How to Use Upselling and Cross-Selling in Email Marketing

The goal of your business is to fulfill customer needs by selling the products and services that you really believe in. The first part of your marketing efforts might be dedicated to grabbing consumer attention, but what do you do once you have it? Nurturing current and past customers is important for keeping your loyal patrons engaged and invested in your company, while also continuing to fulfill their needs. Try incorporating upselling and cross-selling techniques in your email campaigns to appeal to your customers and show them how your products and services can improve their lives.

According to Vendasta, “cross-selling is when you use a sales opportunity to sell additional product or services to an existing customer.” While “upselling is a technique where you use a sales opportunity to have an existing customer purchase a more expensive product/service, or an upgraded version of a product/service, to make a more profitable sale.”



Cross-selling and upselling are especially effective in email marketing campaigns because it’s easier (and sometimes cheaper) to sell to existing customers than to recruit new ones. The book Marketing Metrics states that, “The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5%-20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%.”

Loyal customers are familiar with your brand and quality of service. Existing customers are likely to be more open to your offers than a new or prospective customer would be. Not to mention, you already have a direct line of communication — their email addresses. It’s best to stay avoid the “sales-y approach” and make the conversation in your email message more natural and easy to engage with. If you want existing customers to purchase more from your business, you have to appeal directly to them and show them how your products can benefit their lives.

The best part about cross-selling and upselling is that they can work for any type of business in any industry.


4 Tips For Cross-selling and Upselling


1. Know Which Method Will Get Your Business the Best Results

You don’t want to overwhelm your customers with lines like, “You may also like…” (although it does work for some, like Amazon). There are limited opportunities to implement these techniques, so it’s important to figure out which method will provide your business with the best results.

According to Econsultancy, upselling on e-commerce sites works 20x better than cross-selling. Once consumers go through the process of deciding what product they want, they typically don’t enjoy being distracted by something else. However, cross-selling can work if you’re offering another product that can improve their first choice.

Note: upselling isn’t always an option. This really comes down to the product you’re selling.

A great example of a company who effectively upsells their service is Grammarly. The company will send a personalized, annual email to its users with detailed information about how the customer used their service. Below is an example of an email that you could expect to receive from Grammarly. They execute well on showing the customer exactly how their service has already made their lives easier, and by upgrading their service — how much easier it can still be.

Example email from Grammarly using upselling.

A great example of cross-selling is when a customer has already bought a product or service, but they still have time to add more items that pair well with the already paid for item, all before shipping. Similarly, it can be just as effective to offer accessories, or other items that would pair well with an already purchased item a few weeks after the shipping date. See how Dollar Shave Club does it.


2. Honesty is Key

Leave no room for surprises. If you’re trying to upsell or cross-sell to your consumers, honesty and transparency always wins. In your messaging, be sure to be open about pricing, contracts, etc. This will help build your company’s reputation and customer loyalty. If customers feel like something isn’t right with the offer, they’ll likely lose interest and move on.


3. Show Them The Value

After narrowing down which technique is best for your business and your product, it’s time to demonstrate the value of the product or service “add-on.”

What problem will this additional product or service solve? How will it benefit the customer in the long run? Remember, your value proposition is all about solving problems and meeting the needs of your customers.

Show the customer how this product or service can improve their lives. Ensure that your value is clear so the customer can make the decision on their own. Use customer testimonials or positive reviews to drive home the value proposition as part of your messaging and overall email campaign strategy.


4. Reward Customer Loyalty

Even when you close an upsell or cross-sale, you still have some work left to do! Your customer spent more money on your deal, on top of the cost of the original product. So, in turn, you should thank them for that extra revenue and show you appreciate their customer loyalty and business.

By showing your gratitude, your customers are more likely to stick with you. Whether your customers sign-up for your email list, or purchase your product/service, a thank-you can go a long way. A few ways to thank them include sending a thank-you follow up email or offering a discount code for future purchases. Warby Parker’s thank you is clear, concise, and to the point.


Warby Parker thank you email.



So, how does this work for your next email campaign?

A great way to incorporate upselling and cross-selling into your email campaigns is by automating your messages.

For example, your business can create a post-purchase email to send out after a certain amount of time has passed after a purchase. But, be careful not to be too promotional. The post-purchase email should directly relate to their last purchase, not promote additional products. One option to consider is asking them for feedback, such as, “how would you rate your recent purchase?”

Make them feel valued and considered. Let them know they’re more than just a transaction.

After the initial follow up email, you can then get creative and make strategic decisions with cross-selling and upselling based on their purchase history. By now, you have a good idea of what customers like, what they’re looking for, and other products or services they may take interest in.

Remember, it’s important to be transparent and let them know that their recent purchase was the reason they received a new offer. Once you’ve set up the campaign to run, you can sit back and let the techniques do the work. Automation is a marketer’s best friend.

It may also help to pull inspiration and see real life examples of these techniques working. Check out some of the best upsell and cross-sell email marketing campaigns here.


Tackle Your Email Marketing Initiatives with MAKE

With those tips in mind, you have a better shot at increasing your revenue and increasing your company’s growth. Here at MAKE Digital Group, we would love to chat with you about how to take your business to the next level. Our team is knowledgable about these techniques and can help elevate your email marketing campaigns. Get in touch and learn how we can help you tackle your email marketing initiatives today!