The Bonus Issue

By  •  Updated: 09/19/22 •  6 min read

This issue isn’t a bonus.

It’s all about bonuses.

Bonuses are a misunderstood part of any offer in the world of information products.

I see people throwing in old courses at random as bonuses to try to push up the value of their offer, but in most cases, they’ve actually reduced the value of their offer.

People think  bonuses are about perceived price, but like almost everything about making the sale, it’s about bending the offer equation:

If you’ve not come across it yet, the offer equation looks like this:

(h/t to Alex Hormozi for the original breakdown, which I bent a bit)

Let me explain the 4 parts:

Outcome = what they’ll get at the end of using your product

Certainty = how sure they are it’ll work

Effort = the physical and mental effort needed to apply what they’ve learned

Delay = How long before they get the result

Simple enough?

Let’s look at how a bonus affects each part of this equation:


First, how will it affect the outcome?

As a bonus, it shouldn’t affect the outcome at all. If it wasn’t there, your core offer would break down. If it’s absolutely necessary to get the result, it should be part of your core product.


Next, certainty. How much more certain of getting a result is your customer with this bonus?

This is where we start to see a difference.

Some great bonuses can be checklists, templates, flowcharts and other ways to simplify your process.

If you’ve boiled your process for success into a repeatable system, it gives a lot of confidence that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re the right choice to solve their problem


I’ll repeat myself here.

Some great bonuses can be checklists, templates, flowcharts and other ways to simplify your process.

All of these reduce the mental effort of doing the work that’s needed.

You’re probably not like most people.

To create a training product you’ve gone deep into your subject area. You need to enjoy learning to do that.

Most people don’t want to do that depth of thinking. They don’t buy into training to learn. They but into training to get a job done.

If you can help them get a result without even understanding the theory, that’s fine. They’ll come back to theory when they hit limits.

You didn’t learn phonetics before you first said “Mama” or “Dada”, you just copied your parents.


This is bigger than most people imagine.

Delay is different from effort.

If I give you 7 hours of material, your minimum delay is 7 hours.

If I drop it out over a week, your delay is a week.

Same effort, different delay.

An offer that will make $500 in 24 hours will beat one that makes $100k in 10 years, even if the effort is the same.

Most people are terrible at imagining themselves in the future (this is why savings are in such a dire mess and consumer debt is through the roof).

It’s tied a little to certainty as well. The further away the payoff is, the less I trust I’ll get it.

So, avoid large blocks of extra content as a bonus.

Something short is OK, if they can see the payoff in a short space of time.

Would you watch a 5 minute youtube video to learn how to do a 2 hour task in an hour? Of course you would. The overall delay is smaller so it’s a genuine investment of time. 

Give them ways to distill the content they’re already committed to, so they can understand it quicker and easier.

An example in action

I ran the webinar funnel for a rapid learning course for a few years.

As each person signed up to the webinar, we’d ask them what they’d tried before and why they still needed help. 

[Stop and read that again. If you can find a way to get a lot of responses to those 2 questions, your copy will write itself.]

Again and again we saw the same objection.

People learned the theory but could’t find time to put it into practice. Our typical customers were stressed students with exams coming up. Taking a day out to learn a skill was terrifying.

(It’s the same reason I’ve never learned to touch-type, which is a ridiculous failure given how much I write. Be honest with yourself, we all suffer the same delusions!)

So we added a bonus. A 30 minute productivity hacks list that would same them up to an hour each day.

The bonus had a double-digit effect on conversion and was one of the changes that we made that allowed us to start selling the course with Facebook ads to cold traffic.

A resource to help you create great bonuses

There’s 2 products I use regularly for bonuses

I got this on a lifetime deal at AppSumo, so take a look, it was still there last time I looked.

This is great for nice looking PDF’s especially for checklists. I did our webinar campaign checklist using this tool.


Canva is so much more than little banner ads and social graphics. There’s whole presentation decks, infographics and, to get back to the point, a whole bunch of worksheet templates that you can re-jig with your own content.

A lot of them look like they’re designed for school teachers but drop in your own font & colour scheme and they’ll look a lot more pro.

TL;DR Summary

Course buyers want a fast track to a result, so anything that helps them get there without thinking or working more is going to be solid.

People will buy an entire high-priced course for one “magic bullet”, so don’t underestimate the power of pulling these out into a template of some sort.

Stephen Pratley

I build email lists, that grow into one-man businesses.