The Gears that Turn Clickbank Venturing into the world of the Clickbank marketplace requires that we start from a fresh slate and not go in with any presumptions. The two presumptions that seem to slow people up the most is that Clickbank is for internet guru types who know every trick of the trade of internet technology and marketing to be successful. But Clickbank isn't a marketplace that requires that you have tremendous technical knowledge to use. The designers of Clickbank have made most of the functions you need to operate either as a merchant or as an affiliate in the system fairly easy to use. That is one of the keys to why Clickbank is so successful. So to smooth your entrance into using Clickbank, it pays to look at the inner workings of the gears of Clickbank to get a feel for what you should expect when you sign up and want to get going fast making money there. Like a lot of successful online markets, Clickbank doesn't make anything and it doesn't sell anything. The value Clickbank adds to the world of internet commerce is that it provides a "place" for vendors of digital products can place their goods for sale and for people skilled in marketing to take those products and sell them to a large internet community. Clickbank has cashed in on two basic principles which are (1) people who make things don't like to do marketing and (2) people who love to do marketing don't like to make things. By getting these two groups together, merchants, affiliates and Clickbank all take away a nice profit because each makes the other successful. Clickbank then at its core is a clearing house that works as a meeting gourd for merchants, affiliates and customers who can order the product, pay for it and download it or receive it by some other digital delivery system. It is very important to understand that Clickbank ONLY DEALS IN DIGITAL PRODUCTS. So you cannot sell clock radios, salt shakers or children's clothing through Clickbank. If you were looking at Clickbank for any other than a digital product, look elsewhere for market such as eBay. The kinds of products Clickbank will allow to be sold include ebooks, computer courses, digital music and software programs and games. Clickbank also offers real value to both merchants and affiliates because they handle all of the financial details and take a lot of the administrative work off of its members. Clickbank operates a fully functional merchant account so there is no need to use PayPal, 2co or any other funds management system. The handling of money is secure so when a sale is made, the money goes to Clickbank who then pays the affiliate his or her commission, keeps what is deserves by way of commission for the sale and delivers the balance to the merchant efficiently and without fail. The "gears" of selling on Clickbank are simple and straightforward. To get set up, you step through the registration procedure as you would with any membership service online. For a merchant, there is a one time set up fee of $50 which should be easy to make back because Clickbank can get your product into the hands of over 150,000 affiliates which represent a customer base that numbers in the millions. Once you have you account, you begin listing your digital products in the marketplace. You don't need many accounts for more than one product as Clickbank can be used to sell up to 50 products under one account identity. Once you have completed setting up the product on the service, you then take a link that is given to you which can be used to direct customers to your Clickbank product listing and you put it on your web site. When affiliates pass customers to Clickbank to sell them the product, Clickbank will take them to your web site to use that link to complete the ordering process. It is a truly collaborate process and yet entirely seamless because Clickbank has taken care of the details. You have a little more information to give to Clickbank such as the commission you will give to affiliates who sell your products and the URL for the "Thank You" web page that you will use to assist the customer in downloading what they bought. And with those simple steps, you are a Clickbank merchant. It's as easy as that. The Data Entry Clickbank Product Category When you get started on Clickbank, any guide to success in this marketplace will tell you to quickly get product out there. The good thing about the process of introducing product to Clickbank is that they make it easy. There are tens of thousands of digital products on Clickbank so to be able to get your product noticed, the categorization system they have in place is important and you will be glad its there. Of course, you probably don't pick a category and just like that have product ready to put out there. Unless you are brokering other people's product, there is a niche which is your skill and the product you will offer to the world through Clickbank. Because Clickbank deals with all forms of digital products, you would expect every legal category to be represented. But if your product falls under the umbrella of an "data entry product", you will find no category to fit it. That is because Clickbank eliminated it which makes this the largest internet marketplace in the world, not a good place for you to market your product. While we don't have a publicized reason why Clickbank doesn't support the data entry category anymore but we know that the product line historically had a very high rate of people asking for refunds. This means one of two things. Either a lot of people were putting scam products or shoddy merchandise out on the Clickbank market and it was getting returned by unhappy customers or this category was one most prone to Clickbank "shoplifting" which is easy to pull off when downloading a digital product from a service that offers an iron clan return policy as Clickbank does. It seems that part of the problem is not so much that data entry products themselves are scams but that they offer a false expectation. When a program is advertised as a way to "get rich" just doing data entry and the software will give you the tools to do that, this can lead to an expectation by the customer that its just that easy. But then when the real road to prosperity is far more than just data entry but includes an ability to do affiliate level marketing on the internet to get those riches, that is discouraging to people so they want, and get, a refund from Chickbank. By definition data entry is just that. It is typing known data into a form to build content. A typical data entry job offered freelance on the internet involves something like visiting 1000 web sites and filling out a form about the web site owners or working with an online data entry format to help the owner's bulk up a database. Data entry is actually a fairly old job in the world of data processing but it is not as prevalent now that data can be captured digitally and the need for human data entry is less common. Marketing a data entry product on Clickbank or anywhere might involve creating a product name and marketing text that gives the wrong impression. Your program might be a very good program to help the buyer get his or her feet down in the field of affiliate marketing but there will be some need to go through a learning curve and the path to revenue flow will be filled with a lot of trial and error. But this is not to say that the data entry programs you have to offer are not solid products of real value to the customer. The fault lies with those who have gone before you on Clickbank and advertised deceptively causing such a high refund rate. Now Clickbank is "snake bit" and has closed the product category entirely. And that is a real shame. Some Seriously Profitable Clickbank Tips The "buzz" about Clickbank could convince you that you can virtually fall backward into money using this service. And while Clickbank does do all it can to make the major functions of buying and selling easy to do, it does take some savvy to know the insider tips to really make big money in this marketplace. There is no disputing that Clickbank is the largest marketplace of its kind in the world and one of the biggest hot trends of this decade in terms of internet marketing and money making opportunities. But success has a price which means that many of the big deals are pretty much played out and you have to go in knowing how to look for the good deals that have yet to be tapped. So a few seriously profitable Clickbank tips can help your profitability in this big marketplace along nicely. Your Clickbank ID is a central code you must have to put into your link. That is the one step that must happen for money to come your way. But you can be a bit savvy how you create that ID in the first place. One clever way to keep your ID from broadcasting that you are a Clickbank citizen is to use a more critic ID code. Something like research4u2 or profits2008 and excellent choices. These have the feel of an internet business and less of one person out on Clickbank trolling for profits. Having a website is a great step to maximize your Clickbank listings. By adding links to Clickbank so your website visitors can go there and use the marketplace to buy your products, Clickbank can virtually replace your catalog pages and your shopping cart with a much smoother operation that is easy to keep up to date and that puts your products into a broader affiliate market with no work from you as well. Keep in mind your niche markets addressed by your site. You might have a wide variety of products out on Clickbank but not all of them fit with the theme of your web site. So if your web site is devoted to musical instruments, focus the way you add links and don't include links to products that don't fit there. If you have products that have no home to be promoted on any of your websites, it's easy enough to set up a new one. If you are thinking about selecting a product as an affiliate on Clickbank and you want to promote it, you want to know that product is doing well in its home setting so you can capture some of that momentum. So do a little research on the websites that support the products you are thinking about. It's easy enough to run some keyword searches and to find the page rank of those web sites. That will give you an idea if the website owner who is behind this product is putting time and money into SEO on the site which would help it generate bigger profits. Never stop learning how to make your product listings on Clickbank more successful or how to become a successful affiliate. Make it a private study to learn how to spot products that are on the verge of a boom of success. This will take some intuition and some watching the market so you learn where different products, product groups or categories are going. Like a stock market at any time some products will be surging in sales potential while others are tapering off. It will take some dedication, creativity and even some courage to make bold moves to keep on top of your accounts and keep them profitable week to week. But if you treat your Clickbank management as part of your larger job of becoming successful on the internet, these efforts will pay off. Some Clickbank Basics You have to be somewhat in the know to even have heard the name "Clickbank" much less know what it is. This is funny because the truth is that Clickbank is far and away the largest internet marketplace for digital products and affiliates who want to sell them in the entire internet. That puts Clickbank in its niche on a par with Amazon or Ebay and yet few have heard of Clickbank. It just keeps running smoothly serving the internet community without fanfare. When Clickbank came along, it really stepped into a nightmare scenario of online marketing and smoothed out the rough edges. In the infancy of internet marketing getting set up as an online marketer meant you had to find someone to handle credit card payments. To do this you had to have what was called a "merchant account" with an actual credit card company and the requirements to qualify for such an account were out of reach for most new internet merchants just trying to get established. As an example, if you got your internet business up and running, you could not get a merchant account unless you were running a minimum of $1000 a month through your business. Of course it was almost impossible to get that kind of business moving through your site if you could not offer credit card payment so you were stuck. But from the credit card company's point of view, they were protecting themselves if you sold something online and there were a lot of refunds to be processed which made the entire relationship unprofitable for them. So it was a lose lose situation for the credit companies and even more so for the new internet marketer just trying to catch a break in the business. ClickBank responded to this market need with the business goal of creating a marketplace where sellers and buyers could work together selling digital products with greater ease to benefit everybody. And considering that since then Clickbank has grown to represent over 10,000 products and serve the needs of over 100,000 partner affiliates, they certainly have been a success in their business mission in life. They even stepped in and solved the merchant account problem by handling all the money movement collecting sales for the products they represent and distributing it to vendors easily and with no fuss so a vendor can quickly get a product out on the marketplace with very little cost or effort and see that product begin to return profits very quickly. ClickBank knows that to continue to be a success they have to make doing business through their marketplace simple and profitable for vendors with products and affiliates who want to sell those products. They offer a smorgasbord of tools especially to affiliates to study products to see which ones to broker and to see statistically which ones are already a success or on a trend toward greater success soon. For the affiliate this means a lot of help figuring out how to be a success and then tracking that success every step of the way and making adjustments to your product mix quickly and easily. For the vendor this means that affiliates have a natural mechanism to pick up their product and get it out on the internet markets quickly. That means quick sales with little or no effort in the marketing process for the vendor. This is not to say that ClickBank is internet marking for idiots and it certainly is no place for scam artists. The regulations for both affiliates and vendors are complicated and you need to understand them. So take some time when getting signed up with Clickbank to understand what is expected of you. Make no mistake, Clickbank is a marketplace like any other. Your product will stand and fall on its own value so you will have to offer something of value to customers. But as a genuine market its one of the best the internet has to offer and the huge success in terms of products sold and satisfied affiliates attests to that. Clickbank is About More than Just the Stuff Most of us think of Clickbank as a service dedicated entirely to digital products. A digital product by definition is a something you sell. It might be an e-book about anything from children's stories to an analysis of clinical depression to a guidebook to how to play a great game of golf. It might be a software package that makes life easier or a really cool game you invented. But by definition, it is "something". Which means that in that context, Clickbank is all about the stuff. One of ClickBank's rules of living for merchants lines up with the product only approach to the marketplace because you are expected to deliver the product within 24 hours of payment and preferably immediately by download. The method of delivery might vary. It can be by download, by email or by directing the customer to a membership site to download the product. Clickbank doesn't get into the details as long as the customer gets his product inside of the time window. While the variety of predicts that can be sold through the Clickbank marketplace is unlimited, Clickbank does not have any provision for selling services using their terrific marketplace tools. That 24 hour rule which is entirely reasonable for a digital product is really problematic if the nature of your internet business is a service you provide, even if the outcome is a product. A service is delivered based on a lot of variables that the merchant cannot necessarily dictate. Some services are continuous with periodic payments either based on milestones or on deliverables. In either case, a specified delivery date is questionable and to limit that time frame to 24 hours virtually out of the question. So many merchants have found ways to take advantage of the excellent marketplace infrastructure and the merchant account services of Clickbank to do business with clients that work within the 24 hour product delivery restriction. A good example is ghostwriting. A customer can contact a merchant using ClickBank's communication resources to make arrangements for the creation of a series of articles. But the actual "product" would not be created within the Clickbank merchandising system until the product is complete and ready for delivery. Then the customer and buy the product which is an outcome of the service and use Clickbank's systems to work with the ghostwriter. Whether you organize your service to be moved through Clickbank in advance or after you complete the service, the key is for the price to be well understood before logging the project into Clickbank. This is healthy for the business relationship between seller and buyer and keeps your nose clean with Clickbank as well. It might take some work to convert your hourly billed service into a fixed price product. But simply focus on the outcome. So if you work by the hour to produce a requirements document for a project, you can set the fixed price when the project is near the end and you set up the payment vehicle as a Clickbank digital service. Also keep in mind that Clickbank expects to see delivery. Your service may have consisted of a series of 15 phone calls where you offer expert guidance and advance in your field of expertise. So to create a deliverable, keep your notes per session and prepare a summary at the end that captures the results of your sessions as well as your conclusions and you can "sell" that to your client for the price of the total consulting charges for the 15 sessions. It really just takes some creativity and ability to not just think outside the box to work within the Clickbank box to offer your services as a digital product. But as an internet entrepreneur, being innovative is second nature to you. The Infamous Clickbank Refund Policy Getting a new product out on Clickbank is always a moment of supreme optimism. What we envision is getting a product out there on the marketplace that truly takes it by storm and is one of those big sellers people write books about. And there is not reason to believe that any one product on Clickbank might just get there. It's good to go into this kind of situation with your eyes wide open though and be aware that one thing can put a monkey wrench into the best marketing plan for a product. And that is the Clickbank refund policy. Now a good refund policy has to be at the very heart of a marketplace like Clickbank so people can buy with confidence knowing they can get a refund if the time comes. And since Clickbank is a full fledged merchant account in its own right, they can handle refunds directly. Unfortunately a refund policy that is iron clad is also an open door for people trying to scam the system. Even for the best of products with a huge army of happy and satisfied customers, you will be asked for a refund from time to time. That is to be expected. But when what is happening is someone is trying to get your product for free milking the refund policy from Clickbank, that's just wrong. The Clickbank extensive tracking system tells us that five percent of sales in their marketplace come back as refund requests. When you give a buyer a refund, you might hear any sort of complaint. Some of them are legitimate and others are bizarre. And others just won't offer an explanation for why they want the refund. For many of these refund requests, the odds are you are dealing with an unethical buyer. The problem is that all of ClickBank's products are digital products. That means your e-book, your software product or your music can be downloaded and paid for and then the buyer can ask for a refund, no questions asked. And because the product is digital, it's pretty silly to ask for the product back as they have a copy on their computer and perhaps copied to other computers. You can paint it like you want, its just plain theft no mater how you cut it. This is a tough problem to solve. Even if the entire Clickbank community banned together to fight the problem, about the only possible solution is pretty weak. A reference system could be created that recorded users who were habitual customers of the refund policy. Then if that reference system actually worked, you could conceivably refuse service to a refund policy abuser who had been "busted". But this is a system fraught with holes at best. A refund abuser is intestinally stealing product so they are going to be one step ahead of your tracking list. It simply is not that hard to come back into Clickbank as a customer with a new ID and new credit and your tracking system is out the window. It would be nice to come to the end of our discussion with an announcement that the problem has been solved. But that is not the case yet. Clickbank is aware of the problem and is putting time and effort against it. But for now we will have to wait until Clickbank comes up with a solution. But its still worth supporting a strong refund policy because that is what makes Clickbank a solid marketplace. And if you do have to entire a 5% refund but keep 95% of the sales Clickbank delivers to you, that still is not too shabby. More Than One Way to Wealth on Clickbank As is true in any marketplace, the potential for money making is diverse and always new in a place where merchants and buyers are always coming together to negotiate and make deals happen. So as an entrepreneur it's a good idea to have a fix on the various approaches to profitability in what is the largest internet marketplace in the world -- Clickbank. Clickbank at any given time represents over 10,000 products that any affiliate with the proper Clickbank account can promote and sell. So by becoming an affiliate, that huge catalog is entirely at your disposal to sell without the need for you to request permission or any formality whatsoever. This is the Clickbank agreement with the sellers which is one of the real secrets to success in the marketplace. Signing up to become an affiliate on Clickbank is shockingly easy and you can have an account. Simply log into clickbank.com and step through the process in a matter of moments. And you are ready to go. Now just proceed to the products catalog and work through the categories to find the niche you want to promote and the products that you feel have the best potential for profits. Next to selling as an affiliate, putting your own products into the Clickbank marketplace is an outstanding means to make big money. And setting up a product is almost as easy as becoming an affiliate. Your merchant account on Clickbank is a one time fee of $50 which you can make back quickly on the sale of one product that moves well. And the economy of Clickbank is you can sell 50 products at a time from the same account for that same set up fee. You are sure to make at least $1 per product to pay back that set up fee. Once you get your products set up and some sales logged, there is an army of over 150,000 marketers really to take your product and get it out there into the sale stream. That means that after you do the basic set up steps, you are out of the internet marketing game and you can hand off that little problem to experts who are skilled at selling literally thousands of units of your product. You don't have to do a thing. Just set a commission level which is a percentage the affiliate will make for his hard work and then just sit back and let that army of skilled internet marketers do their stuff. The money can just roll in while you focus on creating new product. Of course you can get proactive and not wait for strangers to promote your product. If you have a sales team, put them to work as Clickbank affiliates and they can focus exclusively on your products. Clickbank provides their outstanding marketplace structure and one of the best run merchant accounts on the internet to assure your money is collected and accounted for correctly and safely and delivered to you on time. There are other ways to pick up additional revenue as Clickbank rewards any kind of behavior that benefits the market. If you send Clickbank customers of the service itself, that referral gets a reward. There are also specialty Clickbank promotional concepts being created and promoted all the time like the Clickbank storefront. So keep your eye on the Clickbank newsletters and "What's New?" web pages because it is such a fast moving marketplace that you may find a new moneymaking opportunity out there ready for you to jump into and pull yet more profits your way through Clickbank. Minimum Overhead -- Maximum Sales There is an old phrase about technology that goes "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". That principle may be true of one of the many great features about the Clickbank marketplace and how they set you up to put product into their markets. When you want to sell in Clickbank, the process is pretty simple. You create an account like you do on any other website. And there is a $50 fee to become a valid vendor to sell product through the Clickbank affiliate membership. But when you consider that Clickbank has over 150,000 affiliates ready to pick up your digital product and sell it and that many of these affiliates are some of the most accomplished internet marketers in cyberspace, you are probably going to make that $50 back on your first product into the system. A mistake some new merchant make is to see a Clickbank account as a single product account. So if you want to put several products out into the system, the assumption is you need several dozen accounts. This simply is not the Clickbank operating philosophy. They want you to put as much product as is reasonable into the system so everybody makes plenty of money. After all, not only do the affiliates make money on each sale, you prosper and Clickbank takes a little commission as well. That those little commissions add up to big bucks for the people who run this very large marketplace. They know they are not going to get rich on those $50 start up fees. The fact that Clickbank by policy encourages you to offer many products with only one account set up is reflected in the way your account is structured. You can sell up to fifty digital products on Clickbank and do it all under a single account. This gives you the chance to take full advantage of your $50 application fee (which represents $1 per product being sold if you take full advantage of Clickbank). But it is also much easier to manage and the more products you sell under one umbrella, the better your ranking in the Clickbank marketplace will be. These are pretty compelling motivations to use one account to handle all of your product offerings. To fully take advantage of Clickbank's resources to sell a lot of products under one account, you should plan to organize the products to step around the Clickbank landing page facility. The landing page is your home base for your product which the affiliates who grab your products and sell them across the internet must have to link their customers to your product. Now in the past even though Clickbank encourages you to sell many products under one account, they only supported one landing page per account. This problem is being worked out within Clickbank but it has been a weakness of the Clickbank infrastructure worth avoiding. So to step around using Clickbank's landing page entirely, simply set up a landing page for each product outside of Clickbank. This way you also have all the flexibility in the world to make that small web site as elaborate as you want to and to expand and modify it because you are doing so outside of the Clickbank system. Your sales page is independent of the system so you can make it part of your overall internet marketing program which may include other approaches to the internet market such as MySpace and YouTube. There are resources both sold commercially and within Clickbank to intercept incoming traffic for a product and send it to the landing page you have set up externally to sell the product. But work with the system so your affiliates get the sale and are energized to create more sales so they make you successful. They are a group well worth taking care of. The Highs and Lows of Clickbank There has been a lot said and written about Clickbank and most of it is glowing about what a great organization it is and a great marketplace. But there is no company or even internet service that is perfect. So as you study getting involved with the Clickbank "movement", it is good to know the great things that this, the largest internet marketplace ahs to offer. But it is also to know the weaknesses of Clickbank as well. That way you don't have any surprises and nothing comes up to surprise you once you are an active member of the community. Clickbank definitely puts their best foot forward in taking good care of their merchants and their affiliates. And that is as it should be because these two large communities are the very reason why the service is such a smashing success. So without question the ease at which you can sign onto Clickbank, set up an account as a merchant or as an affiliate and be right into the middle of the marketplace makes this one of Clickbank's greatest advantages. The only negative about not only the ease of getting started on Clickbank but of the hundreds or thousands of glowing reviews and articles about the service is that it is easy for a "newbie" to come to Clickbank thinking that with 20 minutes of signup, they will be making big money in the Clickbank marketplace. Of course, seasoned Clickbank veterans know that the laws of economics have not been suspended in the world of Clickbank and the law that says "you only get back what you put into something" still is in full force even here on the internet. So there is work to be done to become really prosperous on Clickbank. But because the potential return on the investment is so huge, that effort is likely to pay you back handsomely. The customer service side of the ClickBank corporate culture is both their strongest hand to play and their Achilles Heal in many respects. Clickbank has done a superior job of setting up policies and an approach to customer service that is clear to the customer and easy to take advantage of. The language of their help pages is well done and Clickbank maintains a live help desk so there is never a time when a customer cannot get help to move to the next phase. So this is one business area that Clickbank truly shines at. The Achilles Heal which also comes form their zeal to offer world class customer service is the Clickbank refund policy which while certainly a great policy for the customer, it is one that causes endless problems for Clickbank, its merchants and affiliates. In context all products sold in Clickbank are digital products. That means a digital copy is delivered after the sale. But this also means that the very idea of a "return" is absurd. And yet Clickbank has an iron clad, no questions asked refund policy. This policy opens the door for massive problems because there really is no way to check customers who are buying digital products and then filing for a refund. That means that this refund policy is basically open season for shoplifting or theft on Clickbank. Any customer that wishes to can purchase a product, pay for it and download it or acquire the product and any product keys or codes needed to use it. Then it is just as easy to get a refund as there is that "no questions asked" policy. So that customer can virtually continue to get products, pay for them and then cash in on the refund. Since there really is no such thing as a "return", they get to keep the product free of charge. It's a virtual authorized and legal method of getting free products from Clickbank. It's a problem that Clickbank is addressing as best they can. One possible solution that will only work on some products is a follow up usage code. You can issue a temporary code to enable the product to work for the timeframe of the refund period. Then you can implement internal timings into the software so the customer must receive a permanent code after the trial or refund period passes. In that way if customers "steal" your digital product, it's only for a few weeks. But obviously this solution won't work for every product. Taking Clickbank to the Next Level The thing that is so great for you when you sign on to be an affiliate in Clickbank is also the thing that can be so frustrating about the marketplace and that is how big it is. With over 10,000 products available for you to promote, just the task of discovering them all and then selecting and organizing them, can be a real challenge. And if you have wrestled with how to get as much Clickbank product in front of your customers and still keep an orderly system you can work with and your customers can use, a little help goes a long way. As with a lot of marketing needs though, Clickbank has a way to help you kick your management of the huge Clickbank catalog to another level. The resource they give you is the Clickbank Mall which is a tool you can have for free that is a great way to organize product. It can also be a huge boost to your sales and profitability as well. There are extra profits to be made using the Clickbank Mall and promoting the Clickbank products using the mall concept. So this one tool can create various streams of income for you just doing what you already do well, marketing products on Clickbank. Because you can use the Clickbank Mall concept to organize the better products on Clickbank into understandable categories, you make it a lot easier for your customers to find the things they want to buy through you. The potential for commissions becomes quite lucrative as many Clickbank affiliates have reported up to 75% commissions and the ability to market thousands of Clickbank products because of the organizational power of the Clickbank Mall. One way that the Clickbank Mall is so profitable is that it can serve as a way to centralize the use of some powerful internet marketing tools that Clickbank makes available. When you set up a Clickbank marketplace, you can provide webmasters with a free Clickbank search box that will bring customers right to your mall to make purchases. Then whenever a customer uses that search box, you get a commission on top of your existing Clickbank commission as a direct Clickbank affiliate. It is yet another layer of profitability for you. On top of these benefits, Clickbank has an advertising mechanism that works much like the Google Adsense approach but it far more profitable because it is targeted at the Clickbank affiliate team and enhancing your profitability, which of course makes them and the merchants on Clickbank more profitable as well. You can use the Clickbank Ads free and they even better than Adsense because you earn a commission by the sale rather than just by the click so your take per sale is far greater than the tiny amounts pay per click can generate. The beauty of the Clickbank mall is that once you step through the process of creating your own free mall, it really will become your marketing presence that you can use as your total front end for your affiliate business. In laymen's terms that means that if you have been looking for a way to make a lot of money through internet marketing using affiliate sales but you don't want the overhead and fuss of your own web site with all the cost and technical effort that takes, the Clickbank Mall is the perfect solution. You can of course use your existing web property and expand the marketing value with the search bar and links that will make the Clickbank Mall work virtually as another page of your web site. But if you have been looking to get into internet marketing in a big way without the burden of a web site, this is the perfect solution for you also. The Clickbank Mall will generate a fully functional marketplace web site that can provide the front end for your sales and generate large volumes of Clickbank sales but still be presented to your customers as your web site and your marketplace. When you begin to get moving using this powerful feature of Clickbank, the money making functions that are still to discover will continue to convince you that this is a great way to go. And the more you exploit this resource, the more money you make for yourself and your partners. That's why this is such a great tool that Clickbank provides to its affiliates. Driving the Customers to Clickbank Clickbank is a great marketplace and it's worth the work and small expense to get your digital product out there because of the huge exposure it can get to a very large army of affiliates. But just putting your product into the market and letting it go at that to wait for the affiliates to do their job not only doesn't seem to be enough, there is a lot more you can do to make the sales of your Clickbank entries take off. So its just smart business to find the best internet marketing techniques that will pay the most rewards in terms of sales through Clickbank. Learning to advertise your Clickbank affiliate is just as much a big priority as it was to learn to market your website or products you sell there via internet marketing methods. And how to be a success marketing on the internet is something that is changing all the time as the internet changes and evolves. It's a living place and each year we have to stay on top of what works to bring the customers in. And in our case we adapt that knowledge to specifically promote our Clickbank campaigns combines the power of Clickbank with your own marketing talents for that one two punch to wealth. When you add Clickbank to your marketing plan, you have put a powerful resource in your corner. But because you are now listing on what is hands down the largest internet marketplace in the world, its best to go back and evaluate your entire internet marketing plan in light of what you are doing on Clickbank. That is because when you were driving customers to your web site to make a sale, it was pretty much a one customer at a time approach to sales which takes a long time to see real progress. But since there are over 150,000 affiliates on Clickbank, the more you do to make your product successful and drive customers to Clickbank, the more you can see the return on that investment come by in multiples of hundreds or thousands. It's not a bad idea to approach your internet marketing research from square one looking for advice and tools that are focused specifically on how to use your web site to create traffic to your Clickbank products. If the person behind a web site that is promoting training or tools in marketing for Clickbank knows their stuff, they can take your sales to the next level. As with anything else, networking with your friends who also are learning the ropes of internet marketing in a Clickbank environment is a great way to sort out the good tools and experts from those who are not going to benefit your business. In fact, if you are already involved in affiliate marketing directly with other internet merchants, you can pick their brains about Clickbank training and tools for moving product through that market place. That same body of affiliates may be your first Clickbank representatives because they know the good of your product line and they will want to see your efforts to drive traffic their way work out well. When you first learned internet marketing before you stepped into the Clickbank world, it took some work, some false starts and some real life experiences before you got good at it. This is natural and sadly your early internet marketing programs are not as successful until you get an understanding for what really drives traffic and what doesn't. But you are not alone in your objectives or your desires to learn to become an expert internet marketer and make the top ranks of sellers on Clickbank. And while those who have real world knowledge and advice to offer to help you get over your learning curve to become a Clickbank big money affiliate are probably selling that knowledge, maybe even through Clickbank, if that knowledge comes from real experience with the marketplace and grounded in both success and failure in Clickbank internet marketing efforts, you can learn a lot from the trial and error of others. But be sure the source you are taking advantage of is credible in that way before you plop down your hard earned money to get your moneys worth in knowledge that will more than pay you back for the work you are doing to learn to market on Clickbank. A Little Bragging Goes a Long Way Its one thing to have a great product and it's quite another to make sure customers know about it. And that principle is even more vitally true when you list your product on the Clickbank marketplace. There are literally tens of thousands of products available for affiliates to pick up and sell within Clickbank. And even though there are over 150,000 affiliates, that is a huge marketing environment. The literature about Clickbank would give you the impression that all you have to do is set up your account on Clickbank and get your digital product out there into the Clickbank market and, presto, you will see massive sales by the weekend. But if it was that easy, there would be millions of people on Clickbank. The laws of economics still prevail and this is a marketplace so even after you get your product out there, there are some basic things you must be prepared to do. For one thing, to make it in any marketplace and Clickbank is no exception, you have to offer a product that gives value to the consumer. For one thing, one of the most notorious problems in Clickbank is also one of its strongest customer service features which is the iron clad money back guarantee. So the one thing you can do to keep that well known Clickbank issue from taking away the good sales you do get is to make sure your product is rock solid quality and that the customer gets more than he expects from the purchase. Another very basic principle of marketing but its worth bring back up here because it is even more applicable in the virtual marketplace of Clickbank is originality. For your product to stand out, it has to have something to offer the customer that nobody else offers. That can be tough because the categories of digital products, which are all that Clickbank sells, are somewhat limited. You cannot sell a product that requires a physical delivery. It must be entirely digital which means you are talking about ebooks, digital music, online courses and software and games for the most part. Clickbank does a good job of providing a categorization system so people looking for types of product can get to it and then for a special kind of product in your niche can find you. But even with that, you are going to be "on the shelf" with a lot of other products that look and seem very much like your product. Finding a way to make your product unique and one that touches a need in the consumer that nobody else touches is the goal of any business. So look at the competition even when you are designing your product and long before you put it out there into the Clickbank to find that "hook" that will make the affiliate pick up your product rather than others like it and for customers want to buy it for its unique twist as well. But even if you have the most unique and highly needed product there is, its not going anywhere unless you shout about it. A little bragging goes a lot way in the word of marketing and on the internet, getting attention to your Clickbank product calls for a lot of bragging. It starts with your product name and the marketing description you use to make the product shout out right from the Clickbank marketplace product pages. Make sure the uniqueness of your product is highlighted in the title and every aspect of your description and marketing of the product. Never stop thinking of ways to promote your product. By making sure the world knows how great it is, you are also make sure that more people get to use it and your Clickbank sales are rewarding and profitable for you.
Tools Clickbank Gives You Before the world of the internet, you made money by offering services to customers. And part of what made you a success was a great set of tools. So to be a great car mechanic, you need outstanding wrenches and a good shop. A dentist has his drills and a stone mason his trowel. So we should not be too surprised that to be a success in the world of internet marketing, good tools will make or break you here too. Clickbank is clearly one of the real hot online resources to make big profits from affiliate sales but you still have to know your tools and know your stuff to make it work. Anyone who takes advantage of Clickbank wants to become one of the great affiliates using the system. So like that smart mechanism, dentist or stone mason, using the tools that Clickbank gives you to become a success will make or break you in this virtual world of sales and marketing. The ClickBank calculator is a powerful tool because knowing how to use it makes enables you to compute your commission on each product without having to have a degree in math. You can access the calculator at http://www.clickbankguide.com/calculator.htm/ Along with the calculator itself, this is where Clickbank lays out a table of most used prices so you can understand how the tool functions. With these starter tools, you can create your own price tables that will be your roadmap to success. At "template" is a common format that you can use over and over again in any setting to save you from constantly coming up with a layout for a letter, a survey or some other form of communications. Often webmasters use one template for all the web pages on a site they are creating. It's a great tool for standardizing what works and sticking with it. The tool set that ClickBank provides is a great source of such templates for you to supply to your affiliates or for you to use for your own internet marketing and merchandising. Mass mailing through email is the backbone of any successful internet marketing campaign. While in this day and age, avoiding becoming a spammer is a science in itself, that doesn't eliminate the need for a good mass mailing tool to add to your arsenal of tools you will use to reduce the work of running your online business. But because ClickBank knows that a tool to send out large amounts of emails to customers or prospective customers, they are there to give you a group email tool. One problem that can become a nightmare to keep straight is what affiliates are to be considered future partners and which ones are future competition or "the enemy". So a tool to organize your affiliate contact list can be gold when you get a large affiliate list which will happen when you become successful. In addition to keeping tabs who are already onboard with you as an affiliate ClickBank's tools helps you track potential partners so you can contact them before they become "the enemy". Better to join up with successful internet marketers and everyone work together to get rich than work against each other and lose. Keyword optimization may be one of the hottest internet marketing tricks of the trade to really drive traffic to your website. Keywords are what Google and search engines use to rank web sites so if you have your keywords "optimized" that means your web site will perform well on Google or Yahoo or one of the other big search engines. ClickBank can help with finding the right keywords to optimize so as you build up your online content and article base, you are naturally driving traffic online to generate revenue from your site marketing tools. Using this tool well is just smart merchandising online. This is just a sampling of the types of tools that ClickBank provides to make you a success. When you are a success, they are a success so take the time to learn to use these tools well and to discover the vast array of other tools out there from ClickBank so you can use convert this knowledge into online gold for your internet business. The Wizard of Clickbank If you are attracted to the huge money making possibilities of Clickbank, you are not alone. The affiliate marketing profit potential on Clickbank are huge and. But like any new market, you have to learn how to work the system to your advantage. The quicker become a wizard of Clickbank, the faster you will make some real money in the digital marketplace. Clickbank is in every way a real marketplace. As such it is a place where legitimate vendors offer real products that add value to customer's lives and purchases are made. Too many people see the internet as one big scam artist paradise. But you are not a scam artist and you just want to make a good return on your product and make a good living like anyone else. That is what Clickbank is all about. From a merchant standpoint, you will have achieved "wizard" status when you are selling a wide variety of product consistently. So to get started, shoot for putting five products into the marketplace. Examine the product categories to find niches that fit your product catalog. Don't be drawn to the categories that promote money making schemes as they are just that -- schemes which you don't want to be associated with by your long term customers on Clickbank. After you have your start up products to put onto Clickbank, waste no time in finding good keywords that will draw traffic to those items to get sales moving. Keyword selection is a science in its own right but you can use internet tools to find good keywords that have a track record of pulling traffic historically. Don't be afraid to buy or use such keyword optimizers as any tool that can help you legally make money in your business is worth using. If you can come up with twenty or thirty solid keywords that you can build your Clickbank marketing plan around, that's a solid starting place. With the keywords captured, now create articles around those keywords. Now we are not all writers but there are good ghostwriters on services like Rent-a-Coder that can kick out these articles for you at a reasonable rate. The writer may know keyword optimization rules but they are not that hard to get used to. Basically if the keyword is in the article title and then 3-4 times per 500 word article, that's pretty good optimization. There are a lot of good article sites you can use to put your articles into internet circulation and that will drive traffic to your products well if your keywords do their job for you. When you first are setting up for Clickbank, establish accounts on these article sites because you will use them a lot. Don't just rest with a few articles but try to get an initial set of four or five per product out there and then follow up over the next week or two, try to kick out two or three a day around each product using those keywords and get them into circulation. There are always new ways for you to get awareness of your product raised through various internet methods of promotion and you should explore them all. You can place ads on popular internet services to build traffic to your Clickbank items. RSS feeds and ads on related internet sites are also well proven methods of creating more sales for you. You can see that the "set up" for these various services has to be a part of your entrance into the Clickbank system. But once you are rolling, you will use them over and over and get plenty of good from your membership fees. And you will have a system you can repeat with new products as well and build your Clickbank catalog and build profits along the way as well. The Breakdown on What Clickbank Can do for You There are a lot of reasons that Clickbank has been a successful gateway to internet profitability for so many people. But two big reasons so many find success with the Clickbank system is that it is simple to understand and get started on quickly and everything in the Clickbank system works. It is such a well run internet marketing resource that a lot of people have turned to it as a payment gateway rather than PayPal or one of the other more well known funds processing agencies on the web. Clickbank does an outstanding job of handling third party credit card transactions. It really is a critical park of why their business works because Clickbank lists well over ten thousand products and is used by over one hundred thousand partner affiliates so that kind of marketplace has to handle money reliably and safely to survive. And because everything about Clickbank is digital including all products and the means of delivery, the accountability for handling payments has to be absolutely rock solid dependable and trustworthy. The ability for any internet marketer to quickly and easily become a Clickbank affiliate is another reason it is such a stunning success. It's simplistic to select a product from the Clickbank marketplace once you have a free account on the service which you can easily set up on their web site. And once you have that account, Clickbank generates tracking codes so it can tell when you have selected a digital product and started promoting it online. This means with the simple step of creating an account, the door is open for you to sell ten thousand products on your internet marketing web presence with little more work than that. Suddenly you go from a newcomer to cyberspace to the owner of a Wal-Mart of the web. Any marketplace in cyberspace or not relies on the meeting of sellers and buyers. And to be a success Clickbank also has to make it easy for creators of digital products to sell their goods through their marketplace too. For a seller, there is a fee to get started on Clickbank but considering that by putting their product into this marketer, it could get picked up by an army of 100,000 sellers, a $50 start up fee and a small percentage commission to Clickbank is entirely reasonable. And since Clickbank is replacing your routine credit card processor and handling all of those transaction fees, their commission is pretty much a wash. Now you just get your product into the Clickbank library. You might have to hold your breath to get a sale because you need one sale to get noticed by the marketing software in Clickbank. But once you are listed, the odds are somebody is going to pick up your product and begin to sell it. Clickbank tracks and records those sales scrupulously so other affiliates will start to pay attention as your sales pick up and before long you are making tons of sales being promoted by this sales army you never met and have no idea who they are. You don't have to know. They are making you rich and getting a handsome commission for themselves in the process. It's a beautiful partnership between strangers where everybody wins. Clickbank is a full service marketplace for the seller because you don't have to find affiliates or even promote your product. Just get it out there and once the momentum of sales picks up, it can snowball into a huge seller for you. The profits roll into your Clickbank account and on your regular distribution cycles you established when you set up the account, Clickbank sends the money to your bank account. It's just that simple and just that quick. Clickbank Refunds and What You Can Do About It The internet is not the only place that refunds is an issue to a retailer. From the perspective of the internet merchant, customer satisfaction is of the highest priority. Because competition for customer loyalty is fierce, you know that keeping repeat customers coming back is the fastest and best way to long term financial success in sales. So offering an iron clan refund guarantee if the customer is not satisfied sends a message to the consumer that their happiness is top priority to you and that they can shop with you in confidence. As customers, we like to know that there is a return or refund policy in place. We come to expect that when we get home with a product that it will be to our satisfaction of the store will stand behind the product and give us a refund no questions asked. Sadly even outside the internet, refund fraud happens all the time. People bring back stolen merchandise for refund to exchange what they took for money. There are so many scams like this that one solution the non-internet retail world has turned to is store credits so the money never leaves the store. Within the world of Clickbank marketing, we are faced with a similar dilemma. Except because our products are digital, the problem is compounded significantly. Clickbank offers an iron clad refund guarantee. But unlike more wary merchants, there is no "store credit" to protect store funds. And because both Clickbank merchants and affiliates must abide by the policies of the marketplace, if Clickbank gives a refund, so do you. The problem is there really is no such thing as a "return" when it comes to a digital product. Because you download the product to the customer, once they have a digital copy, they have it and there is no way to make sure they are not keeping it. And that little quirk of digital sales means that the Clickbank policy is pretty much open season for internet thieves and shoplifters if they chose to buy and download products, cash in on the policy and just keep getting their money back. While Clickbank is working to solve this problem, we need to know what we can do until it is solved to cut down on Clickbank refunds taking profits out of our accounts which we very much deserve to keep. The first line of defense, of course, is legitimate refunds because of customer dissatisfaction. Put extra work and effort into putting onto Clickbank only products of the highest quality so there is little room for complaint. That is part of it. But the other part is making sure customer perception of the product is accurate. On the internet, overselling a product is almost a way of life. We all seem to turn into infomercial merchants and we sometimes give the impression our product might be something it isn't. So go back to your web site and specifically your sales language. It's ok to use good marketing language on those pages. But be sure you are telling the customer the truth so there is no reason for them to have a case to say that you sold them something that was not up to what was claimed. Have others read your marketing copy and get to know the product so they can confirm that what is being sold is what the customer gets. By building strong customer relationships and building a community of repeat customers, you are more secure not to have to give refunds constantly. It's an old adage of business but the best defense against lost business is satisfying the customer. Other than that we can only trust that Clickbank will eventually solve the problem and just keep on selling and doing the best we can. Ebook Publication is a Breeze on Clickbank A lot has changed in the world because of the internet and nowhere is that more noticeable than the publishing industry. At one time the big publishing houses ruled the land like wizards from stone castles and any fledgling author who wanted to have a prayer to get a book published had to scale those walls. That meant a lot of talented writers and some excellent books never saw the light of day because the executives in those companies did not see a profit margin in it for them. Just as in the music industry where music distributing has been completely overhauled by the internet, publishing has gone through a similar revolution. It's a people's revolution too because no longer is it the large publishing houses that tell the public what they can or cannot read. Now good authors can get their works out there simply by producing an ebook. And merchandising services like Clickbank have completed the cycle by making merchandising, marketing and distribution a breeze as well. There was a time that the term "self publishing" created the image of some pitiful quack with an axe to grind paying one of those do it yourself companies to put his book into prepaid print to be sold out of the back seat of his car. But there is a new respectability to self publishing because so many ebooks have reached the public that were of just as high a quality anything the big publishers could have put out. And for the aspiring author, moving to an internet based business model when it comes to publishing your book makes a lot of sense. It is the ability of even writers just starting out to be a big success with online publishing that has made this revolution possible. And there is no doubt that the reason for that ability becoming so easy for writers to access is due in a large part to Clickbank. Clickbank being an internet marketplace devoted 100% to digital product sales and distribution is an ideal place for an ebook writer to find success. And by simply going through the well known steps for merchandising their works, an author doesn't have to become an "expert" internet marketer at all, just be good at following directions. Step one is simply to write your book. You, the author know how to do this and the merchandiser doesn't need to teach you your craft. A word processor any sort is a fine tool for the composition and you can put the finished product together as a PDF file or as a compiled ebook using a commercially available ebook compiler. Now to give Clickbank what they need to merchandise your ebook, you will need a very simple web site. This doesn't have to have dancing babies on it, just basically two pages of html that can respond to internet traffic flow when Clickbank sends it your way. After setting up the web site, just follow ClickBank's instructions to set up the ecommerce software on the site which will also make possible the payment for the book. That's all you need and you have the means to make a lot of money selling your ebook on Clickbank. Now you are free to play with that web site and make it as elaborate as you wish. But the beauty of the simplicity of the basic Clickbank system is it can work at the barebones level just fine and let you go back to do what you are good at doing and what you love to do which is to write. As you compose your next masterpiece, things will be happening in the marketing of your existing book on the market that you don't have to do a thing to help along. The 150,000 affiliates on Clickbank will get wind of this new exciting ebook product and they can quickly link it into their sales mechanism without even telling you it happened. That means that a virtual internet marketing army will be able to sell your book with complete liberty taking their small commission and bulging out your bank account while you never know who they are and you never will know. All you know is the market value of your book will be fully realized on Clickbank which means financial stability for you. And for a creative soul, that is a highly prized commodity. Picking Products on Clickbank When you are setting yourself up to be an affiliate on Clickbank, you almost go through overload. Clickbank offers 10,000 products that you can pick from to sell online, each of which usually offers a pretty generous commission. The problem is how to go about picking just the right products to represent. You don't have to worry about the merchants because under the Clickbank system, you can select a product and immediately start selling it and Clickbank handles all the commissions and interaction with the merchant entirely. The anxiety comes because there are just so many products on Clickbank to pick from that you could make it a full time job evaluating all of these products. So developing a system to "drill down" into that massive catalog to products that not only make sense for you to sell but that will represent maximum profitability to you is essential. It will be a system that will help you narrow down catalog of products you will be excited about and a system that you can refine and improve as you get more familiar not only with the Clickbank products but with the tools they give you to evaluate those products. The first and probably best way to "cut out from the herd" products that will work for you as a Clickbank affiliate is category. Clickbank has it's merchants assign specific categories to all of the products that are in the marketplace. That way if you only want to sell adventure games, you can find that category of product and then get more specific about the particular products that appeal to you. There are two reasons category will be a big measure of your success selling Clickbank products. One is that you know your niche market. You are going to take these products to a body of customers you know well. You know their tastes and they come to you to get products to fit their specific interests and the area of specialized knowledge that you share with your customer base. The second reason is that you know what you like to sell and what you are good at selling. You might flounder trying to sell self help courses in auto repair but be really good at selling ebooks about business. And the more you can combine the products you are going to sell with your particular market and your skills and interests, the better chance you are going to sell a lot of units and make yourself and the Clickbank merchant wealthy. That way everybody wins. Using keywords similar to what your customers might use to find the products you are selling, you can narrow down the selection of products to just those you would want to sell. But Clickbank gives you a wealth of information that can be analyzed to make the decisions of which ones make the final cut. You can sort the product list you have developed by popularity to find out which of these products is selling well for a large number of affiliates on Clickbank already. It might be easy to want to pick the ones that are big sellers for lots of affiliates but use some judgment here. Remember also that if a lot of affiliates have picked up those products, the internet may be saturated with offerings of that product and you might have a lot of competition for selling the same Clickbank product offering. Look at trends of sales and see if you can find products that are increasing in popularity but not peaked yet. Those will be your money makers. Popularity is not the only variable that can point you toward Clickbank products that will bring a good return on your effort to sell them from Clickbank. Note the commission level. As a rule only pick up products that offer a 25% or better commission. That means the merchant wants to share the wealth with and you will see a very healthy profit from the sales you make. Other variable limits should be that the product should have a percent of total sale of at least thirteen dollars or better, a 70% or better referral rate, low return numbers and a gravity of 50 or higher. By developing an evaluation system that combines all of these variables about the product under consideration, you have a great chance of picking winners and money makers from the Clickbank product library every time. Selling Everyday on Clickbank There is a prevailing mythology about the Clickbank marketplace that it is virtually an effort free profit machine. Its easy to get the wrong idea because it is a marketplace where if you get your product out there into the Clickbank marketplace, there are over 150,000 eager affiliates ready to pick up your product and begin to sell it. Those affiliates don't need to tell you that they are going to sell your product or get your permission. Just by virtue of being in the Clickbank community gives them liberty to sell your product. So in theory you could put a product out there and see its sales soar with no more effort than that. But even if you get some marginal or good sales from your products using that approach, you don't want to settle for marginal or good. You want to get the maximum sales potential you can from your listings on Clickbank. And that means you don't just sell one day and put your product on auto pilot. You sell every day on Clickbank and you reap the rewards in terms of higher sales, higher profits and a better rating because you are being aggressive about your sales. And when your products rise in the sales numbers, they get noticed by more successful affiliates in Clickbank and you get to a larger audience. It's all about establishing momentum and then keeping it. One way to raise your profits on your product has more to do with production than it does promotion. If you own the product you put out there so you are not selling someone else's product, 100% of what you get from Clickbank after the affiliate cut and Clickbank's fees are yours. You can either have the product made for you and buy the rights to it completely or make it yourself. A good example of this approach is in the marketing of an ebook. If you write it entirely yourself, you have complete ownership over it and all of the profits are yours. But even if you have a killer idea for an ebook that will sell like hotcakes, not all of us are writers. But there are starving artists out there on the internet job services who for a few hundred dollars will put together an ebook that will read well and deliver a great concept to your customers. And by having the book ghostwritten, you purchase complete ownership of the rights to the book and you can market it and reap all of the rewards all for yourself. Within Clickbank, there are a wealth of tools that you can use to keep tabs not only on how well your products are moving but on the relationship of advertising to product movement and how your commissions look to be sure they are healthy and not undergoing any form of commission theft that is sometimes possible in Clickbank. So part of selling every day isn't so much just paying attention to sales but to the variables of sales such as the success of specific affiliates and the level your product is reaching as a desirable product to promote. There is something to be said for simple positioning and learning to help your product move up so more affiliates pick it up. So after you get your product into the system, make it a major ambition to get familiar with all of the Clickbank tracking and reporting systems. These reports can let you stay on top of your product's performance on a daily basis and if you see change happening, you can adjust accordingly. That is the kind of dynamic product management that will result in stronger sales. If you see your product take a turn in the statistics that is not healthy, you have the chance to intervene and make adjustments or even pull the product if it's a serious enough situation. On the other hand, if you see a sudden surge in popularity and sales and a greater participation in the product, you can do your part to make sure the affiliates are enabled to jump on the band wagon and make your product successful. And while the subtle changes to how you position your product and manage advertising is not exactly selling every day, it is making sales work better for you every day and the outcome of greater profits is the same. Safe Selling on Clickbank In the non-internet world, retailers are always fighting a war with shoplifters and people who would take your product without paying for it. You would think that this kind of thing would not be a problem in an online world. But in Clickbank which is the largest internet marketplace in the world, one of the biggest problems is stopping people from downloading a digital product and then not following through with payment. Like any other retail setting there are security weaknesses in Clickbank as there are with any software environment. But with some proper caution on the part of the vendor at the individual level, you can find ways to plug those security holes and keep your product secure so every time it gets downloaded, you get paid. In reality we sometimes are our own worst enemies when we become Clickbank merchants because we do some things that undermine the security Clickbank already has in place. The first thing to recognize when you market on Clickbank is that it is off limits to put links to your product files on Clickbank on one of your other website pages. Don't try to extend the marketing by driving traffic to your Clickbank pages in this way. For proper security, the only way your customers should be able to download your product is after going through the normal Clickbank payment pages which enforce that payment is made before delivery. This is one very simple precaution to keep someone from getting to your content and bypassing the payment procedure. Another good reason not to put links to your product on your web site is that it will cause this back door to your products to appear on the search engines as links others can use. Google will find the links and index them and they could appear fairly high in search engine rankings and that is very dangerous for the security of your product. Some risks that your product page could get leaked are outside of your control. There are internet thieves who would collect your thank you page and product URL where and post them on newsgroups and forums devoted to underground theft of online products. The actual amount of thefts you might have from that happening is fairly small. The real problem is if those postings get picked up and listed on a search engine. Then you could have a serious security risk. There is one step that will eliminate the search engine problem which is the bigger risk of your thank you or product pages for Clickbank getting "out there". That is to contact your web hosting provider. They have a way at the server level to build a customized security file that is checked by the search engines to exclude certain files form becoming indexed. By adding the URL for your products page on Clickbank as well as your thank you page, even if those links get listed, you stop the bleeding in its place so the amount of losses will be quite minimal. However this approach must be used with extreme caution. The file that many web hosting servers used is called the robots.txt file. The problem is that hackers are very aware of that file as much as search engines are. And if a hacker can find that file, and they can, that opens the door for the locations of your product files to be stolen and then posted on another web site which opens the whole can of worms all over again. The best thing is not to reference those locations at all so if there is going to be any leakage of their location, it will be through hackers whose influence is minimal at best. That way at least you are living a clean life and doing what you can. And by watching the Clickbank FAQ and updates notices so you are always up to date on any new security updates they are putting in place. Sorting Out Clickbank The problem that comes up sometimes when creating an online business using the Clickbank marketplace is that Clickbank almost is drowning in its own success. For many people, sorting through his vast marketplace to figure out what product to promote can be a nightmare. Because Clickbank is the virtual marketplace of choice for any digital product that can be bought and delivered exclusive through the internet, at any given time there may be over ten thousand products you can pick from to promote in the huge Clickbank products catalog. Just going through that vast catalog can become your second life all by itself. And if you did try to sort, catalog and understand every product, your brain would be so muddled it would not be able to figure out which products are the winners for you to promote and get big money from. But at the same time, anyone who has been successful with the Clickbank system has done it by being a smart marketer and learning first how to pick the product that is choice for the market right now and then how to promote it to land big sales from the system. The first order of business is to set yourself up as an affiliate on the Clickbank web site. This is just getting your foot in the door but it's an essential step. It's easy to do and free at the Clickbank web site so take the few minutes you need to get yourself set up in the system and step through the easy sign up form and become an affiliate citizen of Clickbank. The first thing that will jump out at you when you start looking for a product to promote is that there is a small elite group of products that are clearly the most popular sellers in the catalog. You might be drawn to those on the idea that if they are popular now, why not cash in on the wave and get some of the revenue from all those sales. But keep in mind that a popular product also is one that is probably being merchandised by hundreds or thousands of other Clickbank affiliates. So the internet customer base is being bombarded with sales pitches for that product. Why join the flood when it may be already dwindling down to a trickle? This doesn't mean you pick a product that is not selling well just because it isn't on a lot of other affiliate web sites. The skill is to pick a product that there is a good market out there in cyberspace for that product but it is a market that has not been heavily "tapped" yet. Its tricky business and give yourself permission to experiment. You may not hit pay dirt with the first product you select. But you will make some money and you can experiment and learn how to select the right product over time. There is an "intuition" to any kind of market and getting a gut feel for what the internet market is going to want can happen but it's a gut feel that is developed, it doesn't just come naturally to you. There are some other factors of how a product is positioned and how it is already performing that can help with your decision. Look at the sales copy for the product to see if it is the kind of marketing tool that is likely to work. Read through it and see if it creates a desire in your to buy the product. If they can't convince you, it's probably a poorly crafted sales page and you would be wise to steer clear of the product. But another variable about the products you pick other than popularity or movement numbers is far more important to your profitability. You should pick products that pay outstanding commissions. A commission on the sale of a product on Clickbank can run from 1% to 75%. That's a pretty huge variation in profitability. A good guideline is never promote a product that pays less than 50% commission. That way even if your sales are not through the roof, you still make a decent return on your investment for promoting the product and the product owner makes money too. That's what this partnership is all about. Pricing your Product to Move In any marketplace finding the price to ask for your product or service that appeals to customers but doesn't cut you out of profits is a tough balancing act to pull off. Pricing at what you think you deserve for your work may suit your self image but it might mean your product or service will not sell. A big factor is the competition because if someone else comes into the market with a similar product for a little less, they can steal your market share. But on the other hand selling too low means losing margin which means at some point you lose money so why be in the marketplace at all? This dilemma is just as much of a challenge when selling your product online in a digital marketplace like Clickbank as it is outside of cyberspace. Clickbank doesn't set your prices and you will live or die in their market based on the quality of your product, how well known what you have to offer is and the relationship between price and value. All of these things are age old market principles that are unchanged just because our marketplace and our product has all gone digital. One school of thought calls for you to come in with as low a price as you can so you can capture larger sales numbers. Within the context of Clickbank, this does have some solid business thinking behind it. The Clickbank tracking system reflects the movement of your product quantitatively and that is reported to existing or new affiliates. So simply put, the more product your sell, the better it looks to new affiliates. This means more affiliates pick up your product out of the Clickbank marketplace and your sales continue to go up which is a delightful momentum to see happen. That kind of market behavior can offset setting your price low fairly easily. The other school of thought calls for you to set your price higher to reflect a higher quality product and realize a greater profit per unit on each sale. This may result in fewer affiliates picking up your product on Clickbank but the sales they do generate give you a higher return per unit. It's possible the outcome could be a wash so deciding which approach to you can be intuitive and may be an area worth some experimentation to see which business model works best for you. Much of the beauty of becoming an internet marketer in the first place is that you have so much more price leverage than a traditional merchant outside of cyberspace. Because your product is entirely digital, you operate at basically zero overhead. Once you produce the software or the e-book, production is nothing more than generating another digital copy which costs nothing. You may have some software costs for specific formatting software but once your infrastructure is in place, your only cost is the time it takes you to make more product. There is no manufacturing, no cost of goods sold, no distribution costs and with the Clickbank system, virtually no advertising cost either. This means you can afford to price your product competitively because you will always make a profit of some sort. Now the shelf life on digital products is not very long so you want to milk as much profitability out of each product during the months when it is "hot" and then pump more product into the Clickbank marketplace. But you still have the leverage to experiment with price to see where the proper price level for your product might lie. You do have to beware of adjusting your price too much on a single product. If customers see your price moving around, they lose faith in you as a merchant. The best way to "experiment" with pricing is to set a price on a product, track its sales and then sell a very similar product at a different product and continue to track and compare the results. While other factors influence sales, you can eventually develop a model which will serve as a solid pricing strategy. And once you have that, you are ready to compete in the Clickbank marketplace successfully for the long term. Making Clickbank Affiliates Your Own One thing many merchants love about putting product out on the Clickbank market is they really don't have to recruit affiliates to sell the product. Clickbank has some 150,000 affiliates scanning the product listings every day and picking up new digital products to sell. Among this army are some of the top names in internet marketing who could be looking at your product and picking it up to sell to their very large customer base. You would think that with this huge number of affiliates that you would be guaranteed some good sales if you put virtually any product out there. But believe it or not, it's still possible to list your digital product in the Clickbank marketplace and for it to just "sit there". For one thing, your product is competing for attention with some 10,000 other products. And the products that already have strong sales and good affiliate association are the ones that are in high demand. If your product enters at a dead stop, it's a hard to path to get it into the "fast lane" so the good affiliates take notice of it. Moreover, among those 150,000 eager sales people, there is a fair share of bad ones. And if your product gets picked up by rookie affiliates or those in the market but who are not skilled at what they do, your product can just "lay there" making you wonder what went wrong. So anything can do to draw affiliates to your product and to even recruit your own affiliates is entirely justified to get your sales moving in Clickbank. Many merchants remain satisfied to just allow the nature of Clickbank to bring affiliates their way. But to get aggressive and actually get out there and draw affiliates to you gives you some ownership of the process. Not only do you accelerate the process of becoming successful within the Clickbank environment, you develop relationships with affiliates and work more in partnership with recruited affiliates than you would if you simply relied entirely on "random" affiliates picking up your product and beginning to make the sales you need. Identifying new affiliates and making them part of your affiliate network takes some creative thinking but in many ways you already have all the resources you need at your disposal. Your primary objective is to build lines of communications which would not exist if you simply left the Clickbank affiliate arrangement operate as it is. The assumption of the Clickbank culture is that merchants and affiliates do better if they do not have to communicate because you can focus on creating more product and affiliates can focus on sales and not having to be accountable to dozens of merchants if they are promoting a lot of product. Of course, this formula does work in a lot of cases, particularly if your product becomes part of a catalog of hundreds of thousands of products for some very large affiliates who move a lot of digital products under the Clickbank system. But that doesn't mean there is not plenty of room within the Clickbank system for a partnership relationship between affiliate and merchant. You already may be in such relationships outside of Clickbank with affiliates you work with through your web site. That body of sales people is a natural place to go to recruit affiliates to sell for you in Clickbank. By approaching them to consider becoming part of Clickbank and selling your product there, you can sweeten the deal by offering a higher commission and the lure of such a large catalog of products there that they can become more prosperous selling in the Clickbank marketplace. The ideal situation is to cultivate a large body of affiliates, some of whom do sell your products "anonymously" and others with whom you are in relationship. You can recruit affiliates for future product announcements and by simply thanking affiliates who made your last product offering a success and offering to keep them in the loop when you put more products into the marketplace. By building a mailing list of successful Clickbank affiliates who like your work and want to know when you have something new to offer in Clickbank, you will slowly build a "team" of sales people with a good focus on your marketing approach and how they can join in your success as a merchant by seeking you out when you have something new to offer. Heaven For Small Business Starting a small business has to be one of the most courageous things a person can do. There are a lot of unknowns that can strike fear into the heart of any small business owner. Issues of labor, supply and demand and the market always are a concern. And even if you do all of your market studies and prepare intensively, launching that business is sometimes an act of faith. The modern era has opened up a new frontier for small business owners and that is the internet. But even there, risks exist and if anything the unknowns are even more exotic. Because the online marketplace is vastly distributed, estimating the market need as well as the potential demand for a product can seem like a cryptic exercise. In the early days of the internet, the costs of handling money and the resources to help small business succeed were few and far between and hard to use at best. That is why by comparison the modern internet marketing world is a relative heaven for small business due in no small part to online marketplaces and resources such as Clickbank. One of the ways Clickbank and other online merchant accounts smooth the road out a small business to get started is by making it possible to accept payments online even when you are just getting started out. Most online purchases are done with credit card. But, especially at first, to do business directly with credit card companies to accept payments online was a nightmare. They required a lot of capital and proof of the health of the business both of which are in short supply when you are just starting out. Clickbank puts all of that at your disposal for an amazingly low investment. You can join Clickbank for a simple one time fee of $50 and a small commission on each sale. For that they operate virtually as your online banker accepting payments, managing the credit card transactions and the relationship with the credit card companies and faithfully handling the money to be passed to you on a routine basis. If you are selling products through Clickbank, you might have hundreds or thousands of transactions per day from just as many customers. But all of that financial management and customer interaction is handled by Clickbank so you just offer your product and then sit back and collect the returns on your sales. The marketplace dynamic on the internet is as different from the traditional business model as night and day. Small business people must already be light on their feet and able to adapt to change and new things quickly in any market. This requirement of an online entrepreneur is even more crucial. The business model for running a business with Clickbank at the heart of what you are doing does require a massive paradigm shift in how you do business. But most of the ways you change your approach to small business mean giving up some of the aspects of small business that you probably won't mind giving up. For one thing, while you can always be actively involved in sales, it is entirely possible to run a healthy and very active and prosperous small business selling digital products to a huge customer base and completely give up the sales side of the business model entirely. That is because on Clickbank, as a merchant, your primary responsibility is to put product on the market. Once your product or products is "out there", there is an army of sales people called affiliates who are ready to pick up your product and promote it to their large existing customer base. By army we mean that a staggering 150,000 internet marketers are on Clickbank and every one of them can sell your product if they wish. There is no risk to you and Clickbank manages the relationships with this marketing army and the collection and distribution of their commissions. To take advantage of this army, you will have to grant a slice of profit in the form of a commission to the affiliate as his reward for doing your sales for you. You can consider it a business expense and even record it to deduct it as such. But because that commission will draw this huge and highly specialized mob of internet marketing gurus to your product, that is a pretty good use of a commission. Alternatives to Clickbank In a lot of areas of technology, there is a dominant player. We know about how Microsoft pretty much dominates every aspect of PC technology. There are smaller companies that dominate application areas to like Adobe for PDF file or Photoshop for photo editing. And when it comes to the internet and online marketplaces, the dominant power there is no doubt Clickbank. But it's good to know what alternatives are out there for comparison purposes. And possibly the biggest real threat to the dominance of Clickbank is a site called PayDotCom. Each of these fine alternatives has things to offer and some drawbacks too. But it is worth knowing what to look for so you can make an intelligent decision. There is just no question that Clickbank dominates the field for good reasons. Clickbank is far and away the largest affiliate marketplace in the world. So by putting your product on Clickbank, you could potentially see it picked up for over 150,000 affiliates if they notice you. That is quite a sales army to cash in on. An added benefit of utilizing Clickbank that makes it stand out versus PayDotCom is you can get this army of affiliates to sell your products far and wide and you don't have to pay them a dime. That is handled by the commission system which means you only see any money go to the ones that are successful and its part of the financial structure of the site. That's a brilliant way to organize their service and it has paid off for Clickbank and for the rest of us beautifully. A few of the policy decisions Clickbank has made are not so brilliant and put them in the negative side of the evaluation. The policy that is beneficial to Clickbank customers but causes a lot of problems is their iron clan refund policy. This is an outstanding customer relationship approach because it sends the message that Clickbank stand behind the products sold on the service. But in a world such as Clickbank's where the entire transaction and all products are digital, it pretty much leaves an open door to thieves and shoplifters who download products and then file for refund without explanation. PayDotCom is an alterative to Clickbank that has not been able to capture as much of the market. The commissions issue may be one reason their growth is slower. Because Clickbank pays the affiliates and keeps that burden off of the merchants who come to the marketplace, the transactions are clean and more merchants feel freedom to participate in Clickbank. And then because Clickbank has become the premier marketplace for digital products, more affiliates want to be involved which only continues to add to the momentum of the site to dominate this market. From the other side of the transaction, when a merchant wants to put a product into a marketplace and then go through the support steps of linking to it from a web site and adding keyword optimized articles to drive traffic to the products, that merchant wants to know the largest affiliate base is out there to take it from there and really get that product into broad distribution and sales. There simply is no better way to do that than to go with Clickbank. In a way, Clickbank succeeds by its success. And even though PayDotCom is a viable alternative, it's difficult to capture enough market to interest merchants and affiliates to switch. And until Clickbank makes some major mistake, which they probably wont do, that situation is probably not going to change.
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