketplace, you haven’t had to go and find affiliates to promote your product. Yet!
When you set-up your product for sale via CB, you have to make a decision as to what percentage commission you will give to your affiliates.
This percentage should be set at, or above, the rate of commission that the product owner has set for the product which you are going to challenge for top spot in that category.
If you have done your promotional work effectively, and your initial customers are coming from your own promotional efforts, then you keep 100% of the profit from those sales.
Your product, when launched will appear on the CB Marketplace as a product that is already selling. This will act as a signal to all those affiliates who monitor what’s new and already selling on the Marketplace.
If in addition to that, you are rewarding them with higher commissions than your rival product, have a guess which product they are more likely to be promoting next. Wouldn’t be yours by any chance?
So far I have made no mention of your sales page.
Even the worst sales page in the world will make some sales, if sufficient traffic is driven to it.
However, you owe it to yourself, and more so to your affiliates, to ensure that your sales page is the best it can be - before you let your affiliates start spending their money, promoting your product.
You need to bear in mind that, even if your product is the best in the category you’re targeting, if your sales page doesn’t convert well, your affiliates will drop your product when they see the poor return on their PPC investment.
Do yourself a favour; get the best sales page you can afford. Your investment will reap rewards because even an inexpensive professional sales letter, will outperform one produced by someone with no experience.
If you do choose to ignore this advice and produce your own sales letter, get it critiqued on the Warrior Forum or somewhere similar, where professional copywriters do hang-out and do give their advice (free occasionally).
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring that advice because it will end-up costing you money. In other words, don’t let your ego get in the way of your wallet. You have asked for the advice and should be mature enough to accept it, warts and all, as being given with the best of intentions, and not with the intention of hurting your feelings.
Before I move on to the next steps to be taken in your overall objective of being a best selling author on all categories of CB, a word about your relationship with your affiliates.
One of the drawbacks of using the CB Marketplace is that you never get to know who your affiliates are. In other words, you are unable to contact them directly. A major stumbling block you might think? Well, if you’re a bit crafty and put a discreet link with ‘Affiliates’ as your link text at the very bottom of your sales page, preferably in the footer section, some of the more astute affiliates will find your link and follow it.
If you offer them the opportunity to get branded promotional materials, in return for their email address, you will find some who will sign-up.
You will then have the opportunity to utilise those affiliates in the follow-on promotional campaigns for your next, and subsequent product launches.
Why will only astute affiliates find your link? Because they know that a Sales Page with any option other than signing-up for the product or hitting the back button, is a ‘leaky’ Sales Page and will not convert as well as one with only the two options.
The construction of your sales page is one which could fill a whole book in it’s own right, and indeed they do exist, but this report needs to move on to the steps you need to take next, in pursuit of your overall objective.
Beyond Your First Product Launch
By this stage you should have a pretty good feel for what you did right, and those things that left a little to be desired in the results department.
You will also have the experience of having engineered your first product launch, and if you followed the recommended course of keeping a diary, or a log, or indeed having blogged your progress, you will have a step by step plan which you can adjust, or follow according to how successful you were with each aspect of the plan.
You can then utilise that, to lay out the task list for your next product launch. If you had even a small degree of success with your first campaign, you should now have some resources to re-invest in your next product. Perhaps sufficient to outsource some of the tasks that you found irksome during the run-up to your first launch.
The one thing you should have developed from all your activity, is a momentum which, while possibly not yet self-sustaining will be a lot easier to maintain, and even increase during your next, and all subsequent product creation cycles.
You will have attracted at least some affiliates who will watch out for your next launch, and this leverage can be used to your benefit in the promotional stages of that launch.
You will have a customer list, and what better way to promote your next product than to your existing customers.
You have your prospects list, for whom, your initial product may have come at the wrong time, and for whom, your next product might be a better fit.
Beyond all of the above, provided you followed the given advice, your Brand will have its first product, about which your market should be ‘buzzing’ if, you provided the quality and value, together with over delivery, that was recommended.
You may decide on one of your subsequent creation cycles, that the use of video as a promotional tool would significantly increase the reach and scope of your promotional efforts.
That being the case, you will have significantly greater experience than you did with your first efforts, and you will have a better feel for where it may work to best advantage.
Video and audio were deliberately missed off the first promotional campaign, because the intention was to keep it as simple as possible for your first effort, whilst containing sufficient elements to ensure a reasonable degree of success.
Trying to keep too many plates spinning at the same time just results in broken crockery - unless you have the experience to do it.
You may even, at some stage, decide that a product wholly delivered by video, may be a more viable option than, producing just an e-book, or an audio book and an e-book. People certainly love to watch videos, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend that course of action as a first, or even second product creation option unless you have experience in this field.
You now have before you a clear plan of action that can take you from where you are today, to being a best selling author across multiple categories on the ClickBank marketplace.
You only have to embrace the idea and make it your own. I can’t make it happen for you, only you can do that.
Just remember, that with every product you create, provide greater value than you promise, and you have a recipe for success over the long term.
As you progress through the subsequent creation cycles, you will develop systems to achieve the completion of various tasks. They will be unique to you and your way of doing things. If they are documented and they work, then you are creating additional assets in your business. All of which will go to increase the overall value of your business and your Brand.
You will be building an asset base that can provide you with an ongoing income or a multi million dollar payday should you ever decide to sell the business.
Wishing you every success.