100,000 People Want to Help You Build a Second Income Stream

Fortunes continue to be made by people selling information online.

If you’re interested in claiming your piece of the online pie, a great way to get started is to turn one of your passions into an e-book.

As a copywriter skilled in the power of persuasion, you’re perfectly positioned to be successful in the information publishing industry. If you’re considering trying your hand at publishing an e-book, you might be wondering how to market it once it’s finished.

About a month or so ago, I decided to find out.

I’d always thought the first item on the list would be to sign up for an online merchant account (or at the very least, set up a Paypal account). After all, if you’re going to sell online, you have to give people a way to pay for your product.

But I discovered there’s a better way to go …

There are companies that, on top of processing your online transactions, also give you access to a ready-made sales force that can potentially help you sell your product.

Clickbank.com is one such company. In business since 1998, they currently have an affiliate program that is 100,000 members strong, which you get access to once you sign up as a merchant.

This is a big advantage. Here’s how it works …

After you set up a Clickbank merchant account (for a fee of $49.95) and you’re ready to start processing sales, you can follow the easy step-by-step instructions posted on the website for listing your e-book in the Clickbank marketplace. This is where active Clickbank members search for relevant products to promote as an affiliate on their website or e-zine.

For example, if someone is looking for a gardening-related product to promote, and you wrote an e-book about the benefits of hydroponic gardening, the Clickbank member may decide to promote your e-book once he sees it listed. He does this by writing a sales blurb about your product and posting it with his affiliate link on his website or in his e-zine.

In exchange, the affiliate gets a piece of any revenue generated. You determine what percentage of the sale price you’re willing to give up for this new customer. (A 50/50 split seems to be the most common.) And the great thing is Clickbank takes care of paying your affiliates.

As time goes on, you could have hundreds (or even thousands) of people helping you promote your e-book.

For you, it’s found money … without lifting a finger, you’ve made a sale to someone you otherwise may never have reached.

But selling an e-book is really just the tip of the Clickbank opportunity.

Because once you become a Clickbank member, you also become an affiliate and can promote any product in the Clickbank marketplace through your own website or e-zine. This can result in a significant second income stream, since you can sell up to 500 products on one Clickbank account.

If you don’t have your own e-product to sell, you can still sign up with Clickbank (free of charge) and act as an affiliate for any of Clickbank’s 100,000 or so products that appeal to you.

So how does Clickbank compare to a merchant account or Paypal in terms of processing charges?

They are more expensive.

Clickbank charges $1 per transaction and 7.5% of the sale price.

Merchant account companies, on the other hand, charge around 2% in addition to a monthly access fee of $10 to $20. Paypal, depending upon your monthly volume, charges between 1.9% and 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.

But if being part of the Clickbank affiliate network can bring you even say, 10% more sales of your e-book, you’ll be ahead in the long run.

Depending upon your overall marketing strategy, it might be best for you to use a combination of the two services.

Because obviously, if you’re marketing your e-book to your own list, it doesn’t make sense to process those sales through your more expensive Clickbank account. Simply set up an additional landing page for your merchant account or Paypal account and link your own website or e-zine traffic to it.

Now, you’re not going to get rich overnight. You have to dedicate some time to it. But if you do a little bit each day, it won’t take long before you start seeing results. In six months or so, you could have a pretty good secondary income coming in.

Plus, you will have learned so much, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert online marketer.

Which just might make a great topic for the next e-book you write.

Additional Notes/Comments:

Clickbank has been referred to as a bit of a dinosaur by some of their competitors and even by some of their members. And to a certain extent, it is true. Clickbank doesn’t let you email your affiliates, their reporting isn’t as sophisticated, and they only recently announced that they would give their users the option of automatic deposit (versus being mailed a check).

I took a look at two of their main competitors, Click2Sell.com and PayDotCom.com. They offer much the same features, so I’m mainly going to focus on Click2Sell.

Unlike Clickbank, which charges $49.95 to become a merchant, signing up as a merchant on Click2Sell is free. (PayDotCom offers free sign-up for one product – and there is a one-time set-up fee of $29.95 if you want to sell multiple products.)

Click2Sell advertises that you’ll get to keep more of every sale with them. They charge $1 for sales under $20; $2 for sales between $20 and $40; and $3 for sales greater than $40. But you also have to take into consideration any processing fees that result from their paying you your funds. For instance, if you chose Paypal, the cost of your sale would go up anywhere from 1.9% to 2.9% depending upon your volume.

If you’d like to use your affiliate program to sell physical products, you’re out of luck with Clickbank. They only allow you to sell digital products. Click2Sell and PayDotCom both let you sell digital and physical products.

As I mentioned, Click2Sell appears to have the edge technology-wise. For instance, their tracking and reporting capabilities are more advanced than Clickbank’s.

The big edge Clickbank has is that it’s been around since 1998 and is pretty well-established as the main player in this market. Clickbank has 10,000 vendors and 100,000+ affiliates. As the new kid on the block, I doubt Click2Sell has anywhere near those numbers.

Another difference is that while Clickbank automatically pays you if you make an affiliate sale (and also handles all refunds), Click2Sell leaves it up to the merchant. To be honest, I’ve had no hands-on experience with Click2Sell, so I have no idea whether leaving it up to the merchants to pay their affiliates works smoothly or is prone to delays and other problems. But obviously, if you’re helping someone sell their product, they don’t want to do anything that would cause you to stop.

If you’ve had any experience with Clickbank, Click2Sell or PayDotCom, we’d love to hear about it! Send your comments to thegoldenthread@awaionline.com.

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Published: August 6, 2008

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