>Do bonuses work?

 1st August 2007 by gihan

>I now have two ebooks. My first thought was to offer a special bonus to anyone who purchased the book, say, within the first two months – as an incentive. I was talked out of it – ‘why give away something for free?’. I then thought ‘what if I offer the two books at a slightly reduced price’? Again, I was talked out it, this time
citing it as being unfair to those who had already purchased the first book.

I’m in two minds about bonuses. Do buyers ever get cross about missing out on bonuses because they purchased at the wrong time?

I would love to boost my sales, but I also don’t want to lose customers because they’ve missed out because either they’ve already purchased the first book, or the bonus wasn’t applicable at the time.


You do ask some very good questions, and even the fact that you’re asking them puts you ahead of most other people I know.

You asked whether buyers ever get cross about missing out on bonuses. Yes, I think this does happen, but not often. After all, if you go into a shop in February, you don’t expect to buy at those post-Christmas sale prices.

My policy has always been to honour the bonus if it’s only a day or two after the deadline, but not after that. I think people are OK with that, as long as you give them a good reason for offering the bonus – e.g. it’s a special Christmas offer, or a
small publishing run (but that doesn’t work with e-books!), a personal goal that you’ve set yourself, or even just to say that it’s a marketing experiment you’re conducting for a limited time.

You do have to be careful not to upset your existing customers. My policy is always to make sure that anything I offer is AT LEAST AS GOOD OR BETTER for past customers than for new customers. So, in your example, you could definitely offer the two books as a bundle, as long as past customers could buy the second book by itself at a reduced price. Or they buy the second book at full price but get a $500 phone coaching session with you. Or whatever.

Overall, I’m in favour of bonuses. Yes, you’re giving something away free, but it can lead to an increase in sales. The only real way to find out is to test it.

A bonus is almost always better for you than a discount. For example, if you give a $10 bonus report to people who buy both books together, that report won’t cost you much (or nothing at all, if you send it electronically). But if you drop the price by $10, that’s $10 in cold, hard cash that you now have to make up elsewhere. On the other hand, some people ARE price-sensitive, so again you have to test both options to find out what works best for you.

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