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Product Marketing Strategy: What Is an Upsell and a Downsell?

May 12th, 2010

product-marketing-upsell.jpgWhether you are selling your own product online or promoting an affiliate product, if you are not including an upsell and downsell in your marketing strategy you are throwing away money. These two methods can increase your business profits drastically and once set up will practically run themselves.

For those that are not aware of an upsell or downsell here is a brief explanation of both:

What Is an Upsell?

An upsell is a more advanced and expensive version of the product you are selling or promoting. If a customer agrees to buy a basic package, you would then offer them the chance to upgrade to the better product at an additional charge.

What Is a Downsell?

A downsell can work two ways:

1. A customer sees your basic offer but decides that he or she cannot afford it and decides to leave your site. When they click to leave they are either redirected to another page on your site that offers them the same product but at a discounted price, or they get a pop-up offer offering the same discount.

2. The customer has agreed to buy the basic package and is sent to the upsell but decides that is beyond their budget. When they refuse this new upgraded offer they are then presented with a package that is less expensive than the premium product but more expensive than the basic one. This is an in-between offer – if the basic product was bronze and the upsell was gold, this downsell would be the silver package.

Driving Profits Through the Roof

You will be amazed at how well this system converts and drives profits through the roof. If someone has already agreed to buy a product then they are obviously interested and committed to the sale. They already have their credit card in their hands and want to buy. Once they are in this frame of mind, it is far easier to nudge them towards the upsell and there is a greater chance of them deciding to go for your “bells and whistles” gold edition package.

Even if they decline your premium-priced offer, they may well like the silver offer and upgrade to that. That is extra profit you would have missed if you did not have upsells or downsells. If they decide not to go for either upgrade then they are still buying the basic product so you have still made a sale.

Grasping a Sale Out of Thin Air

Without the offer of a discounted downsell available to a customer that has chosen not to buy the basic product, you are not even putting up a fight. This is just throwing good money away. The customer may have loved your product but just could not afford the asking price. They have already shown an interest by coming to look at your sales page and are practically pre-sold. By offering them a last minute discount, just when they thought they would have to go without your product, you are offering them a lifeline. Now they can get the product they want, at a price they can afford. Ok, your profits will not be as high on this one but you have just made a sale you would have otherwise lost out on without an exit downsell.

Extra Money

Invest a little bit of your time creating an upsell and two downsell packages of your product and you can earn crazy profits and capture last-gasp sales. The amount of extra sales and increased revenue will easily compensate for the additional time and effort you spent tweaking your product and creating a few extra Web pages. If you are not utilizing the incredible power of upsells and downsells you are missing out on a profit goldmine.


D. M. Gray is a successful freelance writer with many published pieces under his belt. Whilst his recent specialization has been in business development, online marketing, social media, and SEO, he has previously created and edited websites dealing with diet, weight loss, health, fitness, and social commentary.


2 Responses to “Product Marketing Strategy: What Is an Upsell and a Downsell?”

  1. comment number 1 by: Internet Marketing Consultant UK

    Having an upsell strategy is vital. The downsell strategy is a more advanced one and I would only do this when the upsell strategy is established. It is far easier to attract people in via data collection and list building routes, building trust over time, then upselling to them - using autoresponders etc. Downselling is the next level up for me - and only really useful when selling high price items

  2. comment number 2 by: Patricia Hanthorn

    This was a great read and educational in that it answered my questions without further questioning. Now all I need to do is figure out how the codes need to be placed within my site to be beneficial. Again, thank you for the easy to read and understand wording.

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