4 Rules For Using Upsells In Your Marketing

Yesterday after buying a product I found myself stuck in “Upsell Hell”!

Upsell Product Hell

Don’t Put Your Customers Through Upsell Hell!

Although I didn’t count the number of upsells, it was right in the neighborhood of 8 UPSELLS!

Even though I’m a marketer that uses and teaches upsells and downsells, by the time I was at the last few upsells in the chain I felt pretty pissed off!

I don’t feel like my time was being respected (all the upsells were in video format and took several minutes to get through) and I feel like the seller was just trying to squeeze as much money as possible out of his new customers.


The fact is, adding a relevant upsell (or two) that enhance the front end product can actually benefit your customers by giving them the opportunity to get more value from you often at a discounted rate…

However, stacking upsell after upsell after upsell like a leech trying to suck your new customer dry is not only a bad idea, but the small short-term bump in income you’ll receive from the extra upsells will be offset by the long-term, permanent loss of income from those customers that are so put off by your marketing methods that they’ll probably never buy from you again!

Here are some easy upsell rules to follow to make sure you don’t end up with customers who are mad at you before they even see the product they purchased from you:

RULE 1: Limit The Number Of Upsells

Each upsell you add increases the likelihood that you’re going to upset your customer (who you should be trying to build a long-term relationship with).

1 Upsell – You probably won’t upset too many customers (especially if you follow RULE 2 below).

2 Upsells – Some customers may get annoyed, but if your products (especially the front end product they already purchased) are solid, they likely won’t hold a grudge.

3 Upsells – Some of your customers will start to feel you’re taking advantage of them at this point so your products BETTER be kick ass and deliver on what you promised (and then some).

4 Or More UpsellsDon’t do it! Plain and simple – it’s not worth it! You should be trying to build a long-term relationship and creating a customer for life, by having 4 or more upsells you will likely upset the MAJORITY of your new customers and really get that relationship off on the wrong foot.

RULE 2: Keep Em’ Related But Not Required

All of your upsells and downsells should be related to your front end offer (either directly related or at least loosely) but if your customer does not buy the upsells they should still be able to get the results you promised from your front end product (they shouldn’t have to buy an upsell to get results).

Example: If you sell hockey sticks, your upsell should be hockey pucks, (related) not a collection of serial killer autobiographies (not related).

This is one thing that “Mr. Upsell Hell” did correctly; his upsells were related to the front end product (at least the first 6 or so were – after that I tuned out and just clicked the No Thanks button), but there were so many upsells that the fact they’re related doesn’t make up for the fact my time wasn’t respected..

RULE 3: Make It Easy To Say No

It should always be super simple for your customer to say NO to your upsell pitch and get what they’ve paid for (preferably without having to scroll through a 20 page sales letter searching for the no thanks link).

RULE 4: The Golden Rule

If you want to know if you’re doing your upsells and downsells the right way simply put yourself in the shoes of your customers…

How would YOU feel if you were the customer going through the upsell process? Or how would you feel if your best friend or spouse or Mother had to go through the upsell process?

If you wouldn’t like to sit through your own upsell process that should be a clear sign to you that it needs to be changed!


Hopefully these rules help you craft upsells that are both profitable and beneficial to your customer WITHOUT leaving too many people angry.

Feel free to share your thoughts below or add to my list of tips.

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Ryan Even

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