Sales / Sales Process

4 easy tips for upselling and cross-selling your existing customers

Syed Balkhi

Nov 09, 2020 · 8 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

4 easy tips for upselling and cross-selling your existing customers

Are you looking for easy tips to upsell and cross-sell to your existing customers? If so, you’re in the right place. These strategies can help you increase sales, customer loyalty and your retention rate among returning customers.

Before we begin, let’s define both of the terms mentioned above, so you know exactly what we are referring to when we say cross-sell and upsell.

Defining upselling and cross-selling

Cross-selling is a strategy where you recommend additional products to a customer to increase their average order value. There are plenty of examples of this strategy in action, but retailers selling smartphones use this technique on virtually every sale.

When a customer adds a phone to their cart, the company will recommend phone cases and screen protectors in an attempt to cross-sell relevant products at the point of sale (PoS).

Upselling, on the other hand, is used to get customers to buy a bigger, better version of the product they selected. This strategy is popular for SaaS businesses, the mobile market, and most ecommerce storefronts.

For example, if someone adds an Apple iPhone 11 to their cart, businesses may suggest they upgrade to the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max as part of their upsell campaign.

Now that we’ve defined these terms, let’s look at four ways you can use these strategies to grow your business.

Send a follow-up email

Follow-up emails are a great way to cross-sell to your customers. When someone buys a product from your online store, they will likely have to sign up to get the confirmation email on their order.

Not only will these sign-ups help you grow your lead list, but they are also an excellent opportunity to showcase relevant products to each customer.

You can use this opportunity to ask customers about their goals, pain points and buying habits. Compile all of this information together, and you can create audience segments that clearly define the people who visit your site the most.

Let’s look at Amazon for a real-world example:

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We’ve all received an email after making a purchase on Amazon that summarizes other products that we might find useful based on our order history. This interaction is cross-selling in action. The purpose is to make consumers aware of new products and ensure that they are getting the maximum value for their hard-earned money.

When someone buys a physical good from your online store or a SaaS plan, you can sweeten the deal by offering relevant products through email designed to help them make the most of their purchase.

Focus on customer milestones

While we are on the topic of email marketing, let’s talk about using customer milestones to upsell and cross-sell. Most businesses have a clearly defined customer journey that they imagine when they think about how consumers will interact with their brand after their first purchase.

If you’re in tune with your audience, you probably have an idea of how long customers will continue buying or using your product. Use milestones, both large and small, to create relevant follow-up offers for your customers.

There are plenty of milestone points you can use for upselling and cross-selling. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Has been a customer or subscriber for a predetermined amount of time. (Will vary based on your industry)
  • Spent a specific amount of time, or completed certain actions, using your software. (SaaS)
  • Contacted support with questions about a product or service. (Real-time upsell/cross-sell)
  • You’ll find that there are plenty of milestones for each audience segment. The goal here is to make sure you’re adding more value to your customers’ lives by offering the right product at the right time.

    Personalize on-site offers

    Next, let’s talk about the importance of personalizing on-site offers. From a financial standpoint, businesses lost a whopping $756 billion last year alone due to poor personalization efforts.

    Failure to implement personalization could result in customers losing trust in your brand, simply because they do not see suggestions that reflect their shopping habits and interests.

    People tend to trust businesses that address them by name, make offers based on purchase history, and understand on-site behavior. When consumers have faith in your company, they are more likely to take advantage of upsell and cross-sell offers.

    There are a few creative ways you can implement personalization on your website for increased sales and customer loyalty.

    One way you can reach individual segments is by adding offers to the sidebar of your blog posts. Show relevant cross-offers and promotions that relate to the product that you’re discussing on your blog.

    An email marketing firm, for example, may try to upsell an existing customer if they look at a blog post about big business email marketing. The connection here is simple to understand. If a user is looking at these posts, they may want a more advanced plan to meet their email marketing goals.

    Similarly, you can use OptinMonster to create an upsell popup that appears while consumers are checking out. Imagine if your online store sells pet supplies. An existing customer comes to your website and adds all of their cat’s favorite products to the shopping cart.

    As that person goes to checkout, a popup appears that cross-sells the most popular cat treats for the week. You can bet that a percentage of your feline-loving customers will take this offer and add the treats to their cart before completing their order.

    Here’s an example popup where OptinMonster is also used to cross-sell related products:

    Use FOMO marketing

    Finally, let’s talk about an upsell/cross-sell strategy that works for all marketing platforms. We are, of course, talking about fear of missing out (FOMO). If you don’t know, FOMO is a phenomenon where people are likely to purchase a product if it’s in limited stock or available at a low price for a set amount of time.

    An impressive 60% of people make a purchase because of FOMO within 24 hours. In other words, if you want to increase the success of your cross-sell and upsell strategy, leveraging FOMO marketing can yield significant results for your business.

    We know what you’re wondering, “How can I use FOMO marketing to increase sales?” Well, let’s look into it.

    When you’re using email, you can add FOMO to your follow-up email, or make it a part of your drip campaign. If a user just purchased your product, you can send them an email series that goes over the basic features and benefits. You can include a limited time upsell offer at the end of the series for a much lower price. If someone was thinking about upgrading, but still on the fence, this practice can tilt the scales in your favor.

    FOMO marketing works on your website in a similar way. You can add a popup or include a widget on your sidebar that displays a special discount for repeat customers. Now, when someone visits your site a second or even third time, they will see the offer. If you’re proposing a relevant upsell with a time limit, you can bet that the people interested in the product will take advantage of your offer.

    Final thoughts

    Upselling and cross-selling get a negative reputation from business owners that don’t correctly implement this strategy. Your goal should be to get more sales, but more importantly, to make sure that customers have exactly what they need to solve problems and reach their goals.

    Offering an additional product or upgrade makes sense when it’s something a consumer will use. Pay close attention to your target audience and how they are engaging with your product or service. Use what you learn to serve up personalized upsell and cross-sell options designed to boost your profit margin while pleasing your existing customers.

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