Bonus Products – Where Something is Usually Nothing

Don’t Let Bonus Products Distract You

If you do anything at all in the world of affiliate marketing, you’re going to encounter bonus products from time to time.  These are additional products that are offered with the purchase of a software or information product, and are generally offered either by the creator of the product or by affiliates who are promoting them.  They are seen as adding value to the product as a whole, and are generally regarded as something that a seller “must” do when offering a product for sale.

bonusBonus products can be a distraction, however, and as a buyer, you definitely want to pay attention to what the bonus products are and whether or not they can help make your purchase worthwhile.  More often than not, they’re simply a distraction, and as a marketing tool, bonus products are an effective distraction that often covers up deficiencies within the product itself.  In this post, I’ll go over the concept of bonus products and show you a few examples of what I’ve heard called “bonus bloat” in action.

Do Bonus Products Add Value?

The nature of Internet marketing is, of course, to make sales.  When writing a sales page, you want to persuade the visitor to the page to purchase the product.  You can talk about the features and benefits of the product itself, and offer a special price or even a scarcity ploy (“Price goes up in 12 hours!”) to get people to act quickly.  One trick that has worked for decades is offering bonus products, and this isn’t just true of Internet marketing sales pages, but even TV commercials (“Call now and we’ll add this for free!”)  People do it because it works.

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While a TV commercial might give you a second item for the same price or throw in a vaguely related item at no extra charge, in the Internet marketing world, you’ll often see a number of products thrown in for free, and many of them are completely unrelated to the product being sold.  I recently reviewed a product called Surveys Paid, which is a product that allegedly shows you how to make money by taking surveys.  The idea is that you fill out a form and some company will pay you for the information you’ve provided.  The Website suggests that you can earn tens of thousands of dollars per year taking surveys, which is basically a full time income.

To entice you to buy, the company offers several bonuses in the form of several ebooks:

  • Get paid to write articles
  • Get paid to read emails
  • Get paid to eat out
  • Get paid to be a secret shopper

special bonusThis might all sound appealing to a prospective buyer; after all, you get all of these extra things!  But you need to think about this before making your purchase.  First of all, the product that you’re buying is supposedly going to show you how to earn a living from completing surveys for money.  That’s it; that’s the program.  That’s what you’re paying them for.  But they’re trying to get you to buy the product by offering you four other programs that will also help you make money, and none of them have anything at all to do with taking surveys.  If the main product does what it’s supposed to do, then why would you need these other, completely unrelated, bonus products, too?

You don’t, but that’s not the point.  The creators of this product are trying to entice you to buy their product by offering you a ton of bonus products.  You’ll think “Wow.  I get all of that for one price?  That’s amazing!” and you’ll go buy the product.  This happens often, and most buyers never think “Why are they offering me all of this unrelated stuff?  If their product does what they say it will, why would I need those other things?”  You definitely need to watch out for this sort of thing, which is becoming increasingly common on Internet marketing sales pages.

Bonus products are also frequently offered by affiliate marketers, too, and the more expensive the price of the product, the more likely you are to have someone offering you a pile of bonus products in order to get you to buy the product from them.  Occasionally, the bonuses are good products that are related to the item being purchased, but often, they’re just a pile of private label rights ebooks that the affiliate happened to have lying around.

I recently encountered an affiliate who was promoting a WordPress plugin that would allow you to create simple surveys for your Website.  The idea is that these surveys would “go viral” and get you a lot of traffic to your site.  The product wasn’t overly expensive, at $47, but this affiliate really wanted to generate sales, so he was willing to throw in twenty different products as a bonus.  Many of these products were inexpensive (and largely ineffective) WordPress plugins, along with products about making money on Facebook.  None of these bonus products are particularly useful and none of them have much of anything to do with the primary product.  The affiliate is simply hoping that you’ll be overwhelmed at the number of things you get for buying the product through them that you won’t pay attention to the fact that you’re not really getting anything useful.

You can see a full list of the bonus products here. (opens in a new window)

Bonus Products Summary

I’ve purchased hundreds of information and software products over the years, but I can count on one hand the number of bonus products that I’ve received that were actually useful.  Even fewer were relevant.  They’re mostly things that you can get for free if you’re willing to poke around the Web for a bit.  I’d guess that 95% of people who buy a product that includes bonuses never do anything at all with the bonus products, which means that they really do one thing only – persuade you to buy.

You’re smarter than that, right?  When you’re thinking about buying an information product or a piece of software that might help you in your quest to make money online, be sure to scrutinize the bonuses carefully.  If they don’t look like something that will really help you make better use of the primary product, then you should ignore them.  They’re not bonus products; they’re just garbage.
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