Seven Things I Changed This Year

December 11, 200821 Comments

Guys, I'm launching a membership site next Monday (December 15th) at 10:00 AM PST.  Just wanted you to be aware.

2008 was my most important year in marketing.  I changed a heck of a lot of things and actually took my marketing seriously.

The first thing I changed: a longer stream of upsells.

I've only started using upsells this year.  An upsell is where you sell a low-ticket item for $27 and just as your visitor goes to order, you give them a choice to either pay the $27 or $97 for a higher ticket item.

Even better, get the $27 order first and on the thank you page, give people the choice between clicking over to the download or giving you the extra $70 for the full package.

Attending seminars made me realize how short sighted I was.  Many of the attendees sell products in the $600 range and upsell coaching packages all the way up to $10,000.

As soon as I arrived home from my 4 hour flight and 90 minute drive from the airport, I changed many of my upsells that went from $27 to $97... to upsells that went from $27 to $97... to $197... and finally to $250.

I would bump the upsell to $500 or more but Clickbank has my price limit set at $250.

Do you have an upsell for your product?  How many steps?

Please fill up this entry with ten comments so I can share the next big thing I changed this year...

Clickbank vs. PayDotCom

August 7, 200836 Comments

Just to give you an update on the Clickbank situation, I've decided to stay with them.

Apparently, they WILL approve list building related products on a case-by-case basis (as a commenter to the last post mentioned), which was good to hear considering The Rich Jerk, Butterfly Marketing Reports, ListMail Pro, etc. were all approved.

Heck, one of the resale rights buyers to WordPress on Crack already has my exact product and same exact sales letter already listed on Clickbank.

Here's how to get your list building related product approved on Clickbank:

1. Make sure the product ONLY mentions responsible, double opt-in, CAN-SPAM compliant list building tactics.  I would definitely stay away from gray areas like buying and selling leads, tell-a-friend scripts, and co-registration.

2. Explain to Clickbank that the product does go into list building, but only for double opt-in CAN-SPAM compliant purposes.  You can do this in the "extra notes" section.

That's all there is to it.

Now like I said... I'm staying with Clickbank. I will still use PayPal for my non-affiliate sales (95% of my income) because my refund rate with PayPal is about 1% and my refund rate with Clickbank is 7.5%.

Dean's comment in the previous post said it best...

After reading the many thoughful posts it does seem that straddling CB and PDC makes the most sense.

Use 'em both but steer the big money to PDC. Use CB to attract new affiliates.

Mike Filsaime made a GREAT point that his service gets 1,000 new signups per day and he is now BEATING in his Alexa ranking.

Why Don't I Roll All My PayPal Buttons Over to PayDotCom?

Two reasons... one, PayDotCom adds an extra page people have to click through.  They click your order button, then are sent to PayDotCom, then have to click on ANOTHER button to pay through PayPal.  Clickbank also has a 2-step order page and that's always going to hurt conversion rates no matter what.

The next reason: Someone pointed out that when someone buys from you using PayDotCom, they get added to Mike Filsaime's list corrected: that information is stored on Mike's server somewhere.

A comment from the previous post:

My wariness about using PDC is that mike filasmie, who is technically the competition of many of us, would become our provider of services...

enabling him to:

know what product sell best
how many we sell
the NAMES and EMAILS of all customers...

Robert, is that a reason that would keep you away? clickbank, or other paykment processors, are not a competitor to you in the way PDCs owners are...

(I'm not accusing mike filsaime of using others information, just noting that the fact he COULD makes me uncomfortable.)

Your List is Your Baby... I don't want to send all my buyers onto his mailing list so he can outsell me.

I will put some products on PayDotCom eventually, but I want to get everything on Clickbank first.  At the moment, only 40 of my products are available on Clickbank.

The moral of the story: get yourself setup with the simplest checkout process possible (I like PayPal) then use "other" processors like Clickbank and PayDotCom to increase sales... use those services as funnels instead of your primary payment processors.

I'll say that again...

Use Clickbank and PayDotCom to Attract Affiliates.
Don't Depend on Them For Survival.

I have a script called Clickbank Switch that will show one button if Clickbank affiliates come your way, and another if non-affiliates stop by, but you don't even need a script for that.

You can setup separate pages like and then put a PayDotCom button on your "paydotcom" page, and send the PayDotCom traffic that way.

When you join PayDotCom you can get your product listed on Filsaime's marketing product review site, make your link go viral using Butterfly Reports, and get listed on PayDotCom's marketplace.

I have been with Clickbank since 2000 and it makes more sense to stick with what works and makes money, than to tear everything down and STOP making money, just to spend more time building it back up.

Keep it simple!

For you skimmers out there, here is what Clickbank will and won't approve when it comes to those list building grey areas.

  1. What if I were to explain co-registation, would that get approved?  No.
  2. Would a product that mentions buying double opt-in leads get approved?  No.
  3. Would a product that talks about tell-a-friend get approved?  No.
  4. Would a product that talks about selling e-mail leads get approved?  No.
  5. Can I mention double opt-in?  Yes!
  6. Can I mention single opt-in?  Yes!

There you have it.  The easy way to get a list building product approved on Clickbank: explain your product only deals with CAN-SPAM compliant e-mail marketing practices.  Here's the verbage I used:

This product mentions RESPONSIBLE list building, email marketing through double-opt-in email lists and CAN-SPAM compliant methods.

Was I right in choosing to stay with PayPal and Clickbank? (And in the future, PayDotCom?)  Please comment below and tell me if I'm a total idiot or a freaking genius.

Time to Give Up on Clickbank?

July 23, 200876 Comments

Resolved: I've decided to stay with Clickbank.

For years and years I have been saying Clickbank is an awesome payment processor.  People always complain that they don't add features quickly enough (like two-tier payments, recurring payments), but I consider that a good thing... it's always the same.

To be honest I already have my buttons coded to default to PayPal, but show a Clickbank button if my visitor comes from affiliate traffic.

The "straw that broke the camel's back" today was... they told me they wouldn't approve my product, because it mentions list building!

I have heard of lots of stories before from other Internet marketers because their sales letter mentioned list building or social marketing.  CB doesn't want you promoting stuff like this because they had problems with people promoting spam-related products.

They lumped it all together into one category, and double opt-in e-mail marketing done correctly definitely isn't spam.  It's very difficult to write any infoproduct on internet marketing without talking about list buildling.

I can also understand if they were to ban infoproducts that mention list building and NOTHING else.  I go into list building several times but that's definitely NOT the focus of most of my products.

Many people I know changed the phrase "list building" to "autoresponder building" or just removed the list building content from the sales letter.

I removed what they asked from the sales letter, but they tell me I have to remove it from the product as well.

What the F!!!  Maybe it's time to move somewhere else.

  • I don't have 100% of my products on Clickbank but for those that do, affiliates who refer people to my blog automatically get credited if I mention any of my products on the blog.
  • I store affiliate cookies for 365 days instead of Clickbank's 60 days.
  • I have upsells on almost all my offers, so an affiliate might promote a $40 product for 50% commission and end up getting 50% commission on a $247 sale instead.
  • I make sure to HIDE the non-Clickbank upsells when an affiliate sends me traffic.

Basically here are the pros and cons of Clickbank for me...


  1. Lots of affiliates -- no signup.
  2. I already have lots of Clickbank backlinks from affiliates... changing processors would screw some of those people.
  3. Automatic payment to affiliates (none of this mass pay crap).
  4. Easy affiliate links -- no super-long links like most affiliate networks.
  5. Clickbank Marketplace - high traffic.
  6. All my payment links are already setup for Clickbank.


  1. They don't approve list building products.
  2. Affiliates lose a lot of sales.
  3. Higher than normal refund rates.
  4. Doesn't allow squeeze pages (even if they are tagged with the affiliate ID).
  5. Waiting to get paid, plus they lose my checks and refuse to send new ones sometimes.
  6. $250 price limit for me and it can only go up to $500 (I have an $800 product in the works)
  7. Have to wait for product approval.

More pros than cons, maybe I should start bailing out.

The ONLY payment processor I would move to, if I left Clickbank, is PayDotCom since it's at the point where many internet marketers have an account already.  (None of this 2Checkout, AlertPay, iKobo garbage.)

Do you use Clickbank?  Do you use PayDotCom?  Would you make the switch from Clickbank even if it meant pissing off a few affiliates?

Please comment below...

Clickbank Allows You to Sell Physical Products

May 2, 200830 Comments

The other day I was on Clickbank requesting a price increase for my account. (So I can charge more for products.) Guess what? I discovered how you can sell physical products with Clickbank!

As you might know, Clickbank is a payment processor that you can use to handle payments. As far as I am concerned, PayPal is #1 and Clickbank #2. With PayPal you get paid instantly, but with Clickbank, you have access to 100,000+ affiliates to promote your stuff.

Clickbank handles all the affiliate payments and everything, and heck -- they even added support for recurring billing this year (membership sites) and an IPN so you can integrate it with a script.

The only problem? Clickbank only wants you to sell digital products. This is because they have a pretty buyer-centric refund policy and don't want to be like PayPal where it is a big issue to get the physical product back.

So with Clickbank you can have a membership site with affiliates, but no physical product delivery -- like Jim Edwards did with The Net Reporter. ($77 per month and in addition to access to the membership site, he mailed you a physical DVD video every month.)

Here's the loophole for selling physical products with Clickbank... I noticed the following in Clickbank's terms of service:

You may also offer shipped delivery of printed media (books, CD's, and DVD's) as a courtesy to qualified customers (e.g., US and Canada only), provided the shipped media is clearly complementary and not essential to the operation of the originally downloaded digital product.

After having a Clickbank account for 6 years, I never noticed that. What you have to do is provide your members with a hybrid delivery. (Coined by John Reese.) When someone buys this physical product from you, provide 100% of the content in downloadable form -- for instant gratification -- then ship the physical materials as bonuses, for added value.

That's what you should be doing with physical products in the first place and that's what I recommended to Steven Schwartzman when he was disappointed about the Five Minute Articles WSO. Sales picked up after he added the hybrid product delivery.

I am really resisting the push into physical products. I am looking at a gigantic map of how my upsells connect to one another (drawn in Visio). There are about 60 products in that map... not all of them are connected.

I showed that map to Steven Schwartzman and this is what he had to say:

In regards to the image...WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have nothing else to say about that except wow. It's amazing to see how many products you have when it's displayed like that. You can create a course on making those maps.

I recently recorded 4.5 hours of Camtasia PowerPoints for Software Secrets Exposed. This means now, not only do I offer the book, I also offer six 45 minute videos and six audio CDs.

The audio CDs are just the audio from the videos but it means you can burn them and listen to them in your car or whatever.

Should I have released this as a physical product?

  • Maybe set the price low at $17 just for the PDF.
  • They click to order, and have the chance to get just the audios at $37.
  • They click to order, and have the chance to get the audios plus the videos for $47.
  • They click to order, and have the chance to get the package for $97 as a set of 3 DVDs plus 6 audio CDs mailed to them.

There are some really good fulfillment services like SwiftCD where all the shipping info is grabbed from PayPal, but yet another drawback is getting my customers on my follow-up list as well for updates.

Could you please comment below and let me know if I should have released this update as a physical product? Have you yourself released a physical product?

Is it even worth the hassle dealing with the shipping problems and refunds... especially since with Clickbank, you can't get those physical items back?

Is It Possible to Make $5000 Per Month Writing Articles?

January 2, 200888 Comments

If you have big huge grandiose plans for your product launch, it's never going to get launched.

Here is what I would do instead...

Write a simple report. It doesn't have to be big, just 10 to 20 pages. Write a quick one-page sales letter for it because... it's only a report, right? Then launch it, price it at $7 or $10.

Limit the special offer to just 10 buyers. After 10 sales, snap it shut and close the offer. Now you have $100 in your pocket for writing this report... great, right? But it's not the big huge product launch you hoped for.

That same afternoon, write the next chapter in the e-book. E-mail it out to all your buyers for free (if you were really evil you could charge $1 for the upgrade... but I'd rather not have to try and juggle multiple versions of the same book). Then post another special offer with the upgrade book for $11... again, limiting it to 10 buyers.

These will be 10 new buyers you can add to your list. (Make sure you are funneling all these sales into a product update list... otherwise this strategy is totally useless.) Repeat the process. That afternoon, write another chapter, add a couple bullet points to the sales letter, mail out the free upgrade and then post the offer for $12.

If you do this until you have a 50-page report (let's say 10 chapters in addition to the original report)... that's:

$100 + $110 + $120 + $130 + $140 + $150 + $160 + $170 + $180 + $190 + $200...

Which equals: $1,650. But more importantly, it equals 110 proven buyers, and you can expect a good number of those to buy from you again if you come out with similar reports for that same niche in the future.

If you could write just one "article" (I like to call my chapters "articles" ... it makes them easier to write) per day for a month, that means you launched three reports and accumulated 330 buyers (some duplicates... let's say 200) for a profit of $5000.

You don't even have to write every single day. If you were ambitious and could pump out 5 articles in one day, you could take the rest of the week off... aside from 10 minutes a day posting the special offer and dealing with customer support.

Continue this for six months, and you don't have to do these incremental launches anymore... your list will be big enough that you can write a report, launch it, send an e-mail, and take orders.

June 2007 was my best month and I didn't do any sort of AdWords, joint ventures, article marketing, social networking, nothing. I made a product, posted on a forum, then e-mailed my list of 8000 people (mostly previous buyers... because they are the most responsive!)

If you are the kind of person interested in totals, I only launched 3 e-books that month... 7 chapters, each chapter had a video, they were about 50 page reports with 60-90 minutes of video. The book part took a week of writing one article-chapter per day and a grand total of two hours making the videos.

On June 19th, 2007, I made 362 sales totalling $3,058.72 ($2,850.02 after fees). The total PayPal sales for that whole month and the three products I launched was 978 sales totalling $11,420.30... $10,541.05 after fees and a couple refunds. That plus my Clickbank accounts and day job income totalled right about $15,000 income for one month... not bad for a 22 year old! (I was 22 in June... now I am 23.)

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