9 Strategic Ways To Upsell Customers Using Inbound Marketing

6 min read
Mar 8, 2017 9:15:12 AM

You've just finished your meal at a restaurant and your server strolls by pulling a cart that's dressed up with cakes, cookies, and pies (yum!). He/she asks you, "would you like some dessert?"

Although it doesn't cross your mind at that very moment (you're eyeing the double fudge chocolate cake), you're essentially a subject of an upsell. More technically, you're being offered an add-on (dessert) to go with your existing purchase (main course meal).Upsell Customers Using Inbound Marketing

Upselling is every business' tried-and-true technique to boost sales, regardless of industry. And when your company has worked hard to attract and retain customers, it makes pure business sense to focus on existing customers to increase revenue since they are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more than new customers (Invesp).

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The key to your upsell is the added value you offer to the customer's original purchase. Sort of like when the cashier at McDonald's asks you if you want fries with your burger. So, if you want to make more profitable sales, but you don't exactly know how to productively maneuver the "checkout process,"  here are strategic ways your business can upsell customers using inbound marketing.

But First, What's The Real Deal With Upselling?

It's a sales technique used to incite the customer to spend more money than they originally planned. In this way, you're maximizing your efforts to increase customer lifetime value and getting people to make a higher cost purchase. Sounds shoddy? Not at all, and here's why. Upselling is essentially offering your customers the chance to upgrade on a purchase to give added value, enhance buyer experience, and improve a customer's life. In order to upsell successfully, you first need to know your client's needs, interests, and desires.

Amazon is an upselling mastermind. In 2006, their sales increased by 35% after introducing this upsell tactic when users complete a purchase: "Customers who bought this item also bought..." One lesson we can learn from Amazon and the retail world that any business can apply is that the element of persuasion plays a big part in inspiring action without being forceful. All you need is strategy to design your marketing approach.

9 Strategic Ways To Upsell Customers Using Inbound Marketing

  1. Get To Know Your Customers' Needs In Order To Provide Them With A Solution

Your products and services are your customer's ticket to making their life easier, or solving a problem they may have. But you can't hit 10 dartboards with a single dart. In other words, focus on your ideal customer (buyer personas) to help you create a clearer picture on the results they're trying to achieve to solve a problem, what their values are, and their purchasing habits and interests.

The first step is to gather intel. Whether it's through email campaigns, surveys, or social media, get to know your target audience in order to draw together enough insight to make a meaningful connection with them.

  1. Demonstrate How A Customer Will Benefit From Your Upsell Offer

According to HubSpot's 2016 report, inbound marketing accounts for 54% more leads into the sales funnel than traditional outbound methods. To create effective content marketing and achieve good results, remember that relevance and value are key motivators to getting customers into the buying mood. Your inbound efforts through blogging, videos, emails, etc., should outline your product benefits in comparison to your competitors.

Inbound marketing accounts for 54% more leads into the sales funnel than outbound methods, according to HubSpot via @RspnsvInbndMktg. Click To TweetTweet: Inbound marketing accounts for 54% more leads into the sales funnel than outbound methods, according to HubSpot via @RspnsvInbndMktg.

  1. Share Customer Feedback To Gain Credibility And Trust

81% of consumers conduct online research before buying (Adweek). While the online multi-channel experience helps users keep up with the latest trends and information, it also plays a big role in influencing their purchasing decisions whether it's transpired via a search engine or social media. To steer your customers in the right direction, build a compelling company profile that will help them make decisions easier and faster. Share success stories, testimonials, and real-life case studies that show the benefitting results your products or services can bring.

  1. Upselling Is About Good Timing

The best time to upsell is right after a customer makes a purchase, but before checking out. This particular moment presents a window of opportunity to suggest product or service enhancements because customers are more likely to be receptive and open to listening to what you have to offer. Just be sure that your offer is relevant to their purchase, interests, and needs (provided that you assessed these by asking them questions). But don't underestimate the effect inbound marketing can have on customers. Continue to connect with them via email, providing them with relevant information they'd be interested in; send them links to your blog posts, videos, testimonials, or white papers.

  1. Create A Need That Has Customers Selling To Themselves

According to Forbes, one of the best SaaS upsellers is Salesforce for their ingenious upgrade process that includes storage or bandwidth. Basically, when the customer repeatedly meets their storage capacity limits, they willingly upsell themselves by making the timely decision to purchase an upgrade, which in this case, calls for an increase in data or storage space. As such, they discover the value of a higher purchase all on their own.

Salesforce upsellingPhoto Credit: Salesforce
  1. Quality Over Quantity

The last thing you want is to bombard your customers with upsell suggestions at check out. They'll be sure to @ you on Twitter in disdain. Keep it minimal, and most importantly, make your offer irresistible. For example, ever noticed the quality bundle sales technique on retail sites? Let's say you decided to buy an iPhone on Amazon; you might like the idea of adding a case and an anti-scratch/anti-shock screen protector to make for a cheaper package deal and get free shipping to boot. Amazon's upsell is recommending a few quality accessories to go with your purchase. As an alternative method, use the power of email to educate customers on how to use your product or service better. This way, you'll be helping them out and wedging in a few upsells in between at the same time.

amazon upsellingPhoto Credit: Amazon
  1. Always Give Your Customers A Choice To Remove The Optional Extras

At the time of purchase, every add-on you offer your customer is an opportunity that turns into extra profit. But as easy as it is for them to jazz up their initial purchase with additional accessories or bundle up products and services together, it should be just as painless for them to remove. Make sure this option is clearly stated in your upsell or in your email marketing workflow.

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  1. Remove Risk To Prove Your Product Is Worth The Additional Value

To boost sales, seeing is believing. Since your goal is to build trust and develop strong relationships with customers, another way to upsell is by providing them with incentives in order to show that your enhancement will improve their life. Offer a free trial, a free download, or free shipping when they buy an additional item or spend over a certain amount.

  1. Be Transparent With Pricing Options

Taking the non-sleazy route to upsell customers using inbound marketing will help you gain status and recognition. In HubSpot's words, "When you're negotiating an upsell, it's especially important to provide transparent pricing information." A complete breakdown of what exactly your customer's money will be going towards will make them feel more at ease and give them the confidence to invest in a long-term partnership with your company.

Have you used or spotted any upsell techniques that we've missed? What are your struggles with upselling? Let us know in the comments! lead generation tips, tricks, ideas


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