How to Upsell With Email Marketing

Think of an old-fashioned, friendly neighborhood shop. Customers come in

Think of an old-fashioned, friendly neighborhood shop.

Customers come in to chat, they ask for recommendations, and they loyally purchase again and again. They trust the shopkeeper. They’ve bought there before, they’re comfortable there and they know their payment information is kept safe.

If you’re establishing the same dynamic of trust with your email subscribers, you’re becoming their friendly virtual-neighborhood shop. Once they buy from you, they should be comfortable buying from you again.

That’s where upselling comes in — making more offers to your established customers.

How Do I Upsell With Email?

It’s easy to do with an AWeber account. Here’s the walkthrough:

1. Set up Analytics On Your Website

Hopefully, you already have this done, as it enables click tracking and sales tracking, letting you see just how much activity your marketing emails are bringing to your site.

In this case, you’re looking to see who’s hit your order confirmation pages – those pages site visitors are directed to right after they complete an order.

If you don’t have analytics set up on your order confirmation pages, you can apply them by following the instructions here.

2. Identify Your Customers

Use the “Subscriber – Search” option in your AWeber account to find out which subscribers have hit your order confirmation pages.

If you have different order confirmation pages set up for different products, you can offer specific upsells for each product. Just search for each page separately, then label each segment with the corresponding product. You could also make a more general offer to all of your customers together by searching for all of your order confirmation pages together and saving a general “customer” segment.

If you use the same order confirmation page for all of your products, you can still offer different upsells for different products.

You would have to make an adjustment in your site, though: add a query string to the URL of your confirmation page to indicate which product the customer has ordered.

If you’re not sure how to do that, you can find a developer to help at our ODesk group.

3. Save Them Into Segments

Once your list of customers loads, save them as a segment of people who’ve purchased from you. (Make sure to name the segment something you’ll easily recognize later on.)

Now you’ll be able to easily send a broadcast just to these customers.

4. Send Out Your New Offers

Create broadcasts to upsell to purchasers of those items, offering the next level items, or related accessories or “app-cessories.” For example, Etsy

Then send each broadcast out to its corresponding segment.

Continuing Upsells Over Time

As more of your subscribers become customers over time, you may want to offer them the same upsells. The trick is making sure you’re not sending the offers to subscribers who’ve already gotten them.

You can easily control this by applying another parameter to your subscriber search when creating the segment to send to. Run your search for subscribers who have hit your order confirmation page and add another parameter: people who did not open your last upsell offer.

This is what your search should look like:

Then when you send your upsell again, you can be sure it’s only going to subscribers who haven’t seen it before.

Do You Upsell to Your Subscribers?

Segmenting your customers out to upsell to can help you make a second wave of sales with your email marketing.

Have you ever done this with your own campaigns? If so, what kind of response did you see?


  1. Eddie

    5/23/2012 3:16 am

    Is this segmentation method preferable over putting the customers in a separate “customers” list?

  2. Amanda Gagnon

    5/23/2012 2:23 pm

    Eddie, If you already know someone’s a customer when they sign up, it makes a lot of sense to use that separate customer list. If, however, subscribers eventually buy from you, they change from prospects to customers. In order to identify who’s switching over and then get them in a defined group, setting up this segment works best – especially because segments continually update with new subscriber data.

  3. Chris

    12/31/2012 11:16 am

    How does this work with a customer who buys before being on the email list?

    In my system, some will buy and then gets on the customer list.

    I see a potential confusion of a post buyer customer list and customer segment from the prospect list.