If you’re an Arrested Development fan, this classic line will be familiar…
And just like the now burnt-to-the-ground stand, there’s always money in the back-end, if you do it right.
And after building a front-end offer, a funnel for it, then spending eons optimising it for max conversion, a lot of people are exhausted by the time it comes to upsells.
So they lazily grab a few loosely connected products, slap a few pages together, whack them on the end, and dust off their hands. That leaves this part of their back-end doing nothing but the odd lucky sale and annoying a bunch of customers who were otherwise hot to buy.
Ultimately, not having a solid online upsell strategy means they’re missing out. Which begs the question: what could businesses be doing better around their upsells… and how do they do it?
Well, answers aplenty already lie out there, which is what we’re going to jump into right now.
WHAT IS AN UPSELL… AND WHY SHOULD I BOTHER?
For anyone who’s new to this terminology, let’s clarify a couple of things:
Back end: Marketing and sales to existing customers, instead of new customers (the front end).
Upsell: A specific example of back end marketing. It can often refer to products marketed to a new customer who’s just bought on the front end, thus “upselling” their first order.
For example, a sales page may promote a certain supplement. When a customer buys 1 bottle (or more) and submits their order, that’s when the first upsell drops. Instead of going to a thank you page, the customer is whisked to an upsell page that might offer:
- More of the same supplement, but at a reduced price
- An “autoship” offer for the supplement
- A different supplement altogether (preferably one that complements the first)
- An info product, like an eBook or guide (again, preferably one that complements the front end)
Online sales platforms now include a “one click upsell” feature, meaning customers don’t have to re-enter their details for each upsell, but just click a single button to add it to their order.
So that’s the “what” of an upsell, and I’m pretty sure you can pick the “why”.
Now, you might be killing it with new customers, selling hand over fist. But… it’s more likely than not that even if you’ve fine-tuned your offer, traffic, and marketing, you might only be making a small amount with that first sale. It’s even more likely that a new customer’s order leaves you breakeven at best after costs, or even taking a small loss.
But even though you know you’ll eventually turn a profit with each new customer, you don’t have to take that up-front loss or settle for breakeven. There’s a better way, and it’s not tinkering with your front end to push conversions up another 1% (which is a tricky and time-consuming exercise).
Boost your average order value (AOV) with new customers, and you’re banking a profit from Day 1. And without veering too far onto a new tangent, pushing your AOV up gives you the fuel to scale your offer much, much faster.
So let’s get into the “how” behind upsells…
Order Bumps: The “Cousin” Of Upsells
While this article is all about upsells, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to push your AOV in the right direction. And while I don’t want to get into this too much, I wanted to point out one example you may have spotted around checkouts: the order bump.
An order bump is where you offer your new customer-to-be the chance to add extra products to their order… the big difference being you do this BEFORE they make their original purchase, instead of after. You’ll almost always find order bumps on a checkout page, and it’s as easy to add them to the order as a single click.
One place you sometimes run into the order bump is with a free plus shipping offer. Russell Brunson uses a couple of order bumps with his “Expert Secrets” book, where after being sold a free book (with a$19.95 shipping fee), you’re suddenly confronted with some extras just before you confirm your order…
A free+shipping offer is a great place for order bumps, as Russell Brunson’s Expert Secrets sales page shows.
2 QUESTIONS YOUR UPSELL PAGE MUST ANSWER
Before getting into specifics, let’s talk about the theory behind what makes an upsell page work. It isn’t quite the same as your typical sales copy, as there are two extra elements you have to include:
- Why should your new customer also buy this product?
- Why is this product being offered at the price it is?
(If you’re more the listening type, Bobby Hewett’s brilliant Health Supplement Business Mastery podcast has an episode around these two aspects of the upsell.)
“Why should I buy?”
This is one of the first questions that’s going to pop into your customer’s head when they land on your upsell page. A link between your front end product and your upsell might help answer this question, but you’re going to need more.
So, what are some of the “reasons why” you might use? Here are a few (roughly worded) ready-to-gos…
- “Our customers tell us this is also a big issue for them, which is why we’re offering you Product X at a special price!”
- “As a new customer, you qualify for this super-special deal that no other customers ever get!”
- “Having bought Product X, you clearly want Solution Y. Well, if you want to 2x/3x/10x your results with Product X, why not grab Product Z, which is the perfect companion?”
- “You’re a smart cookie and know what’s best for your health, which is why we want to offer you Product X, an amazing solution for Problem Y.”
Whichever one you use, remember this: you need to lead with “why buy” copy on an upsell page. It’s a question that’s going to be in their heads, and it’s one you want to answer quick smart.
“Why this price?”
This isn’t necessarily for all your upsells, but it’s definitely something to address if your first upsell is more of the same product – which is a common go-to when selling things like supplements.
This is an important question because if you are selling more of the same, the customer is going to be wondering why they get this special price… just AFTER they’ve already bought a few bottles or products.
As for “why this price?”, here are a few common ways to answer…
“Because you’re a new customer, we want to reward you with this special price.”
- “There’s limited stock left, so we want to make sure you’re well-stocked because it might be MONTHS before we get more in.”
- “The ingredients / components are going up in price, which means our next batch / manufacturing run will be more expensive… and we want to help you to not have to pay that higher price.”
(Note: Naturally, scarcity or urgency plays don’t work with digital products!)
LET’S TALK DIGITAL UPSELL STRATEGIES
Now we’ve got the basics covered, it’s time to get into the upsell strategies you can use on the back end. And looking at what’s out there, you’ve got a few options.
But perhaps the best way to get into these is to show real-world examples. Each of these are based around two factors:
- How the front end offer is presented
- How the upsell sequence is designed
Downsells: The “Sibling” Of Upsells
If order bumps are the “cousin” of an upsell, then the downsell is a little brother or sister.
The point of the upsell is to boost average order value. That’s also the aim of the downsell. Coming directly after a non-converting upsell, a downsell is a smaller version of the upsell it follows. For example, if a customer doesn’t buy Upsell A, the back end sequence takes that customer to Downsell B. If that customer did buy Upsell A, they’d never see Downsell B.
You’ll see an example of how a downsell works in the back end sequence just below.
The Sales Page / “Up-and-Down” Upsell
The sales page is the most likely place you’ll run into the upsells (we’ll look at the others in a minute). And it makes sense: a customer who’s just bought is often at their most receptive, so offering a few upsells is a wise move.
In fact, many back ends will string together multiple upsells and downsells to get the absolute maximum from their AOV.
Take Gundry MD’s upsell sequence after you buy one of their products (this time, it happened to be Bio Complete 3).
Here’s how it unfolded. I didn’t take them up on any of their offers, which is probably why the downsells popped up. Like many supplement sequences, this one starts by offering more of the same before branching out.
Upsell 1: Save 53% on 6 bottles of Gundry MD Bio Complete 3
- Reason Why: Being consistent is key to improving your health… so take this offer
Downsell 1: Add 3 Bottles of Gundry MD Bio Complete 3 And Save 48% Off Retail
- Reason Why: “Taking 6 extra bottles might feel like a lot, but I want you to be able to take advantage of savings, even if it’s just 3 more bottles.”
Upsell 2: Save 45% Off 6 bottles of Gundry MD Total Restore
- Reason Why: “Now you’re on the fast track to worry-free digestion and fewer cravings, here’s a way to get even faster results”
Downsell 2: Add 3 Bottles of Gundry MD Total Restore And Save 42% Off Retail
- Reason Why: Same as Downsell 1.
Upsell 3: Save 64% Off on 6 bottles of Gundry MD Lectin Shield
- Reason Why: “Thanks to your purchase, we’re giving you this incredible offer on one of our best-selling products… Lectin Shield.”
Downsell 3: Save 62% on 3 bottles of Gundry MD Lectin Shield
- Reason Why: Same as Downsell 1
The Tripwire Page / Multi-Upsell
Tripwires are a fantastic way to create “instant customers”. These kinds of offers are low-cost, high-value ways to lure prospects into buying from you. This changes the relationship and allows you to market to them in a different way than you do with prospects.
For example, take this order page from Frank Kern…
Did you spot the price of the core offer? That’s right: one buck.
(By the way, that “Omnipresence” section is another example of an order bump.)
This tiny-priced front end offer is designed to entice new customers so Frank can…
- Sell you more valuable products later (now that you’re on his email list)
- Sell you more valuable products on the back end
And as you can see by the upsell sequence (there are no downsells), he’s not shy about selling to his new $1 customers.
Upsell 1: Mass Control OG Edition for $97, which is the original version of his famous training. This upsell page uses a mini-VSL to drive most of the talking, and also includes more order bumps (yes, order bumps can be used in conjunction with upsells).
Upsell 2: Big Ticket Bundle for $297, which is a collection of his other programs. Again, he uses a mini-VSL to get his message across, and the order bumps are here again.
Upsell 3: Done-For-You Facebook Ad Set-up for $497. This is just a mini-VSL with a few paragraphs and a single button.
The Lead Gen Page / Single Offer Upsell
Obviously, new customers is the #1 mission of any front end, which your sales page goes to work trying to acquire. But for even the best sales pages, a conversion rate of 3-4% is as good as it gets… which leaves a lot of people slipping through your fingers.
So what’s the answer? Lead generation.
Your front end efforts don’t always have to focus on getting customers on the first bite. Lead generation aims to bring in people (or prospects) who may be good customers but aren’t ready to buy. They want to check you out and see what you’re saying before they make a decision.
So, you dangle a “carrot” – often in the form of a free guide or sample – just to get the prospect’s contact details. From there, you can market away until they’re convinced you’re a business they can trust.
But here’s where most miss a trick with their lead gen pages: they never think to upsell off that first interaction. After all, there’s no rule that declares “thou shallst only upselleth from a page of sales”.
Take Alternative Daily as one example. They’re a website that focuses on healthy living and nature, along with an appreciation for sharp marketing. And their “21 Strange Uses for Honey” lead gen page illustrates this.
Looks like your typical lead gen page, and it is. Until you enter your email address. And instead of the “Hey, thanks – here’s your free guide!” thank you message, you’re whisked to an upsell page offering you a free+shipping offer around a book (the most common product for these free+shipping deals).
And this upsell page ticks pretty much all the boxes:
- Complementary to the lead magnet
- Gives a reason why for both offer and price
- Doesn’t skimp on length or polish, even though it’s a low cost offer
LET’S TALK DIGITAL UPSELL STRATEGIES
Maybe you’ve been reading this thinking “hey, I need an upsell or three for my offers”… but you’re still not sure where to start. Well, try this:
- Find a complementary offer (or offers) to be your upsells
- Take the time to build a persuasive upsell page for each one
- Get your upsells live!
Maybe you were scanning this thinking “way ahead of you, Dean”… but that doesn’t mean you stop there. Even if you do have upsells in place, here are a couple of quick ideas you could run with to see if you can up your back end sales even more:
- Test different offers and price points
- Test different creative on the upsell page
- Consider adding downsells, order bumps, or more upsells
But whatever it is, do something to start pushing up that average order value (or AOV). After all, there’s always money in a banana stand solid upsell strategy.
How Healthy Is YOUR Backend?
Not sure where to start with ramping up your AOV? Can’t think what would make a good upsell for a certain product? I’d be happy to help you out.
Book a call right here and let’s discuss the best way for you to add an upsell sequence to one (or more) of your front end offers.