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September 2005
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September 13, 2005

Free and Easy Split-Testing With ClickBank

Category: Internet Marketing, Webmasters/Web Design, ClickBank — Answers 2000 @ 5:31 am

Imagine, you’re selling your eBook or downloadable product using ClickBank. You think you can improve your sales letter (and thus convert more of your visitors into customers), but you’re not really sure whether your changes will be improvements or not. So you need to test. Now you can find all sorts of complicated software for split testing, but if your web host supports PHP, I can show you a dead easy way to do it, that doesn’t cost a penny.

  1. Imagine your existing sales letter is called index.html, first rename it to index1.html
  2. Next make the variants of your sales letter. called index2.html, index3.html, etc. (at least one, but as many as you want)
  3. In each of these variants, include a sales link to sell a different ClickBank product. For example, index1.html sells ClickBank product 1, index2.html sells ClickBank product 2, etc.
  4. In your account, you can set the thankyou pages for each of your ClickBank products to the exact same URL (after all the customer will get the same product regardless of which particular sales letter they see). You can set the price of the products to all be the same, or if you’re split testing different prices, vary the prices between the products.
  5. And now the clever bit…. you create a PHP script that displays each of the different sales pages at random.

Start Notepad, and enter the following:
$npages = 2 ; // change 2 to the number of sales pages you have
$n = ( time() % $npages ) ;
include ( ‘index’ . ($n+1) . ‘.html’ ) ;

Now save the file as index.php (if you are using a version of Windows prior to Windows XP, you will need to type the name in the Save As dialog as “index.php” including the quotes, or else your file will be named index.php.txt).

Now upload your index.php to your site.

If you visit your site’s main URL, you should now see one of your sales pages loaded at random. If you click Refresh in your browser, different pages, should randomly rotate in (sometimes you’ll get the same page, sometimes you’ll get a different page). But the chance of any of the page being loaded is the equal.

And the result? As you run it, you’ll be able to see which version of the sales letter performs better, because its corresponding product number will occur more often in your ClickBank stats.

What should/could you test?

  • Different headlines
  • Different colors
  • Different sales letters
  • Different prices
  • Different guarantees

Vary one thing at a time, and eventually you’ll find the sales letter which converts best, and therefore makes the most money for you.

Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:

• • •

September 9, 2005

What font should I use for my web site or eBook?

Category: eBook Marketing & Publishing, Webmasters/Web Design — Answers 2000 @ 3:37 am

This post was sparked by a discussion on our forum. Of course, everybody’s opinion is going to differ, but here’s my 2 cents…

If you are publishing and expect people to read on their computer (web pages or most EXE format eBooks), I personally would never use Times Roman. The reason is that many traditional fonts looking either jagged (older Windows systems) or fuzzy (new Windows system) at smallish sizes on screen - well at least to my eyes. Read this article to understand why.

Another consideration for on screen publishing, is if you use exotic fonts, that you have on your system, users may not have them on their system and the page can end up displaying totally different on their systems.

Verdana is probably the best choice for on-screen, as it’s clear even at small point sizes in this use (it was designed specifically for on-screen use), and is available on pretty much all Windows PCs. Unfortunately it does tend to be wide (meaning it’s not always suitable for packing into a menu or small space) and doesn’t look so great at larger point sizes. This is one reason why a lot of web pages use Arial.

If you are printing the eBook out, or expect people to print out, then choice of font is much more flexible, because prints are usually much higher resolution. I actually kind of like Times Roman in this format.

A general rule of typography is not to mix too many fonts.

Traditional wisdom is to use a Serif typeface for small text, and a Sans Serif typeface for headlines etc. You do see many print publications (even broadsheet newspapers!) breaking this “rule”, and even more professional online publications breaking it, but it’s still a good rule of thumb if you’re totally lost about what design to follow.

Disagree? Comments? Head on over to our forum and tell me what you think.


• • •

What is a Blog and why how does it help you promote your web site?

Category: Internet Marketing, Webmasters/Web Design — Answers 2000 @ 12:18 am

This is a pretty basic question, but one that a lot of folks don’t know the answer to… it’s quite possible to even be a very successful webmaster or even an SEO expert and not have the faintest idea what this blogging craze is all about.

In this piece I’m going to concentrate on the commercial aspects of why blogs are important - rather than the fact they allow non-technical people to publish news/information web sites (which is another important aspect of blogs)

First the basics: A blog is kind of like having your own news web site, where you can post stories using blogging software (rather than creating HTML pages manually).

Most blogs allow you to have visitors participate in discussions/comments after each story, although this can be usually turned off if you prefer. We’ve turned off comments on this blog.

So why are blogs important for promoting your site or online business?

The key things are:

  1. Blogs have an RSS news feed. This allows people with newsreader software/services to pick up (”subscribe”) and other sites to pick up and potentially even republish (”syndicate”), your latest stories.
  2. Blogs have a “ping” mechanism. This notifies various services that you have posted a new story and allows them to quickly (often immediately) spider it and add it to their indexes. This is in contrast to the traditional SEO marketing method where you have to wait (often weeks if not months) for a search engine spider to periodically visit your site, and hope that it spots changes and indexes them.

Compare our main company site - www.ans2000.com versus our company blog - blog.ans2000.com.

There are three important differences to note:

  1. The pages at www.ans2000.com are built by hand using HTML. Whereas the pages at blog.ans2000.com are built using the blogging software. Notice the calendar, archive functions, the organization of stories into categories in the blog? All that stuff is maintained totally automatically by the blogging software whenever we post a new story. We don’t even have to do 1 second’s worth of work to get these features.
  2. Notice the RSS buttons (”chicklets”) on the blog. They allow people with newsreader software/services to subscribe and be notified of updates to our blog.
  3. If you click the top “XML” button on the blog, you can even see what is in the RSS feed (which is what news readers and syndicators use). It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to the average person looking at in a web browser, but news readers and syndicators can understand all that code and those funny XML tags, and make use of them as noted above.
  4. You can’t see it, but when we post a new story via the blogging software and hit “Publish”, the blogging software automatically notifies (”pings”) a whole of bunch of services that our blog has been updated, telling them that the new story should be indexed as soon as possible.


• • •

September 8, 2005

Understanding ClickBank Payout Stats

Category: Affiliate Programs, ClickBank — Answers 2000 @ 6:29 pm

If you’re a ClickBank affiliate (and if you’ve got a web site that contains advertising, I think you should be - see why here), you may have noticed in the Promote Products section of their site, that there are 4 mysterious looking numbers (labelled “PAYOUT STATS”) under each vendor’s listing.

These are:

  • $earned/sale
  • %earned/sale
  • %referred
  • gravity

What do they mean?

  • $earned/sale

    This is the average amount of commission that affiliates earn from each sale that the vendor makes. If the vendor only sells one product, I guess you could work it out yourself (or use Harvey Segal’s ClickBank Calculator), but the extra information this gives you is really useful for vendors that sell multiple items - it gives you an idea whether they are selling more low-ticket or big-ticket items.

  • %earned/sale

    This indicates the percentage commission that affiliates have earned through recent sales. If a vendor were never to change their commission rate, it would match that exactly. However, when a vendor raises or lowers their commission rate it may not match (it tends to track the current commission with a timelag).

    For example, if the vendor currently offers 75% commission, and the %earned/sale if 60%, it indicates that the vendor has recently raised the commission rate. And if a vendor currently offers 50% commission, and %earned/sale is 60%, it indicates the vendor has recently lowered the commission rate.

  • %referred - indicates what percentage of the vendor’s recent ClickBank sales came through affiliates.

    There is a common misunderstanding that a low %referred somehow indicates payment processing leaks (remember ClickBank only gives affiliates credit for sales made through ClickBank - and the affiliate does not get credit if the vendor receives payment through another payment system like PayPal or 2Checkout, etc.). That is NOT the case. Remember ClickBank can only track ClickBank sales.

    So what this number is really telling you is how good the vendor is at marketing themselves, as compared to all their affiliates combined. If it’s high, it means the vendor relies on affiliates to make most sales. If it’s low, it tells you the vendor is getting most sales by their own marketing efforts.

    This number can actually give some important clues to find vendors that you’ll want to affiliate link to - because if you find a vendor with a relatively low %referred, it may mean that you will have little affiliate competition - and could have a relatively clear run at promoting this vendor. This will probably work best if you can find marketing/promotion channels that the vendor themselves isn’t using. For example, if the vendor’s relying on SEO - you could use AdWords, or Pay Per Click Search Engines, or Ezines.

  • Gravity

    I’ve never seen a precise explanation of what this number means, but in broad terms it is known to reflect the number of active affiliates who have made recent sales. A higher number means more affiliates.

    Again, this can give you a clue as to which vendors to promote. If you see a vendor with a low gravity, it could mean their is little affiliate competition to promoting this particular vendor.

So how do you choose which vendors to promote?

First, the obvious stuff:

  • Good Commission Rates

    ClickBank vendor’s can offer up to 75% commission rates. Obviously not all do, and there are many excellent vendors (who can be profitable to promote) who offer lower rates - but personally I tend to look for at least 25%, and preferably 50%.

  • Target

    Find vendors who tie in with your site’s theme, and your audience’s interest.

  • Product and Sales Page

    Check out the vendor’s sales page, and see if you think that it’s a product that can sell. Is the sales letter professional? Do they have their own domain name? Does the product look good?

  • Watch Out for Obvious Leaks - Especially Payment Processing Leaks

    Check the vendor’s sale page for obvious leaks: Is the vendor focused on making the sale through ClickBank?

    Remember you don’t get commission on any AdSense, banner ads, etc., on the vendor’s page. I’m not saying the vendor’s page should contain nothing but the sales pitch (sometimes vendors actually sell better by providing additional information on their site) - but rather there should be at least some kind of sales pitch, and the sales pitch should be the main focus of their page.

    Additionally, the biggie: you want to look out whether the vendor accepts other methods of payment than ClickBank. If you see a PayPal or 2Checkout or StormPay (etc.) link - remember you won’t get ClickBank affiliate commissions for any sales the vendor makes those ways (and a little side note: since ClickBank itself now processes PayPal, I really don’t see why any ClickBank vendor should put a PayPal Buy Now button on their site).

And then the information from the PAYOUT STATS:

  • More Competiton = Bad, Less Competition = Good

    The underlying principle should be obvious, but I’m always surprised how many affiliates seem to ignore it - that’s why (for example) you’ll see 5 or 10 or more competing AdWords ads on Google for some search terms related to some ClickBank products - and none for many others which could be just as, if not more, lucrative, per sale.

    Always be on the look out for stuff that you can promote and help sell, which other affiliates are not effectively marketing - remember, the combination of a low %referred and low Gravity can help you find good candidates

Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:

• • •

Activ E-Book Compiler Version 5 Feature List

Category: Company Announcements, eBook Marketing & Publishing — Answers 2000 @ 1:37 am

We have just posted the revised feature list for version 5 of Activ E-Book Compiler on our forum. The list is provisional, but should be pretty close to the final feature list. Feel free to ask questions or make comments.


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