Think of ClickBank as sort of like the eBay of instantly downloadable digital products. It is a vast marketplace of such products. Of course there's one little twist to the analogy: instead of being the storefront, it's more like the back room warehouse.
End-user consumers generally do not browse ClickBank for things to buy. Instead it is where you can store your product(s). It's also a place where enterprising entrepreneurs from around the world can look for things to sell.
If someone finds one of your products and decides he likes it enough to want to help you sell it he can sign up to become an affiliate, grab your link, sell your products and collect a commission on each sale he generates. These sales may take place on his website, through emails he sends out, he may create online ads such as with AdWords or in a hundred other ways.
You determine the amount of commission you are willing to pay beforehand and ClickBank takes care of everything automatically.
What kinds of products can you sell?
ClickBank only handles memberships and digital products which can be delivered instantly via digital download. You can offer a physical product, such as a book or CD but only if it's a supplement to an instant download. Specifically, ClickBank allows:
• Streaming and downloadable audio files
• Streaming and downloadable video files
• Web site membership fees
What does ClickBank do for you?
Aside from helping you recruit a worldwide sales force of commission only sales reps, ClickBank does several other things for you:
• It acts as an online shopping cart and payment processor
• Takes care of delivery and product fulfillment
• Provides tracking and reporting services
How much does it cost and is it worth it?
When you first sign up to sell your own products, you must pay a one-time only $49.95 fee. That fee is good for life (provided you don't violate ClickBank policies and get your account terminated) and allows you to sell an unlimited number of products in an unlimited number of categories.
Other than commissions that you pay to affiliate marketers for selling your products and a 7 percent sales commission to ClickBank, there are no other fees or costs.
Are there strategies for affiliate commissions?
ClickBank affiliate commissions are set by you but are applied in blanket form to all products marketed under your account. The minimum commission is 1 percent and maximum is 75 percent.
There are two strategies you might think of pursuing with ClickBank affiliates. The first assumes that you only want ClickBank as a payment processor and fulfillment house and would prefer that others not sell your products. In that event, set your commission percentage to 1 percent. Such a low percentage would not be worth anyone's while and no one will want to sell your stuff.
A generally more sound strategy is to set a high commission, 50 percent - 75 percent. I've even heard of some marketers offering special bonuses which must be paid manually outside of the ClickBank system, in essence making the commission rate even higher than ClickBank allows. In some cases even slightly over 100 percent.
By offering such high commissions, you attract and motivate profit hungry entrepreneurs to sell your products for you.
The theory behind this approach is that once someone has identified themselves as a buyer of your products - someone who is interested in what you have to offer and willing to pay for it - it is much easier and more profitable to sell to that prospect than to an "unknown" prospect. So you offer some front-end product as a loss leader to get customers in the door then market higher priced and more profitable products directly to those buyers without allowing affiliate marketing or paying sales commissions on those subsequent sales.
A secondary consideration is that your affiliates - your commission only sales force - can collectively attract more people than you can on your own. They are also likely to attract prospects from different places than you will try on your own. So you cast a wider net and bring in a more diverse clientele.
Another very important consideration is that, because these are all digital products, there is essentially no overhead in stocking or delivering them. You can afford to pay a higher commission when your costs are so low.
What if you want to become an affiliate yourself?
There is no cost to being a ClickBank affiliate. (The $49.95 fee is only if you want to sell your own products.) If you find products in the ClickBank marketplace which are similar or complimentary to yours, there is no restriction on selling those products and earning a commission on the sales.
The same strategy applies as outlined above; once you have turned a prospect into a customer, even of affiliate products, you are free to market your own back-end products to them for a higher profit potential. Assuming you have captured their contact information and have a way of marketing to them.
Jeff Kontur is a freelance copywriter and marketer specializing in helping small businesses promote themselves effectively online. Digital and eReader copies of his book "Fat-Free Marketing" are available for FREE from his web site Fat Free Marketing Group.
More Make Money with Affiliate Programs Ideas:
• How to Setup a Website for the eBay Affiliate Program
• Affiliate Program - Commission Structures
• What is the Best Model For an Internet Business?
• Children's Learning Games - Make Money at Home Business
• The End All Guide to Affiliate Marketing and Making Money Online
• How to Start Affiliate Marketing Business Online
• Three Free Places to Find Hot Products to Promote - No Website Needed
• Affiliate Marketing Tips for Getting Started in the Business
• Make a Fortune Promoting Other People's Stuff Online
• Seven Steps to Making Money Online With Only a Few Articles