I'm So Glad You Asked “What's a Bundle Sale or a Giveaway event?”
TL;DR – this became an epic post when I wrote down all the things I wish I'd known years ago before I first encountered what I now know is a “bundle sale,” and its companion, the “giveaway event.” In quick summary: Bundle sales offer multiple, frequently digital, paid products from a collection of contributors, all hosted by a bundle seller and offered for a low price. You get to choose from any or all of the ebooks, apps, planners, webinars, live trainings, or e-courses offered for a single payment. It's common to see a collection of products whose combined value is thousands of dollars, sold for less than $50. Giveaway events are similar but you get ‘entry' to the event for free by handing over your email address to the host, then selecting which free gifts you'd like to opt-in for.
Read on for Everything You Wanted to Know About Bundle Sales and Giveaways But Didn't Know to Ask!
While the concept of a “bundle sale” has become very popular among online business owners, and those identifying as ‘internet marketers’, I know not every solopreneur or small biz owner in my circles are familiar with these offers. It’s ok to have some questions!
(I can’t believe I read a post that said ‘you had to have been living under a rock to not know what a bundle sale is’ – hellooooooo, not every business owner is the same or lives in the same online circles 24/7! And to be honest, while buffets, samples, and bundles may exist offline, these online digital bundle sales are really only common in small portions of the whole web. Many small business owners, professional service providers, consultants and freelancers will not be intimately familiar with this concept. I don't like the assumptions that blog writer made. Sheesh. So I'm here to bust myths and assumptions!)
In the offline, retail, world – stores, manufacturers or sellers have put together collections of products to sell at a combined lower price than if you bought each item individually. And sometimes you may even see products from different manufacturers ‘bundled’ by a store or 3rd party seller. Think about places like Ulta and Sephora that may bundle small, nice cosmetics products so you can try them before you buy. Doesn’t it make sense to get a taste of several high-end products before committing to a pricey new makeup or facial care routine? Nintendo and game makers often bundle popular games with ones that haven't sold as well to help those move. Bundles have been around for some time and can give really good deals for all involved.
But they’ve really taken off among e-commerce, software and app sellers, and business owners who mostly create and sell digital products and courses. It's these bundles of digital products and online courses that I see questions about from solopreneurs I know. Those are the kind of bundle sales that this explanation focuses on.
So, a bundle sale is an online sale where you get a collection, or “bundle”, of products for a single (usually low) price for a limited amount of time.
Online product bundle sales include real, full-size items that are normally sold by their creators. These are products, books, courses, coaching or services that are already for sale, or soon-to-be-sold. Good bundle sales should not include freebies or items that a provider regularly gives away to build their lists. Bundle sales typically last 10 days or less – the most common is a week. Urgency is a real thing in marketing and it works on all of us! Sellers and contributors need enough time to tell people and promote, but short enough that people are encouraged to buy now and not wait.
Ok, So What's a Giveaway Event?
Giveaway events are more like all the sampling booths at Costco or BJs – lots of folks giving away easy-to-consume tastes of their products. A giveaway host will often have one main signup or opt-in (to get you to join the host’s list) and that takes you to a page with a ton of free offers for you to choose from. Choose one, two, three, or all of them. You opt-in to the list of each provider in the giveaway and get their useful freebie – no cost.
Example: December Stuffed Stocking Giveaway – aimed at virtual assistants, freelancers and service business owners; from Tawnya Sutherland at VANetworking.com This is a giveway – you sign up for free, you get access to all the offers or gifts and then make your choice top claim/opt-in to free gifts from any or all of the contributors. [I don’t know if this was a one-time event in 2018 or if it will return]
Why do online business bundle sales exist?
Collaboration. And to grow your list and/or business at an exponentially faster rate than waiting to be found organically, by chance.
Because business owners figured out ways to collaborate to offer more and grow faster. It’s the power of many, folks pulling together, borrowing audiences, or however you’d like to think of cooperation and collaboration to advertise and sell. Everyone participating and contributing something to the bundle grows, they promote the bundle to their own communities, and all the buyers get to see business owners and products they may not have found on their own while experiencing tremendous discounts.
I like this quote …
“the ability to collaborate and bring together content creators and well-crafted digital products, like e-books and e-courses, and package them into something so big, so thorough, and yet so affordable, it sort of blows people’s minds”
If you’ve not encountered many bundle sales, I get that they could seem really salesy, or questionable, and maybe there are some out there that aren’t built with the customer’s needs in mind, or that have products of questionable value. But if the host follows good practice, gets high value contributions, and really keeps the customer in mind, they are GREAT.
I'll share some sample bundles – including screenshots inside ones I've purchased and talk about how everyone involved benefits from a good bundle. At the end of this post I answer some common questions I've been asked by solopreneur pals or seen in communities with small biz owners.
Examples of bundle sales I’ve seen (maybe even purchased from) include:
Humble Bundle – sells games, ebooks, software, and digital content with proceeds benefiting charities. A little bit different from other bundles as they have a ‘pay what you want’ version and a ‘pay this much more and get these other items too’ kind of levels. (they have a cool cookbook bundle going on as I’m writing this post “eat like a geek”)
Courses/training on software often offered from Stack Social – e.g. Ultimate UX/UI Designer Bundle includes 8 courses (each normally valued at $199) for $29; the Essential Coding for Beginners Bundle ($1740 value for $19), the Complete Adobe CC Training bundle ($673 for $29), a Copywriting Mastery Bundle ($24) and so many more.
Design sites like Creative Fabrica, Design Cuts, Mighty Deals, Creative Market often sell bundles of images, patterns, fonts, or clip art – they handle the backend differently from solopreneur or small businesses running a bundle, because everything in those design-marts is centralized in one big site or marketplace.
I have seen, or am aware of, bundle sales for nearly every niche living, working, or buying things online. Bundles for:
- bundles for life + wellness coaches
- bundles for traveling entrepreneurs
- bundles about essential oils
- bundles for meal planning and healthy eating
- bundles of done-for-you/licensed/white label/PLR content (if you want a refresher on what PLR/licensed content is check this out)
- bundles for photography + video
- bundles all about boosting business productivity (I definitely bought Cindy + Lynette’s bundle!)
- bundles offered at certain times of year (Black Friday, Christmas or start of the new year – like Your Best Year Yet Giveaway for coaches and solopreneurs from Kathryn Calhoun and Jennifer Dunham)
- bundles offered every year that have grown beyond their name (looking at you BC -Blogging Concentrated- Stack with much more than just blogging! I’ve bought 3-4 BC Stacks I think!)
Some bundles and giveaways (they are slightly different – one for sale, the other offered free) include a charitable component as well (the 5DayDeal for photo/video did, the Calhoun + Dunham gave to Kiva, Melissa Brown ran a bundle with all proceeds to charity BlinkNow).
Naturally I’m fond of the two bundles I’ve participated in – The Great Big Life and Biz Bundle from Kelly McCausey and the Laptop Lifestyle Business Bundle from Angela Wills. [Angela no longer runs events such as this – but hers were built for her membership – all the contributed products come only from those who are paid members of her membership/training program and she gives most of the bundle sale profits back to the members through increased affiliate commissions. ]
I love creating and testing new workshops or products for bundle sales like Kelly's. It's a great way to get both new and existing members of my community excited, into a training, get their feedback and testimonials, and then make the paid version of that training even better.
For example in fall of 2021 I listened to what my community was talking about and saying they needed help with in being able to do effective email marketing, to sell easy workshops of their own, or participate in giveaways and bundles – they needed to know how to create a landing page. So my Mighty Easy Landing Pages training was born! The live round of training went first into the Great Big Life + Biz Bundle sale.
Full disclosure – I’ve bought more than bundles than I can probably count over the last 5 years, but in the past 12 months I have also begun to participate in bundles by contributing items to the sale. Here's my advice as both a buyer and a contributor.
When a digital products bundle is carefully thought out and executed well, they can be winners for the buyers, sellers, and those contributing the products in the bundle. They are a win/win/win. Keep reading and I'll show you how everyone wins.
How you win with a bundle as a buyer:
You get products, downloads, e-books, licensed content, or live or recorded trainings generally worth hundreds more dollars than you are paying. It’s common for a bundle to have more than $1000 worth of items and sell for less than $100. You find out about thought leaders, content creators, and service providers you may never have encountered otherwise.
How the product creator/contributor to a bundle sale wins:
The product creator gets to reach a large audience of those interested in their products or services than they might if just selling something on their own site. They have tapped in to the community, audience, or list of the bundle seller as well as all the affiliate partners of the bundle seller.
The product contributor increases their customer and email list via all those who download or claim their product in the bundle. They may also be affiliates of the bundle seller and by using their affiliate links when promoting the bundle they could earn affiliate commissions. This is how the product creator/contributor makes money on a sale, as they are not paid to contribute the product to the sale.
**Note – for me and where the Mighty Marketing Mojo side of my business is, I participate as a way to be seen by more of my ideal audience and to build my email list. I hope that those claiming my products or offers in a bundle will become engaged members of my email community and be interested in the other services, training and offers I can send them long after the bundle sale is over.
Good piece of advice from my biz coach, and a host of great bundle sale ( the Great Big Life & Biz Bundle – coming back in October – join the list to learn more) – Kelly McCausey:
“You CAN overdo Bundle Marketing is you're not reaching out into new neighborhoods on the web, so do be aware of the opportunities available and choose what you can leverage into the most opt-ins.”
How the bundle host/seller wins:
The seller handles the technical, back-end, e-commerce part, they get traffic, they build credibility as a leader in their niche, they build their list, they engage with their affiliates, and they can of course make a nice profit from purchases of the bundle.
Most of the bundles that involve digital products (or info products), e-books, courses, or webinars include a significant affiliate marketing and sales component. People who have signed up as affiliates of the bundle seller go out and promote the bundle sale, encouraging their lists and communities to purchase via a special, link that tells the bundle seller that a sale came from a particular affiliate, and the bundle host/seller then pays out commissions to their affiliates – i.e. a portion of the total sales of the bundle. Affiliates must disclose that they are using affiliate links in their emails, blog posts, or other promotions.
I’ll note that for many of us solopreneurs who have service businesses, work with clients 1:1 or in small groups, or who are earlier in their business building – participating as a contributor is great, but we aren’t necessarily prepared to be a bundle host. And that’s ok. But I thought you might like to see the wins from all three perspectives.
Why would solopreneurs want to buy from an online bundle sale?
Generally because you are getting a ton of value on useful products or courses for a really low price, especially relative to the value of everything in the bundle. You may want to buy because there are several courses included so you can boost your skills or learn something totally new. You may buy because there are products that can save you time, which saves you money.
Don’t ignore that buying a bundle can introduce to you new communities, new service providers you may need for yourself or your business, new authors, thought leaders, and coaches. I’m pretty sure I got on the mailing list for the person who has become my business coach, Kelly McCausey, because she offered something in a giveaway or event years ago. I know that’s how I found Angela Wills years ago when she was primarily teaching WordPress courses. You never know who you might meet via bundle and how they could help your business even years down the road!
Bundles are like all-you-can-eat buffets – do not overload your plate or belly!
Well done bundles include a LOT of great products and offers around their niche. Those ebooks, planners, journals, webinars, or courses all look so tempting! If you’ve never bought a bundle before, I guarantee you will be tempted by the buffet to over eat, or over-download. You will think you want to, or need to, claim every offer, download all the products, or grab every freebie in a giveaway event.
PLEASE DON’T DO THIS! As your mentor, advisor, person who has ‘been there, done that, got the t-shirt’, I can say no matter how tempting, don’t grab everything. Just like you can’t eat everything at the buffet without getting sick, you can’t claim everything in a bundle sale without losing all your productivity and having a ton of stuff collect digital dust. Don’t over eat and don’t over download.
I get it, FOMO is real. So is being overwhelmed by too many choices. There WILL be other sales and ways to invest in your training, your life, your business. Maybe not these exact products or courses, but there will be other opportunities. Be selective right now.
I’ve learned these lessons so you don’t have to. 😉 What I recommend in approaching a bundle sale:
- Know your business goals for the next 90 days
- Know what’s on your calendar for those 90 days – how much time do you have to complete a training, attend live sessions, or really digest new materials
- Go through the list of awesome items in the bundle and make note of the 3-5, max of 7, items that will help you get to those 90 day goals AND fit your calendar.
- Only choose those items you can USE and implement right NOW.
- Not a course you think would be cool to know and you could maybe use someday.
- Not a topic you already feel pretty confident about, nor necessarily the one you know nothing about and aren’t sure how it fits to your business right NOW. E.g. do I think I should learn about Facebook Ads? Yeah, I do. Do I have time to focus on a course on FB ads AND will implement that and start running FB ads in the next 90 days? Nope. So I wouldn’t claim a training on that – I would feel pressure to do something that’s going to sidetrack me. Just say no!
- Choose something if it has a live, time-sensitive component and if it helps you meet your goals right now. E.g. I created a 30 day challenge to help my fellow solopreneurs narrow their marketing focus – and I offered it in bundle sale AND it ran live right after the sale. So naturally I encourage someone to grab it and participate LIVE if focusing on setting and following through on marketing goals is a top priority right now. If your focus is on something else, skip the live events you can’t take advantage of and maybe only focus on recorded trainings you can do at your own pace.
- Even with being selective, you will get your money’s worth! Using just one or two on-target products from a bundle that let you go out and serve your clients easier/faster, find more clients, bring in more sales – you know , boost your business – means you got a great ROI from your purchase.
Ok, but how do bundles work for those doing the buying of the awesome stuff?
I.e. What happens after someone enters credit card or PayPal info on the main bundle sales page and pays their $27.
After your purchase of the bundle you'll get an email(s) from the seller with information and links to a download or details page.
On the download or details page you will see descriptions of each offer in the bundle, sometimes a product picture and/or picture of the product contributor. There will be a button or link to claim each product.
Clicking the button/link will do 1 of 2 things depending on how each product contributor has things set up in their business and handles things on their own back-end.
1) You will go through a simple email opt-in form on the contributor's website (usually at a landing page specific to the product you are claiming) You enter your name and email and the contributor sends you the product information.
2) You will go through the contributor's e-commerce shopping cart and enter a coupon code to receive your claimed product for free.
No matter which way you get to your product, you are claiming a paid product with monetary value; generally as a rule, bundle products are not offered free anywhere.
[Giveaway events have free registration and may include smaller value products or ones usually given away free. Online biz owners need to use the right term for each event they may host or participate in – Bundle/Stack vs. Giveaway]
Why you will often need to claim each product/offer from a bundle (or freebie in a giveaway) separately?
- Logistics – Participants – including the host/seller – are small businesses too and we don’t have centralized marketplaces or digital warehouses and systems that make it super easy to run the backend. We’re not Amazon. 😊
- Privacy – it is uncool, unethical – and quite illegal – for a bundle seller to take a buyer’s money and then say, “oh hey, I’m now gonna give your email and contact info over to 25, 35, or up to 50 other businesses, all at once, so you can get your stuff. Hope you don’t mind.” Well of course someone would mind! You might have only wanted 3 items in the bundle (wise choice, still getting good value) but your info would now be with 25+ different other people’s mailing lists. I don’t ever want that to happen to me, you don’t want that, and the bundle host doesn’t either. So you only give your info directly to those contributors whose product you want and want to keep hearing from because they have other cool products like the one in the bundle.
- Avoiding overwhelm – even if it were easy for the bundle seller to give you immediate download access to dozens of products from dozens of contributors – you might not want or need all of them. It would be a waste of your time to have you go through a giant zip file with dozens upon dozens of files to find the ones you really want and can use right now.
- Courtesy – the bundle host/seller reached out to a lot of people to ask for contributions. Many contributors took time out to create something brand new just for that bundle – it hasn’t even gone on sale to their regular customers yet. Bundle buyers may be getting something exclusive, offered to them first. Some bundles have first-time contributors, giving over their first product to the bundle, thrilled to have something they believe will help bundle buyers. And unless someone buys the bundle through a contributor’s affiliate link and they get a commission, they aren’t making any money from these new or exclusively offered products. So it’s the courteous thing for you to give your email and info to the contributors whose product was offered to you with your success in mind.
That’s how many bundle sales work. You pay a low price and get hundreds of dollars worth of products, assets, or training to use to improve your life or boost your business. You claim (via coupon codes) or opt-in to each of the ones you want. If that’s too much trouble, then don’t buy bundles. 😀
Great quote from a kindergarten that can apply to online sales too … “you get what you get and you don’t get upset” LOL! But seriously, what it means is that for nearly all bundles, there are no refunds. You buy as-is.
More Common Questions on Online Bundles …
- Ugh, I waited until last day to buy the darn thing and now I won't have time to go through and download everything I want before tonight's deadline!
No no no no! You only have to BUY the bundle before its deadline ends. (and those deadlines mean business – don't wait til 11pm on the last day to check out the sales page for a bundle. You may not be done reading and checking things out in time before it closes – says someone with experience 😄) There will be a separate deadline, usually at least a month or more out (often up to 90 days), for when you must choose and download or opt-in to get the items you want from inside the bundle. Pop a note into your calendar for the next week to spend some time on the download page and make your choices like I advised above.
Also, not every thing offered in a bundle will be a download. Sometimes you are getting credits or coupons to claim items for free in the contributors e-store (common for coupons letting you choose licensed content/PLR). Sometimes the product is a webinar (or series of webinars) and you will register to attend those. You may be getting a plugin to download and install on your website. Maybe it’s a free registration for software or an app (e.g. a recent bundle I purchased offered extended free trials of Acuity, a calendar/appoint scheduling app). An offer may even be a course delivered through a platform like Udemy or Thinkific – you’re getting access to the that class for free as part of your bundle purchase. An offer could even be a service, such as creating a simple logo, animating your logo (I’ve offered that), editing a podcast episode, or 30 days of website maintenance. Follow the instructions from each contributor.
- Can I purchase just part of the bundle or stack?
Nope, doesn’t work that way. You purchase access to everything inside. But you don’t have to claim everything. Claim what resonates most with you and your situation right now. Ignore what doesn’t fit your business or needs. Really! Products inside bundles or stacks are worth more than the low price charged for the entire bundle so you should easily be able to get your money’s worth.
- I HAVE seen a lot of bundle sales lately. I'm wondering if they aren't really the same.
They do seem to be increasing in popularity! But no, they aren't all the same. See the long list earlier in this post about the different types of bundles I’ve seen or purchased. There seem to be bundles for every niche or interest! Homeschooling, paleo cooking, software coding, printable journal or planners, social media, you name it and there are bundles dedicated to those topics or including items for biz owners specializing in those areas.
Now, there are many bundles aimed at small business owners and solopreneurs, for sure! And I’ve seen many by hosts/sellers who know each other and have overlap in their audiences, communities served, and email lists. They may have similar products in each of their bundles or even the same contributors. But hosts strive to give good value and access to things you might not have any other way. Hopefully there’s not tremendous overlap between bundles in the same niche. Definitely check the offers – you may see a few that are the same if bundles are being sold near each other on the calendar – but I hope not. And there will be more that's different in each bundle than the same. You should also know it’s not uncommon for you to receive multiple emails from different people promoting the same bundle. That bundle must be a popular topic!
- If I buy from the same bundle seller again will I get repeats of products?
Well done bundles bring you fresh ideas and products for each collection and offer. Some sellers may bring back a very popular or high quality product, but it doesn’t happen often. I mentioned earlier that I've purchased at least 3 BC Stacks over the years, including the last two – and they did not contain any of the same offers. That's something that bundle hosts/sellers who do annual or frequent sales make a priority.
- Bundle sales don't offer refunds?
No. I’ve not seen any refunds offered by a bundle seller. Once you’ve purchased a bundle you will have access to many digital products that you could download (if that’s how they’re delivered). There would be no way for the contributors and the bundle host to get those back from you if the seller had to issue a refund. To protect the experts who have graciously, generously contributed their paid products to the bundle, the bundle seller won’t issue refunds. But they will work with you make sure you’re satisfied. If you have questions, reach out the bundle host/seller.
- Can I share my bundle purchase with friends?
No, that’s not cool. 😛 These are copyrighted, protected, paid products offered by small business owners just for the education and use of those directly purchasing the bundle. Your purchase doesn’t entitle you to share files, upload them anywhere else, or give away access to others. If you love the items in a bundle and think friends or colleagues would get a lot of value from it too, by all means share the link to purchase the bundle! You could even ask the bundle seller for an affiliate link and you could earn a commission (or % of sales) from anyone who buys through the link you share with them.
One more tip – back up, offsite (away from your computer’s hard drive) any digital materials you receive through a bundle. Good advice for ALL digital purchases! After the deadlines for claiming and downloading offers from a bundle, those pages will go away. Bundle sellers will not be able to send you copies of any lost digital purchases.
Evaluate each bundle and buy if it makes sense for your budget and business right now
It will be up to you to evaluate each bundle sale you come across, just like you evaluate other offers and ways to invest in yourself and your business. Not every sale will have overwhelming value for you at that particular time. Resist shiny object syndrome and the urge to grab all the new things! Don't eat everything at the buffet. 😄 Think about if offers in the bundle can help you right now and will return more than the cost of the bundle. Often it only takes 1-2 well-implemented items from a bundle to more than make up for the low bundle price. Well done bundles, with products implemented well by you, can create a big win for your solopreneur biz!