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ClickBank Business Model Explained

By Los Silva

If you are familiar with affiliate marketing, you have probably heard about Clickbank. While not as well-known as the go-to affiliate network, Amazon Associates, Clickbank is a digital marketplace that caters for creators, affiliate marketers and customers alike.

Mainly focused on digital products from recipe books to online courses, Clickbank’s affiliate commissions are typically much higher than other networks. Many as high as 75%.

There are two different ways to make money using Clickbank— either as an affiliate marketer or as the creator of a digital product. Affiliate marketers can browse products listed on Clickbank and advertise the ones they want by publishing an affiliate link to their site. Every time someone buys through this link, the publisher makes a commission.

Digital product owners, on the other hand, can make money by listing their product in Clickbank’s ecommerce marketplace. Clickbank handles the sales and checkout process of these products, and also makes them available to affiliate marketers who can choose to promote them.

Customers can buy products straight through the Clickbank site, or can discover Clickbank vendors’ promotions as advertised by the affiliates.

Let’s dive into how this business model works for both affiliates and vendors, and explore how each model makes money.

Clickbank explained for Affiliate marketers

So if you are considering using Clickbank to promote products as an affiliate marketer, how does the model actually make money? In simple terms, you just need to sign up for a Clickbank account and start browsing products.

You can then promote the ones you want on your website, send traffic to your site, and watch the sales come rolling in. Ok so there are a few more things to consider and some other steps to take to make sure people actually buy through your link. We will cover this down below and start you off on the journey towards your first sale.


Let’s take a look at the pros of the Clickbank business model for affiliates.

High commissions

A huge pro of Clickbank compared to many other affiliate networks is that the commission rates are much higher. You will find many offers as high as 75% of the sales price although vendors can choose a percentage between 1% and 75%. As most products sold through Clickbank are digital, it means they have much higher profit margins allowing for these higher commissions.

Low barriers to entry

Signing up to Clickbank as an affiliate marketer is completely free. Brand new to affiliate marketing? No problem. There are no barriers to entry or screening process, so you don’t need reems of experience to get started. Just create an account and start browsing products to promote.

Regular payouts

Depending on how you choose to be paid, Clickbank offers regular, timely payments that are issued weekly or biweekly. They are however NET30 payments so you can’t claim instant cash.

International friendly

Not all affiliate networks accept worldwide affiliates and payout internationally. But don’t worry, Clickbank’s payment system is international affiliate friendly. It pays out to a huge list of countries across the globe. Just check the list to make sure you are included.

Thousands of products

There are over 4000 products to choose from across a variety of categories on Clickbank. Therefore no matter what niche you are focussing on, you should be able to find something that fits your requirements. Health and Fitness is the most popular category on Clickbank for example. Building an affiliate site in a popular niche could be a good, scalable option with plenty of products.


But what are the cons of the Clickbank business model as an affiliate marketer?

Many poor quality products

The downside of Clickbank’s low entry requirements for vendors means that alongside awesome products, there are a lot of crappy ones too. This means you may have to wade through poor quality products and low grade sales pages before finding your perfect product. It means there is also a risk of choosing a spam or scam product that you would rather not associate yourself with.

Highly competitive

As well as having to avoid poor products, this also means that the good ones are highly competitive. You might find yourself promoting the same product as many other affiliates meaning it can be harder to stand out from the crowd and make more sales. It is hard to find those hidden gems that are a good product with low competition.

Step by Step guide to making money with Clickbank

1. Sign up to Clickbank

Head to the Clickbank sign up page and fill in your details to create your free account. You will create a nickname and password. Make sure to verify your account through clicking the link in the verification email.

2. Choose a product

You can browse products through the product categories in the left-hand menu, such as Cooking, Food and Wine, Health and Fitness, Business and Investing or Arts and Entertainment etc. As discussed these are mostly digital products like ebooks, videos, courses etc.

You can also find subcategories to go through to filter further into your niche. Once you enter a category you will see different offers listed which you can compare with different criteria.

The key metrics to look out for are:

  • Initial $/sale – this helps you see how much you stand to make with each click.
  • Upsells – this shows if there is a complementary offer buyers may purchase linked to the offer.
  • Avg Rebill Total – this refers to how much money affiliates generally make from ongoing rebilling for subscriptions or upsells.
  • Grav – the gravity number shows you how many affiliates have made money with the same offer in the last 12 weeks.
  • Sales page previews -you can check out the sales page for each product which can help you predict conversions from clicks.

3. Promote your product

Now it’s time to promote your product.There are many ways you can do this, let’s take a look at some of the most common ways.

In-content links – you can add links to your product throughout content on your website. That way you will capture people when they are engaged in related content. Do be aware that this can look a little salesy and forced so may not be able to expect high conversions.
Banners – You can also choose to add banners to your website. If your products match the interests of your website visitors then adding banners can have success.

Review articles – Writing reviews probably the most effective way to promote products as you can capture people that are already looking to buy.

4. Get paid

Once you have started making cash, it is time to get paid. Payments are issued regularly with a minimum payment threshold of $10. They can be paid via any of the following methods:

  • Check – these are mailed to your address
  • Direct Deposit – these usually take 1 or 2 days
  • Wire Transfer – these can take up to 5 days
  • Payoneer – an international service for transferring money

Clickbank tips for affiliates

So we’ve seen how it works, and explored the pros of cons, but how can you make sure that the products you promote will actually sell?

Choose products wisely

Choosing the right product is key to making sales in any business. You need to choose a product that people actually want and build a website that offers relevant content for this type of product. Research the type of products that people in your niche are looking for.

Try checking relevant Facebook groups to see what people are posting. When browsing products on Clickbank, check web reviews of the product from different places to see how popular and trusted the product is.

Going for the offer with the highest price per sale is not always the safest way to make most money. Look for offers that will have the best conversion rates, as these will likely make you more money in the long run. A good rule of thumb is to look for cheap offers with upsells, as these can lead to selling higher ticket items down the line.

Also look for offers with a high gravity number as this shows many other affiliates are having success with this offer. A high rebill price is also a great bonus, as it means you can keep making money from one sale in the future.

Build an email list

People don’t like being sold to. Therefore building out an email list can be a less invasive way to market products instead. Leave the sales pitches off your sites main page, instead offering free lead magnets to capture people’s email addresses.

Then you can create an email marketing sales funnel or a newsletter to send your email list valuable content on key topics in the niche and subtly market products to them.

Boost to your site

More traffic means more sales. This is why driving more traffic to your site is important for making money with Clickbank. What are some good ways to do this?

  • SEO – optimize your site by identifying and targeting relevant keywords with the content you publish. More specific, long tail keywords are particularly effective as they do not have as much competition. A great free way to send targeted, organic traffic to your site.
  • Social Media – try using social networks like Facebook to send traffic to your site. Paid traffic through Facebook ads is a fairly cost effective way to send traffic your way. Or for a more evergreen traffic source try creating a free Facebook fan page that links to your site. You can even create a Youtube channel based on content that will be interesting to your niche which can also become an evergreen traffic source.

Upgrade to your own offer

Once you have had some consistent success with a particular product and are making more than a thousand dollars each month, you may consider swapping it out for your own offer. Make use of this highly targeted traffic and create and sell something similar. This way, without too much extra work, you can keep 100% of profits.

Selling an affiliate website

If you own an affiliate site and are thinking of selling it, what is the best way to maximize the price? The most desirable sites for buyers will be sites that produce high quality content, receive high levels of traffic and are thought of as an authority in the niche. Make sure your content is authentic, valuable and highly optimized so that you can create a loyal customer base to pass on to a buyer.

Clickbank explained for Product Owners

If you are the creator of an e-book, video and software program or other digital product, then you may choose to use Clickbank’s marketplace to sell your own products. It is also a great way to have affiliate marketers promote them for you. These days Clickbank has expanded to accept some physical products too as well as recurring products such as subscriptions. There are guidelines around which physical products are allowed so make sure to check these out.


What are the pros of becoming a vendor on Clickbank and joining the marketplace?

Set your own commission

One great aspect is that you can choose the commission you will pay to affiliate marketers. You can go from as low as 1% to as high as 75%. This allows you control over your earnings, but remember that affiliate marketers will be drawn to the highest percentages.

Increase product visibility

With access to a network of over 100,000 active affiliates, you are opening yourself up to endless opportunities for exposure. The more your site shows up on different websites the more attention and reputation it will gain. This is a very low risk method as you do not pay anything out until a sale is made.

Generate leads

While every click of an affiliate link will not lead to a sale, having your product be promoted by affiliates will drive traffic to your site or landing page. This can be a great opportunity for you to generate leads. Try adding free lead magnets to your site which will turn one click into infinite future marketing opportunities.

Clickbank deals with sales for you

Clickbank also sells products through their site. Once your product is listed Clickbank will take care of the sales and checkout process for you allowing you to sit back and relax.


And what about the negatives?

High costs

As a vendor you do have to pay fairly high costs as part of the Clickbank marketplace. As well as the upfront payment of $49.95 to create an account, Clickbank also takes a 7.5% percentage plus $1 for every sale you make.

As well as the big percentage you will pay to the affiliate that promoted it. There is also a Clickbank processing fee of $2.50 for cash withdrawals and $0.50 or $1 for returns. There are plenty of other affiliate networks to explore that have significantly lower costs, if any at all.

Step by Step guide to making money

1. Register as a vendor

The first thing you need to do to get started on Clickbank as a vendor is create an account. As a vendor you will have to pay the one-off activation fee of $49.95. Any additional account will only set you back $29.95.

2. List your products

The next step is listing your products. Before doing this you must make sure you have all your legal documentation, copyright in order for your product as well as making sure it complies with all local regulations. You can then list your products which will be submitted to Clickbank for approval. Authorization can take 3 to 5 days.

3. Create and optimize your sales page

It is important to have a streamlined and effective landing page to convert as much traffic as possible into sales. Keep it clean and clear so people trust it and do not get distracted.

4. Get paid

Once you or your affiliates start selling your product, then all you need to do is receive payment. Check the affiliate model above for the payout methods Clickbank offers.

Clickbank tips for creators

Create products people want

If you are an author or an infopreneur who wants to sell a product through Clickbank, you need to create a product people actually want. That is also attractive to affiliates. Try surveying people in the niche or existing customers to get ideas for new products.

Research products that provide answers to the problems that people need solving. You can even give out free copies of the product to people who filled in your survey as a way to gain some initial testimonials.

Offer upsells or subscriptions

If you have a product registered on Clickbank, take advantage of your customer’s interest and commitment and offer them an upsell. An upsell refers to selling a related product to a customer and around 20% of people will usually buy this. Which certainly makes it worthwhile.

If you offer a particular upsell with a product, affiliates will be more tempted to promote your product as it can mean more revenue for them too. You can also offer continuity programs. These refer to things like subscriptions or ongoing memberships and mean you can claim a recurring income from just one sale.


So whether you are looking to build a stellar affiliate website or become an uber-vendor on Clickbank, it’s time to take the leap. The Clickbank business model has a lot of potentials to generate low maintenance, passive income. Is it the model for you?

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