AMY PORTERFIELD: “Ask yourself, ‘How can I contribute the most value to my customers? What would help them experience outstanding results or more joy or peace of mind or happiness? How can I overdeliver?’ Also, when you're thinking about your bonuses, how can you enhance their experience? How can you get them to the finish line faster, easier, more efficiently? Those are great bonuses as well.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: So if you've been with me for a while, and I mean a really long while, you know that I've actually recorded an episode about how to create a bonus package for your course offer. I did it many, many moons ago. It's episode 120. It's called “The Bonus Brainstorm: How to Create a Bonus Package for Your Next Course Offer,” and I recorded it—get ready for this—back in 2016. And there have been so many things that have happened over the last seven years in my business and how I incorporate bonuses into my courses and the strategies I use to choose the bonuses that I wanted to record an update for you.
Yes, my friend. I'm going to share how you can increase your course value, or quite honestly, your membership value, your program value, whatever you're doing where you want to add bonuses when you're selling your offer, I'll show you how to increase the value. And you can do this with live launching or evergreen. And the whole thing is about being intentional about putting together an enticing bonus package. We don't just throw bonuses together because we don't know where else to use the content; we have to be incredibly intentional about this. So I'm going to walk you through the whole process step by step with a ton of examples. So even if you've never, ever considered having a bonus be part of your course offer, or you feel like you're completely clueless as to how to choose bonuses, how to package them together, you will know exactly where to start.
Now, one thing that you might not know about me is that when I'm developing courses, bonuses are one of my favorite things to add, if not the most favorite part of putting together the plan. And do you want to know why? It's because there's always something I want to include that doesn't quite fit in the core program, or there might be one piece of content that's a bit more advanced and isn't necessarily part of the core process, but I know it could enhance my students’ experience, so I'm always excited to see where the bonus might fit in and how it could actually help people get to the finish line. I can't even tell you how many products I've bought just because I love the bonuses, so I know that they work.
But here's the thing: they have to be good in order for people to take action. A bonus is meant to be meaningful and intentional, something that has real, tangible value for your audience. It's got to be something that your students cannot wait to get their hands on and can even stand on its own as an individual product if you wanted it to.
Now, don't worry. We'll get more into how to create a really good bonus, how to identify content that you can use for your bonuses, and the many different ways that you can include bonuses in your offer. We'll also talk through the types of bonuses that you can create and how to price them, like add value to them.
And because this is an episode all about bonuses, I've included a little bonus for you that goes hand in hand with what we're talking about. I created a free resource that covers five amazing bonuses from my students. You'll get five examples, along with the type of bonus, the value, and all the juicy details to help inspire you when you sit down and you're ready to create your own bonuses.
So you can grab this at amyporterfield.com/518, or just click on the link in the description wherever you're listening to this podcast, and it will take you there. So amyporterfield.com/518. I haven't done a bonus like this in a while for my podcast listeners, so make sure to go grab it, because you're going to be inspired by so many of my students who have had successful launches and created amazing bonuses.
All right, my friends. We have a lot to cover, so let's dive in.
Now, I told you that we're going to start from the very beginning. So let's talk about why bonuses are important in the first place. Number one, you can enhance the value of your offer with bonuses. Here's why. When you stack really good bonuses into an offer, the perceived value of your product is sure to increase. And sometimes you can even increase the actual product price if those bonuses are really, really valuable. And don't worry; we're going to talk about pricing your offer at the end of this episode.
So, number two, again, bonuses allow you to dive into areas that don't necessarily always fit into your content outline for your, let's say, course. Now, don't get me wrong. Your bonus content should still be related to what you cover in your course. There has to be total alignment there. And also, your bonus has to provide a ton of value. But they’re extras, meaning your student doesn't need them to get the results that you're promising—that's important here—but they can make their experience easier or better or help them get even bigger results for themselves.
And the reason why I say that a bonus shouldn’t be necessary for the results you’re promising is that you might want to make a bonus a limited time. Like, they have to buy by a certain date to get the bonus. So imagine if that bonus was essential to the results you are promising, and then some people didn't get that bonus. So you never want your bonus to be absolutely necessary to get the results you're promising. If something's necessary, it should be part of your core program. So remember, bonuses are above and beyond.
And then, finally, bonuses can help people jump off the fence—this is probably the biggest one—and right into your program. They make the decision to buy much easier and can push someone from being uncertain about making a purchase right into realizing that they need and they want your product.
The goal here is to make a bonus so good that it makes your offer more enticing. And in some cases, the minute you announce it, people are, like, “That's it. I wanted the course, but I was hesitant to jump in. I didn't know if I was ready. But that bonus is so good, I'm not going to miss it. I'm in.” Like, that's a really great scenario that happens a lot when you choose the right bonuses.
Okay, so if you can create a bonus that is going to entice your audience enough to jump in and also something that will entice them to want to take action right away, then you are only benefiting them, right? So that's why I wanted to first start out with why bonuses are so important.
So now that we've talked about the why, let's talk about numbers, and what I mean by that is how many bonuses you should include with your offer. The good news is there's no set rule on this, and it's important that you meet your audience where they're at. But to give you an idea, if you're just starting out, one, two, maybe three bonuses max, and that is plenty. And for those that are just starting out, never launched a program before, three might even feel too much. So let's stick around to one or two, but if you really want to go the extra mile, three max, for those just starting out.
Now, if you've been at it for a while, you can offer more. For example, in Digital Course Academy—get ready for it—we have eight bonuses. Now, some of those are timely bonuses, like a fast-action bonus on a webinar; or the first twenty-four hours that enrollment opens, we have a bonus for that; or a cart-close bonus. So lots of timely bonuses, which we’ll talk about why I do that. But yeah, we've got eight bonuses for Digital Course Academy. For List Builders Society, my evergreen course, I've got six. And for Systems That Scale, I have three. I am a big fan of bonuses, but you don't need to do nearly as many as I do. And remember, I've been at it for a while, and I teach this stuff, so I tend to do more than, like, the average person.
Also, because I've been at it for a while, I've been able to expand my team to help support me in creating these bonuses, meaning I'm not doing it alone. If you're a one-woman show, well, then, my friend, you're not going to create eight bonuses for your next launch. So remember, as your business grows, your team will grow. As your team grows, you get to do more.
Now, keep in mind you don't want to add too many bonuses, period. So you add too many bonuses, and if you're not ready to support all those bonuses throughout your launch, you're going to make things more complicated and really confusing to you and your audience. So in the beginning, less is absolutely more, because bonuses can become a distraction if you are not careful, if you're not really strategic about when you're mentioning the bonuses, how you're mentioning the bonuses, for what length of time. And imagine, when it's your first launch and you're just focused on doing your webinars and sending out your emails, the last thing you need to worry about is a bunch of new emails for your bonuses. So in the beginning, less is more.
The key to determining where your content fits best, whether it be your core program or as a bonus, is in understanding how vital that content is to achieving the results promised in your course. If the content is essential to your students reaching the desired results, it belongs in the core program. If it's something that offers even better results, enhances or optimizes a strategy, or is more advanced, it's a bonus. In other words, your bonus content should be something that's really good to have, but success can still be achieved without it. Did you hear me on that one? Your bonus content should be something that's really good to have, but success can still be achieved without it.
And one way to figure out what your bonus content is, as I mentioned earlier, is to take a look at what content didn't make your course outline. In Digital Course Academy I teach my students how to refine their course outlines and take out the fluff. Well, guess what? Sometimes that fluff is not really fluff, but instead, it's just a little too much. It just goes a little bit beyond what you need to teach them in order to get them results.
So I don't want you making fluff a bonus, because sometimes we get a little too indulgent. Like, we just go off on tangents. We're going to take that out of our outline, and we're not going to put that into our course at all. However, there are some things that you might take out because you know they're not necessary, but they're so good. That's a bonus.
And as a side note, I've also seen some digital-course creators who provide additional, unrelated products as their bonus, maybe an old course or a training that they created years prior that's on an entirely different topic. And even though this is easy to do, I don't recommend it, because there just isn't alignment. It's very important that your bonus still aligns with the product you're promoting.
And here’s the thing. Nobody else wants another product inside of a product. They're never going to get through all of that. So I don't like throwing in one of your products as a bonus. Not my favorite. It's too overwhelming, and it's out of alignment.
All right. Now let's jump into the different ways you can include bonuses in your offer. The first is a core bonus, which doesn't have a timeline, meaning it never expires. People get it just because they buy your product. And everybody who buys your product, they get this bonus. It's a core bonus. It's part of the core offer. So this bonus sweetens the pot, and it's typically listed on your sales page. So once you talk about “Here's what the product is,” then you're going to follow that with “Here's what the extra bonuses are when you enroll.” Again, everybody gets those bonuses no matter when they enroll. If they enroll in the first day, the last day, in the middle, everyone gets these bonuses.
In Digital Course Academy, for example, I offer a private Facebook community as part of my core bonus, because with a higher-price program, I believe people should get more access to me. They should also have a community where they get support. So I include the Facebook group as their core offer.
The second is a timely bonus, which creates urgency and scarcity around your course and isn't usually listed on your sales page. Or if it's a timely bonus, like, you can only get it for seventy-two hours during your launch, maybe it's a pop-up box on your sales page to say, “Hey, this bonus is timely. It's going away soon. Make sure to take advantage of it.” When it goes away, that pop-up box gets taken down as well.
Urgency and scarcity are important because, let's be real, it's simply human nature to take our time and stay on the fence because we're afraid of jumping in or afraid of missing out, so we're just not even making a decision. Should I do it? Should I not? Then you just sit on the fence forever. And if you believe that your product can change somebody's life or enhance it, make it better, then it's your job to make sure they understand that they are right for the program and they should not wait.
A timely bonus may be an early-bird bonus or a mid-cart bonus or a cart-close bonus, which are tied to specific time frames in your launch. This, my friend, is what creates the urgency and helps people on the fence say, “All right. Give it to me. I'm in. This is what I've been waiting for.” Or they decide not to join. So it's just something that gets them to take action.
To give you an idea of what the offer time frames look like, an early-bird bonus should be offered within the first twenty-four hours of enrollment opening up. A mid-cart bonus should be offered in the middle of your launch. Typically, a mid-cart bonus lasts for, like, twenty-four hours or forty-eight hours. I love a good mid-cart bonus because if you're going to do, let's say, a ten-day launch, in the middle, things start slowing down. People have heard the messaging. You're looking for new ways to talk to your audience. And if you can say, “Hey, great news. We just unleashed a brand-new bonus, but you only have forty-eight hours to get it. Let's go,” it breathes new life into your launch. And then a cart-close bonus is offered usually in the last twenty-four hours before you close enrollment. Also, another great opportunity to talk to your audience, send out those emails, post some new social. It’s a new conversation.
Now, to help this all sink in, here's an example of one of my students, Whitney McNeill. Whitney's course is called 4 Intuitive Languages, which is a step-by-step intuition-development mentoring program that teaches you how to confidently and clearly communicate with your spirit guides to receive, understand, and trust your intuitive messages. She offered a cart-close bonus that was a live virtual training on how to align with your life purpose. So it was very much aligned with her offer. It was the perfect thing to say, “If you're still on the fence, I've got one more great bonus you do not want to miss.”
So for more student examples, be sure to grab the free resource that goes along with this episode. You'll find it in my show notes, amyporterfield.com/518.
Now, one thing to keep in mind is that whenever you have a timely bonus, you want to email your list to promote what that bonus is. Like I said, this is your excuse or your reason to start a new conversation, to get back into the conversation if things have gotten a little bit quiet in your launch.
You also want to make sure to be very clear when the bonus expires. Of course, this is important. If you're multitasking, come back to me. If people bought on day one or day two or day three, and in the middle of the launch you announce a mid-cart bonus—don't call it a mid-cart bonus, for the record. That's just internally how we talk about it—but if you're announcing this new limited-time bonus in the middle of your launch, everybody who's already bought should get that bonus.
So I always send an email. Before I unleash a new timely bonus, I'll send an email to everyone who already bought, and I'll say, “Hey, good news. I've got a surprise for you. You didn't know this, but you get another bonus that I am announcing today. Because you've already enrolled, this bonus is yours. You'll find it in your member's area,” whatever you need to say. But just ease their mind because you want to take care of those who already bought.
And then, the third type of bonus is a fast-action bonus, which is something you give away during your live webinar or if you're doing a live challenge, if you're doing a boot camp, or something where you're selling your course and you say, “While I'm still here live, while I'm still on this webinar, I'm going to go into the Q&As soon, but while I'm still here live, if you enroll while I'm still here live, you're also going to get this extra bonus. And the only way you get it is if you purchase while I'm still there live,” this is getting people to take action in the moment. You can say something like, “If you enroll in this program while we're still here live on the webinar, you get access to this exclusive bonus,” whatever it might be.
So here's a good example of this. One of my students, Karida Walker, she teaches other tap-dance teachers choreography online. During her last live launch, she added a fast-action bonus. So during her webinar on how to create tap routines that wow audiences and grow enrollments, she offered a one-time online workshop, where she talks about overall choreography principles; and then her students can send her a piece of choreography, and she'll give them feedback.
So while she no longer offers this bonus because she's ramped up her business and it's really hard to deliver when the audience gets big, I thought it was a genius bonus when she could actually deliver on it. So that was her fast-action bonus. You could bet people are like, “You're going to review my choreography? I'm buying now.” So the more juicy you can make it, the easier it is to get people off the fence and into your program.
And then finally, we have the pay-in-full bonus. Now, I'm all about a payment plan to make things as accessible as possible to your audience. But as an entrepreneur, it's much easier, from a business standpoint, if people were to pay in full, so I like to give a reward to those that make my life easier. So in my business, we found that a lot more students take us up on this offer if we actually do a paid-in-full bonus.
So usually, the pay-in-full bonus is pretty juicy. It's a big one. It's a good one because people that are paying two thousand dollars versus, let's say, ninety-seven dollars for twelve months, it's a whole different ballgame, right?
So usually, people will be like, “Well, how do I figure out what bonuses to give away in all these different scenarios?” Usually, a really, really good bonus I would save for the pay in full.
Now, I'm going to tell you right now, if you're new to launching, do not do all of these bonuses. Do not do all of these bonuses. I've been at this for fourteen years almost, and I've got a team. But if I was just starting out, I would not do all of them. I would probably do one or two core bonuses, the bonuses that everybody gets, to sweeten the pot. And then maybe I do a mid-cart bonus. But I would probably skip the pay-in-full bonus, the cart-close bonus. And then if you can swing it, maybe a fast-action bonus on the webinar, but if not, just don't do it. So you've got to ease into all of this, my friends, or you will just want to scream. So we're going to take baby steps.
And again, there's no set rules. You can have fun with this. You can mix and match your bonuses. You can't go wrong. It's just that the thing I know for sure is bonuses will get people off the fence and into your program.
All right. So we've reached the homestretch of this episode, which is deciding on what type of content to create for your bonuses. And before we talk specifics, one thing you really need to consider when you're thinking about what your bonus is going to be is the state of mind that your customer is in when they're purchasing. And also, like, where are they in the mix here? Like, where are they on their journey? Ask yourself, “How can I contribute the most value to my customers? What would help them experience outstanding results or more joy or peace of mind or happiness? How can I overdeliver?” Also, when you're thinking about your bonuses, how can you enhance their experience? How can you get them to the finish line faster, easier, more efficiently? Those are great bonuses as well.
We all know that when someone specifically enrolls in a digital course, they might be a little bit nervous. After all, they just laid down some cash, and they might feel a little uncertain about whether or not it was the right move. Buyer's remorse is alive and well, my friend. I know this because I've been there, and I bet you have, too.
So let's walk through some of the different content types that you can add to your offer. The first type of bonus is an extra-support bonus, and this one includes more of you. Now, it's important to decide upfront if your students will have access to you for support as part of your offer. But I'll be clear: this is something that I highly recommend for higher-ticket items. When you offer your time and support, it massively increases the perceived value of the course and enhances the experience that your students have. Extra-support bonuses really give students a sense of community. And not to mention, it's a great place to get answers to questions that they have and for students to connect with and show support for one another. An example of this is a private Facebook group or a private Slack group for you and your team to engage with students directly.
Another way to offer up extra support is through small-group coaching calls. This type of group is super unique because it's much smaller than the groups inside Facebook, so your students really get that intimate connection.
Another thing you could also consider is incorporating other experts to act as a sounding board or offer extra support. Maybe you interview them, you do some live calls or webinars with them, or they're a part of your coaching calls. I've definitely done this in my business before. In fact, one of my most popular bonuses ever has been the Social Media Launch Kit for Digital Course Academy, designed by the social-media boss babe herself, Jasmine Star. It's a timely bonus offered at mid cart, and Jasmine's Social Media Launch Kit is the perfect complement to what they're learning in DCA.
All right. The next type of bonus for content is a next-steps bonus. Not only does it bring them deeper after they finish the course and help them anticipate the next steps in their journey, but it acts as an encouragement to get through your course more efficiently.
So for example, in DCA we teach students how to create and live launch their courses. Plus, we give them a bonus that shows them how to put their courses on evergreen. So that would be the next step. Once you do live, then you want to move to evergreen. That's a bonus. They don't need the evergreen bonus right away, but in the future they will, and that's exciting to them.
Another example of a next-steps bonus is from my student, Sarah Leitner, who has a course all about making sourdough bread. In her bonus module, she offers a video lesson on beautiful scoring, where her students learn a variety of different scoring patterns for the bread that they just mastered how to make. So I thought that was a really cool bonus as well. Like, takes things to the next level. Is it necessary for the success? No. But it enhances the experience.
All right. Moving on to the kick-starter bonus—this is another content type of bonus—which is great if you have a course that serves an audience at different levels, maybe a beginner student and a more-advanced student; they're both in your course. You can use a bonus as a starter for those beginners to fast track their success, and those that don't need it, they can just skip it. So we offer a kick-starter bonus with Digital Course Academy. It's called Start from Scratch Module: How to Kick Start Your Email List to Grow Your Online Business. It gets my beginner students, who have not yet started an email list, up and ready. And then anyone who already has an email list, I just tell them, “Then you can skip it.” You get to fast track your way into the course.
But it's really nice to have because bonuses also can answer objections. So if someone wants to join Digital Course Academy, but they'll say, “But Amy, I don't have an email list yet. I won't have anyone to sell to,” I'll say, “Don't worry. We have the Start from Scratch Module. If you don't have an email list, that's where you start. If you do have an email list, you can skip it and jump into the main program.” So bonuses can also meet people's objections right where they're at.
And finally, the fourth type of content that you can add in a bonus is a bonus where you've gone before them and now they get to follow. And what I mean by that is you can create, let's say, templates or swipe files or plug-and-play emails, anything where you've actually done the work, you're giving them what you've done, and now they can model it. So it gets them to the finish line faster because they're not starting from scratch. So there's so many different things that you can do, but look at what you've done. Can you actually put that into some kind of template and then give it to them so it's easier for them to get started and get to the finish line?
Okay, my friend. By now you have an idea of what type of bonus that you want to create and where it should go in your offer. And I bet you're probably thinking, “Okay, then, how do I add values to my bonus?” Let me tell you, this is one of the most frequently asked questions that I get, and it's actually simple. All you need to do is ask yourself, “If I were to sell this bonus to my audience as a standalone product, what would I sell it for?” Now, be careful not to inflate the price, and always be realistic, because you've seen those bonuses where it's, like, a PDF, and they're saying, “This is worth a thousand dollars,” and you're like, “No, it's not. I know it's not.” And then it just kind of gives you a weird feeling, right? Like, can I trust this person? So be realistic with the pricing.
Another key to remember when pricing or giving a bonus to a value, never offer a bonus that's valued higher than the course itself. This seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how often I see this done. So your course should be the main event. So if you're adding bonuses that are well beyond what you're charging for the course, I think that gets pretty weird, too, and it feels a little disingenuous. So be careful with that.
Now, to give you an idea of how I value my bonuses, here are a few examples of what I do in Digital Commerce Academy. So one of my core bonuses I offer is the nine-week-long live Q&A. I'm in there every single week live. I do three bonus trainings live in the group. I have somebody come in and do tech trainings. It's really robust, and they get the community so they can ask questions. I've got advisors to answer questions when I'm not in there. So it's a high value. So we value that at one thousand four hundred ninety-seven dollars. The course is two thousand. So it's kind of close to that, but still under it.
I have another core bonus that's a training video and a PDF guide, and it shows you how to turn a live launch into evergreen. That's valued at four ninety-seven. And then I have a mid-cart bonus, Jasmine’s Social Media Launch Kit, and that’s valued at two ninety-seven. And I had to consult with Jasmine. I didn’t want to put a price on her bonus without her feeling good about it. So that's another example.
And then, I'll just give you one more. I have an early-bird bonus, so you get it within the first twenty-four hours of me opening up enrollment. It's a PDF guide that shows you the steps to building your email list in just thirty minutes a day, and you do that while you're building your course, and I value that at one forty-nine. So I have other bonuses as well, but I just wanted to give you a snapshot.
So there you have it. I discovered a lot in this episode. And remember to head to my show notes. So if you go to amyporterfield.com/518, you can grab that free resource, where you see how digital-course creators, just like you, have put everything we talked about into action. So if you want to see examples, you want to get inspired by other people's bonuses, I have a freebie for this episode. And I haven't done a freebie in a while. It's going to be a good one. So amyporterfield.com/518, go grab it.
All right. So now it's time for some action items. We're going to put a bow on this episode and tie it all together. So, first of all, pull out your journal, and I want you to take ten minutes to brainstorm what kind of content you could create as a bonus. A great place to start is by looking at what content didn't fit into your course. Not the fluff, but the really good stuff that you think might enhance your offer. Then, think about the different ways you could include the bonus in your offer. Do you want to do a core bonus, a timely bonus, a fast-action bonus? Write it down. And then, finally, think about the type of bonus offer you want to create. Do you want to add extra support or give next step or maybe a kick-starter bonus? You've got so many options.
So just jot down some ideas. Come back to this episode whenever you're ready to create your full bonus offer. I promise you, bonuses do matter. I can't imagine not having bonuses in my launches, because they move the needle, they allow for new conversations, and they get people off the fence. Bonuses matter.
All right, my sweet friends. I hope you loved this long episode. I'll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.