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I recently asked my email list if they’d be interested in reading an honest reflection of including a product in an Ultimate Bundle. The response was overwhelming! I heard back from so many readers that YES, they would absolutely like to read this.
So, I decided to gather some information and dive into some pros and cons that I experienced. My goal is to provide an honest look at what I thought, so content creators can evaluate the process and outcomes and make a decision that makes the most sense for them.
Please note that this is just my personal experience with Ultimate Bundles. Your experience may be different.
Important Background Information
Before diving into the pros and cons, I wanted to provide a bit of background/backstory for you. This will help you to see where I was coming from when I decided to include my course in two Ultimate Bundle deals.
Back when I started my freelance writing business in 2015, I never dreamed I’d launch a product of my own. But, everyone I met kept asking how in the world I managed to find time to run a business as a busy, large family, homeschooling mom.
After the bazillionth time trying to answer this rather complex question, I decided to write a course to share my strategies for balancing diapers and deadlines.
So I did. You can find my course here if you’re interested.
In early 2016, I launched my course. At this point, I think I had all of three subscribers on my email list. Other than an email and some Facebook Group shares, I did nothing to market my awesome new course.
As you can imagine, no one bought it.
At this point, I hadn’t really thought of blogging as a way to make money. I was primarily blogging to improve my writing skills and create sample content.
It wasn’t until nearly the end of 2016 that I really started to get serious about blogging and growing my list. (I use ConvertKit and highly recommend it!)
So, you could definitely say that I did the product creation bit too soon, and backwards from the recommended order of events.
I had no list and made no sales. But, as I started to grow and market, my sales and subscribers slowly started to pick up.
Contacted by Ultimate Bundles
In April of 2017, I was contacted by someone on the Ultimate Bundles team. Prior to this, my only experience with this company was the purchase of a couple of Ultimate Homemaking Bundles. I was shocked when I read the email!
And excited. They asked if they could include my course, Balancing Diapers and Deadlines in the brand new Work at Home Bundle. After reading all the details, I quickly filled out the requested information.
Note: If you are interested in submitting your product, fill out the form on the Ultimate Bundles website.
The form asks about things like your traffic numbers and your list size. Mine were all really low at the time I applied. I think my biggest was Twitter, with 1000 followers…
Putting my numbers down on paper for someone else to see was intimidating. I figured they’d take one look at my numbers and email me back and say they were just kidding about wanting to include my course…
(My struggles with imposter syndrome were much harder back then!)
To my surprise, they didn’t! My course was accepted and I signed a contract. Here’s a peek at some of the details:
- As a contributor, I earned 70% commission on each bundle I sold
- I also got a share of the Author Bonus
- And received a free copy of the bundle along with some affiliate marketing training
- There were some specific regulations on not including my course in any other bundle sales or anything during the duration of the sale or in the time immediately before it
- I gave permission to use my course in the sale and in the flash sale
There were other details of course, but the contract was easy to read and understand. I signed it and started getting things ready.
I also made some goals and tried to determine what I wanted out of the arrangement.
Based on my list size, I knew I wouldn’t make very much money on this deal. That’s okay – money wasn’t my primary goal.
I wanted to add people to my list who genuinely enjoyed my content.
And that definitely happened! Here’s my ConvertKit growth over the past two years:
After the Work at Home bundle, my email list had two months of rapid growth followed by a slow trickle for the next several months. I approached 1000 subscribers and purposefully culled my list at that point.
(Side note: I personally prefer to have a smaller, more engaged email list. My open rate is currently 45.66%. This summer, I’m going to cull my list again. No one has time to sit and delete emails that they don’t want to read!)
Included in Another Bundle
I was also asked to have my course included in the 2018 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. This is what I call the “premier” bundle from the UB team. I had much better results from it.
You can see the rapid email growth from the second arrow in the image above.
The Logistics of Including My Course
I had to think about a way to include access to my course to all the new people who would be buying the bundles. At this point in time, I was using experimenting with two different course platforms, and I didn’t like either of them.
So, I took the plunge and bought the Zippy Courses plugin. I’ve been using it ever since. It’s not perfect, but it works for my needs and keeps things on my site (well, a subdomain of my site.)
I was scrambling to move my course over, learn a new platform, and figure out how to give free access but still collect email addresses, since that was my goal. Phew! It was a crazy couple of weeks!
I figured out how to create a free version of the course (giving it a slightly different name helped me keep everything straight…). Then, I was able to send that specific link to the Ultimate Bundles team. This link was included in the downloads area for anyone who bought the bundle.
Once someone clicked the link, they had to register. This registration was connected to my ConvertKit account, and added their email address to my list with a special tag. That way I could keep track of who had access to the course and who had not.
Pros of Including a Product in an Ultimate Bundle
For me, the biggest perk of participating in this bundle sale was the growth of my email list. I gained several hundred subscribers from both bundles – more from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.
I also got some money. Not a lot, but a little.
I sold a whopping 2 copies of the Work from Home Bundle and 3 copies of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. So, my affiliate payments weren’t great.
But, my author bonuses ranged from $94-$300. The smallest one was from when the Work from Home Bundle was offered as an upsell in the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit. The largest one was from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.
I also learned a lot about affiliate marketing. There are some contributors and affiliates who make lots of money (in the over $10K range) for selling bundles. I gleaned some tips from them.
The bundles were sold during the initial launch. Then both times, the bundles my product was included in was offered as a flash sale AND as an upsell at later points. I received author bonuses and 70% commission from bundles I sold for those situations as well.
So, there were multiple payouts for each, which I wasn’t really expecting at the time when I signed up.
Finally, I got to meet a great team of people who truly seem to care about both the affiliates and the contributors. If there’s a problem, they do their best to make it right. And working with good people is a nice thing.
Cons of Including a Product in an Ultimate Bundle
The biggest drawback for me personally has been the length of time people have access to join my course. Even months after a bundle sale, I’d get notification that someone new had joined my course.
And these weren’t paying customers, they were people joining from the link I provided Ultimate Bundles.
Purchasers have a year to download the bundle contents, but there is no limit on when they have to enroll. It really can be a headache trying to keep track of this.
My course was priced at the roughly the same price of the Work from Home Bundle, and more than the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.
I didn’t come close to earning what would have been the rate had all those people purchased my course individually. But of course, no one was buying at that time, so I try not to think about that one too much…
I think people with lower priced items likely see more monetary value in terms of subscribers and people with higher priced products likely see less. That math seems to work…If you have a $5 ebook, and you get a commission of roughly $20 for each bundle you sell, it’s the same as selling 4 books each time.
If you have a higher priced product, you aren’t even breaking even selling one bundle.
Another downside is the people who just unsubscribe immediately. I know they aren’t my target audience, but it really stings to have someone access your paid product and then not even stick around to see who you are.
My Thoughts On Email Overloads & Unsubscribers
I do not market the way the Ultimate Bundles team recommends. They recommend SO MANY EMAILS. And they give you great swipe files to go from so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
But personally, I get sick of reading all the emails. I think my readers do too, since most of them are busy moms. When so many bloggers are all sending SO MANY EMAILS about the exact same thing, it’s just too much.
I send my list one email a week. Other than the brief initial welcome/freebie downloads, I send an email out each Thursday.
If I had sent more emails, I might have sold a couple of more bundles. Except here’s the thing:
The vast majority of my email list purchased one of the bundles my course was in. They already bought it!
And they didn’t need to hear about it…again.
I know when I was signing up for courses from the bundles I got access to, I suddenly got dumped on more email lists. And they were almost ALL sending out a ton of emails during the sale week.
So email overwhelm is absolutely why people unsubscribe from all the lists during bundle time. But, it still stinks.
And I don’t fault the UB team for telling people to send so many emails. It obviously works great for some people.
Would I Include another Product in an Ultimate Bundle?
Those are my biggest pros and cons from including my product in an Ultimate Bundle. So, what’s my takeaway? Would I do it again?
Well, it depends on the product.
You see, affiliates and contributors have no way of collecting the email address from those who purchased the bundles. Unless someone signed up for my course AND stayed on my list, I have no further contact with them.
Now imagine if I had included my eBook on Family Writing Time instead.
I do not have a page in the book directing readers to sign up for bonus content or anything. There is absolutely no way for them to find me again, unless they seek me out.
Which, when they are overwhelmed with all sorts of amazing new products, they probably aren’t going to do.
Had I included my book, I would have received a hundred to a couple of hundred dollars. Which would have been nice. At a list price of $7.99, I’d make more selling a copy of the bundle than I would selling a book.
But, I would have seen NO email growth.
So, if I created another new product AND ensured there was a way to get at least some email sign ups from it, I definitely would include it in a bundle. Especially if it was a match for the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, because that one is just so massive.
But, I would definitely take more time on my images before submitting it. In all the hustle of getting the course switched around, I kind of slacked on the image side of things. Thus, my course cover was really ugly!
I’ve since had it redesigned, and I think more purchasers of the bundle would sign up for it now:
And for old time sake, here’s what it looked like when I originally submitted it to the Work at Home bundle:
I think it’s safe to say that my product looks much better now! You definitely learn things over time. Like when you should pay someone else to do something for you… 😀
Being an Affiliate for Ultimate Bundles
Ever since my product was included, I’ve been an affiliate for Ultimate Bundles. I don’t promote all of the bundles, since not all of them are a great fit for my audience. But, when I do, I enjoy the experience.
It’s a good way to promote curated content, work with great people, and make money.
You can sign up to be an affiliate here:
Are You Going to Include Your Product in an Ultimate Bundle?
I’d love to hear your thoughts – are you going to include any products in upcoming bundles? Do you have any questions about the process? Let me know in the comments.