Do you want to know a simple method that can increase your average order value and earn a lot more revenue? Upsell has come for the rescue!
When you think of upselling, a familiar example is fast food restaurants. They pretty much perfected the upselling art with the common phrase of "would you like fries with that?", or "would you like to upgrade your combo to large with just $1?". These simple questions and their success prove that asking for a bigger sale works. All you have to do is start asking.
In the eCommerce world, an email is a great opportunity to ask for the upsell. The very best upsell emails can convince customers that you are just trying to help them get a better deal - not pushing to make more money. Ideally, your relationship with the customers will expand over time through emails instead of stagnating.
This may seem hard to do, but you have many chances to prompt an upsell along the customer journey and between purchases. In this guide, I will show you how to upsell through emails correctly and upsell email templates so you can get right into the action. Let's dive in before we hit the send button!
What is an upsell email?
First of all, it is easy to recognize that the probability of selling to an existing customer is always much higher than selling to a new prospect. And since product recommendations, such as upselling, can actually drive between 10 - 30% of an eCommerce store's revenue. If used correctly, your upselling effort can increase the average order value and overall revenue significantly.
In definition: upselling is a sales technique that persuades the customer to update his/her product or buy the more expensive version of it, and spend more than they originally intended. However, you should understand the difference between upselling and cross-selling. Cross-selling is another sales method that suggests other relevant products that a customer can try.
Take the mobile phone market as an example: When you buy a smartphone and the store suggests adding a screen protector or a phone case for that model, it is cross-selling. On the other hand, if you are about to buy a new model with 16GB of storage space, the store suggests that you can the one with 64GB of storage instead, that is upselling.
So, an upsell email in eCommerce is an email marketing method that encourages customers to buy a more expensive version of the product or upgrade their accounts (if you are a SaaS company).
You may be trying to wrap your brain around the definition of upselling emails, so it is useful to think about them in real-life context. Here are some scenarios that your business would use an upsell email:
- Right after a purchase: "Would you like to upgrade your combo" is a classic upsell that has made me buy more popcorn at the movie theaters than I ever needed. While you may choose to recommend upselling when a customer is finishing a purchase, the upsell emails that come immediately after the sales and let the customers edit their orders are wonderful ways to earn more revenue.
- When a user hits a milestone: An upsell email also presents the best solution for customers. If your customer has reached a particular milestone or anniversary, it is a good time to prompt them for a more advanced solution from your business.
- At the end of a free trial: SaaS companies often send upsell emails when it is time for a user to decide whether to pay for a paid plan. Similarly, upsell emails can be helpful when a user is near the account limitations.
- When you launch a new product: Existing customers are still open to new products, so you can send them emails about the latest devices, inviting them to upgrade. See how Apple fans still look forward to buying a new phone every year?
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How do upsell emails work?
One big advantage of email marketing is that you already have the consumer's trust. The consumer chose to join your email list, whether by making a purchase or by using the opt-in form on your website. While a relationship has been established between your company and the customers, you have a higher probability to convince them. People don't want to feel like just buying and selling, even if a business is giving them what they need or have expressed interest in.
Upsell emails do the same thing - encouraging buyers who have already purchased a product to upgrade it, buy additional items, or take a new action. When timed correctly, your upsell emails can meet the consumer's needs when trust is highest and when their instinct tells them to say yes.
The great thing is that: Upselling can work for every industry. Whatever you are selling, you always should have additional purchasable items. If you are selling a smartphone, the headphones, the screen protectores, the case, and many other items are the next obvious purchases. If you don't offer them, some other companies will.
If someone bought an item from your website, sending them upsell emails that offer better products will make their purchases better, easier, and time-saving. Which then drastically increases your store's revenue and builds a good relationship with consumers.
While it may sound counter-intuitive to increase sales by recommending the more expensive options, keep in mind that we are only tackling a relatively small portion of your customers (about 4 - 10%) - who are not sure if they have got the perfect option, or simply want the very best. And your upsell emails will show them those best options.
An upsell email essentials
What does an awesome upsell email look like? By having these must-have components:
- Personalized subject lines and greetings: Let your customers know that you recognize them (calling their names in the subject lines and email copy). Using their names, you immediately let them know that you are providing information prepared with the recipients in mind.
- The recently purchased item: Your recipients should see the item they purchased, which keeps them reading for the mentioned item's recommendations. More importantly, you prove that you are suggesting based on what the consumers did before. By explaining that this email isn't a random recommendation but a personalized email with expertise, you establish your expertise and value as a trusted advisor.
- Upsell products: Your upsell email campaign's success depends on if your suggested products are closely related to the previous purchase. This shows you are paying attention and really trying to help the customers. If you can't find any associated items, show products that relate in other ways. For instance, if someone recently purchased an overcoat, suggest a pair of pants that suit the style.
- Contact information: Always include your business's contact information with every email (not just upsell) sent to your customers. This allows them to reach out with any questions they may have. Be sure to include more than just an email address or a website address, you can also show your mobile number, live chat server, and the store's locations.
- Social sharing buttons: Let recipients share your product suggestions to the world, you may be surprised to find out how many people tell their Twitter followers about the items you recommended. They also give direct links to your social media accounts and increase the number of followers.
- Adjustment options: Your email marketing won't get it right from the start, so offer your customers the option to change the recommendations, the buyer profile, and the email's frequency. Include a link that lets buyers down vote uninterested products or provide more information for better product recommendations. More customer data is always better.
- Timing: An offer is only unrefusable if it hits the right target at the right time. When to send your upsell emails will depend on your own organization's products and services, but having an upsell email series is really helpful.
- An opt-out option: No matter how long a customer has bought from you, they can still leave whenever they want. If that day comes, make sure your emails already have an option to unsubscribe. It also helps your business's upsell emails to comply with your country's email regulations.
Upsell email strategies to convince customers
Knowing the essentials is just a part of the equation for reaching your upsell email campaign's maximum conversion rate. You also need to figure out what to sell and how to convince the customers. Here are the best upsell email strategies for your email marketing arsenal.
Personalize upsell emails based on goals
The more you can personalize the upsell emails, the less it will feel like you are trying to sell something. Take the email example above from Freelancer. Based on the user's actions (and inaction) on the website, Freelancer guessed that the user has encountered some kinds of problems. So, they used the opportunity to introduce their upsell offers.
The real winner here is the timing of the email. Presenting too many additional upsell announcements to customers who aren't ready can quickly get frustrating. Instead of sending out upsell emails to every customer, think about segmenting your customer base based on the benefit they get from your products, then figure out how you can send targeted messages to each segment.
How to apply this:
- Remember that personalizing emails isn't just simply attaching a username.
- Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Empathize with their problems and offer relevant solutions.
- Send upsell emails sparingly. You'll see a better conversion rate if you segment your list and submit offers only to the customers who benefit the most from your offers.
Remind customers of their progress with your company
Context is incredibly important for nailing upsell emails that are highly convertible. You can show what customers have accomplished with your company and what is holding them back from even more achievements. Another milestone that is great for an upsell email is when the user is reaching account limits. Give the customers a heads up on what is about to come and what they can do.
How to apply this:
- Remind the recipients of the great experience they've had by being your company's customers. Highlighting how much value they've got from your services, which is the stage to ask for an upsell.
- Compare and contrast what customers can accomplish with the upsell offers.
- For foreseeable upsell chances, such as an account's limits, you should give users pre-notices so they can prepare to upgrade.
Use purchase momentum to upsell
If a customer just made a purchase or set up a paid account, you are sure to have their full attention. What you should do with that is to show the next step and the upsell offers. What the next step is will vary between businesses and customers, but you can take inspiration from our templates, which we will get to later.
For example: If you are selling sport apparel, include suggestions for blog posts about health training, and then lead them to more products in the next emails.
How to apply this:
- Once the customers have purchased, see if there are any additional values that you can give to your customers. Consider adding them to the upsell emails.
- Use upsell emails with care, especially when they are sent right after a purchase. Someone just purchased? You should celebrate their choices first, rather than highlighting what they are missing with higher-tire products.
Make your offers as easy to access as possible
Your user experiences should be fast, easy, and seamless. This is a good practice to make your business perform on a high level of satisfaction. If you are offering some upsell products, make the process of adding them into the carts just a click of a button away. The ease of upselling should extend beyond the inbox as well. Think about all the steps a person takes to complete the upsell, and where your emails will take them to. As I said, let the customers add products within the emails and go to the payment page with all the items already in the cart.
How to apply this:
- Send upsell emails to customers who are already expecting to make a payment.
- Be specific in your offers. Show only a few items and let readers add them to cart in a single click.
- Consider where your upsell emails would direct the readers, and how many more steps they will have to take to finish the payment process.
10 upsell emails templates (with real-life examples)
In this section, let's look at how big companies are sending upsell emails, and take their templates to be your own. Also, at the end, I will show you the ready-to-use upsell email templates from our app - AVADA Email Marketing so you can get right into the action.
1. Special: AVADA's upsell email templates
As promised, here we have the ready-to-use upsell email templates from our app - AVADA Email Marketing. When you sign up for the app, you will have a dashboard to create email. Head to 'Messages', click on 'Automation' and 'New Campaign'. Here, you will see all the templates available, for upsell emails, select 'Repeating' -> 'Up sell' -> 'Up sell 3 emails' or 'Upsell 1 email' like in the picture above.
All the email templates have an automated workflow, which triggers the sending based on your preference. The 3 email series will recommend the upsell offers in a gentle way, while the 1 email series get straight to the point if you need it.
With each email in the workflow, you can fully customize them with your store's logo, copy, and product image. In this email editor, you can add more blocks and select whichever element you want. Our template already gives a pretty good idea of what to include, but the final email design is entirely up to you.
Once you installed the app, the templates would be available for free, so check out AVADA Email Marketing now!
Asana gave the customers a heads up about that their team is almost full with the account's limits. The email is short and sweet, and it also plants the idea that the user should upgrade their plan soon. And when the account actually reaches capacity, users won't be taken by surprise with an upsell offer. They can actually have their decisions ready.
In this upsell email, Grammarly showed what the user has accomplished by using the app. They included a subject line of "You were especially productive last week" alongside personalized data about how the user is better than other users, which give him/her a confidence boost.
Towards the end of the email, Grammarly switched the direction into looking ahead to the future. While the user has accomplished a lot, not having a paid plan can hold them back. The offer to upgrade is right next to the advanced document corrections that they missed out by not having the premium account. Genius!
For a budget airline, Frontier's upsell tactic is incredibly necessary for the business model. So, within the confirmation email, they prompted many upsell options, as well as some cross-sell offers. The clever part is that these options are presented as checklists. It is useful for passengers to feel organized, while benefiting Frontier's bottom line. Upsell content can be meaningful too.
Airbnb takes a similar approach. The email below is another order confirmation, but below it comes bundled for the Airbnb experience. In the days prior to the scheduled trip, Airbnb will post more buying experiences. Similar to Frontier, these are cross-selling forms that look like email content marketing.
Bioclarity takes a smart approach to upsell and present their products as a 'skin color palette'. If a customer is lacking any option, they can immediately add them into the cart with the CTA 'add it to my ritual' - which is another smart copy making the customers feel like they are helping themselves by buying these items.
Walmart does a very good job of this. They immediately let the user know that their order has been confirmed with a bright message at the top of the email, but then move on to the next sale opportunity. Users can confirm their purchase and other products they may need. Using similar tactics, you can suggest items that consumers will also be interested in, which is a great way to make customers buy more without feeling pressured.
This list of upsell email templates wouldn't be complete without emails from everyone's favorite online storage service. After a user signs up for an account, Dropbox will nudge them to download the app to his/her computer. Without being intrusive, Dropbox even encouraged the user to install the app on multiple computers. As the user continues to work with the service, more upsell offers will come but with perfect timing and a pleasing guide to the next step.
Harry is a shaving company, and when they are about to release a new product, they make sure all their customers know that through emails. The new foaming gel is definitely relevant with the user base, so they are sure to pique some interest. The email design is simple and straight to the point. What I would change, however, is the CTA: "Try now" would sound less committing than "Shop now".
Spotify is a music streaming service, but they also have revenue from merchandise and concert sales. If you listen to an artist enough, you will receive an email offer when the artist plays a live concert. Based on the listening history, these upsell emails are incredibly targeted and behaviorally triggered. If these emails can target based on geographic location as well, it is mind-blowing for me.
Email marketing can be the core way for an SaaS company to upsell the paid version of a product. In this email template from Strava, a mobile running app, you can see that they get straight into the point with the perks of upgrading to a premium account. The logos of the additional services help increase trust and the conversion rate for Strava
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That is all, with these upsell email templates and guides, you are primed to take your upsell strategy to the next level. If you enjoyed the post, remember to check out my other guides on cross-sell emails and expert tips on email marketing!
There are plenty of opportunities to upsell your products and increase revenue. The best way to do it is to upsell in an authentic way and understand your audience's needs and time. Best of luck!