With the rise of the internet came the rise of digital merchandise — downloadable information that people are willing to pay good money for. People buy eBooks all the time. Looking for info on every conceivable subject, web surfers will every now and again find "the promised land," a web site that apparently has all the answers, distilled into a simple, downloadable eBook. Out pops the credit card, and money flies through cyberspace. You can get some of that money.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is a form of business. An affiliate will market someone else's products, for a fee. ClickBank is a well-known, established company that facilitates business deals between eBook buyers and sellers, and between affiliates and product creators. There are three ways you can interact with ClickBank:
- Buy an eBook
- List your eBook with them for sale
- Become an affiliate marketer
The third option is what we will consider here.
How does it work?
Let's say Misinterpreted dot Org decides to write an eBook about some key ways to earn a living online. As the author and creator, I would sign up with ClickBank and pay them to list my eBook in their marketplace. I decide to set the price of my eBook at $97. A user just randomly happens to find my eBook, and buys it. I just made $97. I'd like to make more, but I'm not interested in advertising my eBook. I've got other stuff to take care of. So not many people show up. I don't make that much money. What can I do?
I set an affiliate commission at 50%. Joe Genius is already signed up with ClickBank as an affiliate marketer. He searches for new products to promote, and comes across my eBook. He thinks it's a worthy item, and believes he can convince others to buy it. So he creates a special "hoplink" that will direct web surfers to my product, and keep in mind that it was his link and no one else's.
He goes to work, and drives traffic through his hoplink to my special product page. Some surfers leave, but others decide to buy. Every time someone Joe Genius sent me buys my $97 eBook, he gets $48.50 (50%) credited to his ClickBank account. Joe Genius is truly good at his job, so he ends up sending tons of people who are eager to buy. Let's say he sends me X visitors a day, 10 of which buy my eBook. That means that $970 is collected every day. So Joe Genius and I each earn $485 a day. Better for me, since I wouldn't have had nearly as many buyers without my trusty affiliate. And it's great for Joe, since he's making money just by moving people around on the internet!
What's so great about Affiliate Marketing?
An affiliate marketer with ClickBank doesn't have to touch physical goods. There's no shipping, no wrapping, no boxes, no postage, and no insurance to worry about. All you have to do is send prime buying candidates through a hoplink to a page they're likely to buy from, and you earn a commission.
What's the catch?
There are a few details regarding ClickBank that you should be aware of. First, the % you earn depends on the product. It can range from a low number up to 75%. But what is also important is the price. If you successfully refer a $1000 sale, and you make 10%, that's $100. But if you refer a $20 sale, and make 75%, that's only $15. So even though percentages might be higher, your overall earnings could still be lower. Lower still if the product doesn't sell very well.
Once you earn your first commission, ClickBank will credit it to your account. However, you won't be able to touch any of that money until you refer enough sales so that at least 5 different credit cards were used to buy. This is to prevent people from simply registering so they can buy through their own hoplink and get a discount. If you were to buy my imaginary eBook through your own hoplink, you'd pay $97 up front, but get $48.50 credited to your ClickBank account. You just paid half price. ClickBank doesn't think this is a good thing, and so they've got the 5 credit card number rule to try and filter out the "bad seeds" from the good affiliate marketers.
Another issue to be taken into consideration is how much and when you get paid. When you earn commissions, ClickBank creates a "ball of money" in your name. When it comes time to get paid, you only get a portion, while the rest "rolls over" for some reason. Doesn't seem fair right? Well they've spelled out their reasons at their site. The logic that can allow someone to overlook this apparent injustice is that if you make enough sales, you'll still get paid a good wage, even with the rollover in effect.
Let's get going
So how do you get started? Once you sign up, you'll be able to create your first hoplink. You go to the marketplace and find a product that fits the theme of your site, or perhaps one you plan to build a site around.
Your hoplink will look like this:
jgenius is where your ClickBank user name would go
ebookauthor represents the creator of the product you want to promote
hop.clickbank.net is a standard portion of the hoplink
?tid=TRACK is a tracking option you can choose to use (not a requirement)
TRACK can be anything you want, anything you want to keep in mind, like EBSELL or FIRST or 0108
At the Marketplace, each product listing will have a "create hoplink" link that opens up a small window where you input your user name and optional tracking code. Once you create a hoplink, you can do all kinds of stuff with it.
More on hoplinks
You can use it in an article you write. You can check to see if the product page had a link to a special affiliate section where you can get product banners and images. Then you could use those images on your site and link them to your hoplink. You could even create an AdWords campaign and use your hoplink as the destination URL that an ad-clicker would end up at.
When someone clicks your hoplink, they are taken to the product page, and a cookie is installed on their computer to keep track of the fact that you are the one deserving a commission. If someone clicked on your hoplink, arrived at the product page, left, then clicked on someone else's hoplink, and finally bought, that affiliate would get the commission, and you would get nothing. So it pays to have your hoplink clicked last, just before the purchase.
Where's the big money?
Some people are conceivably earning incredible amounts of money through affiliate marketing. They are very good at what they do. These people are rare. Many (maybe even most) affiliates are searching for the secrets to such incredible success. There is a lot to consider:
- Who are your visitors
- Are they interested in the product you chose?
- Are they looking to buy when they encounter your hoplink?
- Or are they only looking to research?
- Did you write an article convincing them to buy?
- Did you recommend the product?
- Did you give an honest review?
- Were you obviously trying to convince them to buy just so you could earn a referral?
- Did they get the vibe you don't care about their success, and only about yours?
- Or did you seem indifferent as to whether or not they buy, and yet helpful in your description of the product?
- Are you getting enough traffic through your hoplinks?
- Is it the right time of year to promote that product?
- Is the economy strong enough that people have money to spend on that type of product?
- Is the product page your hoplink goes to attractive, informative, and convincing?
- Does it convince many people to buy?
- Or is it ugly and amateurish? (i.e., choose another product to promote)
- Can you make a profit through paying for ads with your hoplink in them, or ads that direct people to your landing page?
- Can you spend $1 and make $5?
- Or do you need to spend $90,000 to make only $10,000?
- When you read that a group of "super affiliates" just made a million dollars in 2 months, how much was profit, and how much was used to cover advertising and other costs?
Finding true success
There are many more variables to consider. The more you work, study and learn, the better you'll do. The ideal scenario would be to find a system that produces more money than you put in, and work on expanding it. The more aspects of that system you can put on autopilot, the better. If you work hard enough, and have the luck to find something that works, you might end up living the dream, and earning a mostly passive income online through affiliate marketing with ClickBank.If you enjoyed this post, I'd be delighted to have you as a subscriber to my RSS feed.