Upsell is a sales technique wherein a seller encourages a buyer to purchase a product with one that has a greater value than those they were first interested in. Upselling can help a company to increase its revenue by 10 – 30 percent on average.  Take Calendly for example. Calendly is a scheduling automation platform. They offer a free trial to its new users and encourages them to upgrade to a premium version for more advanced features.

So why upsell?

According to research, the chances of upselling to an existing customer is 70-60% while the probability of selling to a new prospect is between 5-20%.

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Difference between Upsell and Cross-sell

These two terms, upselling and cross selling, are often used interchangeably. However, both these terms refer to different marketing strategies. While upselling is when you try to convince the buyer to purchase an upgrade of the product, cross selling is defined as a sales technique wherein a seller encourages a buyer to purchase an additional product or service related to the original product they were buying

Companies employ a range of techniques and strategies to increase their upsell revenue. One of the most common techniques is to send upsell emails to the target audience.

Continue reading the following blog post to learn how to upsell using email marketing to increase your revenue. 

Benefits of Email Marketing in Upselling

Email is a fast and efficient tool that you can use to upsell your product/service. With email having the highest return on investment (ROI) as compared to all the other forms of marketing, businesses can use this medium to send an automatic ‘upsell email’ when a customer saves a product in the Wishlist or shopping cart.

Understand the upsell emailing timeline

There are various stages of a deal when you can send an upsell email. Here are some ideal examples:

1. Right after a sale

Sending an upsell email right after a sale helps businesses to take advantage of the buyer’s purchase momentum. For instance: If a customer just purchased a product from a SaaS company, the upsell email could encourage the users to subscribe to the upgraded version of the product. You can also choose to club these upsell emails with the order confirmation or receipt like the example of a B2C business you can see below.

2. Every time a customer achieves a milestone or limit

Another important aspect of an upsell email is context. Without the context, the email might come off as pushy to customers. The milestones and limits of a customer journey can help provide the context that you can use to reach out to them. Like is the case with CloudApp.

3. Near the end of the free trial

Most companies send an upsell email to their customers right before their free trial ends. It is a great transition point where you can encourage the customer to purchase the premium version by listing down the benefits your customers will get with the upgrade.

4. During the launch of a new product

A new product launch is a great time to send an upsell email to all your existing customers. It is important to explain the context of why this new product is relevant to the customers and what added value it provides as compared to the existing product. 

Components of an efficient Upsell email

A well-crafted upsell email consists of many elements such as a personalized greeting, recent order items, contact information, eye-catching graphics, etc. Below are some of the important elements that make up a perfect upsell email:

1. Optimised subject line

A well-thought and optimised subject line is a must to get the email recipient to open the upsell emails. It is recommended to keep your subject line clear and concise. According to a study, a subject line with 7 words seems to get the most number of clicks. 

2. Personalisation

Companies need to personalize their upsell emails because it helps to create a context for customers such as the relevancy of your product recommendation and the added value. For instance: If you have recently sold a product to a business, you can send a personalized upsell email with upgraded product suggestions.

3. Attention-grabbing video

Adding an upsell video to an email can help you to grab the attention of your target audience more efficiently. If done right, videos can act as an effective conversion rate and revenue booster. Moreover, adding a video message can help to improve your webpage visit rates by 19 percent, click-through rates by 65 percent and reduce the number of customers who unsubscribe to your email newsletters by 26 percent.

7 Upsell Email Marketing strategies to maximise your revenue

Following are some of the best email marketing strategies that can help you to maximise your revenue:

1. Conduct extensive research

It is recommended to conduct customer research and make sure that you understand the needs and objectives of the customers. You should know about the pain points of the customer for which they are looking for a solution. This strategy helps you to understand the customer journey and compile better emails.

2. Send segmented and customized emails

You need to make sure that the upsell email consists of all the essential elements that we discussed in the previous section. If you do not provide sufficient context in your email, it might feel too salesy or pushy. Moreover, it is also recommended to segment your target audience to have a more effective upsell email campaign. Once you have segmented your target audience, you can craft customized emails for each segment.

3. Create a sense of urgency

Creating urgency sends a message to the customers that they need to buy an opt-in for the upgraded version as soon as possible. The best way to create a sense of urgency is to launch an offer wherein the offer expires after a certain time period. Another way to create urgency is to offer time-sensitive bonuses and discounts. 

4. Make use of videos

Adding video in your upsell emails is a great way to get faster and more efficient engagement with customers. All you need to do is explain the advantages and features of the premium version of the product in a short video and send it to your target audience. 

5. Automate your email marketing techniques

One of the best advantages of using upsell emails is the ease of automation There are several easy-to-use tools online that you can use to automate your email marketing strategy. The automated emails include welcome emails, order receipts, product launches, product recommendations, etc.

6. Integrate proper CTAs

A call to action (CTA) is a small piece of content that persuades customers to do a specific task such as making a purchase, adding an item to the wishlist, etc. CTAs are generally added in emails in the form of actionable buttons, images or text. It is estimated that emails with a single CTA can increase click-through rates by 371 percent and sales by 1617 percent. Some common examples of CTA include Upgrade Now, Buy now, Visit now, etc.

7. Use social proof to persuade

If you have prominent customers who have upgraded to the premium version of your product and have achieved success, you can point them out in the upsell email. This helps your new customers to understand that you are already adding value to existing customers with the premium product version.

Best tips to maximise your chances of upselling

Here are some of the best tips that you can use to maximise your chances of upselling and revenue:

1. Select a revalant product

As pointed out earlier, it is important to understand customers’ needs and objectives to make a successful upsell. Do not stop at their short term objectives. Try to understand how your product offering can help them to solve their problems in the long term. Rather than pushing any upgrade, you need to understand the pain point of the customer and recommend relevant products that solve the problem. 

2. Never be too pushy

If you send an upsell email too frequently or make the wrong choice of words, you might come off as pushy to the customers. This will have a negative impact on the sales and revenue figures. Rather, you need to make sure that the upsell email is informative and a little entertaining. 

3. Offer rewards for encouragement

There is no guarantee that the customer will buy the upgraded version of the product that you are trying to upsell. Many customers often set a budget for a product and do not want to buy a more expensive product without any added incentive. However, offering them rewards or discounts can motivate them to buy the upsell. 

4. Show pricing and additional features in the higher plan side by side

It is recommended for marketers to show the pricing comparison and the corresponding additional features of the premium versions of the product that you are trying to upsell in the upselling email. You need to indicate the various tiers of pricing. The customers can choose the premium version of the product because they understand the limitations of the basic product version.

5. Improve sales with a referral scheme

It is estimated that referral marketing brings in higher conversion rates than any other marketing channel. Implementing a referral channel for your product can help you boost your conversion rate, sales and revenue.


Upselling is an effective way to increase sales while continuing to provide value to your customers. To successfully upsell, it is important to understand your customer’s needs and be clear with your offers. Show empathy and strike the right balance between pushing for a sale and providing helpful advice for them. By using videos in your upsell emails, you can create an authentic presentation that effectively demonstrates the features of your upgraded product. Ultimately, if done correctly, you can use upselling as a great way to drive more sales without sacrificing customer satisfaction or trust.


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