A Beginners Guide to Up-sell and Cross-sell Emails

As a business mentor, one of the things I’m most proud of is helping people get more profit out of what they already have. And one of the best things I’ve found to help people boost profits quickly is having them implement up-sell and cross-sell emails.

And let me spell this out for you. If you haven’t mastered and automated your upselling and cross selling processes, you can double or even triple your profits. This is even if you did absolutely nothing else. Just by implementing good upsell and cross-sell strategies.

The real reason we utilize cross-sales and upsells

Here’s a staggering number that you should be aware of. It is somewhere between 500% to 3000% more difficult to sell a product to a new lead, than it is to simply sell more stuff to someone who already bought something.

In other words, if you’re stuck on trying to get new customers, you’re literally forcing yourself to do things the hard way. With the same effort that it takes to get one person to buy their first product, you could have gotten between 5-30 existing customers to just buy more of your stuff. Scary right?

Let’s get us some clear definitions first of all

What is cross-selling?

The simplest definition of cross-selling is that you identify a product that’s complimentary to the one they bought (or started buying), and offer them that complimentary product.

As an email marketer you have to be aware of your verticals and segment your list by each vertical. And then, you actually need to have an index where you file which subscriber. This is crucial in order to be able to do effective cross-selling email campaigns.

What is up-selling?

The definition is almost the same. Upselling is when you offer people to upgrade to a higher level of product or service. A higher margin, higher price product than the one they just bought, or started purchasing.

Up-selling can be the secret to huge profits

The fact is that it’s always easier to sell a lower-level level version of a product than a higher level version of that product or service. And if you’ve ever paid attention to your own purchasing habits online, you might have noticed something. 

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been most enthusiastic about purchasing products or services that provide an amazing value at a bargain price. Only to find that you’re immediately being upsold to a higher-level version. And the higher-level version has some killer features that you are going to miss out on by staying on the entry-level version.

This is a great strategy that the best email marketers use. You basically trigger an upsell email sequence the moment the first order is processed. And enough people buy these upsells that the company can make amazing profit, despite “giving away” the entry product.

Let me let you in on a secret

Upselling and cross selling are so powerful that successful businesses can afford to “give away” entry-level products knowing they can make the money back on the upsells and cross-sells. And this is due to an amazing psychological effect.

Once a person pays to buy something that you offer, they mentally place themselves in the category of being “your customer”. They’re far more likely to pay attention to what you say. And in email-marketing terms, it means they’re going to open and respond much better to your following emails. 

In fact, if you get good enough at upsells and cross-sells you can use entry-level-products as “loss leaders” and basically crush your competition with the edge that your entry product gives you. That is, you’re offering a killer product at a price or value ratio that nobody can come close to.

How do you choose the upsell offer?

If you’re a beginner at this, this is probably one of your main questions. And honestly, that’s a great question. I wish even those who consider themselves “advanced” asked these types of questions.

Now, if you read guides out there you’ll find they’re focused on one business model or another, like just e-commerce, so they might give you the wrong impression that upsells are just something you do with an e-commerce store.

However, upsells can be implemented in any business model. And yes, even if you don’t have more than one product yet. You just have to understand the overall concept. It’s about the fact that you’re giving them a higher-level offer. The specific way in which this is done will depend on your business model.

If you run an SaaS, this is easy

You would build an onboarding sequence that attempts to upgrade your free-tier users to a higher level plan. And if anyone signs up for a paid plan directly, well you have an automation that tries to upsell them on a higher level plan

Run a single-service business such as yoga classes? 

Feel like there’s nothing to upgrade people to? You’re wrong. You can always come up with so-called “VIP packages. 

For example whereas regular memberships involve just going to the group classes, a VIP package could include 90 minutes of hands-on-training, recorded bedtime meditations and a private forum with videos to practice at home.

What if you have a single product and nothing to upsell on?

Perhaps in your business it makes sense to only have one product for a given niche. You sell this one course, and that’s it. What can you upsell people on if it doesn’t make sense to build a higher-level product. Your course already covers everything there is to know, and you just “can’t invent more stuff”. What do you do?

In that case, there are two things you can do.

1) First thing you should try – introduce a lower level product, and make that the entry product.

  • Next step – raise the price of your currently singular product (in this example your all-encompassing course).
  • Then go ahead and produce that lower-level product and make it really easy to purchase.
  • And then upsell to people who buy the lower-level product.

2) Alternatively, what you can do is upsell people on a higher-level service

And while I can’t give examples for every business on the planet. I can give you this assurance though – there is always a way to at least sell a “vip” style personalized service or “managed” services. Whatever the product is, you can always sell people a “consultation” service or anything involving personal attention.

How do you choose the cross-sell offer?

The cross-sell offer can be a product, a bundle of products or even an affiliate link to a product from a non-competing business.

The main thing you have to remember is that it needs to be complementary to what they just purchased. If they bought an e-book on running, you can send them an email offering them  a bundle of running gear, or even link to running gear on amazon using an affiliate link.

The 7 skills you need to master in order to produce quality upsell and cross-sell email campaigns

1) Segmentation

The fact is that as an email marketer, you need to be proficient with segmentation in any case. Quality segmentation of your email list will allow you to boost your profits in a myriad of ways. But when it comes to producing upsell and cross-sell campaigns that work, prior segmentation work is a prerequisite.

The fact is that unless you have segmented your list well in terms of their customer traits and characteristics, you can’t send the correct offers. This is obviously the case with cross-sell offers, where in order to know what is complimentary, you must have them well profiled.

But what people don’t get is that this can also make a big difference with upsell offers as well. If you have multiple higher-level offers, knowing which one to send will depend on how well you have them profiled inside of your database.

2) Automation

The fact is that in order to be competitive in email marketing you have to do a ton of things. Segmenting alone would be a full-time job if you did it manually. This is why today we use email automation builders. This is a big topic and past the scope of this article, so be sure to look at our ultimate guide on converting more people to customers using automation

The good news is that this one article will teach you at least 95% of the things you need to do in order to get a ton of benefit out of automation. And if you want to stay competitive in email marketing, automation will just have to become central to everything that you do. It’s kind of like the glue that sticks all the parts of email marketing together. Emercury includes the automation builder with every plan, even the free plan, so you might want to give us a try today.

3) Calls to action

This another one of those crucial email marketing skills you want to master in general as well. It isn’t enough to just create a compelling offer and present it in your email.

There has to be an actual clear call-to-action in your email. Let’s say the offer is that you “get 50% off on the [higher-level-plan] by upgrading today”. You may want to have a button like “Grab this discount today”, or “Upgrade Today”.

Let’s say the offer is a bit less direct, and you want them to just learn about the higher-level plan and learn why they might want to upgrade. Perhaps you want to take it a bit more gradually and have a gradual sequence that tries to upgrade them over time. 

In that case your call-to-action might link to a page showing the benefits of upgrading, and the button might be as simple as “Click here to Learn More”, or “See All The Benefits Here”.

4) Personalize

In a sense, personalization is simply the action side of segmentation. They’re like the two sides of the same coin. Segmentation is the process by which you acquire and learn about a person’s unique interests, and separate subscribers by said interest. 

For example, let’s say you run a fitness newsletter. You would segment out people interested in “weight loss” versus people interested in “building muscle”.

Personalization is the actual actions that you take based on that segmentation. That is, making sure that the “build muscle” subscriber gets a slightly different (or entirely different) upsell email than the one looking to “slim down”. And the same is true for cross-selling. The appropriate complimentary offer will be different for those in one segment than the other.

The specific way in which you implement personalization today is by utilizing an email marketing automation. This is easy to do with something like our automation builder. You just need to automate the use of tags and custom fields to treat people differently and personalize their journey in that manner.

5) Don’t be afraid to utilize reminder emails

Another of those skills that you should master to be a good email marketer in general (noticing a trend here?). You have to get comfortable with using reminder emails about your offers. There’s no reason to be shy about reminding people to take action.

This is especially true if you implement automation and event tracking and track engagement. If you know that someone has clicked on the button to read more about the offer (but didn’t purchase), it’s completely fine to send them a reminder email. And the best way to get this done (obviously) is through the use of automations.

6) Remove friction, make it easy to take upgrade or buy more stuff

This kind of gets us into the realm of “customer experience”, and people often associate that with selling software services and perhaps e-commerce. In those business models, if they’re any good, they make sure that every customer flow is optimized. There’s always an optimized straightforward path to go from one point to another. 

In e-commerce for example, adding extra (cross-sell) items can be just a matter of clicking on a checkbox that says “add these related items”. Your total is automatically updated without even leaving the page. This is the most optimized (frictionless) method that e-commerce giants have invented to make it as easy as possible to upgrade your order.

Now, obviously we can’t do the equivalent of clicking a checkbox inside an email that updates the email itself. However, you want to utilize the same overall philosophy. The idea is to whittle down the process until you remove as many unnecessary steps as possible. Remove as much friction as you can, and make it as easy as possible for a person to buy more, or upgrade what they have.

In terms of email marketing, you want to read the email as a subscriber would, and see if the email makes it easy to upgrade/buy more. Or is the email making you do more work than necessary? What is it linking to, and are the steps to purchase as minimal as possible?

7) Track your engagement (key to becoming amazing)

Tracking and analyzing your performance is a crucial aspect of growing a business. This is true whatever the business happens to be. When it comes to email marketing, the way that you track your effectiveness is by measuring your engagement.

When you produce an upsell sequence, what you want to do is track all of your open rates and click-through rates. Then, when you get enough data, tweak or 

This is the best way to master upsell and cross-sell emails. And I know you already know what I’m going to say. This is also the best way to master any and all skills that are part of email marketing. You want to track and analyze your engagement rates, experiment, tweak and improve over time.

Bonus Tip: Get the right partner on your side

Listen, your email marketing will only be as good as the help you get in implementing these concepts. Having an experienced mentor and partner by your side as you implement these tactics will help you grow profits at a much faster rate. 

And this is where Emercury comes in. More than just a platform to send emails, we are a team of marketing experts that are passionate about helping you succeed in email marketing. If you go ahead and read our reviews, you’ll notice a pattern. There’s a reason we get so many raving five-star reviews. People are excited about our hands-on approach to where you get access to more than just a software platform.

To get a feel for this experience, go ahead and schedule yourself a demo with our team over here.

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