A BONUS should be just that - a little something extra to sweeten the deal. A bonus should be designed to move a prospect from a "Yes" state to a "Now" state, if that makes sense.
A perfect example of how to correctly use a bonus is in the PS of Martin Conroy's famous "two young men" letter for the Wall Street Journal. The "bonus" is that your subscription is tax deductible for your business. If you were already at "yes" or "maybe", it gives you a nudge into "may as well get this right now while I'm thinking about it".
What I see now are people framing bonuses as the primary reason for buying the product. This leads to two terrible problems that I know are causing havoc for these marketers' lists.
First, it leads to this sort of insane bonus proliferation and escalation. While you may think that kind of "stack" (or whatever you call it) is helping make the sale, you're probably right. But there's a cost (and I'll get to it in a minute).
But when you give away the farm, it causes the next guy to have to outdo you. And then the next guy has to outdo that. And pretty soon, you have this really silly situation where the bonuses exceed the actual value (not just the price) of the primary product.
This WILL (and already HAS) lead to market fatigue. Remember, when you sell information there's got to be a consideration for the CONSUMPTION of said materials. When you offer that kind of barrage, the only person you appeal to is the collector, and the collector is a DANGEROUS kind of customer to have. I'll tell you why in a second.
But before I do, let me talk about the 2nd big problem with using bonuses this way. Devaluation of product. And the terrible thing is, it happens on both sides of that affiliate equation. When you GIVE AWAY all your stuff to float someone else's product, what do you think happens to the perception of VALUE of your stuff?
HINT: Putting a dollar value in the copy won't stop the prospect perception from PLUMMETING. You can say it's worth whatever you like, but that's a tempest in a teakettle with most of these bonus bonanzas.
But not only does it devalue YOUR stuff, but it also devalues the product you're promoting as an affiliate. Think about it - if you have to throw in all this garbage just to make the offer worthwhile, the product in question must be garbage.
It makes me think you owe the guy a favor or something. That reinforces that "guru good-old-boy" assumption that the market has about how people with big lists just pass their subs around to milk them dry.
Now when you have that skewed kind of offer, I mentioned it will draw people who are "collectors". Let me tell you something about the "collector" mentality:
1. They only want the free stuff.
2. They only want the free stuff.
3. They only want the free stuff.
You can have a list of a bajillion "collectors" on it. They're easy to attract with freebies. But that's ALL THEY EVER WANT. They'll buy things to get the bonuses then cancel after downloading, or refund, or chargeback.
And when you send those kinds of customers to your affiliate partners, you're not really doing him (or yourself) any favors.
The bonus is not a sledgehammer which which you pound the sale into someone's head. If you're using the Bonus offer to get a prospect from "No" to "Yes" then frankly, you suck at marketing, copywriting, whatever you want to call it.
That's just bribery, and I'll tell you what. A bribe always feels like a bribe. It's an unpleasant feeling to participate, and the folks that don't mind taking heaps of bribes are not actually good customers anyway.
Anyway, end of rant.
If you don't believe any of this, that's fine. You may do great on a few affiliate promotions with this method, but watch your response rate go way down. Watch sales on the products you "bonus" go way way down. You're resigning yourself to "churn and burn" marketing when you do it. You'll always be having to chase that new lead.
If you have JUST ONE solid bonus with REAL value, it's all you ever have to use. And if you actually spend the time SELLING the affiliate product, the bonus actually becomes even MORE VALUABLE because the prospect already wanted the product in question.
Customers who get real VALUE for their dollar will spend more with you, and stay with you longer. Period.
When you only offer "phantom" value people catch on, get bored, get burned out, or even just start ignoring you. They can't even be bothered to unsubscribe, because they don't even want to open your emails.
P.S. This is how you get a list of a million subscribers with less than a 1% response rate. I'll take a list 1/10 that size with a 25% response rate any day. But you only get that by building trust over time, and by laying off the bonus hammer.
OK. I know I said "end of rant" before, but now I mean it. Hope this helps some folks, particularly beginners who are looking around at what's happening in the current market and thinking "this is how it's done". Cuz, it's not. Not if you want long-term.