Once you’ve attracted buyers to your site, don’t let them get away without trying to increase the sale.

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The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly’s book The Digital Marketing Handbook. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

Upsells are an important part of your autoresponder communication system that, if done correctly, will bring you more revenue than just your direct sales.

Upsells on a smaller level can easily be done on your shopping cart page before the cus­tomer gives the credit card information and closes the purchase. In this case, the upsell is positioned at the top of the page, visible to the customer as they land on that page. The customer can take a moment to look at what it is, decide to click the check box, and add it to the shopping cart or else say no. The purchase continues from there with filling out shipping and credit card information to com­plete the purchase.

One of the great ways to bring in more customers is giving speeches to customers who need your expertise in a certain area of business. Your talents can range from developing software programs or creating educational online courses to offering personal development coaching or building wonderful websites. People who’ve never given speeches before balk at the idea of doing so. Yet it’s really not that hard to do and will help your brand to do it.

When you’re offering your products and services online, one fairly simple way of generating even more income is to provide different upgrades or versions of the same product. This is commonly seen in software products. For instance, there may be add-ons that you can purchase, such as in IBM’s SPSS program, which comes as the basic version and then charges additional prices for several types of add-on components for your analysis needs.

If you’re selling copywriting books on your website, you can also sell connected four-week programs along with that book at the checkout point. This is considered an upsell when the products are connected to each other. The book purchased might be called How to Write Great Leads for Any Type of Client You Get. The upsell is the four-week program that walks you through the process and fully engages you in practicing what the book offers, which also happens to be the textbook for the course.

The idea is to set up your point of sale page to determine from the shopping cart just what products and services the customer is purchasing and then automatically trigger pop-ups that show better versions of the same product or service, such as newer versions of a book being purchased or extended services that can be added on to the main service being purchased.

It’s also important at what point these alternative options for upselling are made because people can become irritated if too much stuff is pushed at them when they’re ready to leave. The best strategy is to have pop-ups show when the customer puts the product or service in the shopping cart.

At this point, they’re still browsing and may be more willing to look at upgrades. If they’re being shown these right at the time that they’re entering their credit card, this might be confusing and even irritating, as they’re now ready to complete the purchase. If they get irritated with pop-up upsells, they may just dump the whole purchase. Then you’ve lost the sale. Too many choices at the wrong time can cost you, rather than adding to your revenue.

Another good tactic that Amazon utilizes is showing what other people are saying about their products. Generally, these are people who’ve made purchases of a product and are so happy with it, they come back and review the product. This can be in the form of book, movie, or product reviews.

Some customers would rather see what others say before finalizing a purchase. Potential buyers want to know what the best points about the product are, according to the reviewer, and whether they will match up with what the customer is looking for. Knowing that the newer version or edition aligns more with what the customer wants to have, based on a customer review, is a big selling point. In fact, that is an upsell.

In this case, the layout of Amazon’s product pages provides the reviews when you scroll down the page. If you look a little further past that, there’s a scrolling bar that shows comparative products along those same lines, some of which may be cross sales and others upsells.

There is another part to efficient upselling, and that’s maintaining a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which keeps information about your customers handy so you can do analysis on what they bought and when they bought it.

The CRM system is one of the most important tools to utilize for just about any business that consistently upgrades products or creates new editions of books. CRM systems provide all the information you need to determine how to upsell to current and past customers so that revenue continues to come in on a regular basis.

Always take advantage of the opportunity to upsell by providing benefits to the customer but without a lot of pressure. Being subtle about upsells is the best approach to success.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


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