How to Use Bonuses in Your Business to Turn More People Into Customers

Melyssa Griffin

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How to Use Bonuses in Your Business to Turn More People Into Customers

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If you’re selling a product or service, then using “bonuses” can be valuable way to convert more people into paying customers for your biz. What is a bonus? It’s a little somethin’ extra that you give someone (fo’ free!) who purchases one of your paid offerings. (But you already knew that). As you can probably guess, there are right and wrong ways to go about your bonus offerings, which we’re going to get into today. But first, let me tell you about a few different things I’ve seen other people do.

How to Use Bonuses in Your Business to Turn More People Into Customers

Yesterday, actually, I was on someone’s site because I was considering hiring her for something. But when I clicked on her “Work With Me” page to view her packages, I was completely overwhelmed. Beyond the original service she offered, it appeared that she had 700 bonuses that came with each package. 12 additional coaching calls! 10 site audits! A dumpster full of newborn puppies! Instead of feeling like I would be getting a massive amount of value from her (likely her intent for offering SO much stuff), I felt overwhelmed. What began as something that I estimated would take me a few hours to learn, now felt like something that would take a few years.

Bottom line: you shouldn’t give away everything and the kitchen sink.

Bonuses are useful, but not when you overdo them to the point of exhaustion. People are starting to prefer courses that can give the best information in as little time as possible. If you can say it in 10 minutes, then don’t create a 30-minute video just because it feels more valuable to you. Likewise, if you only create two bonuses, but they are exactly what you know your audience wants or needs, then don’t create 18 different bonuses just because you think it “sounds better.”

Let me kick you another example.

Awhile back, I was on someone else’s site, checkin’ out their new offer. It sounded good, but I wasn’t convinced. The offer was about creating sales funnels, but at the time, I was worried that I wouldn’t understand the technology of implementing my sales funnel after I created my funnel content in his course.

The offer also had zero bonuses. Had he created a bonus with the “tech” of setting up your sales funnel in all of the big-name email service providers, I may have been more interested. Sometimes bonuses are the precursor or “post-cursor” to your actual course.

Good bonuses are designed to add value and make potential customers feel like your main offering is do-able.

Today, I’m explaining the beauty behind bonuses and how to use them effectively so you’re not either of our examples above. We’ll explore different types of bonuses you can use, what the topic of your bonuses should be, and specific places to use bonuses in your biz. Y’all ready for this? 😉

First, let’s talk about some bonus basics that you should keep in mind if you want to start getting the most out of this strategy:

1. The bonus brainstorming formula

If you’re product is about “how to file your taxes as a freelancer” then your bonus should not be about “how to take better photos with an iPhone.” I mean, duh, right? Yet, so many people use bonuses that have nothing to do with their main product itself because they assume that giving away anything and errrthang will increase the perceived value of their program. Whatever your bonuses may be, they should complement your original offering.

A better “bonus” for the example above would be something like, “A 5-page guide to help you decide whether to turn your business into an LLC or remain a sole proprietor.” The reason this bonus works is because it is a precursor to filing your freelancer taxes.

When thinking about your bonuses, ideally, they should do either one of these two things:

  1. Precursor: Convince someone that your paid product is do-able or give them the tools they would need to even feel like they’re ready for your product.
  2. Post-cursor: Give them tools that they can implement after using your paid product, to help them take action on what they just learned.

As a “precursor” example, this could mean that if your product is an e-course about “watercolor painting,” then your bonus could be “a guide to creating art, even if you feel like you’re not creative.”

This type of bonus could push a potential customer over the edge, especially if they saw your product about watercolor painting and then said to themselves, “That sounds fun, but I’m just not creative so I don’t think I’d be able to do it.” With this bonus guide, their worries would dissipate.

Now, for a “post-cursor” example, if we’re still using the product idea of a “watercolor painting e-course,” then your bonus could be “a mini course about how to digitize your paintings so that you can sell them online.” Of course, this would differ depending on your audience (not all watercolor artists are interested in selling prints online), but you get the idea.

Altogether, bonus #1 quells the fears or worries that they have about buying your product, and bonus #2 shows them the next step once they go through your e-course. And of course, your main product is the meat in between.

Should you only have two bonuses? Not necessarily! But this is a great place to start and a good way of thinking about the bonuses you create.

2. Give your bonuses a realistic monetary value

It’s helpful if you actually tell people how much your bonuses are worth. You could simply tell them they’re getting a free e-book as a bonus, but I’ve seen e-books for $5 and $75 depending on the content. Based on what’s included in your bonus, how much is it worth?

Obviously, if your bonus is a product you’re already selling, then choosing a monetary value is simple. But if it’s something you created solely to use as a bonus, then you may want to assign a realistic monetary value to the bonus to let people know how much it’s really worth.

But for the love of god, please be realistic. 

If you were going to sell this bonus tomorrow, really, really how much would you sell it for?

I’m sure you’ve heard something like this before:

“This course and all of the bonuses are a value of $57,000, but if you enroll today, you’ll get everything for just $97!”

Barf. People are not idiots. They know when you’re lying to them to increase the perceived value of something. And more importantly: do you want to be a business owner who has integrity, or do you want to be one who only chases dolla dolla bills?

In any case, adding a monetary value to your bonuses can show your audience how much of a genuine value they’re getting from you. Just be honest, k?

3. Don’t give it all away

As we talked about in the intro, you DO want to give away some bonuses, but giving away 90 different things can repel people from purchasing your product or service. We live in the era of, “I’m too busy,” remember?

Later on in this post, we’ll get into some specific instances when you’ll want to use bonuses in your business, but in most cases, about 4-5 different bonuses works well. And as you’ll see below, your bonuses don’t have to take forever to create. Sometimes your bonus will be a 5-page guide. Other times it will be a Facebook group. So, no need to overwhelm yourself (or your potential customers).

4. What can you use as a bonus?

Ahh so glad you asked! Bonuses can come in many forms, which is really the fun of them. 🙂 Here are a few types of bonuses that I recommend and have seen:

Community-Focused Bonuses

  • Facebook group
  • Slack group
  • Forum access
  • In-person event or retreat

Value-Focused Bonuses

  • Webinar recordings
  • E-book
  • E-guide (basically a shorter e-book)
  • Workbook or worksheets
  • E-course
  • Live workshop recording
  • Day-by-day planner or schedule (telling them what to do, when)

Time-Focused Bonuses*

  • Group coaching or Q&A calls
  • One-on-one coaching with you
  • Some sort of “audit” or “review” (of the customer’s website, workout routine, wardrobe…whatever the product lends to).
  • Live interviews of other successful people in your niche
  • **Be careful about adding too many time-focused bonuses. They may get more people to sign up, but will it be worth your time to spend hours and hours doing one-on-one consultations with people? If I add a time-focused bonus, it’s usually a group coaching call where I can reach many people at once or I will limit the number of one-on-one calls available.

These are just a few ideas of things you could include as bonuses for your course. Obviously, you don’t want to include them all. 😉 Also, consider that you don’t necessarily need to create anything new for your product in order to use it as a bonus. Say whaaaa? How does that work?

Well, instead of creating a bunch of new things, you may already be cramming a lot of extras into the main product itself. You may want to position those as bonuses. For example, if your product is an e-course, which includes Q&A calls and a Facebook group, reposition the Q&A calls and Facebook group as “bonuses,” rather than things that are inherently included in the course. It’s still the same amount of work to create, but you’re increasing the separation from your actual product and the “frills” you add to it.

One other tip, when you’re deciding which bonuses to choose, is that if you’re creating an e-course or workshop, I highly recommend adding a “community” bonus to the mix. Adding some sort of community where your students can hang out is a great way for them to connect, to discuss ideas, and for you to give personalized coaching to your customers.

Now that you’ve got your bonus ideas a’flowin’, where can you use bonuses to grow your bonuses? Let’s dive in!

Places to use bonuses in your business

Below are four places where I recommend using bonuses most in order to increase your sales.

1. Fast Action Webinar Bonus

If you’re hosting live webinars, then a “Fast Action Bonus” can majorly increase your sales. What is it? It’s a bonus you offer only to people who purchase during the live webinar. So, when you’re giving your pitch during a webinar, you let people know that this particular bonus is only going to be given to people who purchase before the webinar ends.

Fast Action Bonuses can have a massive impact on your webinar sales, as they really increase the urgency for people to make a purchasing decision. I mean, how many products out there have you wavered back and forth about buying? And I don’t just mean e-courses or digital products! But if those products had a “Fast Action Bonus,” it would become a lot more clear to you whether or not you really desire the product, for better or for worse.

That bonus is awesome! And I really DO need this e-course. 

Or…

Hmm that bonus seems valuable, but even with it, I’m realizing I’m not that into this e-course, so I think I’ll pass.

Essentially, FABs are a great way to help people make a decision. Since they are such a powerful way to increase webinar sales, I recommend using one of your beefiest bonuses here.

2. Launch Bonuses

If you’re launching anything (product, service, even a Kickstarter campaign!), then bonuses should definitely be included, both to add value to the original product and to give people more of an incentive to sign up.

To increase your sales, you may want to space out your bonuses or throw in a couple extra on top of the initial bonuses during your launch.

For example, start with 2-3 bonuses that all customers will receive. Then, offer an additional bonus for people who enroll within the first 48 hours. You could also try throwing in another new bonus in the middle of your launch (when your sales are generally the lowest) to give people a new incentive to sign up. If your bonus follows the “bonus brainstorming formula” we talked about earlier, then it should definitely get more people to say “yes” to your program and to feel like it’s do-able.

3. Package Incentives

Run a service-based business? Bonuses could work for you, too! Try offering bonuses for your pricier and more extensive packages to create an even more irresistible offer for your potential customers. That way, your peeps may feel more inclined to opt for the bigger package since they’ll be getting some sweet bonuses, too.

If you’re launching a new service, then I highly recommend using the “launch bonuses” strategy described above.

4. To get more sales, fast

Even with all of our meticulous business and revenue planning, sometimes something will come up in your life when you need money quickly, like an unexpected emergency or even just realizing that you won’t have enough money to pay your rent this month.

If a moment of desperation strikes, try doing a “sale” of one of your programs or services. But rather than offering a discounted rate (which could cause people to think of your brand as “cheap”), try offering a couple limited-time bonuses if they purchase within the next 48-72 hours. The time limit works here to increase the urgency of your offer and the extra bonuses encourage them to purchase, as they add extra value to your program.

Alright my friends, I hope this helped you add a new strategy to your biz tool belt. Got questions or comments? Leave ’em down below!

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Melyssa Griffin

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