The Power of Bonuses in Your Sales Copy

Copy Dojo Power of Bonuses

A bonus can be an incredibly powerful motivator in sales copy, yet I still encounter sales copy from businesses not using them. Yes, it takes work to determine the sort of bonus your target customers will value, but it is worth the investment of your time. Offering a bonus can both encourage your customer to take action, and build loyalty.

Why Do People Like To Receive Bonuses?

Have you ever received a bonus or a gift from a company when you purchased something from them? If so, what did they give you? Was it something expensive or inexpensive? When you received the bonus, how did it make you feel?

Bonuses can make you feel like you’re getting greater value. They can make you feel appreciated as a customer. If only certain customers receive the bonus, they can even make you feel special or exclusive.

Copy Dojo Power of Bonuses

A tasty treat, included with my boring contact lenses.

This week I received a small gift, tucked into the box of something I had ordered. I’d purchased contact lenses online, and when I opened the package, the retailer had included a package of sweets.

When I saw the package my immediate response was to smile. It was completely unexpected, and a smile was my natural, visceral response.

This simple, inexpensive gesture from the vendor got me thinking about the power of bonuses, and the different ways businesses can use them to build rapport and get customers to take action.


For a bonus to be effective for your business, you need to look at bonuses from your customer’s perspective. Consider the following four attributes when thinking about what bonus to give, and when to give it.

Using bonuses in your sales copy1. Anticipated

An anticipated bonus is one that is referenced in your sales copy which the customer expects to receive if they buy from you, and is used to sweeten the deal to entice them to buy. These bonuses can be very powerful in making your call to action more compelling. You’ve seen these many times – ‘buy product X today, and we’ll also give you product Y, absolutely free‘.

I recently reviewed sales copy for a business preparing for a new product launch, and they hadn’t included any bonuses to motivate their buyers to take action. In their case, they were able to restructure their offer in a way that with a few small changes, they could then offer some bonuses to their customers and reference them in the sales copy.

2. Unanticipated

An unanticipated bonus is as it sounds, one that the customer had not expected they would receive. Obviously I provided an example earlier, and I’m sure you’ve encountered these types of gifts too.  The purpose of these types of gifts should be to build a positive rapport with the customer, and ultimately to encourage their loyalty.

One product I purchased in the last year offered me several (anticipated) bonuses before I purchased the product, to make their call to action more compelling, and then after I purchased the product, I received more, *unanticipated* bonuses. I was really impressed! It made me think, “wow, this guy really wants to delight his customers!” It was a powerful example for me, and I encourage you to think about how you can use both anticipated and unanticipated bonuses in your business.

Next, let’s take a look at the the customer’s perception of value, and the importance that plays in giving bonuses to drive sales and build rapport.

3. Valued

What does your customer value? The gift that you want to give them, are they likely to value it? Is it something they will want? It doesn’t matter if they need it, the question is whether they’ll want it.

To make your sales copy effective, you need to know what your customers value. If you have different types of customers, you will need to know whether what they value differs.

The bonus you give to your customers needs to have value, and be so strong on its own that you could have sold it separately if you’d chosen to. In some cases, it may even be something you already sell separately, but have chosen to give as a gift to a customer buying one of your other products.

4. Unvalued

It’s your customer’s perception of value which you need to care about. If they don’t perceive your gift to have value, then the gift is pointless and you shouldn’t give it. I would even go further and say that giving an unvalued gift could damage rapport you have with your customer.

This is a mistake some companies make – they just throw stuff in, and randomly give things to their customers, but if it’s not valued by the customer, they should stop wasting their money in this area.

Using Bonuses in Your Sales Copy  

Bonuses are a great way to entice customers to purchase your product, and to build loyalty. I encourage you to give anticipated bonuses and to reference these in your sales copy, as well as to give unanticipated bonuses for the purpose of building strong customer satisfaction.

To give bonuses which will be effective you need to know your customer well, and what they value, which will benefit your business in many ways. Bonuses don’t have to be expensive, but they need to be valued by the customer.

Give bonuses, and feel the love.

Now over to you – do you currently give away bonuses? What has worked for your business? What have you seen other businesses do which you think was clever?

About The Author

Eric Moeller

Eric Moeller is the Managing Director of Copy Dojo, an agency which helps startups improve their sales copywriting to rapidly grow their business. He has two decades of experience in high tech marketing and product management. Eric has an MBA in marketing, and completed Seth Godin's altMBA in the summer of 2015.

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