The upsell has a bad rep, but that is mostly because of the fact that it works. When the clerk at the drive-through ask you if you want fries with that, chances are that you are going to answer in the affirmative. But when we are talking about ecommerce business, it is important to make one distinction – upselling via email, i.e. contacting your existing customers with trigger or targeted emails is actually not a sales tactics and should not be approached as such.

Yes, of course the ultimate goal of an upsell is to sell but the way to achieve that is not by cramming combos or deals down the throat of an existing customer. What you should set as the objective of your upsell email is to make your customer feel valued and to build a long-lasting relationships. In order to achieve that, you should follow these simple guidelines.

Be personal. Of course, this goes for each and every email you send out to your subscribers, as we’ve discussed in the chapter dealing with welcome emails. It’s ridiculously easy to automatically insert the first name of the customer in the greeting line, and mining the customer’s purchase history in order to make the upsell personalized and relevant to the customer’s interests is just marginalia more complex with proper software or a developer who knows what he or she is doing.

Be clear on the value they are getting. The focus of your upsell email should be on the benefit the customer will receive. So first work on establishing what the benefit is, what value it adds and then work to digest it so that it’s short and to the point.

And don’t forget the two most powerful words in advertising: because and you. This is actually made easier since the upsell email is often triggered by an action, so the form is “because of (the action), you are eligible to receive (benefit)”.

Always, always include a call to action. The main advantage of selling stuff online is that a conversion is just a couple of clicks away – and the first click should be right in the email body, clearly marked with a CLICK HERE. The point is that the customer needs to know exactly what they have to do and that it is really easy. Additionally, making your offer time sensitive, or even including a countdown timer, really adds punch to the call to action.

Leverage the power of social media by connecting them to your upselling strategy. Including simple social network buttons for easy sharing is another miniscule thing that can make a noticeable difference: if even one new customer comes because they’ve seen some existing customer of yours share an exciting offer or a product on Twitter, you win. Additionally, you can simply include links to your business’ social media profiles, with a promise of special offers and unique deals such as promotional codes for everyone who likes your page or follows you.

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