How To Upsell Existing Customers in Affiliate Marketing? 7 Pro Tips


Upselling is a mainstream technique nowadays. Many business concepts rely on upselling to survive. Some businesses are even willing to sell items or services at a loss in anticipation of a future upsell. 

We can see good examples in hosting companies that offer hosting plans or new domain registration for a ridiculously low price the first year with a much higher price tag upon renewals.

As a staff member of a SaaS company, I’ve identified some ways that ensure upsells through trial and error. Every business is different, and every consumer is unique, but these strategies will guarantee more upsells for your company.

First of all, what is “upselling” customers?

Upselling is the process of persuading a customer to make a more expensive purchase than he or she had planned.

The idea is to compound profit by capitalizing on the purchase momentum. 

It makes perfect business sense to upsell current customers because it could be 10x times cheaper than reaching new ones. Build upsells into your business strategy from the start, and base your marketing strategy around upsell tactics.

How To Upsell Existing Customers in Affiliate Marketing? 7 Pro Tips

Instead of upselling customers spontaneously, you should have a plan ready up your sleeve. Clients who buy product X will be offered product Y within 3 days of their purchase, and so on. 

Upselling vs. cross-selling

Upselling is the technique of urging customers to buy a comparable higher-end product than the one in question, whereas cross-selling encourages customers to purchase related or complimentary items or services. 

Though the terms are frequently used interchangeably, they each have specific advantages and can be effective when used in unison. 

When done correctly, upselling and cross-selling are mutually advantageous, offering maximum value to clients while growing income without the ongoing costs of many marketing channels.

Now, here’s how to go about it. I gathered 7 tips that can help you start or improve your upselling game.

1. Make the upsell relevant to the original purchase of the customer.

This is crucial. If you’ve ever ordered from BurgerKing, you’ve probably been asked, “Do you want fries for only $1 extra?” Maybe you didn’t plan to buy a whole meal, but since the offer is closely related and the offer is irresistible cheap – you just got upsold. 

The upsell must always be related to the initial purchase.

Hosting companies, which we have already mentioned, operate in the same manner. There are numerous upsell pitches, but they are all essentially connected – extended hosting, speed acceleration, domain SSL security, more domain extensions, and so on.

How To Upsell Existing Customers in Affiliate Marketing? 7 Pro Tips

The key to successful upselling is relevancy. 

When a customer purchases one thing, he or she becomes a customer. Make sure that your upsell complements or improves the product they initially purchased.

For example: If you are a software vendor – offer premium customer support or more features.

2. Encourage your consumers to buy themselves.

SalesForce is one of the best SaaS upsellers. Here’s how they do it: storage restrictions.

Built-in restrictions are a fantastic upsell strategy for SaaS companies whose process requires storage or bandwidth. If a user needs more data or storage, they must pay for it.

You should not be making a big or obvious effort to upsell your clients by following this strategy. Customers recognize the necessity and make the wise decision to scale their paid plan vertically.

As your customer’s needs grow, they organically discover and understand new upgrading options that are in front of them.

The most successful and complaint-free upsells are those in which the customers recognize their needs and purchase voluntarily and willingly.

3. Reduce the price of your upsell.

Customers may smell an upsell coming on. They will consider the upsell from one main point of view: price.

How To Upsell Existing Customers in Affiliate Marketing? 7 Pro Tips

They will not buy your upsell if it is too pricey. They’ll be more intrigued if it’s a discounted upsell. Remember the french fries example?

As a general guideline, the upsell should be half the original purchase price (or less)

The consumer is attempting to justify the price. They will be calculating how much they have already paid and how much they will be paying on top of that.

If you want to make a greater upsell, make it a payment plan — for example, merely $9/month for 3 months — to give the impression of a smaller price.

4. Follow up on the initial purchase with an upsell.

One flaw I’ve observed with some SaaS upsells is that they bombard you with upsells before you’ve even finished your checkout. 

For some clients, this is a blatant sales pitch. 

Customers abandon shopping carts for the most common reason: new or increasing costs. Upsells before checkout is, at best, dangerous.

As an easy option, I recommend upselling customers after they’ve completed a purchase. Make it even easier for customers by not requiring them to enter their payment information again in order to complete their second transaction.

The easier it is to make the second purchase, the bigger is the chance that the customer will not drop out halfway through.

5. Offer a solution to a problem.

Here’s what’s intriguing about most purchases. They are designed to fix an issue, yet they also introduce other difficulties.

How To Upsell Existing Customers in Affiliate Marketing? 7 Pro Tips

For example: You purchase the software. You must learn how to use it. So you (also) purchase training.

Consider the thing you sell carefully, and try to comprehend the additional obstacles or problems it creates. The buyer should then be upsold on the solution to the new problem.

If nothing comes to mind, you can always add products that are comparable. Amazon, for example, provides a plethora of upsells and cross-sells to customers.

  • “Frequently Purchased Together”
  • “Customers Who Purchased This Item Also Purchased”
  • “Products Related to This Item (Sponsored)”
  • “Compare to Related Items”
  • “Product Promotions and Special Offers”

You can always make a sale. I recommend going with a benefit-focused solution that answers a real need.

6. Reduce or eliminate the danger.

Guarantees are an essential part of any successful marketing process. This is more critical than ever with an upsell. 

When they detect an upsell, customers are automatically on guard. If you can acquire their trust with a go-to-any-length guarantee, your upsell will have a better chance of succeeding. 

Anything from money-back guarantee to 99,9% uptime guarantee.

7. Increase Cross-Sells in Your Email Marketing Campaign

The last strategy is using email marketing. You can follow up on previous transactions with related products or ask the customers to upgrade the products or services that were already purchased before. Remind them that the offer is limited to upgrades or get add-ons.

This is the most loved tactic used by affiliate marketers, especially through email marketing, because they send you “deals” with limited-time offers discounts.

Ever got such an email? And you needed to hurry, not to miss out?

How To Upsell Existing Customers in Affiliate Marketing? 7 Pro Tips

It is not a hard-selling strategy. Apart from flashing deals, you can send emails that educate your customers to use the product they have purchased and provide them with information that other customers gain more benefits after buying related products. Also, provide some links to those items or landing pages to help them purchase the items.

You can also insert some images to highlight the product’s value and the other related product. The other method is by sending a follow-up email after the purchase with a discounted price to encourage them to buy the same product as a gift to their friends or family.

You can increase your affiliate commissions and earnings tremendously with upselling and cross-selling. You can earn more affiliate commissions by offering higher or premium options, add-ons, and related products.

Upselling Facts – Is it Worth The Effort?

As we have already mentioned, it’s 10x times cheaper to market products to the same customer, as opposed to trying to find a new one (through SEO, advertising, or other marketing means).

Creating an automatic cross-selling opportunity can easily increase your bottom line sales. Amazon recognized the value of related products many years ago, estimating that cross-selling accounted for 35% of its revenue in 2006. Since then, it has mastered the art of proposing products that its customers may be interested in.

How To Upsell Existing Customers in Affiliate Marketing? 7 Pro Tips

Upselling and cross-selling also allow you to introduce customers to products they may be unaware of. These techniques can assist you in educating your customers on how to make the most of their purchases.

Finally, having a larger selection of products and packages to cross-sell and upsell makes your program more appealing to affiliates since each of these items represents an additional opportunity for them to earn money.

Upselling in the Affiliate Marketing Industry

The truth is, upsells in regular eCommerce industries are no different from upsells or cross-sells in the affiliate industry.

While brands and service providers offer a complimentary (or “better”) product from their own inventory – affiliate marketers don’t have their hands tied to one single vendor.

Affiliate marketers (if they use a lead management feature, such as the one offered by Scaleo) can have access to a list of people who have already purchased through their affiliate link. Based on their purchase history, they offer them similar or more expensive products repeatedly. 

If you are in the affiliate marketing business, having access to your leads list is crucial because this is the only feature that would allow you to cross-sell or upsell existing clients. 

In my opinion, planning and managing upsell in the affiliate business is A LOT more profitable because you have an endless pool of products to market to existing clients, and you can target them based on clients’ purchase records and budget. 


The best thing about upsells is that they bring better profit margins in the long run. In the eCommerce business – upsells also allow you to keep the consumer for a longer period of time, while affiliate upsells simply give you access to high-paying customers and their interests – which you can monetize over and over.

Superior sales strategy not only increase profitability but also keep consumers and reduce turnover. Customers will be quite satisfied as long as you add value with your excellent goods and effective upsells. Be sure not to be blunt, automate the marketing process, and enjoy seeing your affiliate commissions grow. 

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Elizabeth Sramek
Elizabeth is a Senior Content Manager at Scaleo. Currently enjoying the life in Prague and sharing professional affiliate marketing tips. She's been in the online marketing business since 2006 and gladly shares all her insights and ideas on this blog.
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