The Goal of Passive Income
The Holy Grail of affiliate marketing is to earn passive income – a steady stream of money that rolls into your PayPal and bank accounts. An income stream that you can predict and rely upon, month after month. A source of moolah that you don’t have to actually work for.
That is the dream, isn’t it?
How Affiliate Marketers Actually Work
Most affiliate marketers are lazy. I know I am. We want to earn instant commissions on sales made through our websites. More traffic equals more sales, right?
Well, there are several major problems with this business model:
- You’re basically hoping that your content is enticing enough to get visitors to buy something through your link – you’re basically selling to cold traffic.
- You may be hawking products you haven’t even bought yourself but they sound good, so they’ll appeal to your visitors, right? But how can you stand over something you’ve no direct experience of using yourself?
- You have no relationship with your visitors (most of whom are not repeat visitors) so you’re very unlikely to get repeat customers. Your buyers are more likely to be be what I call drive-by buyers.
- You’re not building an email list of potential customers and buyers that you can build a relationship with and market to again and again.
Smarter marketers are a little less lazy and use incentives to prompt visitors into buying from them. A typical example of this is providing oodles of bonuses that are worth more than the product itself.
However, many make the mistake of offering tatty, old PLR products that are outdated or practically useless.
Even if you’re one of those who does your best to provide quality, related, relevant bonus products, you’re still not building an email list.
Strange as it may seem, email marketing is still one of the most profitable ways of making money online.
Taking Affiliate Marketing Seriously
The smartest marketers will build an email list. This is a business asset that’s independent of the whims of Google (especially) and endless algorithm updates which can affect how your money sites rank.
The simplest way to build a list is to put an optin form on your website.
But what if you want to collect the email addresses of people who buy through your links?
How do you do that when the traffic is ultimately being sent to the seller’s product page.
One way to do that is to ask your customers to hand over their email address before you direct them to the download page for your bonuses. This approach could annoy some of the people who did buy through your link though.
Another is to simply add an optin form to your bonus download page. You’ll get fewer signups this way but it’s more customer-friendly.
With these types of franchise, your affiliate links are included in the emails sent out automatically to people who bought a product through your link.
With some of these, you get to own the email list and can send your own promotions to subscribers. With others, emails are simply tagged with your affiliate links but you have no direct access to the list itself.
A business-in-a-box is a great way to start if you’re a newbie to list building. All the hard work is done for you. There are no emails to write, products to research, blog posts to write, autoresponders to pay for.
Everything you need is in “the box”.
And while that’s working on your behalf in the background, you can learn how to go about building a list yourself so you can build your own business asset.
Passive Income Is The Holy Grail
But the prime goal of affiliate marketers is to generate lasting passive income streams.
This is the sell-it-once-get-paid-regularly-thereafter idea.
You’re not constantly hawking new products to your website visitors and having to write new content to promote those products.
Instead, you direct people to a quality evergreen product that provides real value or an indispensable service.
And that product will sell itself continuously because of its quality.
And people will be happy to pay for it month after month.
And you earn a commission each and every month for every subscriber you’ve sent to it.
That’s why membership sites are such powerful revenue generators.
But you’ve got to provide something that people NEED, not just want.
That brings me, finally, to Clickfunnels…
The Clickfunnels Affiliate Program
I heard about Clickfunnels, oh I guess about a year ago.
I didn’t pay it much attention. It just seemed to be another internet marketing tool in a sea of such tools.
Yeah, it built squeeze pages (optin pages) and did some other stuff but there were plenty of WordPress plugins that could do that too.
So I forgot about it.
Then a few months ago, I started hearing a lot of talk about sales funnels.
We’re all familiar with them: you buy a front-end product, get subjected to a number of one time offers, upsells and downsells and maybe get added to the seller’s email list.
The thing is, that now it was affiliate marketers who were building sales funnels, not just product creators.
And I started hearing about Click funnels again.
So I looked into it. Again, I had the same thoughts – why would I pay monthly for a service that does the same job as a WordPress plugin that I pay for only once?
Clickfunnels is the brainchild of Russell Brunson who’s been in internet marketing for 15 years. Over that time he’s created and built up several businesses (some of which he’s sold on). So he has a long track record of of success and coming up with great products.
So that was one of the factors that made me go with Clickfunnels.
Another was that he’s a very successful email marketer. In fact, what Russell doesn’t know about marketing in general probably isn’t worth knowing.
Since I’m always on the lookout for new products and services to promote, I checked if they had an affiliate program.
Well, of course they did.
Free To Join Affiliate Program
Anyone can sign up which was nice to see. I hate when someone charges you to become an affiliate. This is usually under the guise of “we only want quality affiliates” when it’s really about “we want your money”.
Anyway, the free-to-join Clickfunnels affiliate program pays a 40% commission.
If you’re used to promoting products from Clickbank, that might seem a little on the low side. If you’re used to promoting products on Amazon, it will seem amazingly generous.
Clickfunnels is a tool that requires real-world resources like web servers, office space, development costs and paying their employees a salary.
So while it provides a service to the online world, it is still a bricks-and-mortar business that generates all the expenses that go with such an endeavour.
So with that in mind, paying 40% commissions does seem very generous.
Clickfunnels pricing depends on what features you need. There are two orice points – $97 per month (which pays $38.80 in commission) and $297 per month (which pays $118.80 commission).
Additional Ways of Earning Commissions
Another aspect of the affiliate program is that if you sell 100 subscriptions, Russell will pay you $500 per month to pay for your dream car. This is in addition to the commissions you make!
If you manage to sell 200 subscriptions, then he’ll pay $1,000 per month towards your dream car.
Clickfunnels also allows affiliates to sign up sub-affiliates and earn a small percentage of the subscriptions they bring in. This doesn’t come out of an affiliate’s 40%. It’s an extra commission of 5% paid bt Ckickfunnels to affiliates who recruit other affiliates.
Russell is estimated to be earning somewhere in the region of $100 million every year. And Click funnels is a huge part of that.
There’s an affiliate bootcamp provided for affiliates as well if they want to get serious about promoting Clickfunnels.
I did sign up for that but got distracted by other things and ended up not completing the training.
This is a problem we all face in this business. So many products and services are released each and every day that it’s hard not to lose focus and be distracted by the latest shiny object.
So, yes, I fall prey to it too from time to time. 🙂 or should that be 🙁 ?
There are many associated products that affiliates can promote too, to ultimately direct people to Clickfunnels itself from free books like The Funnel Hacker’s Cookbook (if you’re looking for a free sales funnel template, you’ll find 22 of them in this free ebook) to DotCom Secrets and Expert Secrets (just pay shipping for them) to webinars and Funnel Fridays where Russell and his team will build a funnel for someone for free.
While I hadn’t subscribed to Clickfunnels at this point myself, I felt it was a product worth promoting. It provides a truly useful service, especially for people who are creatively more than technically minded.
And, since I’d only managed to sell one copy of DotCom Secrets, I knew I had to take a different approach to marketing the service.
So I started looking for the top Clickfunnels affiliate marketers to see if they offered any training. Two people came out on top – Spencer Meacham and Rachel S. Lee.
I initially was going to follow Spencer when Zach Crawford was recommended to me.
And after looking into what all three were offering, I finally decided to follow Zach and make him my new mentor.
Spencer offers some good free training but if you want to clone his Clickfunnels sales funnel, you need to buy it and the training that goes with it ($37). You can also buy the email series ($47) he sends to people who sign up to his free training optin page. Spencer also offers an in-depth affiliate marketing program, tied in with Clickfunnels, for $897.
All three affiliates offer you their Clickfunnels sales funnel for free. However, these funnels were built inside of Clickfunnels. So you have to use it to clone their sales funnels. They can’t be imported into other squeeze page builders.
The Clickfunnels free trial lets you test the system out for 14 days. That lets you use it to clone these funnels (as well as the 22 funnels in the free Funnel Hacker’s Cookbook) and see if the arrangement suits you.
The reason I decided to make Zach Crawford my mentor is that he provides a full affiliate marketing training program for free if you sign up to Clickfunnels directly under him or one of his students/affiliates.
That’s in addition to the funnel and the email sequence that you send out (it’s part of the funnel).
Zach’s training program is $497 if you want to buy it separately.
So Zach’s offering looked the best to me. If anyone signs up to Clickfunnels under you, using his cloned funnel, you get the ongoing 40% commission on that, not Zach.
If someone buys his course through your cloned sales funnel, you get a 50% commission on sales ($248.50).
Zach makes his money from people who sign up directly under him, from the 5% commissions earned from sub-affiliates and sales of his own training course.
It’s a well thought out business plan. It’s how to make a passive income.
Following Zach’s Training
This is what the Members’ Area of his Top Earner Mentor training program looks like (remember, you get the course for free if you sign up for Clickfunnels):
I’ve now been through about two thirds of Zach’s training. Most video training I watch is boring. It’s an effort to sit through it (I’m more of a reader than a watcher). But Zach’s training IS easy to watch. It’s informative and fluff-free and I find that I look forward to watching his next training video.
I did take up the free trial of Clickfunnels and now I’m on the $97 per month plan.
Cloning and editing his sales funnel gave me an insight into using Clickfunnels as a real user, with first-hand experience of using the tool and I do like what I see.
Yes, I can build my own funnels using WordPress, a squeeze page builder like InstaBuilder or OptimizePress and an autoresponder but it’s hard work interconnecting everything. And I’d have to write all the copy from scratch (and I’m not a copywriter).
Clickfunnels really does make building funnels easier. Plus you can import other existing sales funnels and just tweak them for your needs.
Only you can tell if $97 (or indeed $297) per month for the tool is worth it.
For me it was and I’m going to be moving more of my promotions over to the sales funnel model from here on out.
Sales funnels are far more effective in converting traffic into sales than blog posts are because they serve up multiple reminders to people about the product you’re promoting.
Plus, I’m building a list at the same time. So even if I don’t get a sale now, I might do days, weeks or months from now because I can keep marketing to that list.
And, if Clickfunnels ultimately doesn’t appeal to a subscriber, I can market other products.
The other plus is that the list I’m building is fully owned by me. I have full control over it.
If you’re an affiliate marketer, I recommend that you join the Clickfunnels affiliate program anyway. It’s free to sign up.
But if you want to be a successful affiliate, generating a smart passive income of $4,000 or more each and every month, then take a serious look at Zach’s training program. It’s one of the better passive income opportunities.
Many of his students make a lot more than that from promoting Clickfunnels and he’s made it as straightforward as possible to follow in his footsteps.
You can sign up here to get some free training which will give you a better idea of what he’s offering.
That’s the decision I took and his business model is what I’ll be focusing on from here on out.
I’ve only just finished editing my sales funnel and made it live, so I’ve nothing to report yet in terms of signups or revenue. But as time passes, I’ll post my results here, good or bad.
This is a change in business direction for me. But I’ve been stuck in my current position for too long and a change was overdue.
Filed under: Affiliate Marketing