We collaborated with this leading online retail outlet to give their clients the tools to quickly and easily build information businesses.
Founded in 1998, ClickBank allows vendors to sell digital information products online, turning their knowledge, passions, hobbies, and work experiences into an additional source of ongoing income. With more than 60,000 digital products and 100,000 active affiliate marketers, it provides a solution for vendors to sell their products directly and also connects them with affiliate marketers who can promote their products for a commission.
Last year, ClickBank undertook some work to map out future business directions that would help more vendors turn their knowledge and expertise into information businesses. Realizing the challenges that vendors faced setting up the necessary infrastructure to get started, they decided that a key goal would be to provide a complete solution and tool-set platform for their infopreneur clients. One major sticking point was product website creation.

ClickBank appeals to vendors because it is affordable, straightforward and easy to use but creating the product website can often be the opposite taking skill, time or money.

Extending the ClickBank model

Having seen the happytables model of simple, intuitive and customizable websites for restaurants, ClickBank got in touch with us with the idea of providing a similar easy, accessible website product for their customers as part of their platform solution.

The happytables team of Human Made and Noel Tock reunited once again to work with ClickBank. Noel handled the design aspects including the admin interface, theme and customisers. Although their previous work provided the springboard for the project, both the theme and solution were redesigned and built from scratch specifically for ClickBank to integrate with their sales API across all areas.

ClickBank Powered Platform

The result was the ClickBank Powered Platform providing both vendor sites and affiliate websites via a WordPress Multisite network. Although all the sites are hosted by ClickBank, users have the ability to connect the site to their custom domain.

The ClickBank Powered Platform provides an easy to use website solution to bridge the gap for potential vendors and affiliates and increase the customer base for ClickBank. It also includes Audience Builder (a more blog-style site) for affiliates. ClickBank Powered Platform will help to standardize the quality of sites and more importantly incorporates as standard some key sales and security features that users would not necessarily be able to include themselves.

When we set out to find a team that could help us with this project, we knew it would be a tall order. They needed to be able to wrap their heads around our strategy and business model. They needed to have the expertise to develop a platform that would support the rich feature-set we had in mind and deliver it at scale. They needed to have the UI and UX capabilities to ensure the platform and the websites it created were intuitive and highly effective. They needed to develop the platform with the future in mind so we could optimize and tune it over time. And they needed to be nimble enough to pull it all of this together in a very short amount of time. The Human Made team, along with Noel Tock, delivered on all fronts – I can’t imagine a better team to have worked with.

Eric Boles, Director of Marketing – ClickBank

Building a community and establishing website authority

For both vendors and affiliates one of the best ways to build sales is to establish a strong web presence and an active user community and then to be able to communicate them to nurture prospects and grow repeat business.

The members-only area is a feature on the vendor websites. This allows customers to subscribe as a member of the site, access additional member-only content and products and is directly integrated with the ClickBank sales API.

Incorporating a blog-style β€œArticles” area into the platform websites serves two functions for users by helping to establish authority for the site and benefiting SEO, both of which contribute towards sales.

Another customer community feature is the integration of broadcast emails and automated newsletters into WP Admin linked with the ability for customers to subscribe and unsubscribe to newsletters and emails.

Product security and protection

Protecting digital information products from being improperly accessed and downloaded is key to defending against theft and fraud. An important feature of the vendor websites is secure product delivery using authentication to prevent improper downloads.

Monitoring and analysis

It is important for vendors and affiliates to be able to monitor the success of their products and websites, so the platform has been designed with built-in analytics features.

The Optimization Dashboard including metrics covering visitors to the site, products, sales and email subscriptions. Monitoring of this information across all platform websites in conjunction with analysis of performance using A-B testing methods provides a powerful tool that allows continual optimization of the standard web design for the benefit of all users. Users can also benefit individually from the ability to compare their own website performance to best practices.

Variable traffic and seamless scaling

ClickBank makes a sale somewhere in the world every three seconds, processing more than 30,000 digital transactions a day. They serve more than 200 countries, and are consistently ranked as one of the most highly-trafficked sites on the web. Load and traffic performance management were vitally important to the Clickbank powered platform solution. The platform runs on Amazon EC2 (Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud) using auto scaling, automatically adding or removing servers from the pool to scale up or down as demand varies.

Update – February 2012

During the first few weeks since the release of ClickBank Powered Platform in February 2012 there has already been an excellent uptake, with both new and existing vendors benefiting from the website solution.

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