Clickbank is perhaps the most common platform through which affiliate marketers to set up their online empires. It offers millions of affiliate links and attracts a tonne of reputable companies, perhaps holding the top spot in the world of affiliate program databases, but how what is it and how can it be used effectively?
In this guide we will cover:
- What affiliate marketing is
- What Clickbank is and how it relates to affiliate marketing
- How to choose an effective niche
- How to set up a website for your affiliate marketing
- How to choose and purchase a domain name
- How to use WordPress to design an effective site
- How to post content related to your products to maximise success
- The ‘funnel method’ of affiliate marketing
- A number of excellent resources to help you along your journey
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is.
Many thousands of companies offer what is known as an ‘affiliate program’. Individuals/businesses that sign up to be a part of this program will be sent links (as in website links – clickable URLs or images) that direct people to a specific product purchase page. These links can then be placed on a website/other online medium to be viewed by the rest of the internet.
So why is this any use in online entrepreneurship?
Every single time a person clicks your link and makes a purchase on the advertised product, you’ll e paid a percentage directly by the respective company. Set up enough affiliate links on a high-traffic website and you’ll have yourself an entirely passive method of making money online.
What is clickbank?
Clickbank is a website that offers over 30,000 different products to affiliate marketers. As a Clickbank member, you’ll be able to choose the most relevant products and drop links to those products on your website.
Products available on Clickbank average at around $40 each and offer about 50% in commission rates (working out at $20 per product purchased). Products that sell better may offer commissions as high as 70/75%.
How to use Clickbank Effectively
Before you begin with Clickbank you’re obviously going to need somewhere to actually put these links. This could be a website, a YouTube channel, blog or even a social media page. If you already have one of these then you can skip on ahead to the next step. If not, stick around for a step-by-step tutorial on setting up your affiliate marketing website.
Setting up your Website
Setting up a website can at first seem like an incredibly daunting task, however thanks to the advancements of web-designing platforms site creation has never been easier or cheaper.
Step 1: choosing a niche
Before you even consider designing a site you’ll need a domain name, and before you can choose a domain name you’ll need to have chosen a niche.
A niche, simply put, is a specific area of the market that a business focuses its efforts upon. Vintage 60s clothes sites, for example, explore the niche of vintage clothing. While companies like PC World or Maplin explore the niches of technology and computers.
Choosing your niche can often be the most difficult part of creating a site. The success of your site depends largely on the popularity of the niche that it rests on. If you chose a niche such as Renaissance-style wigs that didn’t attract any visitors then your site wouldn’t be successful as it simply wouldn’t have anybody visiting.
So how do you choose a niche that is successful?
You can’t build a site out of thin air and so you’re going to need to devote some time to generating ideas to begin with.
I’d advise opening up a Google Doc first (or whatever word processing system you’re most familiar with) and brainstorming all the ideas you’ve had or end up having. Think about your interests, what’s currently trending – anything that comes to mind will be useful in generating ideas for your site.
Below are a few pointers to keep in mind when deciding on your niche:
- Don’t base your decision solely on your own interests. When setting up a site you will be required to post regular content to it revolving around your niche and so keeping your interests in mind is important to prevent you from getting bored. Don’t, however, consider just your interests. Bear in mind that this site will be accessed by a number of people who have very different interests to you.
- Building onto this point, rather than using your interests alone instead consider a number of other points. Say one of your ideas is to sell oak reclaimed furniture. Before proceeding any further, paint a detailed picture of the sorts of people that may be interested in your site. Perhaps these are newly-wed couples interested in unique homewear. If so, consider their interests, their passions and even their problems. More on problems in my next point.
- Problems. Spend a good amount of time building a list of the sorts of problems your readers may encounter. Maybe oaken furniture is renowned for cracking after a few years. Provide a solution to this problem on your site – give a link to a wood-curing balm or something that your readers could really use alongside the product you’re marketing for.
- Build two lists of products – high-end and low-end. You should try to work in a 90:10 ratio with 90% of your products being higher end products that exceed £100 in price, and the other 10% being low-end products that bring in less commission. Why? Because these lower end products will boost your income inflation, giving you a better reputation as a marketer and thus increasing the overall commission values you’ll be paid. These also act as a booster for your weekly income
Keyword research is absolutely the driving force behind the success of any site. Without it, businesses would be taking stabs in the dark and simply guessing what people are interested in.
Have you ever wondered why sites such as Google and Bing are completely free?
Well, technically, they’re not. You are in fact exchanging something in return – your information.
Google keeps track of what its visitors are searching for online every month and sells this information to companies (although the bits we’ll be using are all free). Through their system called ‘Google AdWords’, Google offers a free keyword research tool that allows you to gain an insight into how often different words are being searched for each month.
To get started, simply open up the keyword planner and punch in a word you’d like to research. Have a play around to begin with, exploring any ideas you’ve already had for your site and any that come to mind. Try as many words as you can think of that surround your subject – oak, furniture, wood, reclaimed vintage – have a play around and make notes on what you find.
The sweet spot here is to find a product that attracts over 4,000 monthly searches. This value is large enough for you to make money but small enough that you avoid fierce competition. A product with, say, 400,000 monthly searched will be rife with competition as this huge amount likely means that this niche is already being harvested.
Some pointers when conducting keyword research:
- First and foremost, don’t be afraid to use keyword research tools other than Google AdWords. Yes, Google may be the number one search engine but it isn’t the only one and competition is fierce so don’t neglect the wealth of research tools available. Here are some of the best keyword tools I and many others use (don’t stick to just one – try to use them all together). Ubersuggest, Keyword Keg, Bing Ads (which works the same way as AdWords but for Bing and not Google) and Keyword Shitter – yes, I’m serious. Try a number of these tools together to gauge the activity of the internet as whole and not just of Google alone.
- Don’t neglect long-tail keywords. These are keyword phrases that exceed just one word – ‘reclaimed oak furniture’ rather than just ‘oak’, for example. The trouble with using single keywords is that they’re incredibly difficult to rank in search engines for. Just think – how many results are likely to be returned if you search for oak in a search engine? Thousands, if not millions. Wikipedia probably has a page about oak, some Amazon ad as well as a tonne of other companies associated with oak. Trying to rank for singular keywords is so difficult as there are so many sites out there already doing so. Long-tail keywords are much more specific and give you a higher chance of ranking highly in search engines. Take your niche and search around using a variety of different long-tail words to get a better understanding of the activities of your demographic online.
- Don’t focus entirely on monthly searches. Yes, keyword research is stressed as being of utmost importance in the world of online marketing, however there are several other factors to take into account. Keywords labelled as low competition with high monthly searches may be so because they offer no value and are difficult to monetise – that niche may simply be dead and unpopular. Conduct research outside of just keyword searches to get a holistic idea of how your niche fairs online.
Step 2: Choosing a product
Now that you’ve chosen a niche you’ll need to decide on the types of products you’ll be selling. This is where Clickbank comes into play.
First and foremost, you’ll need to create a clickbank account – this is completely free and easy to do.
One step of signing up will involve choosing an ‘ID’. This is the name that will show up in your affiliate links and ensure money is paid to you so make this appropriate – something simple like passive50 or kingpassive10.
Once you’ve made an account you’ll be all ready to go.
How to choose a product
So long as you’ve conducted your keyword research to deem which products are attracting the right amount of attention, all you need to do is choose products in this field that are listed on Clickbank.
A few pointers for choosing products on Clickbank:
- Is the product worth your time and effort? Take a look at the product’s commission rates and its price. You should try to avoid products that offer you lower than 50% commission, as these simply won’t be worthwhile when there are other options that’ll earn you so much more.
- Is the product actually being purchased? Clickbank lists its products in order of popularity by default based on the number of sales affiliates have made within the last 8 weeks. Don’t discount products towards the lower end of the scale. Although these may be less popular at the moment, they could still increase in demand and prove to be a valuable option with little competition.
- Does the sales copy of the product meet a high standard? Click on the product and take a look at the description if offers, the ‘sales copy’. If this is no good then people are unlikely to proceed with buying the product, thus wasting your time. Try to stick with products that provide decent sales copy to avoid missing out on sales.
- Does the product’s seller offer support for affiliates? Decent businesses will offer more than just affiliate links, such as extra promotional material, mailing lists with regular batches of useful information and readily available support with your marketing. Avoid vendors that only offer affiliate links – you should be getting much more than just this.
Step 3: Creating Your Site
So you’ve decided on a niche, chosen some products you’d like to sell and you’re ready to go. The next step is going ahead and creating your website!
Creating a website can at first appear to be a very daunting task. You may have made the presumption that the process of web-creation requires intensive, meticulous coding, designing and spending hours getting virtually nowhere because the internet is so complex and you’re a total newbie.
Thankfully, this isn’t the case at all. Web design has never been easier than it is today.
Choosing a Domain
First and foremost, you’re going to need to choose a domain name for your website. This is simply the name of the site, whether that be KingPassive.com, BBC.co.uk, Facebook.com or Navy.mil – these are all examples of domain names.
As you can see, the ‘.xyz’ suffix differs between these sites. It’s important to choose a suffix that represents your site well. It’s no good using a .info address if your site isn’t offering much information. .Com is your safest bet as it doesn’t imply that the site is anything more than, well, a website. .Info would also be appropriate if you’re planning on offering information about the products you’re marketing for.
Choosing an a representative and original domain name is key to your affiliate business’s success. People are far more likely to remember your domain name if it is catchy and actually represents your site’s content. www.furnitureofwood.com, for example (bad example I know – it’s hard to choose a terrible name for an oak furniture information site because it’s just so painfully simple) would be no good if you’re offering information about specifically oak reclaimed furniture.
Your site’s name needs to be both representative and memorable. Try to avoid using numbers if you can and make the title as simple and concise as possible. Think – are you more likely to remember reclaimedoak.com or oakwoodfurniture123birmingham.com?
Some pointers for choosing a good domain name:
- Use as little words as you can to make your site both easy to remember and catchy.
- Try to be original. Although many domain names are already taken considering the huge number of websites around, creating an original and snappy title is still very much possible. Don’t shy away from creating your own words either if they’re appropriate and easy to understand.
- Choose an appropriate ending. Make sure, as said before, the suffix of your site’s title is appropriate to its contents. Don’t go for a .mil site if your website has absolutely nothing to do with the military, or a .co.uk site if you’re from New Jersey. .Com is always a safe option, as is .info if you’re offering information about the products you’re marketing for.
Where can you buy a domain?
Once you’ve thought of a decent title you’ll need to go ahead and buy rights to your domain. This is usually farily inexpensive and should only cost you around £1-5 monthly. Without purchasing a domain name, you simply won’t have a site title (or a website at all for that matter).
There are tonnes of domain hosting sites around that’ll allow you to purchase a site title for decent prices. It is therefore importan tto choose a plan that suits your needs. If you intend to run multiple sites it may work out cheaper to buy a plan that allows for this rather than setting up multiple single-site plans.
Just as a side note – buying a relatively cheap domain to begin with is fine if this is your very first website. Your plan can always be upgraded in the future and, if you so wish, you’ll be able to instantly cancel your domain subscription and choose a different site. Make sure, though, if you do intend to change plans in the future to check the cancellation policiy of your subscription. Some sites may require you to sign up for a number of months at a time so ensure that you can quit freely if you feel you may need to do so.
Here are a list of the most popular domain hosting sites:
- BlueHost: Perhaps the most frequently used domain host, BlueHost is a very safe and versatile option for the newbie affiliate. Many affiliates of BlueHost are able to give 50% discount codes so be sure to search around for these before purchasing.
- GoDaddy: Another very reputable source, GoDaddy is a great option for anybody wishing to setup a website for a low monthly cost.
- HostGator: Like BlueHost, there are a tonne of affiliate discount codes available with HostGator.
Choosing the best hosting service depend on what type of website you plan on creating. For example, will you use WordPress or some other content management system? You will find that some web hosting services specialize in hosting WordPress sites. It is worth learning the pros & cons of the various web hosting services, so you can choose the one that best fits your situation.
Step 4: Affiliate Marketing Website Software
You’ve thought of a snappy title that is catchy and memorable and have gone ahead and purchased a plan that is most suited to your goals.
The next step?
Setting up your site with WordPress.
Unless you have some form of web-design software, you won’t be able to run your site. Don’t panic, though. The software we’ll be using is incredibly easy to use and is totally free.
This software is WordPress. WordPress runs a vast amount of all of the internet’s sites and is a highly reputable option to go with.
Check on your domain hosting site for options to run a WordPress site. There will likely be a feature that allows you to run a WordPress site straight from your domain name, giving you full control over the site. If you’re struggling to find this, simply Google your host’s name followed by something like ‘Wordpress setup’
WordPress do also offer a totally free web-creation tool, however this will give you very little control over your site’s design and will likely have far too many limitations than you’d prefer.
Once you’ve gone ahead and ran your site through the domain’s WordPress system , your site will be up and running and ready for you to begin designing it how you please. The initial website will most likely look very bland and empty. Don’t worry, this is a completely clean slate ready for you to design however you wish.
Designing Your Affiliate Site on WordPress
Once you’ve done this you’re ready to go ahead and start designing your website.
In WordPress, overall designs are known as ‘themes’. This is just the general layout of your site and a place to start from when customising it to suit your preferences. Themes can be downloaded online as well as purchased on WordPress, however paid themes are quite pricey and offer little more than most free-to-download themes anyway.
To choose your theme, head on over to [your domain name]/wp-admin. and log into your account.
Click on the ‘appearance’ side heading on the left and select ‘themes’. At the top of the screen, click on ‘add new’ to add a new theme.
Once you’ve found one you like, go ahead and hit install and activate and you’re good to go!
Step 5: Setting Up Your Clickbank Site
Once you’ve had a play around with the customisation settings for your site, you’re ready to start adding some affiliate marketing features to begin earning.
You’ve found your products to market and you’ve set up the skeleton of your website ready to customise to suit your affiliate business. What next?
Now you need to add some value to your site and give people a reason to actually visit your site and make a purchase rather than read and click away.
The best way to do this is by offering top quality information about the products you’ll be marketing. We’ll be doing this by writing articles about each of the products you choose – articles no more than around 400 words in length that sum up why readers should go ahead and make that purchase.
Thankfully, much of the information you’ll be needing to write about your products will already be given to you in the product’s sales copy – the text added to its purchase page that tells customers exactly what the product is and what it does.
When writing your products, always consider the following three pointers to ensure your content is of a high quality:
Who: Who is going to be receiving your article? With the example of oak reclaimed furniture, perhaps your audience will be mainly young couples interested in old-style, rustic furniture for their new homes. You should therefore consider this type of buyer’s background and their interests and tailor your writing to impress this demographic. The article will mainly be reviewing the product with a link to follow. Ideally, your article will answer any questions your audience may have and leave them with nothing more to do other than go ahead and buy the product.
What: What is the product? Here you should give a fully detailed description of what the product is and how it can be used. Summarise the information already given to you in an informative and exciting way. Be positive in your writing and speak of the good qualities of the product as much as possible.
Why: Why should your site’s visitors purchase this product rather than other, similar products from different retailers? Maybe this particular products is easier to use than other products. Maybe it’s incredibly simple to assemble and will add a unique, rustic touch to your home. Give your reader no reason not to go ahead and buy the product – be as convincing as you can and leave them feeling as though they have to buy this product and no other.
After you’ve written the first article, keep writing others for the rest of your products. You may wish to set them to go public at a later date, choosing to publicise a number of articles over a one-month period, one every few days days. This way, you’ll constantly be sending out new unique content without you having to keep writing articles to post.
Step 6: Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a massive online industry that generates a load of money yearly.
SEO is the process of adjusting your site to maximise its discoverability in search engines. Spending lots of time on SEO will increase the likelihood of your site ranking highly on search engines, appearing on the first few pages rather than, say, the first fifty.
‘Yoast SEO’ is a great plugin that can be added to your WordPress site and will increase your search engine effectiveness – just search for it in the plugin side heading of your WordPress site dashboard.
Once installed, access the plugin’s settings through the ‘SEO sidebar’ you’ll now see. Then, go to ‘your info’ and input your site name and details.
Then, head to ‘webmaster tools’ and click on the Google Search Console link. Once signed in, copy the long alphanumeric code on the HTML Tag section after ‘content=’’ under the ‘alternate methods’ heading.
Next, paste this code into the Google Search Console bar back on the webmaster tools screen. Click verify once done.
Step 7: Product Funneling
Product funneling is how we’ll be utilising Facebook and your website to maximise your sales. It involves sending people from a Facebook ad to a ‘presale’ page, and finally to that all-important ‘buy product’ page.
- Facebook Ads: Facebook ads are an incredibly effective way to direct people to your website and persuade them to buy the product you’re marketing. Facebook ads are super simple to setup, simply head on over to their ad creating section and create an advert for the product you’ll be marketing. Be sure to include a representative image as well as a snappy, appropriate title. From here, you’ll be linking people to your pre-sale page – the part of your website includes all of that persuasive and high-quality information about the product itself.
- The Pre-sell Page: Your ad should link people directly to this product description page, hence why it’s vital that the information you offer is of a very high standard and is effective in persuading people to make a purchase. This page is what takes people from that Facebook-browsing social mindset to more of a buyer’s mindset. You should explain exactly how the product you’re marketing is able to solve the very problems you identified that they may have earlier in this guide. Then, go ahead and solve that problem with your product link.
- Product Link: Finally, once you’ve got them warmed up, redirect them to the product you’re marketing. So long as you’ve given them top-quality information about exactly why they should buy this product, your viewers should be left with no questions to ask and ready to go ahead and click that all-important ‘buy’ button, landing you a decent sum of commissions
Some Usual Resources for the Affiliate Marketer:
Smart Passive Income Podcast: The Smart Passive Income podcast is hosted regularly by Pat Flynn. Flynn gives away all of his best secrets for starting up with online entrepreneurship and passive income, putting a lot of focus on how to succeed not only as an affiliate marketer but also a blogger, author and social media figure.
Pat Flynn explains how anybody can discover the secrets on how to establish multiple streams of passive revenue will give you freedom to travel and live life the way you want without being tied to a 9-5 job. Pat explains that, despite not being a millionaire, he works only a handful of hours a week and thus can provide both his time and financial support to his family without being constantly bogged down with work.
Flynn podcasts are exciting and fun whilst also giving clear and simple pieces of information that are have clearly come from extensive research. Working for many years as an online entrepreneur, Pat has many years of experience and offers his best tips on succeeding in the online world of finance accumulated throughout his time as a businessman.
The podcast is currently has over 250 episodes, giving you a wealth of resources to absorb information from. The content includes information about a tonne of passive income opportunities ranging from affiliate marketing to course-creation. There will without a doubt be a number of podcasts available on the Smart Passive Income site that are perfect for your skills and interests.
And the best part?
The podcast is completely free to listen to and download!
Apart from the premium sections of the site which provides bonus material and ad-free listening for $4.99 a month, which is still a very affordable price, the materials the site contains are totally free to use by the general public meaning that all you’ll be investing is time. As a beginner, you likely will not be needing this premium content anyway and will surely be able to cope with a couple of ads here and there, making the SPI podcast a 100% profitable way of finding your feet in the affiliate marketing world.
Neilpatel.com: Neil Patel is an incredibly experienced online entrepreneur that offers a tonne of helpful tips on how to boost your site’s monthly visitor account and ace your SEO, sending your affiliate marketing purchases sky-high.
Patel does offer a paid course as well as a tonne of free information on his blog. As I’ve read from a number of resources, much of the information you’ll need to succeed in the world of affiliate marketing can be found online and thus I wouldn’t recommend forking out any extra cash on courses.
Patel’s blog is an excellent research for not just affiliate marketers but anybody looking to make a living online through online entrepreneurship and website-based marketing. The blog offers plenty of information on how to succeed with SEO, whether that be for an affiliate site, blog or even social media platforms. I’d highly recommend Neil Patel’s site to any affiliate marketer just starting out wishing to learn the ropes of SEO and all-things internet.
Affiliate Marketing Splash: How to Build Affiliate Sites that Rank (and bank): Internet Marketing through Search Engine Optimization: This book delves deep into a number of different important strategies for affiliate marketing . These include learning the ropes of affiliate marketing through researching and choosing your niche, keyword research, and ultimately website creation. This book will also run you through the foundations of SEO and teach you how to maximise your successes by ranking highly in a number of popular search engines. This is certainly a great companion for an affiliate marketer and costs only $4.99!
How to Make Money Online Without Being an Internet Expert: A step-by-step guide to affiliate marketing: Many of us researching articles online such as this one are likely not particularly skilled in the world of the internet. This book offers an excellent guide to affiliate marketing for beginners, gently easing newbies into the complex techniques experts use to succeed in becoming an affiliate marketer. Building a successful online business can be incredibly difficult if you’re used to going along with the same day-to-day patterns and aren’t great at switching up your lifestyle to attract success. This guide shows you that there is no need to overcomplicate online entrepreneurship and that many of the steps to succeed are in fact surprisingly straightforward. Making passive money online shouldn’t be hard and this book will set you on the right track. Another great book for just $4.99.
And there you have it! A complete, step-by-step tutorial on how to succeed as an online entrepreneur through affiliate marketing using the popular site of Clickbank.
Be sure not to limit yourself only to Clickbank along your journey. There are a number of other excellent affiliate programs around (such as Amazon Associates as well as a tonne of other programs led by your favourite companies) so make sure to have a browse around at all of these in order to market a range of products and not just one.