Clickbank is one of the oldest affiliate marketplaces out there, and it is also one of the most popular, driving billions of dollars in sales. There are many reasons why I recommend Clickbank for newbie affiliate marketers, and especially for newbies affiliate marketers.
First of all, it’s open to pretty much everyone — unlike other networks, where you have to go through an approval process, Clickbank lets anyone sign up and start making money immediately. Most products on Clickbank are open to everyone as well — no need to apply for each product you want to promote.
The main reason why I recommend Clickbank, however, is because of their high commission rates. All products on Clickbank are digital — stuff like online courses, software, ebooks, and membership sites. Because digital products don’t require any maintenance or shipping fees, product owners can afford to give 50 to 75 percent commissions or even more to their affiliates. Compare this to Amazon, where you’ll start out at a four percent commission rate. Why make $4 when you can make $75?
However, in order to succeed with Clickbank, you need a plan of success. You can’t just choose any product, grab your affiliate link, and start posting it all over the web. You need to have a clear plan of action, and you need to carefully choose which product you’re promoting. Because Clickbank’s products are not physical, they need to have a proven sales funnel in order for you to make money from them. This guide will show you the 10 steps that will help you find THE product that will earn you the MOST money.
1: Choose a Niche
Your first step, after signing up, is to go to Clickbank’s marketplace and choose your niche. It’s much better to choose a single niche to focus on than to promote products in all different niches, especially when you’re starting out. Whether you plan on promoting your product through your blog, through email marketing, or via any other method, having a niche will keep things simpler and make you an expert at what you do.
Go through each of the niches in Clickbank’s marketplace. First of all, it’s better if you find a niche you’re passionate about, though it’s not required. What is more important, though, is to find a niche that is popular and where sales are booming.
To do that, sort each niche’s products by gravity, from high to low. Look at each product’s gravity. If you see that all of the top products in that niche have a very low gravity, it’s best if you stay away — it probably means that the niche isn’t popular.
Generally, the following niches are the best to go into, simply because there is a huge audience of hungry buyers:
- Ebusiness: Internet Marketing/Make Money Online
- Dating for Men
- Dating for Women
- Health and Weight Loss
- Dieting and Muscle Building
- Self Help
- The Law of Attraction
- Dog Training
- Other Make Money (Forex, real estate, gold, stocks, etc)
So there you have 10 niches to choose from. These niches have huge audiences, and people are willing to spend money on them. Everyone wants a partner, so there you have the dating niche. So many people own dogs, and people with dogs are willing to spend money on them. Internet marketing and make money online is also a huge niche with a huge audience.
So now that you have your niche, it’s time to decide on your method of promotion.
#2: Check a Product’s Gravity
What exactly is “gravity” in Clickbank? Each product in the Clickbank marketplace has a gravity score from 0 and up.
Basically, this is what you need to know: A product’s gravity score will go up when more affiliates are earning commissions by promoting that product. Higher gravity = more affiliates earning commissions.
Usually, you’ll want to look for products that have a higher gravity. Why? Because this way, you know that the product is converting well. Not only that, but you know that affiliates are making money with this product.
Gravity isn’t to be confused with popularity. When sorting products in the Clickbank marketplace, you can sort products by their gravity score or by their popularity. Popularity is measured by how many sales the product is making IN GENERAL; gravity is measured by how many AFFILIATES are making money with this product.
It’s a crucial difference. If a product is popular, it could mean that it’s converting well when the product owner sends traffic to it, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy for an affiliate to make sales.
For example, perhaps the owner sends traffic from a separate sales funnel that they have, and that sort of traffic converts very well — but an affiliate promoting the same product on their blog or to their list may not see the same conversion rate.
Generally, you want to look for products with high gravity scores. To do this, go to the Clickbank marketplace, choose a category, and start sorting the products from the highest gravity to the lowest.
Just because a product has a high gravity score doesn’t mean you should promote it. Just because other affiliates are making money, doesn’t mean that YOUR traffic will convert as well to this particular product. Take a look at the sales page and funnel yourself. How is it set up? Is it truly a good fit for people on your list or blog?
In addition, there is a time when high gravity products won’t work well: When you’re trying to send traffic through ranking high in Google and Youtube. If you’re trying to do a product review and recommend it and get traffic from SEO, you shouldn’t look for the competitive high-gravity products in your niche, unless you have a high-authority blog and you are confident that you will be able to outrank the competition. Instead, look for products that don’t have any SEO competition but still have a reasonable gravity score.
How low can you go? According to Mark Ling of Affilorama, you should not promote a product if it has a gravity score of less than six. A product that has a gravity score of less than six probably isn’t converting very well.
Mark knows a thing or two about Clickbank; not only has he made millions of dollars in affiliate commissions, he also owns dozens of Clickbank products in various niches (and almost all have really high gravity scores, including Salehoo, Affilorama, Meet Your Sweet, Manifestation Miracle, and many others).
3: Average Earnings Per Sale
When choosing a product to promote, you want to make sure that you’ll earn a nice commission from it. Clickbank’s average earnings per sale will tell you how much each affiliate who recently promoted this product earned in commissions, in average.
This includes not only the initial purchase and upsells but also recurring commissions if there are any. This will also give you some idea on how long people stay as premium monthly members of a membership site. So, if a product costs $50 a month, for example, and you earn a 50 percent commission ($25), and the average earnings are $75, you know that people stay as a paying member for around three months on average.
The average earnings per sale is useful when you’re running a PPC campaign and you’re ready to invest a few hundred dollars. It will help you figure out how much you should be willing to pay per click at the beginning.
However, the problem with the average earnings per sale metric is that it’s hard to accurately calculate how much you’ll really make.
First of all, a product can have many sub-products, all listed under one merchant’s Clickbank account. One website can be selling various ebooks and training courses separately, even if it’s listed under one Clickbank account — you just have to go to their affiliate center to get your individual affiliate links for each product. In such a case, one sub-product may have a different average earnings per sale than another sub-product.
A good example of this is Affilorama, which is the second product in the screenshot above. The average earnings per sale is $600+, but they have many products: Affilorama Premium monthly membership ($67/month), Affiloblueprint ($197), Affilotheme ($97), AffiloJetpack ($997), and AffiloJetpack with a discount ($797).
Even one product can have various upsells and recurring membership options that are hard to figure out. Let’s take a product that has a one-time fee and an optional recurring membership upgrade. Just because a certain percentage of the overall customer base is upgrading to the recurring membership, it doesn’t mean that the traffic YOU are sending is the right type that will upgrade. This is something you’ll only find out later on, when you analyze your data.
Therefore, I prefer to look at the initial earnings per sale rather than at the overall earnings per sale when choosing a product. Any additional commissions I will make certainly helps out, but I don’t like to take it into account when I choose a product.
#4: Initial Earnings Per Sale
Besides gravity, this is one of the other main things I look at. Whether you’re doing blogging, email marketing, PPC, social media marketing or whatever, there’s one main thing that is motivating you: MONEY.
In the long run, things like recurring subscriptions certainly help out, but when I promote a product, I would personally rather focus on what matters now, and that is how much money I’m making today.
What your limit for the initial earnings per sale should be really depends on you. I don’t recommend going under $15. I personally like promoting products that have at least a $30 per initial sale, not including recurring fees or upgrades.
Remember that you can always use Clickbank’s filters to filter out products in any niche that don’t fit your bill. So if you don’t want anything under $15 initial per sale, just filter them all out by using the filters on the side.
Take Kindle Money Mastery, for example. It fits my bill perfectly. The initial earnings per sale are over $30, and there are upsells and recurring fees that bring the average to $80. I don’t know if my traffic will stay on as monthly members, but I don’t have to worry about it too much, because I’ll be making at least $30+. It has a gravity of 23+, which is also pretty good.
When doing email marketing, you might want to promote products that have a high gravity and high initial earnings per sale first while promoting lower gravity and lower initial earnings per sale products later on.
#5: Average Recurring Billing
Recurring commissions is one of the best ways of earning a truly passive income. Let’s say you’re promoting a product that gives you $30/month in commissions. If you have only 10 people signed up, you’ll earn $300 in passive income! And that’s besides the new people you’re getting each month. Your passive income will only grow.
However, I don’t rely on recurring billing when I choose a product.
The reason is simple. Most membership sites online have a retention rate of three to four months, on average. Yes, a percentage will stay on for months or even years (I’ve seen this myself), but another percentage will stay on for only one month (I’ve seen this more often than the former). Between the two, most people just stay on for a few months and then leave.
So yes, in the long run, when you’re running a larger scale operation, recurring commissions definitely add up. But I wouldn’t rely on it in my initial considerations.
All things aside, though, recurring commissions are definitely a great perk, and if you’re face with two products that have the same initial earnings per sale and only one has a recurring membership, consider going for the one with the recurring membership (after considering other stuff such as gravity).
Clickbank does give you an average earnings per total rebill, but since this is calculated over an extended period of time, I’m not sure how reliable it is.
Take the two products in the screenshot above. They’re both great products, offer great value, and not only do they have a good initial earnings per sale, they also have a great average rebill total. Of course, you should check out each product yourself – Salehoo actually has three separate products, with one of them having an initial earnings per sale of much more than what’s mentioned above.
#6: Affiliate Center and Tools
This is another thing that I look for when promoting a product. Does the product have an affiliate page with tools that affiliates can use? Or is there a simple page that says, “Earn 50 percent commissions! Click here to signup with Clickbank!”?
When a product doesn’t have any tools for its affiliates, not only does it mean more work for me, but it could also meant that they haven’t put much thought into making sure that their affiliate succeed.
What do I mean by affiliate tools? Email swipes are important — they save you the time and money of having to do email copywriting yourself. So are banners, if you’re interested in doing banner advertising. Products that offer you a link creator tool where you can imbed your Clickbank ID into various entrance points for the product are also very useful. Other tools might include keywords for PPC, social media blurbs, or whatever.
By looking for products that have pre-written email swipes, I can set up an entire email autoresponder sequence without ever having to write anything myself or hiring a copywriter. I can just copy and paste high-converting swipes — it sure saves me a lot of time!
In the screenshot, you can see part of Meet Your Sweet’s affiliate resource center. Notice how you can embed your Clickbank ID in any of their various product landing page links by using their link generator tool. You can also acceess stuff like banners and lists of keywords that you can use when promoting the products in PPC. What I’m particularly interested in, though, are the pre-written email swipes that they include for every product, which allows me to set up an autoresponder by just copying and pasting.
#7: Look for Leaks
This is important. Before you promote a product, check for any leaks that might take away from your commissions.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s say there is a product where the sales page is simply an invitation to a sign up for a webinar (which is prerecorded and automated). This isn’t uncommon in the ‘make money online’ niche. During the webinar, the product is promoted, and it is also promoted in follow up emails.
Usually, this works very well. But what happens if the traffic you send doesn’t end up purchasing the product after a few days? Two things can happen here.
Either the product owner can continue promoting the product in their newsletters for another month or two and then stop sending them emails, in which case you’ll still earn commissions if they buy the product (because of your affiliate cookies); OR
The product owner can add YOUR traffic to THEIR general email list and bombard them with affiliate offers and ads for other products starting a few days after the webinar. Sadly, this type of thing does happen. You worked hard to send them traffic, and now they are benefiting by promoting affiliate offers where THEY earn all the commissions.
This is especially problematic if the traffic came from YOUR email list — more emails in your subscribers’ inboxes mean lower open rates and conversion rates for you (it’s not as problematic if you’re sending traffic from a product review where your get visitors through SEO).
Another example: You send traffic to a landing page, where people sign up for an ebook. Every few days, the product owner sends a newsletter and promotes their product. You’ll earn a commission because your affiliate cookies are still around for a while. But sometimes, they will promote other products or email lists that they own where you will NOT earn a commission because you never had your affiliate cookies for that second product.
Let’s look at some other examples of leaks. On the landing page you’re sending traffic, there may be pop ups or advertisements that redirect to another product or sign them up for an email list for which you won’t earn commissions for.
I’m not saying these things are common. Most product owners try to make sure their affiliates always win. But other product owners, while not necessarily trying to cheat you, may not work that hard to make sure you always get credited. You do want to look out for these stuff.
#8: The Product’s Reputation
It’s important that the product doesn’t have a bad reputation.
Now, let me be clear: Just because a product has negative reviews on the internet, that doesn’t mean it’s not legit.
Many bloggers will write negative reviews of certain products in order to promote their own preferred products instead. Sadly, this is especially common in the ‘make money online’ niche, where people desperate for commissions from one ‘make money online’ system bash legit products in order to recommend their own. I see this all the time (I’m sure you’ve seen it too), and many times, the reviews are only superficial and it is clear that the reviewer hasn’t really tried out the product thoroughly. You need to get the product yourself and try it out in order to get the full picture.
However, I still don’t want to recommend a product that when people search for it on Google, the first thing they see is a page of blogs screaming “scam,” even if the product is 100 percent legit and does really great stuff. I feel bad for the product owners (lawsuits against such bloggers aren’t unheard of), but I personally would rather stay away and promote other products. Although many people won’t end up searching Google for reviews about a product, many people will.
9: Purchase It Yourself
I can’t stress this enough. While not totally necessary, it’s highly recommended that you purchase a product yourself before recommending it.
First of all, your reviews will be much more authentic — believe me, people can tell if you’ve actually purchased the product or are just doing the review in order to get some extra traffic.
In addition, you’ll feel comfortable because you’re only promoting things that you know for a fact are worth it.
Sometimes it’s possible to know enough about a product without purchasing it, such as if you’ve purchased other products from the same owner and trust them completely. But generally, you can’t rely on other online reviews to write your own review.
I know this can be expensive, but you can lessen your costs by purchasing products that have free trials, and you also don’t have to purchase all the upsells in order to see what a product is all about.
If you’re a super affiliate and can bring in a lot of sales, many product owners will let you test out the product for free. Truthfully, at that point you should be able to afford purchasing the product anyways.
#10: Test, Test, and Test Some More
You might think that you’ve found the perfect product, but that does not mean that anybody on your list is going to be buying it. Keep testing different products to see what works and what doesn’t.
You may be still discovering what exactly your niche or sub-niche is and what your audience is interested in. Many niches can overlap, such as affiliate marketing, work from home, the law of attraction and generating wealth, etc. Your audience may react differently to different products.
Don’t be afraid to try out new things. Don’t be afraid to chuck out old things if they aren’t working. Keep at it until you have it just right.
As you get more clicks and make more sales, Clickbank will give you an ‘Average Earnings Per Hop’ metric (hop means click). This is based solely on YOUR traffic and personal Clickbank stats. Look at them and see if your traffic is converting well enough. You can set a limit – for example, you won’t promote a product that earns you less than 20 cents per click. In the screenshot, you can see that with a certain product, I had a conversion rate of around two percent (two sales out of 119 clicks) and earned around nine cents per hop.