“If I want you to build me a house, the best way to make you do so is simply to prove it’ll be worth your time.”

How can I convince my JVs to add bonuses to their mailings?

Well, there’s quite a few ways. But the most obvious and, as it happens, most effective, is to give them a good reason to do so.

Isn’t the reason obvious? They add a bonus, they’re making a better offer, so they make more money. Duh.

OK, maybe we need to go back to first principles here. I’ve got a deal for you – you build me a house, and I’ll pay you £5.


You build me a house, I’ll pay you £5. You’ll need to get all the materials yourself, but I will make sure all the coins you get are really shiny.

How about no?

Why not?

Because it’d take me ages to build a house. And I’d need to spend a ton more money on the materials. That’s a dumb plan.

It’s not that dumb for me. I’d get a house. But look – you’re not going to build me a house because the costs of doing so outweigh the benefits, right? Well, that’s true of any action. When affiliates put together a bonus for your launch it takes effort, time and money. It’s expensive. It’s a risk. You’ve got to show them that the benefits outweigh all that.

OK, fine. So how do I do that?

You’ve got two main routes to go down. You can either reduce the amount of effort, or emphasise the benefits. For reducing effort, you can provide some bonuses of your own for your affiliates to use. Not everyone’s going to want to use them out-of-the-box, but they’ll at least provide a starting point and give them some ideas. For benefits, do you have any proof that bonuses are actually going to make people convert better? Everyone says they does, but there’s a big difference between something ‘everyone knows’ and actually seeing a big difference in results in hard numbers.

So that’s all stuff you’d do on the JV page?

Yes. Of course, it’s also worth following up with all your biggest affiliates personally. Bonuses are leveraged products – from any given bonus, someone who usually sells 25 units on a mailing won’t get anywhere near as much benefit as someone who sells 250. This means your bigger affiliates are far more likely to put effort into creating bigger, better bonuses. They’ll get far more return from the same investment. If you can get in touch and see if there’s any way for you to make their job easier, that’ll make them even more likely to want to go the extra mile.

That sounds like effort.

Yeah, things that make any decent amount of money have an irritating habit of not being something you can do just by headbutting your keyboard. There are ways you can incentivise them without getting directly involved, though.

Oh really?

Really. Your JV competition is the strongest. If the next prize level up comes with an extra $1000 in prize money – or if it’s currently occupied by someone they really, really want to beat – then that’s going to factor into any affiliate’s cost/benefit calculation. If the extra sales don’t make it worth it, the extra prize money might.

OK, that makes some sense. Is there anything I can do that isn’t going to cost me money, though?

So you know, we’re venturing dangerously into ‘moon on a stick’ territory here. But as it happens, yes. People like to be consistent in their actions, and you can use this as a powerful psychological trigger. It’s one of the few things like this you can describe as ‘weapons-grade’ and be completely accurate – the Chinese used it in the Korean War to turn American POWs into communists.

Tell me more…

I don’t want to go too much into the psychology here – go read Influence, if you’re interested – but the method works like this. In one of the JV rooms, shortly before your launch, post up a question like ‘should you give your list extra bonuses when you promote products?’. A load of people will say yes, and as soon as they’ve done that, they’ve made a public commitment. Having done that, their desire to be consistent will make them more likely to give bonuses on their next promotions – especially if you keep the conversation going by making further posts and using their comments as social proof that bonuses are awesome on your JV page.

And that really works?

Yes and no. Does it affect people, and does it make them a bit more likely to provide a bonus? Yes, absolutely, and they won’t even know it’s happening. Is it as strong as simply providing a compelling cost/benefit case for giving a bonus, either in person or on your JV page? Hell no. This kind of stuff might make you a bit easier to convince, but if I want you to build me a house, the best way to make you do so is simply to prove it’ll be worth your time.