4 types of bonus content to include in your memberships

With the growing popularity of membership websites, there’s more and more competition – and that means it’s increasingly important to find ways to distinguish yourself. This is where bonus content comes in!

You can use bonus content in all kinds of ways, from boosting your membership value and improving sales, to promoting limited-time offers and inspiring long-term loyalty from your existing members.

But what can you offer members that your competitors can’t (or don’t)? What valuable bonus content can you provide to help them get the most out of your content? What special extras can you provide to convert more sales?

What qualifies as bonus content anyway?

The truth is, anything that isn’t a part of your regular membership offering can function as bonus content. From downloads to exclusive online materials, there are plenty of options for adding extra value to your memberships. In this post, we’ve highlighted 10 ideas for bonus content that we find especially compelling!

How Can you Surprise and Delight Your Members?

When it comes to brainstorming ideas for bonus content, a key question to ask is: How can I surprise and delight my members?

The great book The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath introduces the idea of focusing on building peak moments for your customers rather than only fixing problems. Basically, we need to invest in remarkable positive experiences, marked by elevation, insight, pride, and connection.

Bonus content can be a way to accomplish more positive moments for your members.

10 Bonus Content Ideas For Your Members

There’s so much variety when it comes to bonus content – and it’s usable in virtually all membership scenarios. Maybe you’re already offering a few of these, or maybe it’s time to refresh some old content. Or maybe it’s time to try something new!

Perhaps you run a digital course-based membership site and you want to differentiate yourself from a competitor, so you offer a bonus workbook and accompanying podcast episode. The options are limitless and customizable to your niche and content!

The good news is that bonus content can be delivered at any point during your membership cycle. After all, we all love to be surprised!

1. Ebooks

Ebooks can be a great downloadable resource that packages content you have already written into a new format. The term “ebook” may seem a little fancy, but the truth is they’re very easy to create. A simple PDF will do or you could dive more into more traditional formats for platforms like Kindle (not so easy to create). Plus, you can utilize tools you may already use to format an ebook (For example, Canva does the trick!)

The key with this type of bonus content is to take an inventory of content you already have and figure out how to repurpose it into the ebook format. Ebooks can also serve as a great lead generation tool, paired with a plugin like Content Upgrades.

2. Worksheets or Workbooks

Similar to ebooks, worksheets or workbooks are another downloadable resource that adds value to existing members-only content. For example, maybe you sell nutrition memberships and you decide to give new members a bonus PDF meal plan for signing up.

3. Cheat Sheets

Cheat sheets are great as an ongoing quick reference for notes or tips. It’s also a great name to call another downloadable PDF file that may contain a list of pointers or tips that your members frequently need to review.

4. Exclusive Interviews

Engaging your members is super important when it comes to helping them achieve their goals and reducing churn. Exclusive interviews are highly valuable in this way because they provide educational value and insights that dedicated members find irresistible. Plus, they allow you to bring in guests that add outside value and help to reduce the amount of content creation you have to do on your own!

5. Webinars

Webinars are another particularly high-value type of bonus content because they give you face time with your members (if you choose), and inspire discussion and further learning. At the end of the day, the more you can do to engage your members, the more they become experts on your content – and ultimately, the better your recurring revenue will be.

6. Access to private groups

Often, the community element is one of the biggest advantages of joining a membership site – and access to private discussion groups or other exclusive communities can be especially attractive to loyal members who are seriously committed to your niche.

Facebook is a common platform used for this purpose, with the option of having private, or even secret, invite-only discussion groups. You can control who has access, and engage group members with posts, polls, live videos, and more.

7. Discount codes

Members love an exclusive deal! Think of a cross-promotion with a partner whose product is relevant to your membership, or get creative with other cross-sell opportunities within your own product lineup.

For example, if you make tutorials for some kind of creative software, you could offer your members bonus discounts on that software, presets, or templates. Many companies are always on the lookout for affiliates or talent to sponsor in exchange for referring new customers.

8. Checklists

Another downloadable resource is a checklist. And people love checklists. Think of how you can guide your members through a process with a set of repeatable steps, then turn that into a downloadable checklist that people use again and again.

9. Planners

Maybe your members need help planning meals, their weekly workouts, or launching a new website. Create a template for a daily, weekly or monthly planner that your members can use to accomplish their goals.

10. Graphic Packs

The web isn’t in short supply of free graphic packs, but maybe there’s an opportunity for your special membership niche. For example, if your members pay for a certain number of stock images per month, offer them a bonus pack to thank them for their loyalty.

Wrapping Up: Bonus Content to Suprise and Delight Your Members

These are just a few of our favorite types of bonus content, but it’s important to consider what your members are trying to get out of your membership. Depending on your niche, you might find that downloadable assets are less effective in comparison to, say, offering one-to-one coaching sessions.

If you’re stuck for ideas, try recreating existing content in a different format, such as an audio version of an article or a written transcription of a video. In any case, you get a lot from incorporating bonus content into your content strategy! Hopefully this brief list gives you some ideas to think about.

What kind of bonus content has been effective for your own membership site? We’d love to hear your input!

Kristen Wright

About the author: Kristen is super passionate about helping you build an awesome membership website with WordPress and Restrict Content Pro. Since 2010, Kristen has been writing WordPress tutorials and tips for iThemes. When not at a computer screen, Kristen enjoys journaling, hiking and camping, cooking, and daily adventures with her family, hoping to live a more present life.

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