How to Use Email to Upsell Your Customers and Increase Revenue
Jasmine W. Gordon is a copywriter at Lean Labs. She's written for digital audiences for over 5 years, and her background includes agencies, tech startups, health care, big data analytics, energy, and more. Jasmine loves new marketing statistics, optimization studies, and live music.
Would you like fries with that?
Do you want the maintenance package for your new car?
Can I interest you in warranty for your new smartphone?
Each of these questions is an attempt to upsell.
Upselling is a way to increase a customer’s purchase amount by selling them something that meets the needs of or enhances their recent purchase in some way. Like the questions above, this could be a warranty, dessert with dinner, or travelers insurance.
One great way to upsell to online customers is through email marketing.
Using Email Marketing to Upsell
An advantage to email marketing is that you already have the trust of the consumer. The consumer had to opt-in to the email list, whether by making a purchase or by completing an action on your website. Even though a relationship is already established between your company and your consumer, it's important to be subtle. People don't want to feel like they are being sold to, even if you are offering them something they need or have already expressed interest in.
The Simple Ask
Email upselling does the same thing—it encourages consumers who have already purchased a product or taken an action to upgrade or buy additional material or take an additional action.
When timed correctly, it meets the needs of the buyer when trust is highest, and when the instinct to say yes is at it's peak.
And the great thing is, upselling isn't limited to any one industry. It works everywhere.
Every industry has, or should have, some additional purchasable item. If you sell a smartphone, the case, headphones, screen protectors, and many other things are obvious next purchases. If you don't offer them, someone else will. And the best time to offer them, is right after, or during, the purchase process.
If someone buys an item from your website, sending them emails offering products that will make their purchase better, easier, or save them time can drastically increase revenue.
Cross-selling is when consumers are made aware of other similar products. At a restaurant, this would be the sign posted on the front door saying they offer catering as well.
Cross-selling targets consumers who have already purchased from you, and shows them other ways you can meet their needs. They already trust you enough to buy from you, and if the experience is a good one, they will be more inclined to explore the other ways you can meet their needs.
Selling home appliances? Offer installation or yearly maintenance.
6 Things to Remember When Upselling Through Email
1. Learn to Leverage Use Smart Data
Smart data is essential to any email campaign. This data is collected from your website, but especially from the purchase made. Smart data stores information about the consumers, such as what they bought, clicked on, liked, etc.
This data is used to identify the product, additions or upgrades the customer will be most interested in. This data is allows you to make a perfectly tailored email to that consumer, meeting a need at just the right time.
What's even better? You can test which products are more successful, and tailor your email marketing to fit that superior product.
If 50% of the people buy the Otterbox phone case, and 45% buy the knock-off cheaper version, why would you offer the cheaper version?
The length you go through to automate will depend on a lot of things. Amazon, for instance, deals with millions of customers every day. They don't have the bandwidth to not automate.
So when you're checking out brakes for your SUV on Amazon, and you get an email a few days later offering you brakes or other car products, that email is 100% automated based on their algorithms and your browsing behavior.
More than likely, you're not as big as amazon, but you still should automate your upselling and cross-selling emails.
As a rule of thumb, start off simple. If you have a few core products, pick a product and test automated emails to see how they perform.
When you've nailed it, scale it.
3. Be personal
Again, Amazon is Amazon, and you're not amazon. While ecommerce businesses send emails that are full of ads for their products, chances are your business can be a little more personal.
What works really well, is to make your upselling and cross-selling emails feel as personal as possible.
Most people think of upsell emails as: "Hey, you just bought an iPhone, I bet you'll love these cases!" But that's impersonal and will only work to a point. But what if the email they get is from Jan in the customer service department? She wants to make sure everything goes great with their purchase, and that if they have problems they can reach out to her. Oh, and if they are looking for a new case for their phone, these 4 are her favorites. If you buy one of them in the next 24 hours and use this special coupon code, I can get you 10% off.
That works so much better in certain circumstances. Although the email is automated, the email should never feel that way.
Consumers want to feel special, like you went the extra mile for them. A good subject line can go a long way towards making this happen. The subject line should be personal and clear.
In addition, making the email come from you is better than a company title or no name at all. Your name on the email adds the personal touch that many automated emails are missing.
4. Timing is Important
Automatic emails also bring another important factor to upselling: timing.
The timing of a upsell or cross sell will directly affect the success of that campaign. An upselling email should immediately follow the purchase of a product. This gives the consumer time to consider purchasing the upgrade while returning the item is still easy.
A cross selling email can have multiple times of success. For example, after 2 weeks after the purchase of a new grill send an email about proper cleaning methods and products.
A great of Timing an upsell is Dropbox. Users are prompted to upgrade the box size when they are approaching their data limit.
5. Show the Previous Purchase
Upselling is a lot more successful if you remind them of something that brings emotion. Few things bring emotion like buying a product. So when you are sending your upsell emails 5 minutes after a sale, or even when you're sending your cross-promotions 2 weeks later, it's important to remind them of their experience with buying from you originally.
Make sure they have a positive experience and your upsells and cross-sells get a lot more effective!
6. Provide a Clear Call to Action
As with any marketing campaign, the ‘what do I do next’ question must be answered.
If you want them to take action, you have to clearly guide them on what to do and where. That is where the call to action comes into play. You can just say you also offer phone cases, you need to give them a button to click to browse the most popular ones.
No matter what you are selling, emails will help you upsell and cross-sell. Well-timed personalized emails will have positive results and keep consumers coming back.