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Three Cross-Sell and Up-Sell Tactics to Improve Email Marketing Results

by Amanda Hinkle  |  
August 30, 2012

It's an old adage: Driving increased sales from your current customers is easier than acquiring new customers. But when marketing via email, a lot of businesses seem to be missing an opportunity that's right in front of them.

Cross-sell and up-sell programs are a great, low-cost way that retailers can increase revenue by reaching out to the customers they know best. But when my company, StrongMail, conducted an industry survey last fall, we found that only 37% of respondents were integrating these kinds of offers into their email marketing strategy. What gives?

You may be thinking about targeting email subscribers who have previously purchased your products with complementary (cross-sell) or enhanced (up-sell) offers. The trick is to do it right. You don't want to annoy valued customers with an inappropriate or ill-timed offer. But with the right approach, you'll be well on your way to making the most of promising sales prospects.

To implement successful cross-sell and up-sell email programs, consider the following three critical elements.

1. Take advantage of available data

The volume of customer-related data now available to retailers is growing at an exponential pace, and those who find ways to put it to use will be the most effective at developing highly relevant cross-sell and up-sell offers.

Purchase data from point-of-sale and transactional systems, Web analytics that track site clicks and views, email response data, and preferences that email subscribers self report all provide marketers with a treasure trove of insight into the types of products to recommend to customers in cross-sell or up-sell situations.

For example, you could send an offer for a Blu-ray player to someone who recently bought a TV or a discount for a spatula to an email subscriber who recently viewed it online while purchasing a new cooking pan.

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Amanda Hinkle is senior digital marketing strategist at StrongMail.

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