How to Upsell and Cross-Sell with Email Marketing

upsell and cross-sell

Research confirms the likelihood that a company will upsell and cross-sell with email marketing to an existing customer is more than getting to sell to new ones; the most effective way being upselling and cross-sell with email marketing.

“Would you prefer oyster or mustard sauce?”

“Would you like to get a maintenance package for your car with a 90% discount?”

“Would you be willing to invest in home insurance in case of fire or flood?” All these are simple instances of upselling and cross-selling products and services to customers who already bought something from you or an organization you represent.

Have you ever walked into a restaurant with the hope that you eat something of choice but you end up eating something way beyond your budget? What happened to you between the minute you tried to place your order and the time your order was delivered was a worker doing his or her job by up-selling another product to you.

In general, to upsell and cross-sell simply means ways in which companies sell a complementary product or a higher product to a client. Now, let us look at these two terms in a little more detail.

What is Upsell and Cross-sell and How Do They Differ?

The target of a customer representative tasked with the upsell and cross-sell of a product is to increase the customer’s purchase amount, that is, spend more for the company by selling something else that is beneficial to the customer but which the customer either forgot to ask for or did not budget for. It could be insurance for a mortgaged apartment or extra services for a newly bought car.

In cross-selling, the customer is offered similar or complementary products to add an edge to their purchase. For example, offering a customer that bought pink sneakers the matching slippers. Cross-selling tries to meet customers’ needs in an advanced way because of the trust the company has built with the customer. Selling car seat covers alongside the car is a way to cross-sell because the quality you provide is already trusted.

In a nutshell, Upselling involves selling different products which are beneficial to the customer while cross-selling is selling complementary products to what was already purchased by the customer. In reality, there’s not much difference, it’s all a way to have the customer patronize you for other materials they did not plan for initially.

How to Upsell and Cross-Sell with Email Marketing

Email communication is one of the best ways to upsell and cross-sell to customers. This is because the customer already believes in your ability to provide him with his choice. That being said, when upselling and/or cross-selling, you want to be gentle and not overly pushy.

Remember that if they desired what you intend to sell, they would have asked and inquired on their own, moreover, people will water down an outright act of selling, so you want to be strategic in your actions and make it seem like they need the product or service being offered.  If done correctly, the customer will fall in and listen to your suggestion especially where your trust level with him is unwavering.

The trick to upsell and cross-sell is as an organization, you should have various products in the line of your business. For example, if you offer mortgage services, then you can have a subsidiary that deals with insurance and lawsuits. A mobile phone company should have phone covers and cases, screen protectors and every other thing that will enhance the ownership of a mobile phone.

Email upselling
Source: Vectezzy

Techniques to Upsell and Cross-sell via Email

  1. Analyze your list of customers

You may have to carry out market research in order to segment customers into set groups, depending on what will appeal to a particular sect due to the product/service they already enjoy. When this is done properly, you will be able to sell the right product or service to the right customer. You will personalize the content to send out to each recipient. According to MailChimp, segmented email lists are usually more readable than non-segmented ones.

  1. Leverage on great service

Take your service beyond selling a product to existing customers but rather, look them up occasionally and ask how they are enjoying the product or service purchased from you. Thereafter, throw in how they will benefit from another product and/or service you also offer, something that will speak ‘you will be happy’ to them. For example, a customer complaining about the heat generated from a laptop may be offered a laptop cooling fan at a discount.

  1. Enlist your voice 

The way you speak to customers go a long way in how you are endeared to them. Remember this technique and adopt it for the email you are sending. If you got off a great start with the smile on a customer’s face the day they buy a product from you, then, find a way to make them resonate with you again by either reiterating how beautiful their smile was or just saying a different compliment altogether. This endears a customer to you and ultimately makes it easier to upsell to them.

  1. There is time for everything

For email campaigns, timing is very crucial. Space out your emails and avoid repetition. Ensure you send emails that are specifically tailored to the client’s benefit and don’t send them at strictly peak times when they will want to ignore your emails and focus on what matters more important to them at the time. Nobody wants to be constantly bombarded by emails trying upsell them.

  1. Automate and call to action

With the use of Marketing Automation Softwares, you can easily determine what products a customer uses and determine what is next required. Hence, in your email marketing, there should be a call to action so that when your customer skims through, what he needs to do is obvious because of the presentation of the ‘call to action’. Don’t forget to upsell and be gentle in your writing.

  1. Track your marketing results

Tracking your email upsell and cross-sell campaign will help you determine what should be avoided and what strategy to stick with. When you realize that an email is not producing the expected results, then you may want to revamp what you do and how you do it.


The 6 tips above will serve as a reminder to upsell and cross-sell via email marketing. It will help put together a detailed actionable marketing campaign, one which, if well utilized, will keep clients coming back and loyal.

Have you used any other technique to upsell and cross-sell? Or you have other additions, please list them in the comment section.

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