The thing about marketing is that nobody likes to know they’re being marketed to. They want to be entertained, engaged, educated—but not marketed to, of course. Hence why so many marketing strategies are built around content marketing, the use of online content to draw potential customers in before hitting them with an offer. One of the most effective methods content marketers rely on is course creation: the opportunity for people to enroll in a course or program related to a brand’s area of expertise.
Whether your course is something you offer for free or something your customers pay to enroll in, there’s one fact you can count on, and that’s more is almost always better. If you can offer your enrollees any kind of bonus that builds on what they get from the program, you will increase your chances of lead conversion and establishing a customer for life.
What Are Value-Adding Bonuses?
Understanding the Value Proposition
The program you’re offering has value for those who enroll in it—the knowledge they’ll gain is something that could solve a major problem or improve their life in a big way. This is what’s known as a value proposition, an explanation of how what you offer will ultimately make your customer happier or more fulfilled.
A bonus brings even more value to your proposition, and that’s why you’ll frequently hear a bonus described as a value add. When you have an attractive value add, you’re more likely to attract the attention of course participants and convert them to loyal customers for frequent enrollment opportunities.
Benefits of Value-Adding Bonuses
The reason these value-adding bonuses are so effective is because they increase what your customers get out of the program. They either gain more knowledge or learn it more efficiently, or they have tangible ways to apply that knowledge for their benefits. Is it any wonder these value adds can make a participant feel more satisfied with your program and leave them feeling confident in coming back to you for more?
Types of Bonuses to Consider
The first thing you should know about bonuses is that there are a lot of different types. And that’s a good thing. Yes, it can get overwhelming when you’re considering all the options, but all those options will help you achieve two important goals: diversifying your bonuses, and customizing bonuses to your audience.
Diversifying Your Bonuses
Having just one type of bonus can get boring, and some might not be as effective for your program model as others are. When you have options to consider, you can provide your customers with a diverse selection of bonuses.
Customizing Bonuses to Your Audience
A big rule of marketing is customization. You want what you offer to be as personal to your customers as it can possibly be. When you have options, you can choose the type of bonus that is most likely to resonate with your specific audience and your specific niche, ultimately improving your chances of lead conversions.
10 Value-Adding Bonus Ideas
Okay, so you understand the value of a bonus when it comes to your online program. Now the question is…what kind of bonus are you supposed to add?
Here are 10 of the most popular options when it comes to bonuses, so you can determine which one might be the most appealing to your customers and the best fit for your program.
1. Exclusive Resource Libraries
Give your followers access to a few online resources all available in one convenient place online (or available in one convenient download). The resources don’t have to be complicated or in-depth. Something as simple as a few checklists, a cheat sheet of helpful hints, or even fill-in-the-blank templates could offer your followers a lot of value.
2. Personalized Coaching Sessions
Even if you put together the most detailed PDF possible, there’s only so much one of your followers is going to get from it—but if they have some one-on-one time with you (aka the expert), then they can get information personalized for their specific needs. If you add a personalized coaching session (or a series of sessions), this will give your customer a much greater opportunity to learn.
3. Community Forums and Networking Opportunities
Being connected with other professionals—especially professionals in your industry—improves your overall business success. A survey by LinkedIn several years ago found that 80% of professionals say networking is important. So why not offer people the chance to network through your brand? Make your brand the hub of a community by providing forums or other opportunities for online networking available exclusively to your customers. Message boards, Facebook Groups, and virtual happy hours are all popular formats.
4. Certifications and Accreditation
Did you know professionals who have the right certifications sometimes earn up to 20% more than others in their industry? So, if you’re able to offer a special certification or accreditation to your customers who take your course, you’re creating serious professional opportunities for them. Even if your course is unable to directly provide certification or accreditation, you can demonstrate that the info you provide will help prepare your customers to pursue the certification they’re looking to achieve.
5. Interactive Workbooks and Templates
Interaction helps people learn, and templates help them apply the specifics of their business to the information you’re providing them. By providing them with these kinds of resources, you’re expanding the value of your program by making its value tangible. You’re not just giving them knowledge—you’re giving them an opportunity to put that knowledge to use!
6. Lifetime Access to Course Materials
How long will your program enrollees have access to all of your course materials? A week? A month? How about forever? Assuming there’s no reason you have to rescind access to your course materials once somebody enrolls, it can be an added perk of your program that workbooks, videos, audio files, guides, and other materials are available to your enrollees for as long as they want them. It’s so simple for you, but it makes a big difference for them!
7. Bonus Mini-Courses
Your customers complete the course, and then what? They will likely be eager for more information. Offering a bonus mini-course that builds on talking points from the main course is a great way to increase the value of your program. These mini-courses also don’t need to take much effort from you. As you’re putting your course together, you’ll probably have lots of extra information and digressions that you need to cut from the course for the sake of streamlining it. Save these details for a mini-course, which will practically write itself. Very little extra effort for you, but a huge added bonus for your enrollees.
8. Webinars and Live Q&A Sessions
When people learn, they tend to have questions on the material. A live Q&A session with you or another expert in your field can give participants a chance to work their way through any parts of the curriculum they don’t understand or seek further insight into points that particularly interest them. In some cases, it might simply be a confidence boost for them to know that they have the opportunity to interact with you directly.
9. Private Facebook Groups
Remember how we talked about networking? Private Facebook Groups are a great place for online community—it’s a place where your followers can crowdsource solutions to their problems, promote their own interests, learn from their peers, or simply engage in some fun banter. Because the Facebook Groups are private, there is an element of exclusivity that makes it feel more valuable to them. Plus, you don’t have to worry about people who aren’t interested in your area of expertise interfering with the discourse.
10. Money-Back Guarantee
Finally, there are few bonuses that make people feel confident in their investment than a money-back guarantee. This demonstrates that you stand by the value you have to offer—you are confident it delivers on what it promises, and you genuinely care about the satisfaction of those who participate in it. Business.com even cites a money-back guarantee as one of the best ways to increase conversions because it sends the message that customer satisfaction is your priority.
Measuring the Impact
Tracking and Measuring Lead Conversions
Like any other aspect of your marketing strategy, a bonus for your program could be a huge success or it could be something of a flop. You won’t know until you try. Plus, you won’t know whether there’s a better option or bonus you can offer until you try that as well. Use A/B testing just as you would with ads to see whether one bonus is working better than another version, or if one bonus appeals particularly well to one segment of your target demographic. Ongoing assessment and optimization will help you find the most success with your program.
These 10 bonuses are some of the most popular, but they’re by no means the only options you can consider. The more you consider each format, the more you’ll come up with ideas of how you can tailor them to your specific program.
At Till Agency, we’re big fans of content marketing, especially course creation, because we know how effective it is. We want to help you develop a stellar course that will win over the right customers for you, especially if you have a great bonus you can offer. Need specific ideas? We’re always happy to book a discovery call—reach out to us today!