How to Upsell to Your Customers

would you like fries with that?

How do you make more money? You acquire more customers through traffic acquisition, right? Although that does work, a more cost effective way is to increase your average revenue per customer.

You can increase your average revenue per customer in two ways:

  1. Increase your prices
  2. Upsell your customers

If you are interested in increasing your prices, you should read this article. If you want to upsell your customers, you should follow this post. 😉

Before I get into how you should upsell your customers, let me explain what upselling is:

Upselling is a sales technique whereby a seller induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale.

If you want to leverage upselling, here is what you ought to do:

Make your upsells related to your original product

Have you ever been through GoDaddy’s checkout process? Have you noticed a lot of upsells?

Some of their upsells are related to their product, while others aren’t.

They could drastically increase their conversion rate if they offered upsells that were more related to the product you just purchased. For example, I added a domain name to my checkout, and they offered me this product in the picture below.

godaddy website seal upsell

Why would they offer you a website seal when chances are you don’t even have hosting, a website or even web traffic? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never built a website before I acquired a domain name.

If they only showed you offers that helped you accomplish relevant tasks, such as getting your website up and generating traffic, their conversion rate would go up.

When you are offering upsells, think of logical ones. Don’t just throw in products because you have them and want to make more money. If they are highly relevant, they’ll convert better.

Be sensitive about your price

Not everyone has a ton of cash. You need to know and understand your customers before you upsell them.

One question you need to ask yourself is… are your customers rich? If they are, you can continually upsell them with more and more expensive products.

If they aren’t, you can still offer upsells that are expensive, but if they turn the upsells down, offer them the same upsell again with payment plans. An example of this is offering your customers an additional product for six monthly payments of $47 instead of a one-time payment of $282.

When you start playing with prices, try not to offer too many discounts as that can cheapen your product. If it is truly a great product, people shouldn’t have an issue paying you for it in installments or accepting a “free trial” offer in which they pay for it thirty days later.

Make it easy for your customers

GoDaddy also makes this mistake when they upsell you upon checkout. Instead of just letting you buy your first product and then upselling you, they offer you two or three upsells before you complete your first purchase.

If you follow their upselling method, you will create more barriers for someone to just make a purchase.

The ideal way to upsell customers is to let them complete the purchase of the first product and then offer them a few options, right after they click the buy button. Your developer should even be able to make it so that people don’t have to re-enter their credit card information if they choose to take an upsell.

Quality over quantity

If you continually bombard your customers with upsells upon checkout, it is just going to irritate them. The last thing you want is someone tweeting how your marketing team is too aggressive.

Assuming you are only offering really good upsells that are related to your core product or service, limit them to two or three upon checkout.

Once someone has used your product or service, you can then drip them through email over a period of thirty or sixty days and offer them more upsells.

The beautiful part about this is that through email, you can educate your customers on how to use your product or service better. And by receiving a few upsells in between, they won’t feel like you are squeezing every last dollar out of them because you are also helping them at the same time. Think of it as a give and take situation… before you take, give a few times.

Sell benefits, not features

Why do you buy something? Sure it could just be an impulse buy, but in most cases you buy something because it solves a problem.

godaddy upsell

If you look at the image above, you’ll see three upsell options GoDaddy provides on checkout. What’s wrong with them? They aren’t benefit-driven.

  • Web hosting – they should have made a pitch around a problem most people have with their hosting. The benefits would have been not just uptime, but also ease of use, one-click solution and no need for any technical knowledge to get you up and running.
  • Website builder + hosting – they do a pretty good job with this upsell because they break down how you can create a website in three easy steps. But I would have also talked about the fact that you can do it within an X amount of time or that you can use their template for X business types. This extra information would have helped you to know that they have a template that fits your business and that you can create a site within minutes.
  • Email – they should clearly state that you can have your own personalized email address and that they will set it up for you.

By focusing on the benefits instead of features, you are likely to increase the number of people who will choose your upsells.

Learn from your customers

Although this isn’t the first step on the list, it is something you should do early on. By surveying your customers through Survey Monkey or Qualaroo, you can find out the pain points of your customers.

Some of the questions you can ask them are:

  • What can we help you solve?
  • What problems are you experiencing?
  • What’s one way in which we can improve our product or service?

Be careful when asking questions like “what else can we provide you with?” because customers will give you a wish list, yet they won’t always buy what they say they want.

By understanding their pains, you can come up with an ideal offer for an upsell. Hopefully the solution will be easy for your customers to use and implement.

Don’t forget to downsell

If someone doesn’t take your upsell offer and you know they want it based on the survey data, chances are they can’t afford it.

One option is to create payment plans like I mentioned above. Another option is to downsell them.

Offer them a cheaper alternative that doesn’t include all the bells and whistles that the original version has. By removing features, you can reduce your price and increase your conversion rates.

Just make sure your downsells still contain all the major features that allow the product or service to work. The last thing you want to do is to downsell something that is useless to your customer.


If you aren’t upselling your customers, you won’t be able to maximize your revenue. As a general rule of thumb, try to make it where 70% of your revenue comes from customer acquisition and 30% comes from upselling your customers.

It’s a healthy percentage to shoot for because it means you are still growing, while maximizing your revenue per customer. This allows you to spend more money on marketing and customer acquisition in the long run as each of your customers will be worth more.

What do you think about upselling? Do you know of any other tips or tricks to maximize your revenue?


  1. How do you actually know GoDaddy are upselling the wrong products? And how do you know most of their customers don’t have hosting already either setup or about to be setup elsewhere?

    Other than that, great points to keep in mind. Cheers.

    • I went through the checkout process myself as if I was buying a domain name.

      I am not 100% sure on hosting, but usually if someone needs a domain they need hosting.

      • Rohit Palit :

        I don’t know about most people, but I personally already have hosting, so I don’t look for it when purchasing domains… In case of the ‘first domain that someone buys’, though, they’re more likely to look for hosting too…

    • Great post Neil! Upselling can be done anywhere not only on the site, even in an email marketing newsletter esp. for eCommerce, in the form of guest posts and in many other ways. Where there is a sale happening, there must be upselling, do you agree with this Neil?

  2. I wish I read this yesterday! I just sent out a survey and missed some of those questions you recommend.

    I didn’t think of surveying in terms of what extra upsells I could offer. I did see a common use of some words my customers use was really helpful

    • David, not to worry. You can use this in your next survey and a/b test the results 🙂

    • Love it Dave. Thanks for the response. Email marketing is something I need work on and that is an awesome idea for getting feedback.

      On the most recent survey I sent out I got some GREAT responses. There we’re 2 things I got value from:

      1. The trend of the exact words the customers are using. There we’re 3 or 4 words that were common in the answers to my questions. I used all essay questions for this reason alone. I can now work these words into my sales copy.

      2. Products my customers want: I sell a very niche product, but it’s on subscription. I won’t give the link because I don’t want to spam. How my existing customers gave me ideas of other products they would like bundled in their current subscriptions.

      I wouldn’t have of been able to do this if I didn’t have my intial customer base built. That’s why it’s so important to get your ‘early adopters’ and get feedback..


  3. Website Development Gurgaon :

    So, you targeted Go daddy this time. Great insights in problems of their up selling process.

    I wish Bob comes to you to get their up selling fixed 🙂

    Great Points to be kept in mind.


  4. Barun Sobti :

    Thank You Neil. As I already planned to upsell some of my products. Your stuff is awesome.Insight on godaddy is good.I will follow some of your guidelines.

  5. SAAS Founder :

    Great pick of a case study Neil! I always found GoDaddy checkout an extreme example of upselling, they seem to take it really far. They could just ask customers what their plans are for the domain they are getting and then decide what products to show instead of overwhelming majority of the customers with options.

    So I imagine for a free blog an upsell would be to try and collect email address via an offer for an ebook, right? I think last time I tried to access this blog via incognito session I got not one but two popups (overlays) covering content. 2 seemed like a bit much to me, but I guess since I come back anyways it proves the point that it works and isn’t too inconvenient for access to free content.

    • Sarah Bauer :

      I find upselling is most powerful when the format is suggestive, not pushy. For instance, the “customers who purchased this item also purchased this” cue in the check-out process is great because it’s presented as helpful and specific to the consumer’s tastes.

    • Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. Great points. To answer your question about the e-book, yes that is a solid strategy you can employ.

  6. Barbara Fowler :

    A good example is You start out paying the five dollars then they ask you if you want all of these other options so I always spend more!

  7. Lincoln Parks :

    I think Godaddy does overkill it a bit but it appears to be effective for them. Do you think if they make those changes their sales may increase if the cater more to the individual instead of assuming?

  8. Hey Neil!

    I once read that the best time to sell to your customers is once they have already bought from you.

    Do you think that adding consulting to a product is the best upsell?

  9. Thanks for the article Neil.

    The best up-sell would be providing a service with a recurring payment.

  10. Amir @ Blue Mile Media :

    I think once you get a client you should really try to find all the ways your services/products can help them and focus on building relationships that way. 1. you genuinely help and 2. upsells!


  11. Kyle @ Whales And Business :

    This is very clear and very simple – perfect for me! haha!

    Totally adding you to me very short “do-read” blog list.

  12. Great post Neil!

    On the second excerpt from GoDaddy there is also one thing was really upsetting me with their offer of hosting & site builder : FREE domain name. Like you’ve been cheated on buying this one you’re buying, it could be free. You see what I mean?

    • Laure, good eye. I totally see how that can really skew the intent of what a buyer is attempting to do.

  13. I was buying a domain on godaddy last month I found the website horrible to navigate and the checkout process is the worst Iv ever encountered.

    I abandoned and bought it elsewhere. Im glad they are not my Daddy.

  14. The basis of any upsell is to understand the psychology of the customer inside out. I sincerely hope this is a major take away one should get from this post. Its really a good post because it puts the interest of the customer at the forefront of the most successful upsells!

    This comment was shared in where this post was already “kingged”.

  15. As the saying goes customer is the king. customer is also our best advertisement. So satisfying customers should be our primary concern. Anyways,Great post dude…. Keep posting.

  16. great points neil, i see some websites make the most of it by using upselling mechanism (online driving schools in US)..,

  17. Not sure about Qualaroo, but Survey Monkey charges you for anything more than light use. I recommend Google Forms for simple surveys – totally free and super easy to use.

    Another note, I have used GoDaddy before, and the amount of items they try to upsell me got so absurd that I wouldn’t even look at them any more – I would just click through.

  18. You need related products to upsell.

  19. Digital Deepak :

    Nice post but not as value packed as your other posts. And it was more of a GoDaddy rant kind of post. But I enjoyed because I have felt exactly the same while buying at GoDaddy. Too many, irrelevant upsells. I don’t know why they don’t test and optimize. 🙂

  20. Ankit Bansal :

    Thanks Neil for some awesome tips . Some great tips and most importantly i could relate many things.

  21. Great tips Neil. I think we all want to upsell.

  22. GoDaddy has very down in services from couple of years. I have hosted my website with GoDaddy, but my data was lost by them. When i approached their office they given me such technical reasons that i have no answer for it.

  23. upselling is easy once the customer has already done some dealing with you. Winning the faith of customer is most important.

  24. Inspiring Citizen Sareena :

    Hi Neil,

    Great tips!!

    I have also got similar experience with Go Daddy.

    And some thoughts on the post….What makes your post interesting and readable is the usage of real time examples. Citing examples really makes the post easy to understand.

    Had a wonderful learning time.


  25. Hey Neil ,
    I have one request.Since your articles are true assets,please consider providing a export to PDF option for all of your blog posts.

  26. Up selling is a major training module for anyone in sales at all and like you, even with the kids at the local burger places, Its where the “cream” is made

  27. Platinum Partners Hedge Fund :

    Hi Neil, Excellent Post! Thank you very much for sharing such valuable information 🙂

    Thank You!
    Mark Nordlicht

  28. Melody @ Canadians Internet Business :

    I have to wonder what some site owners are thinking when they annoy people with invasive upselling and incessant pop-ups. Sure, you may get some positive responses but you’ll never know how many people you’re losing in the process.

    • Melody, you are spot on. That’s why it’s important to upsell the right products for the right customers.

  29. Everyone is short of time. Finding the time for marketing and commit to taking small meaningful steps to maximize revenue is all set to be the new regime with social communication solutions becoming the commonplace social communication solution, which, in turn, will be the optimal solution to significant business challenges. Thanks Neil.

  30. ajeet singh :

    Neil you have tested Godaddy first thats good. And share the things to improvements as well. Thanks alot

  31. Alex Morris :

    Personally I hate it when I note a business sort try to upsell on me, so I’d use it only sparingly. If a customer know what they want (and, being poor, I always head for the cheapest option) I don’t want to hear a load of business spiel about why another gadget is superior to the one I know is pretty bog standard. Still, if you have a canny businessman with some real charm I then I think this could work a treat.

    • Alex, great points. I think if you have vetted the right business partner you can achieve a lot of things 🙂

  32. You’re right neil. I got some ideas now how to build an ideal business to upsell. Thanks for giving the inspiration. Your rock Neil!.

  33. I’ll admit godaddy isn’t doing everything right and their attempt to upsell can be excessive – but the fact that it was sold for a cool $2.25 Billion is a testament to the value of up-selling.

    Don’t forget the final down sell if fail to get their order….their email in exchange for something of value.

    Love you stuff, Neil.

    • Jason, great point. They have done a ton of things right, but their customer service and up-selling can become a bit much at times. Competitors creep in when you least expect as we all know .

  34. Your point about ‘being sensitive about price’ is so accurate! I have seen so many people market their products at too higher a price. Really enjoyed reading your article! Of course, marketing is an incredibly important factor in the selling of your product/service too.

  35. i just love your contents Neil,

    I think to upsell your customers you should be attentive to what the customer seems interested in or what the customer talks about or picks up.



  36. i just love your contents Neil,

    I think to Upsell your customer you must be attentive like to what customer seems interested in or what he pics up and talks about because sometimes customer won’t agree to buy unknown things from the shop.



  37. There’s definitely an art to upselling and providing something that has value for your customer.

    I hate these schemes with upsells whereby you feel cheated because the feature should have been included in the original product but was clearly just disabled as a gimmick.

    An upsell imo just be able to stand as a product in its own right.

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  41. Dear Patel,

    Thank you so much for the nice article it has great information and I have just shared it with my colleagues in the hotel management school. However, there is one point which I found myself do not agree with it. As per mentioned below.

    “You can increase your average revenue per customer in two ways:

    Increase your prices
    Upsell your customers”

    Those 2 points are really valuable. However, there some other ways to increase the revenue of the property. For example the special events and the new offers and promotions which attracts our customers to our business choosing us rather than our competitors. Some external events as well which we called it ” Demand Generators” the special events in the city which bring the customers from all over the world to our destination for example Formula one in Abu Dhabi, The world cup in Brazil, ect.

    Best Regards,


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    • Alba, thanks for the support. I always try to put my readers in the driver seat so they can learn a lot.

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