One of the easiest ways to increase conversions is to offer a killer bonus. Everyone likes to get more for their time or money, and a bonus is an easy way to give them just that.
Whether you want someone to fill out a survey or buy a product through your affiliate link, nothing is more enticing than a sweet bonus that will help them get closer to their goals.
The most important thing to know about providing a bonus is that it’s all about value. Your goal in providing a bonus is not simply to get more people to do what you want, it’s to provide more value to your audience and give them a better experience with you.
When you provide a better experience, you’ll create raving fans who buy everything from you. If you’re not providing any value with your bonuses, you’re just going to disappoint and maybe even anger people and they’ll probably never buy anything from you again.
You obviously would prefer the raving fans. Not only will your raving fans buy everything you tell them to, but they’ll tell their friends about you too. I know this from personal experience. I am a raving fan of SITEFling, which makes me feel really special to have the privilege of sharing my knowledge on the blog.
Recently I was contacted by a guy who saw me on the Viperchill forum, and I started giving him some marketing advice. A short time later, I ended up telling him to check out SITEFling. I didn’t use any affiliate links (though I guess I could have), I don’t get compensated in any way, I just love SITEFling and know that Justin and Chaunna provide a ton of value, so I thought he would like the content.
You want fans that will do that for you. A great way to turn people into fans who recommend you without any form of compensation is to offer sweet bonuses that add a ton of extra value.
With that said, let me share when to offer a bonus before I get into how to craft the perfect bonus offer to increase conversions and make people your fans.
When to Offer Bonuses
- Affiliate Promotions – Any time you’re promoting a product as an affiliate, I feel it is your duty to offer a bonus. No product is perfect, we all know that. So you should make the product one step closer to perfect with some sort of bonus. Think of your commission as their payment for your bonus.
- Webinar Registration – Generally the goal of a webinar is to provide great content with some sort of pitch at the end where they can get more information, usually by buying something. People love attending webinars, and if the presenter is any good then the webinar will likely have high conversion rates.With that in mind, you want as many people to register for the webinar as possible. If the webinar is on an interesting topic it shouldn’t be hard to get a lot of people on the webinar, but it never hurts to give people a little more incentive.
- Webinar Attendance – Actually attending the webinar is even more important. Often the offer at the end is limited or has some form of scarcity that benefits the people who are actually on the webinar. This creates even higher conversions, so you want to make sure people stay to the end of the webinar to hear the offer. Offering a bonus for those who stay on the webinar all the way through is a great way to get people to attend (and it’s for their own good because the webinar is teaching something that will benefit them).
- Surveys – We all know surveys are a great way to get to know our customers/subscribers/audience better. If you’re having trouble getting feedback, you can offer a bonus to thank them for helping you out.
- Whenever You Feel Like “Stacking the Cool” – Do you know what I think is awesome? Random, valuable gifts. And I’m pretty sure your audience feels the same way. That’s why product launches start by giving something away. People absolutely love it, and they’re much more willing to buy something from you when you’ve first done something for them. So sometimes it’s cool to just put together something cool and give it away for free.It doesn’t even have to be a pdf or videos or anything, it can just be an outstanding blog post (like the one Chaunna wrote that was 7330 words). As long as it’s something that you could actually sell, it makes a sweet bonus to give to your audience.
- Whenever You Want Someone to Perform An Action – Honestly, there are probably hundreds of times when it’s good to offer a bonus. You can offer bonuses exclusive to certain email lists for buying your products (usually for people who have earned it in some way), after refund periods are over, when they share your content, comment on your blog, etc.One thing to be careful of is to not offer bonuses for EVERYTHING unless you want to continue to offer a bonus for everything for the rest of your life. If your audience sees that you’re always offering bonuses for anything they do, then they’ll be trained to act because they get a bonus.Then when you ask them to do something and you don’t give them a bonus, they might not bother because you’ve “trained” (I hate that word, but it’s fairly accurate) them to only respond when there’s a bonus. This is not a good situation to be in.
Now that you know when to offer the bonus, let’s dive into the 9 ways you can craft the perfect bonus to increase conversions as a product owner or as an affiliate.
Crafting The Perfect Bonus
There are two ways you can structure a bonus. You can either base your bonus on a weakness of the product, or a strength of the product.
Let me give you an example from the fitness industry. Your average muscle building program includes some nutrition advice, maybe a full meal plan and workout plan. What’s missing? What about muscle recovery? Your workouts make you sore, and being sore sucks. So I offer a bonus guide showing them how to recover quickly and reduce/get rid of muscle pain from their workouts. This makes the program much more appealing.
Now let’s take a program like Bulletproof Knees. This is an absolutely amazing guide to getting rid of knee pain. But it’s a really big and extensive guide and it’s a little overwhelming. So as a bonus I offer a 10 minute routine for getting rid of knee pain based on Bulletproof Knees. The same routine I personally used to get rid of my knee pain after reading through the entire program.
Plus I tell them about my “secret weapon” that I used that helped me get rid of my knee pain even faster while following the same principles on Bulletproof Knees (this is a bonus I actually offer for the program).
The “secret weapon” costs money, so if they don’t care to spend an extra $30 to get faster results, they still get a routine that will allow them to get started getting rid of their knee pain right away so they don’t have to go through the entire program first.
9 Bonuses You Can Offer To Increase Conversions
For this section, I’m going to be mainly referring to creating bonuses for affiliate promotions, but the same basic ideas apply to whenever you are offering a bonus.
1. Your Products:
The first place you can look for a bonus to offer is your own products (if you don’t have any products, skip this section). This is something you’ve already created, so it takes no extra effort on your part. If you’ve got a product that fits well with the offer, then it can make a great bonus.
The biggest downside to offering your own products is some people will already have them. I usually only offer my own products to people on my subscriber list (after they’ve been given an opportunity to buy my product first) and I make sure it’s for something worth just as much or more so I don’t devalue my products.
Here are 4 things to keep in mind when offering your own products as a bonus.
- The product can’t be outdated. If the information is old or no longer useful, don’t offer it as a bonus saying it’s worth $29.95 because that’s what it used to sell for. It’s not anymore, and you’re just going to tick a lot of people off when they find out your bonus is worthless.
- Your product can’t be easy to get elsewhere. Of course it should be for sale somewhere, but it shouldn’t be offered as a bonus for everything you promote, it shouldn’t be used a bribe to join a newsletter, etc. Essentially there should only be two ways to get the product – by purchasing the product you’re promoting or by purchasing it from the sales page.
- It shouldn’t be PLR unless you’ve edited it to make it awesome. Most PLR is garbage, and if it’s not, it’s still for sale by other people. You need to make it unique and more valuable before using it as a bonus.
- The product needs to be relevant to the offer. I operate 99% in the fitness niche. If I have a product on self defense (I’m working on one), that would not make a good bonus for promoting Truth About Abs because it’s not related to the offer. Yes, most people wanting to get in better shape do care about being able to defend themselves, but that’s not close enough.
You can also create products specifically for the promotion you’re doing – even joint products with the product owner you’re promoting. People in the fitness industry do this all the time, and it works really well.
If you’re not knowledgeable on the subject matter, there’s nothing wrong with hiring someone else to create/ghostwrite the product for you. There’s probably someone in your industry who’s an expert on your topic and would love to create a product for you.
You can either have them ghostwrite it so it becomes yours under your name (I’ve done a little ghostwriting myself) or you can have them create a product for you under their name that you have the rights to sell/give as bonus.
There’s also the option of buying the rights to a product. There are tons of people with knowledge, but they don’t know how to sell it. If you come along and offer to buy the rights to the product, they’re happy to accept because then they make some money off their efforts.
You can these types of products in the Clickbank marketplace, other affiliate marketplaces, Google searches on your subject matter, etc. If the website selling the product looks like it was the first website ever created, then as long as the product itself is good, you’ve likely got a golden opportunity in front of you.
2. Checklists, Cheat Sheets & Worksheets:
These are great for getting people to register & attend webinars and for affiliate promotions (especially video & audio products). Checklists and cheat sheets help people to organize the information they’re receiving, and worksheets help people get the important points and pay attention while they’re watching videos or listening to audios.
The SITEFling products do a great job of this (I think that’s Chaunna’s awesome teaching skills), but many products don’t, which gives you a great opportunity to provide the sheets yourself.
Interviews are great because you don’t have to know anything about the subject matter. Almost anyone is willing to do an interview if they can get exposure from it, so go ask some people! Many people sell products entirely made up of interviews, so people obviously see value in them, and they position you as an expert because your name appears by a bunch of important people in your niche.
You can even interview a product owner whose product you’re promoting and ask them some of the frequently asked questions about the product and even ask them about stuff they didn’t include in the program that might help your customers out.
You can do short 1 question interviews or long 3 hour interviews. I’ve done two interviews where there was only one question and each interview was only supposed to be 2-5 minutes (I went over 15 minutes on one of the questions though…whoops). Maybe that doesn’t really qualify as an “interview”, but it still works as a bonus.
The length and content of the interviews you do will help you decide when/where it’s appropriate to offer them as a bonus. Transcripts of the interview are a great way to boost the value of the bonus and it hardly costs anything with many of the transcription services available.
4. Case Studies:
Case studies make great bonuses if you position them right. If you position them as an in-depth testimonial, then they just look like an in-depth testimonial. That’s great sales material, but crummy bonus material.
However, if you position the case study as a real life example of how someone just like your prospect used the product you want them to use including how well they followed it, how they changed it in any way, etc then suddenly it’s a way for them to see how people in situations similar to theirs are using the product.
I love reading good case studies, and so do a lot of other people. If you can collect case studies or even just include your own personal case study, then you have a great bonus.
This can work for promoting products or even for webinars (if you’ve seen the webinar previously and can give a case study). Just make sure that it’s not a testimonial, but an actual case study – an example of someone using the product/method/strategy and having success with it.
5. Quick Start Guide/Accelerated Results Guide:
These are bonuses I love offering. quick start guides are really easy to put together, because the information is already there, you just have to condense it. The downside is many product owners have quick start guides, so you can’t offer one as a bonus.
If that’s the case, I like to write what I call an “Accelerated Results Guide”. This actually takes some knowledge of the subject matter (unlike the quick start guide, which just requires you to go through the product. Basically it’s a guide for getting faster results with the product. There are a number of ways to do this. Either by recommending removing a portion of the strategy that doesn’t do much to focus on something more beneficial, or by recommending additional methods that require a little extra work, but get faster results.
For instance in the weight loss niche, supplements can be used for faster results (as long as you actually know anything about them and use ones that work, not the $70 bottles of crap everyone tells you to buy) so in my ARG I discuss supplements that fit with the program as well as tips for sleeping better, muscle recovery, etc. All of these things will help them get faster results and aren’t covered in many programs.
6. Personal Notes:
Only offer this as a bonus if you’re good at taking notes or you’re an authority figure in your market. If you’re a nobody and you suck at taking notes, then this is not a good bonus to offer. However, Andre Chaperon does a great job offering notes as a bonus with http://microbrandmethod.com. I think the screenshot of the notes makes a huge difference. If he had just said he had notes, I’m not sure it would be nearly as appealing.
If you naturally take a lot of notes, highlight stuff, etc then this is a great bonus because you probably created it while you were going through the product anyways. Don’t be afraid to include any ideas that popped into your head, no matter how silly they may sound later. If you think they’re stupid, admit that it was just stuff you thought of as you were going through the product – it may help others to get their creative juices flowing.
And if you’re afraid of someone stealing your ideas, don’t be. Just take action on them. Since you thought of them you should be able to execute them faster and better than the people who look at your ideas later (or maybe you can get a partner and take the idea even further…).
Software is a wonderful bonus if you can provide it. There’s not a lot of software I can provide in the fitness niche, but in the IM niche there are TONS of software ideas.
If you can automate something or make something easier to keep track of with a simple piece of software, that can have a ton of value. Look at how high some memberships are just for access to one piece of software that has only one purpose. Software has a ton of value, so if you can offer it as a bonus then you’ve got a winner.
8. “Little Black Book”:
A little black book is basically just a compilation of resources that will help them use the product. But as long as a few of them are hard (or impossible) to find or need a referral, they have value to your audience.
I’ve paid $50 for a book of someone’s business resources because it meant I didn’t have to go looking at a bunch of reviews of different products or go looking for good prices for the things I wanted, I had it all right there in front of me.
Jeff Anderson sells a product on making your own supplements and he includes a little black book of suppliers for the ingredients. This has insane value because on my own I never would’ve found those suppliers or those prices (and neither would 99.9% of his customers).
And calling it a “little black book” seems to increase perceived value, but I haven’t done much testing on it personally. I just think it sounds way cooler than “collection of resources” or “rolodex” or something along those lines.
9. Personal Coaching:
This is something you only want to offer when it’s worth it to you. I offer email coaching for different fitness programs I promote, but I only take on 25 people at a time and I limit it to 30-60 days after purchase. The great thing about personal coaching is it has a high perceived value and almost no one will take you up on it.
It’s amazing how many people are afraid to ask for help, or don’t want to admit they need/want help, so they never take you up on the offer. However, they love knowing they have you there if they need to ask you.
Plus anyone who doesn’t take action right away doesn’t get coaching, so it encourages people to actually use the products right away.
I always offer coaching with something else because a lot of people don’t want or won’t use the coaching.
The Top 10 Bonuses I’ve Offered (And Still Offer) In the Fitness Industry
Now that you know how to create a killer bonus offer, I thought it might help get your creative juices flowing if I showed you some of the bonuses that I’ve offered in the past and that I’m offering right now in the fitness industry.
Accelerated Results Guide:
I’ve offered ARGs for a lot of products. They’re a great “go-to” bonus for me in the fitness industry. Everyone likes getting results faster, so this bonus has a lot of value. Plus the same general “acceleration” principles apply to each product, so once I have the first guide written it only takes me a few minutes to adapt it for each product I promote.
This is another “go-to” bonus for me. One of the biggest reasons (according to most surveys I’ve seen it’s actually THE biggest) people fail to get in shape is because they’re not motivated. Even if they start a program, they never follow through with it. Often they stop just as they’re about to start getting great results.
I consider myself to be a pretty good expert on motivation. I actually sold a product on motivation up until January when I lost all my websites (long story – don’t skimp on webhosting), at which point I decided I didn’t feel like being thought of as one of those “motivation guys”, so I decided rather than re-setup my website (which wasn’t making me too much money anyway) I would just use my motivation expertise to help people actually stick with their fitness program.
My guide to motivation goes with any fitness program (except the two I’ve seen that have their own excellent motivation information that is pretty much the same as mine), so it’s a great bonus to offer. I offer it for almost all my promotions, but I always have another bonus or two just in case someone already has the guide.
My third and final “go-to” bonus. Productivity may not seem related, but it is. The #2 reason people don’t get in shape? They don’t have time to workout or cook meals. By showing them how to be more productive with their time, I help them create the time they need to cook good food and get exercise.
I don’t think a lot of people see the value in it, partly because if they have a guide on productivity they lose their excuse for not following through, but also because productivity is boring and most of the stuff on productivity doesn’t work for most people. But I make sure I explain why they want it and I provide other bonuses in case they aren’t interested in this one.
Guide to Better Sleep
Sleep is an important part of healthy living, so I have a short guide on getting better sleep. I only offer it whenever I’m not offering an ARG as I cover sleep in my ARGs. Basically my guide helps teach people how to sleep 7 or less hours a night and be fully rested. None of that silly “9-12 hours a day” garbage. I, for one, am not wasting half my life sleeping. I have way too many things to do.
This guide appeals to those people who are like me and want to have more time in their day to get things done. It also goes really well with the productivity guide. The productivity guide helps them get more out of the hours they have, and the better sleep guide helps them have more hours to be productive with.
Muscle Recovery Guide
This is one I particularly like for the muscle building products, but I can also use it for weight loss products as well. As I mentioned above, it sucks being sore after workouts, and this guide helps eliminate that pain with 10-15 minutes of work after each workout.
Some people don’t want this though because they like that feeling of pain. They associate it with a job well done, a sense of accomplishment. I (and most of the world) think they’re insane, but there are actually quite a few of them and they see no value in a guide like this.
But for people like me, it’s a great bonus. I just don’t offer it to the “insane” section of the market.
Mobility & Flexibility Routines
I’m pretty flexible (I can touch my toes with the palm of my hand) and I like to show off that fact because I know a lot of people who can almost touch their shins. About six months ago while I was working construction for my dad I was talking to one his employees about fitness and I wanted to show him how effective my 10 minute routines are, so I hopped off my ladder and in my work boots (they have 2.5 inch thick soles) I put my feet together and touched the floor with my fists without bending my knees.
When I stood back up I suddenly heard my dad say “Do that again!”. So I did. He was so impressed he asked me if I would show him my routines. My dad had NEVER shown interest in any of the stuff I do or teach before, so that’s when it suddenly clicked.
I had been taking my flexibility for granted. There are a lot of people who can barely touch their knees, and I can show them how to do way better with a quick routine they can do when they get up or before they go to bed.
My dad in a few weeks went from being able to touch the middle of his thigh to touching just below his kneecaps. I’m so proud of him.
HINT: You can get ideas for bonuses by seeing what you do that wows people. If people say “wow”, you’ve probably got a good bonus offer or even a product for you to sell.
Knee Pain Routine + Secret Weapon
I referenced this one above. I promote an excellent product called Bulletproof Knees. It’s the best guide to knee pain I’ve seen, but it’s HUGE. So I took the entire thing and came up with a few routines that will get most of the results from the program in 10-20 minutes/day so people can get started immediately.
This is key because living with knee pain sucks (I know, I’ve got genetic knee problems and I played competitive soccer so I’ve gone through a lot of knee pain) so people want to get rid of it as fast as possible. They don’t want to have to read through 300 pages of stuff before they can start getting some results.
The secret weapon is something I just happened to find out about by being aware of what is going on in my market and I realized that it was perfect for getting rid of knee pain (and muscle imbalances), and I used it to become pain free in under a month.
So I tell people what the secret weapon is, where to get it (and I am an affiliate of it so I can make money off my bonus), and exactly how I use it to get rid of knee pain.
30 Days Email Coaching
I only offer this one when I have the time/desire to actually coach people through email. Basically all I do is I give them my email address and they have 30 days after purchasing to ask me questions about the product and how they can use it/adjust it for them.
Most people don’t even take me up on this, so I’ve stopped offering it nearly as much and I’m planning on only offering more personal (phone + email) coaching for higher priced products and my own programs.
Legend or Myth Myths
This is a bonus I’ve started putting together for a product that is launching in the beginning of October. It’s called Vince Gironda Legend or Myth and it’s basically a bunch of muscle building information from a bodybuilding legend.
The biggest problem with the product is there’s a number of ideas that are flat out wrong, and a good portion of the information is highly disputed. Then there’s the fact that it’s pretty darn easy to find free copies of the guide just by searching for the title of the book.
My bonus basically gives my take on each section and each idea in the book. It’s like my notes on the product, and I help clear up the controversy surrounding the ideas and pull out the good stuff that is hidden in there. Separating the wheat from the chaff essentially.
I’m not sure I’ll actually promote the product since I think there are better things out there, but my bonus might turn out to be a good newsletter bribe or something down the road.
10 Minute Routines
I have a number of 10 minute routines for different goals. Getting rid of neck pain, wrist pain, foot pain (I have flat feet), knee pain, burning fat, building muscle, increasing pushup reps, chinup reps, etc. I can pretty much create a 10 minute routine for any fitness product.
These are great because some days you don’t have time to perform a full workout, so you can refer to one of the 10 minute routines so you still get results. They won’t be as good as following a full program, but they’re way better than nothing. And if you can’t make 10 minutes available, you’re not trying hard enough.
How to Deliver Bonuses
For affiliate promotions there are three main ways you can deliver your bonuses. For Clickbank products I use a WordPress plugin from Jonathan Teng called the Automatic Bonus Delivery plugin. It’s the same one Andre uses on the site mentioned above.
You can also automate bonus delivery with an email address. Just setup an email address that automatically responds to every message sent to it, and have it automatically give them the bonus details. Then tell everyone who purchases to send that email their receipt # and they’ll get the bonuses.
Some people might figure it out and abuse it, but it’s much easier than delivering all your bonuses by hand. So it’s up to you whether or not you want to use this method.
Then there’s always the manual way. They purchase a product, send you the receipt and either you or an assistant checks the receipt to make sure they purchased through your link and then you send them the bonus details.
If you want to give out a bonus for registering for a webinar you have a few options. You can just send everyone who’s on the registration list the bonus, but this requires the ability to email those people. If you aren’t the one running the webinar, then it’s all up to the person who is whether or not you can do this. So if that isn’t an option, then have them forward you the confirmation email or something like that and then you send them the bonus.
If you want them to attend an entire webinar to get a bonus, simply ask them a question that can only be answered if they stay on until the end of the webinar (what was the last slide, how did he sign off, etc.) and have them email you the answer and you can manually send them the bonus. Simple as that.
For surveys you can usually set it up to automatically redirect to a page of your choice. Just have it redirect to the bonus access page.
Get graphics made of the bonuses. Fiverr is nice and cheap and has some great people. Also, depending on the bonus you can take a screenshot and use that to represent the product (particularly if it’s software). Graphics are appealing, help the person visualize what they’re getting, and often increase perceived value. Just please, please PLEASE don’t use crappy graphics. It’s better to have no graphics than bad graphics.
Come up with a sexy name for the bonus (no, I didn’t use my sexy titles above because I’m always changing and testing them). I could say I have 5 mobility and flexibility routines or I could call it Touch Your Toes In 10 Minutes a Day. Which is more appealing?
Another thing to remember is to not offer bonuses that are worth way more than the product. That’s just stupid. People in the IM niche do this all the time. They promote a $47 product and offer their $2,000 home study course (or a bunch of bonuses equalling roughly that amount) as a bonus.
There are a number of problems with this. To start with, it decreases conversions. If you have to try that hard to sell a $47 product, how crummy is that product, and what kind of upsells/backend sales do they have that make it worth giving away $2,000 worth of stuff? Or maybe your evaluation of your bonuses is garbage, your products aren’t worth nearly as much as you say they are, in which case you’re a liar who will do anything to make a sale. That isn’t increasing conversions or creating a good customer experiences.
Lastly, when people claim their bonuses, get them on a customer list. These people have proven their interest and proven that they’re willing to spend money. They are way cooler than the freebie seekers, so you need to get them on a list where you can treat them like the cool people they are and work them towards the bigger sales (the ones that help them more – not just the ones that cost more).
3 Things You Should Do Now:
- Find out where offering a bonus would increase conversions
- Figure out what the perfect bonus offer would be & put it together
- Set up a delivery system and start offering the bonus
It may seem like a lot of work to create a bonus, and it is if you’re a “fly by night” or build 1,000 websites and hope a few of them make some money kind of person. But I know you’re better than that, so just put in the effort and I promise you it’ll be worth your time.
Remember, having an amazing bonus separates you from all the other “me too” marketers that just plug products and say every high converting offer is the best thing ever (I’ve got lots to say about that at a later date).
ABOUT Shawn Horwood…
Shawn Horwood is a fitness expert, affiliate marketer and information marketer. He makes the majority his income through affiliate marketing at ShawnHorwoodFitness.com and his other fitness websites.