The Vendor Approach

Since 1998, ClickBank has been busy helping thousands of individuals like you take their first steps toward generating an additional income stream. Our vendors' success all boils down to following a simple business model that has the power to transform your knowledge into a profitable business.

Vendors and Information Products

Many of ClickBank’s successful vendors are building their businesses around “how to” information products that teach others how to do something new, better, or more efficiently. Essentially, these vendors are selling information products, which let them package their expertise so that it can be sold repeatedly.

Here are some examples:

  • How to play a musical instrument.
  • How to have a better love life.
  • How to market a business.
  • How to stay fit after turning 50.
  • How to potty train your child.
  • How to coach a football team.

Virtually any topic for which you can create a "how to" is a viable candidate for information products.

Capturing Information and Selling Digital Products

There are several ways you can capture your knowledge so it can be sold over and over again. In the past, information products were text-based products that were primarily delivered in books, reports, or manuals. However, one of the great things about becoming an information product vendor today is that you have a lot more options. Today, you not only can sell text-based books, you can also create simple audio and video products, sell product or site subscriptions, or offer physical products to accompany your digital offerings.

This image shows three potential product formats - text, audio, and video - with a picture representation of each format.

And, thanks to the Internet, people all over the world can buy your products. Today, customers can order your product online and get access to a digital version of the product right away, or order a physical version, according to their preference. This is a win-win for you and the customer.

When you’re selling a digital information product online, you really can build a business that runs mostly on autopilot, creating a passive revenue stream for yourself.

You might be thinking… Why would somebody pay for my knowledge?

Don't Disregard the Value of Your Knowledge and Expertise

A big mistake people often make is thinking that whatever they know or have learned is common knowledge and not worth anything to anybody.

Have you ever purchased an information product? At some point in your life you have probably purchased a “how to” book or video to help save you time, money or hassle. This is exactly why other people would pay good money for your knowledge. People are eager to learn from someone who has been there and done that.

Think about it this way. You’ve spent years gaining your knowledge and experience. Someone could save a ton of time, money, or hassle by learning from you! You could help people avoid costly mistakes, while helping them accomplish something new. Here is a real vendor example:

Let’s say you’ve built a successful, part-time janitorial business that cleans office complexes in the evenings and on weekends. Maybe after some years of struggling you learned the ins and outs of getting clients, pricing your services, hiring and managing workers, or even where to buy the best supplies. 

What if you then captured your hard-earned experience and knowledge into a series of “how to” manuals and videos? This product would be great for people who want to start their own part-time janitorial business because it would save them time, money, and hassle. Essentially, they would be paying to learn what you have already figured out! And that's worth something. In this case, it's been worth over $600,000 in total sales.

This image shows some statistics about a product called 'How To Start Your Own Cleaing Service'. The product was started in 2002, has had over 17,000 customers, and has had over $600,000 in total sales.

Comparing Vendors to Traditional Authors

You might be thinking that there’s really not much of a difference between a ClickBank vendor and a non-fiction author. However, this is completely false. The information product vendor's approach is very different, and offers unique advantages not available to traditional authors.

There is a reason most ClickBank vendors make more money than most authors. This is because the underlying business model for vendors is very different and far more effective, due to a handful of very powerful concepts.

The first concept has to do with the nature of the relationship with the customer. Traditional authors don’t have a clue who’s buying their books. When selling through a traditional bookstore or typical online retailer you'll know how many books you sold, but you do not know who your customer actually is. This is because the retailer doesn’t share customer information with the author.

And what about potential customers – the people who are interested in your product, but are not yet ready to buy? Typical retailers don’t even have this information, so there is no chance the author is going to get it.

However, with the business model offered by ClickBank, you can establish a direct connection with both your customers and your prospects because you'll have their contact information. This direct connection is the cornerstone of our approach and leads directly to the next powerful concept: the concept of selling to your customers again and again.

An author typically has to think in terms of one-time sales. They write a book and hope people buy it. Some of these customers might buy the author’s next book when it’s available, but it can be quite hit-or-miss and the author has little control. As a vendor, however, you know who your customers are and how to contact them – so you can actively promote and sell additional information products to the same customers over time.

Typical authors also have to appeal to the masses. They can't sell to the same customers over and over, so they need a lot of one-time sales to make any money. For a vendor, highly-specialized topics have a ton of potential. Even with a specialized topic, a ClickBank vendor can sell more and deeper information to relatively small base of customers, over time.

And while an author only has one option – the book – a vendor has a number of options. This concept is known as stair-stepping.

Stair-stepping is giving prospects and customers the opportunity to step their way through increasing levels of engagement and investment – because people have different wants and needs at different times. For prospects who are interested in the topic but not ready to buy, the vendor may offer a free email newsletter or downloadable report as a way to get the customer engaged and comfortable with the product offerings. 

Then, the vendor might offer the prospect a $10-20 basic “how to” product. From there, the customer might be able to buy a more expensive series of videos that goes beyond the basics and provides in-depth training. Or, they might offer a subscription for a monthly fee, providing the customer with access to all the latest and greatest information.

In summary, a vendor typically has a range of options at different price points, because many of their customers will want more information over time.

Recap of the major differences:

  • Authors don’t know who their customers are. Vendors have a direct connection to their customers and prospects.
  • Authors typically sell to their customers one time. Vendors want to sell to their customers again and again over time.
  • Authors must try to appeal to the masses, while a vendor can be very successful in a highly specialized niche.
  • Authors typically have one relatively low-dollar option (a book). Vendors will have a range of options and price points.
  • Authors are limited to the written word. Vendors can also leverage audio and video formats to deliver their information. 
  • The ClickBank vendor approach is far more profitable and effective when compared to traditional authorship.

Advantages of Selling Information Products

  • You will be able to connect and communicate with your customers directly.
  • Your goal is to sell to the same customers over and over again.
  • You can have deeper content on specialized topics.
  • You can offer various product levels for stair-stepping.
  • You can leverage many product form factors like audio, text, and video.

Next Step

Visit our article on Understanding the Sales Funnel.

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  • 1
    Jamie Cornelius

    I am an author and I find this information very interesting. I am becoming a vendor to expand my opportunities and help more people. Thanks Owen

    Edited by Jamie Cornelius
  • 2
    John Daugherty

    After retiring from 22 years of telecommunication sales and reaching top sales performance levels, I see how I can use my knowledge to help others and further my income.  Pretty cool.

  • 0
    Michael Taku

    Now I see a potential opportunity to use  my decades of tacit knowledge in several areas to produce products that  address  needs. Thanks

  • 0
    Tyler Bryant

    i dont know where to really begin but is there and step by step videos that i can review.


  • 0
    Shudeep Chandrasekhar

    Thanks for the great advice, Owen.

  • 0
    Christopher Holman

    This article was very helpful because it truly depicted what the benifits of being a "how to" product seller and whom to market to. I feel that I'll save this information for the future just to enspire why I might want to keep writing and selling my own how to guides, or even to promote others material! Great job!!!

  • 0
    Manpreet kaur

    very helpful. thank you


  • 0
    John Van San

    Great food for thought.

    As a metal fabricator for over 30 years turning thought into reality through manufacturing and developing prototypes since 2007 at I should be able to find something to share with the public.

    Thanks for the food for thought.

  • 0
    Shelley Thomas

    This sounds like a great idea to share all my experience and patience with interested 


  • 0
    Medhanand ROOPNAH

    Just come I'm new

  • 0
    Owen Allen


    If you're interested in working as a vendor, take a look at the Understanding the Vendor Role section.

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