Succeeding as a Clickbank Affiliate
This article is actually a great intro to being a Clickbank Affiliate. It’s buried in the Knowledgebase section of Clickbank and is probably rarely read by keen new affiliates who just want to get down to making money.
They really should read this article first!
There are many ways to be successful as an affiliate at Clickbank, but this article lays out the process that we have found to be the most reliable and sustainable while still being very inexpensive. Many affiliates try to skip steps 2 & 3 and go straight from picking a Clickbank product to immediately promoting it.
This makes it really difficult to succeed, and doesn’t set up your business for success, so make sure to implement the steps in the exact order they’re listed here to maximise your chances.
By reading this article, watching these videos, spending plenty of time working on each step, and taking consistent action every day, you have a much higher chance of being successful as a ClickBank affiliate.
The following subjects are covered in this article:
- Step 1: Choose Your Niche
- Step 2: Build Your Platform
- Step 3: Grow Your Audience
- Step 4: Promote Products
- Next Steps
Step1: Choose Your Niche
The more you focus your efforts on understanding one area, the better you will understand the needs of the customers in that area.
In this video, we share strategies and tips for picking a niche for your new affiliate business. Be sure to spend plenty of time on this step! Don’t rush it when getting started.
Step 2: Build Your Platform
Building a platform gives you a means of communicating with potential customers.
In this video, we walk you through the process of developing and building your platform, which will be the basis for growing your audience and promoting products to them.
Welcome to part two of Clickbank’s affiliate training.
In part one we talked about how to choose your niche and in this part we’re going to talk about the next step which is building your platform.
So first off let’s just cover ‘what is a platform’ because it may be a new concept to a lot of people out there, but basically just a platform is a home base for establishing your authority and building an audience, so basically it’s a site or a channel where you can start to share your thoughts and ideas, interact with people and have people come to listen to you and to see what you have to say.
There are several different options for how you can build a platform which we’ll talk about in just a minute, but basically it’s just a place where you can get your thoughts out there and start to build a reputation and send people so that they can get more information from you.
Why do you need a platform?
So let’s talk about why you need a platform as opposed to just trying to build an affiliate business based purely off of niche websites or doing free traffic or things like that. There are three really good reasons for why you want to build a platform. One of them is to have control of your brand and of your business.
If you rely completely on third-party sources for getting traffic and for sending affiliate promotions those can be taken away from you at any minute, so you may be you know sending traffic through Twitter or YouTube or something like that, but if they decide to change their Terms of Service or if you know a service decides to go out of business then you could lose all of the business and momentum that you’ve built.
So you don’t want to rely completely on third parties you want to have your own website or own kind of home base where people can come back and find you so that no one can take that away. It’s just a much better long-term play and long-term business strategy than relying entirely on outside parties.
Building Trust is important
The second is trust and reputation. If you have a home base where people can come and find you and it looks reputable and you know you have content and you’ve given people a reason why they should view you as an authority and an expert, then they’re going to trust you and trust your recommendations a lot more. They’re more likely to click your affiliate links or take your referral seriously and actually check out the product and buy.
And then finally it’s really the easiest path to success selling through your own platform or as an affiliate you know pre selling – it’s going to be so much easier than trying to get people to click on your links and buy if they don’t have a reason to trust you, don’t have a reason to view you as an expert and you’re trying to just interrupt their attention and grab their attention for a second.
It’s going to be much better if they’re already looking to you as a resource and they see you as reputable. So there are a bunch of different kinds of platforms that you can build. The first one is building your own blog on WordPress, and we’ll talk about this a little bit later, but basically on your own self hosted WordPress so having your own website you could do it, building a platform on Facebook on a fan page or something like that.
You can have a YouTube channel and that’s a great way to build an audience. Obviously these are third-party options but they can be used to complement your main platform which we’ll talk about in a second.
Twitter is a good option the purple square you see there is the icon for podcasts so you can build a great platform through podcasting or you could potentially build a forum and build a platform that way.
What we recommend is to take a blog and make that the centerpiece of your platform so you always want to have your own website like I talked about earlier to send people back to and there are several other good reasons for that which we’ll cover in a little bit.
The best way really is to build multiple platforms in multiple different channels and let them support each other so if you have a blog you know link to Facebook, link to your YouTube channel if you have a YouTube channel, send people back to your website, so make them support each other, don’t just pick one.
Now, one note I want to make about that is you don’t have to do all of these and in fact I wouldn’t recommend doing all these. For most people, until you really started building out and you have plenty of bandwidth to work on them you’d be better off building a blog and then maybe picking one or two of these extra platform channels to build off of.
So have a blog and a youtube channel or have a blog and a Facebook fan page where people can come and find you and interact with you rather than trying to do all of them and not dedicating the proper amount of time and resources to any of them.
The 4 key steps of platform building
So now we’re going to talk about four key steps in platform building. So the first one is to create a brand. When you’re building your platform you really want to put some thought into what type of brand it’s going to be, and how you’re going to present it to people.
So, one option is a personal brand. So some examples are Gary Vaynerchuk who’s huge in the social media and entrepreneurism space. Seth Godin who’s a really famous marketer and Jillian Michaels who’s a very famous health and fitness person. She’s a personal trainer.
The other side of things is creating a business brand, so some examples would be something like DealSeekingMom.com Fit Sugar which is a health site or Social Media Examiner which is the social media site.
So it’s basically – do you want your name on it or do you want it to be more of a, you know, sort of anonymous company and there are advantages to both.Obviously if you’re putting your name on it, it makes you very trustworthy and you can put your own personality into it a lot, be very likeable and you know people will kind of know who you are.
The disadvantage to that is that you would have a hard time ever selling off the brand or kind of removing yourself from it; it’s very much tied to you so you need to make sure that it’s something you want to stick with long term because otherwise you know without you the brand won’t really function.
With business brands it’s much easier to sell those off or to bring in other people to help you with them like guest authors or things like that, but you know it doesn’t have a face to it necessarily, so it can be a little bit harder to build it up and become likeable and trustworthy in things if you’re not putting your own face and name on it.
So think about that when you’re deciding how to create your brand also think about things like you know what style of brand do you want. Is it going to be fun? Is it going to be serious and businesslike? Are you going to position yourself as the expert, or are you going to position yourself as somebody who’s investigating and learning about a topic and sharing what you learn as you go, so there are a lot of different directions you could go.
Get a domain name for your brand
With the brand, the second step to building your platform is to get a domain name and to get web hosting. You are going to want to host your own website. Don’t rely on a free third party platform like WordPress.com or blogger.com or someone like that. You’re going to want to get your own, so buy a domain name. It costs about ten dollars a year, but it’s absolutely worth it to have your own domain.
It makes you so much more trustworthy and people will listen to you and take you a lot more seriously if you have your own domain, so when you’re thinking about your domain, there are a few different ways you could go. Again, do you want to do something that’s sort of brandable and unique, so that would be a term like Google or Yahoo that doesn’t really mean anything. You could go personal so if you’re doing a personal brand, you can certainly use your own name as the domain name, or do you want to try to go descriptive and build a brand and a website around the topic, and there are advantages again to each.
To brandable it makes you really unique you can try to make your brand into something that people are going to remember the name of, and you can be fun and creative with it. With personal there’s obviously you know, you’re tying that to your personal brand that we talked about a minute ago.
And with descriptive, there’s typically some SEO benefit to including keywords in the domain name, but if you go too heavy on the descriptive and the sort of SEO focused, it can actually detract from your brand because it seems like you’re just trying to game the search engines, and you know this isn’t something that you’re building because you really care about it necessarily.
There are some examples where that’s been able to work, but I would kind of recommend finding a hybrid or staying away from going purely SEO-oriented if you’re really trying to build this into a brand and something that people are going to remember and trust.
So a couple of recommended registrar’s would be somebody like GoDaddy com or Namecheap. Those are both good options for registering a domain name for web hosting. You can get a pretty inexpensive plan and I certainly recommend paying for web hosting – It’s really pretty inexpensive. It can range anywhere from three dollars a month to ten dollars a month. It goes up from there but those are kind of the low ends.
If you go with the least expensive option usually you can just host one website on it and they’re they’re probably going to be some other limitations. If you go for the next level up you’re going to be able to host multiple domains on your web host, so that can be good. If you’re building out multiple different websites or think you might and you can typically upgrade to higher plan if you need to with no issue, so if you’re just starting out to build one website you can go with the cheapest hosting and then go up from there.
So some recommended hosts would be somebody like Hostgator.com or Bluehost.
I don’t typically recommend GoDaddy for web hosting just because for some reason with WordPress it tends to run really slowly, so I don’t usually recommend them to people who are wanting to run a blog on their website.
Create your blog
So then step 3 is to go ahead and create your blog. So really what you want to do is use WordPress and this is the self hosted version of WordPress not wordpress.com, so if you are very technical and want to do it yourself you can download it from wordpress.org and then upload it but most of the web hosts and all the ones that I mentioned in the last screen have quick install processes where you can upload WordPress onto your domain name in a matter of seconds.
It’s really easy to do, it doesn’t require being technical so that’s the best way to go is to just tell them that you want to install WordPress and they can walk you through the process of how to do that, and it just takes a minute and it’s free, so that’s another great reason to use WordPress as your platform.
Pick a more unique theme
Then the next step is you want to get a unique theme. There are a lot of great free WordPress themes out there, so if you don’t have a lot of money to spend you can certainly look around for free themes however, be aware that because it’s free your website is probably going to look like hundreds of other people’s out there, if not thousands of other people, so the other way you can go is to buy what’s called a premium WordPress theme and these range anywhere from $30 to $100 or 150 dollars, but they’re going to be way less people that have the same theme as you they typically come with a lot of features and usability stuff built into it to make it easier to make a really nice-looking website.
So some of the options for that would be Elegant themes, WooThemes, Studiopress which is created by the people who run Copyblogger. Theme forest is another one that’s not listed on here so those are all good options to go and you can find really reasonably priced website or themes for WordPress that are going to make your site look great.
Build a Mailing List
And finally, step four is to build a mailing list from the start. This is one of the things that so many affiliates don’t do because it costs a little bit of money and they aren’t confident that they’re going to be able to get people to opt-in to their mailing list and it causes them to leave a lot of money on the table in the long run, so you want to give people a way to subscribe to your website for you to be able to reach out and contact them when you have news or you want to promote products.
Email works so much better than hoping that people are going to see a particular blog post that you put up or posting on Facebook or Twitter where it can get lost in the stream of all the social media stuff people have going on, so you want to build a mailing list as quickly as you can because as the old saying goes – the money is in the list.
That’s where you’re going to be able to really effectively and easily communicate with people from your platform so some of the options for mailing providers are Aweber, Getresponse and Eyecontact – typically these are pretty inexpensive the the starter level is usually under $20 a month. >Aweber I know does a dollar trial for the first month so you can get it going and try it out and start building your list and it’s a really inexpensive way to do it, so you know all in between a domain, a couple months of web hosting and getting an email provider you’re going to be somewhere in the range of 50 to $100 most likely, so for getting a business and especially a long-term business set up that’s really really inexpensive.
So that’s it for this video. In the next video we’re going to talk about how to start growing your audience so I will see you there.
You can buy your own web hosting and web design from a number of different providers. For a list of our recommended partners for web hosting and more, see our Partners page.
We typically do not recommend using free web hosting solutions, because you don’t technically own your website and can potentially lose what you’ve built at any time. It is worth investing a relatively small amount of money to use a paid web hosting service.
- Spark – Comprehensive Affiliate Marketing Training program for new ClickBank vendors and affiliates.
- WordPress – Publishing tool.
- Facebook – Social media platform.
- YouTube – Video platform.
- Twitter – Social media platform.
- GoDaddy – Web hosting.
- NameCheap – Web hosting.
- HostGator – Web hosting.
- BlueHost – Web hosting.
- Elegant Themes – WordPress themes.
- Theme Forest – WordPress themes.
- Woocommerce – eCommerce platform that works with WordPress.
- Studio Press – WordPress hosting.
- Aweber – Email marketing.
- GetResponse – Email marketing.
- iContact – Email marketing.
Step 3: Grow Your Audience
Attracting a larger audience means a larger pool of potential customers.
In this video, we’ll share the steps you can take to start growing your audience and getting traffic to your platform. If you’re not sure how to get visitors to your site, this is the video for you! Just make sure you’ve watched Steps 1 and 2 first.
- Twitter – Social media platform.
- Facebook – Social media platform.
- Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Blog – Online business resource.
- Nerd Fitness – Example online business.
- Love Taza – Example online business.
Step 4: Promote Products
Once you’ve created a platform and an audience, you can begin to promote products.
In this video, we’ll talk about how you can promote products to your audience in a way that will get you the most sales and make your audience love you at the same time! There are lots of great strategies and tactics in this video, but your success hinges on having done the previous steps properly, so don’t jump straight into promoting products before spending time on the earlier steps.
There are many different ways to get traffic, both free and paid. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Paid traffic, such as PPC or banner advertising, is usually more controllable and scalable. If what you’re doing is working, you can spend more to grow your traffic. It also has the advantage of being able to start very quickly, if not immediately. The main disadvantage of paid traffic is that it can be quite expensive and requires a lot of supervision to avoid losing money. Paid advertising platforms such as Google AdWords can also have strict requirements regarding advertisers and ads, so be sure to pay close attention to all rules and warnings.
Free traffic, such as organic search engine visitors, video marketing, or social media/forum traffic, can be a great way to get highly relevant visitors to your website without paying for each visitor. Building a platform that delivers free traffic can be a great long-term affiliate marketing strategy. However, the downsides of free traffic are that it can take a lot of time and effort before you start seeing results, and can be unreliable.
Your conversion rate is the percentage of order form visits that become purchases. It depends on many different factors:
- Where is your traffic coming from? (Free vs paid, warm vs cold)
- How well does your audience know, like, and trust you? This can have a huge impact on your conversion rate.
- Conversion rates can vary widely, even among products in the same niche. Things like sales copy, pricing, page layout, and vendor reputation can have a big impact on how many Hops it takes to convert a sale.
Because there are so many different factors that can affect conversion, there is no way to tell how many Hops it takes to lead to a sale. For some affiliates it may only take a few Hops, whereas others may take hundreds or more.
- Fiverr – Freelance help.
- Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Blog – Online business resource.
- FTC Guidelines – Legal guidelines on endorsements.
- The Rise To The Top – Online course creation help.
- Nerd Fitness – Example online business.
- Aweber – Email marketing.
Once you’ve gone through these videos and have a solid understanding of how to be a successful affiliate, visit our article on Using the Marketplace to start finding products to promote.
Enroll in Spark
If you want additional high-level training on how to become a ClickBank Affiliate, We recommend Spark, the only ClickBank-endorsed education platform. Spark has over 70 videos that harness the power of ClickBank’s two decades of expertise and is the best way to shorten the time between now and your first ClickBank paycheck.
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