Here’s a little advice for any aspiring ClickBank affiliates or sellers: If you ever get the chance to talk to a former ClickBank Platinum Seller who’s now the CEO of a successful company, take it!
Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with Jimmy Kim – the CEO of Sendlane and a past Platinum Seller on Clickbank – to ask him about his entrepreneurial journey and path to success.
In case you’re not familiar, Sendlane is a popular email service provider and official ClickBank partner. What makes Sendlane so special is that it was built from the ground up by a business owner who understands the affiliate marketing industry firsthand!
In our discussion, Jimmy and I talked all about how he went from a ClickBank Platinum Seller to building his own business as founder and CEO. There’s a lot of wisdom here to take away for your own business, so let’s dive in!
How Jimmy Kim Became a ClickBank Platinum Seller
The first phase of Jimmy’s career was in the automotive world, around 2008. He affectionately calls these his “car days.”
But around that time, he got the opportunity to partner with ClickBank Platinum Seller Anik Singal to learn about digital marketing. They started doing business together, and one of their main revenue drivers was affiliate email marketing.
Together, the two launched multiple offers focused around make money online (MMO) and e-biz, primarily teaching people how to build an affiliate business. (Side note: Our team just presented ClickBank’s findings on the top niches for affiliate marketing at Affiliate Summit East 2021, and MMO/e-biz was the #2 best niche, right behind health & fitness!)
Jimmy’s first offer launched in 2009, and the partners continued to launch new offers over the next four years, both under Anik’s name and under Jimmy’s. One highlight of Jimmy’s time as a Platinum Seller was selling $1M in a single week on our platform!
But eventually, Jimmy decided to make the leap to new ventures – and that included Sendlane.
The Origins of Sendlane
Sendlane first came about as a way for Jimmy to operate his business the way HE wanted to do it.
The problem with many other ESPs is that they don’t understand ClickBank or the affiliate marketing model in general. This can lead to compliance issues and customer support challenges.
Even as Jimmy found success in other ventures – like his retail store and in the software sales realm – he continued to rely on email to drive up to 80% of his revenue. And his tool of choice was the one he created to support vendors like him!
Now, with nearly 200 ClickBank vendors on Sendlane, it’s clear that they’ve hit on something special.
3 Nuggets of Wisdom from Jimmy Kim
So, what can we learn from Jimmy’s career? He had a lot of great tips to share, but these three were the biggest takeaways by far!
Tip 1: Leverage the Pros of ClickBank
According to Jimmy, there are two big benefits of building your own ecommerce business on ClickBank: ecosystem and network.
In terms of ecosystem, much of the technical backend is a hands-off experience. As Jimmy put it:
“ClickBank deals with the merchanting and helps a ton so you don’t need a built-out team.”
The other huge benefit of ClickBank is the built-in affiliate network that you tap into as soon as you join the platform. Just by signing up for a free ClickBank account, you get access to a massive network of affiliates immediately.
If there’s one negative that Jimmy found with ClickBank, it’s that merchanting isn’t fully under your control – but for anyone who’s starting out without the resources of an established company, this is also one of the biggest pluses of ClickBank!
Tip 2: Embrace “Co-opetition”
One of my favorite moments from our chat was hearing Jimmy talk about “co-opetition.” This is a term describing the friendly rivalry between competing sellers and affiliates in our industry.
Unlike the cutthroat world of finance or tech, there’s actually an overlapping need for competing businesses to work together in the affiliate marketing and ecommerce space.
Why? In a nutshell, when you collaborate with competitors, you can promote each other and find great complementary products that your audience will love.
“We saw that as a great opportunity as vendors,” said Jimmy. “You can’t survive on just a vendorship. We made a lot of money with email marketing by promoting other people’s offers across ClickBank and through other networks.”
The fact is, it’s extremely difficult to create enough quality products on your own to fully monetize an email list. Building your own offer from scratch to sell is a colossal effort – that’s why a lot of your competitors will be happy to see you come on the scene, if you start selling a new relevant offer that they can promote!
In the end, co-opetition combined with a robust email list will help everyone see a higher LTV from their customers.
Tip 3: Get the Right Toolset
When I asked Jimmy what he would recommend for people who want to become successful ClickBank sellers and affiliates, he said:
“Make sure you have the right toolset – that’s key. Not just Sendlane, but in general: a landing page creator, membership platform, etc. You want the tools to do what you need to and automate everything so you can focus on the top of the funnel.”
He also pointed out the importance of customer experience. If he could go back and do it over again, he would have had customers go through a lengthy welcome series. Jimmy recommends that you automate the first 30-60 days of the customer experience via email.
Lastly, he mentioned tracking and attribution: “We didn’t have the ability to track data as much back in the day, but now, we can pinpoint where sales are coming from and attribute revenue to our marketing efforts.”
If you don’t have tracking in place, you’re leaving money on the table!
Is Sendlane a Good Fit For You?
So, is Sendlane the right ESP for your business? I asked Jimmy why someone would choose Sendlane.
“We’re supportive of the market,” he said. “As a previous vendor, we’ve been in their shoes.”
He went on:
“You won’t have the compliance issues we faced back in the day, and we feature best-in-class integrations. Sendlane is a safe environment to operate in and we support all the tools you need to scale your business.”
The team at Sendlane worked hard from the beginning to ensure that there was deep native integration between Sendlane and ClickBank, which would allow you as the merchant to use that data for segmenting customers and triggering specific actions. These data points could include anything from purchase history, abandoned cart, reengagement with your upsell funnel, and more!
Final Thoughts from a Former ClickBank Platinum Seller
Hopefully, you’ve gotten a lot of great ideas from this conversation, but there’s one last great takeaway Jimmy had for sellers:
“The #1 thing is focus. Don’t chase the shiny object. Work on finishing up your current offer and then optimize, grow, and scale that before you ever think about adding new ones. Too many people leave a lot of money on the table by moving on too soon!”
Are you ready to grow and scale your ClickBank offer with email? To see if Sendlane might be the right ESP for you, please visit Sendlane’s page right here!