Membership Geeks

How to Use Upsells to Generate More Revenue from Your Membership Site

When you created your membership site or online course, you probably sat down and worked out how many members you needed to make it profitable, right? (if you didn't, you really should have!) Well what if you could make the same amount of money (or more) with less members, and without putting your main membership price up? Sounds good doesn't it? That's the power of adding an upsell to your membership!

What exactly is an upsell?

Well, put simply, it's when a customer makes a purchase and you offer them an upgrade or add-on or other enticing offer – while they're in the buying mood. You're basically inviting them to spend more money before (or shortly after) they've actually parted with the amount they were going to spend in the first place!

You've probably seen upsells everywhere without necessarily being aware of it. Think of the last time you bought a domain name, were you hit with ‘do you want to add a hosting package?', ‘do you want to add an email account?' options before or just after you checked out? That's an upsell. Hell, even a restaurant offering you their tasty new chocolate heaven dessert could be classed as an upsell!

Upsells had a bit of a bad rep for a while when internet marketing really hit its spammy stride and you couldn't leave a website without first clicking through 10 messages about how you definitely just wanted the product that you were actually trying to buy. But that's not the kind of upsell we're talking about here. Done well, an upsell is an awesome addition to any sales process, but is often under utilised for online courses and membership sites.

Why add an upsell?

It's well known that increasing your spend per customer can be a much easier (and quicker) way to improve income than just trying to increase your number of customers. Whilst this applies to any kind of product really, it's especially true of membership sites and ‘upsells' are a great way of achieving this.

As an example: if you have 100 members and 20% of them take you up on an awesome upsell that costs them just an extra $50, that's an additional $1000 in revenue just from your existing customers. Not bad!

It's not just about the extra pennies though, it's also a way of giving your members additional options that might help them more. So, it's a win-win.

Types of Upsell

There's actually a few different ways you can add an upsell to your membership site, and the best one for you will depend on your initial membership set up and your additional resources. Here's our 5 favourite upsell options:

1. The VIP

If you've spent much time online then I'm willing to bet you've definitely seen this type of upsell. You know the one: ‘upgrade to a VIP membership and receive all the features of our standard membership, plus some additional content, a VIP community and a small kitten.'  The VIP upsell works by taking your core offering and adding on some bells and whistles that make it a more premium option which provides additional value to your member – for an increased cost.  You'd be surprised how many people want to be a VIP! And that's why it's such a well used option.

2. The Level Up

With this upsell you offer something to help your member achieve even more with your online content. So if your initial offering is access to your full course, your upsell could be for 1-2-1 coaching to support them. Unlike the VIP, where you're adding to their existing membership, with the Level Up, you're providing a whole other service that will help them even further. It doesn't have to be 1-2-1 coaching either, it could be group coaching, a live workshop, a done for you product such as a website, or even a physical product. If you're offering a membership site on how to build your own website, why not offer an upsell for a done for you service that will take the website build out of their hands?

3. The Lifer

In this instance, you're not actually selling anything additional to your existing membership site, which might seem a little against the point at first glance. However, what you are doing is offering them the chance to gain lifetime access to your membership site rather than paying monthly.  There's a lot of people who would rather pay $200 upfront than set up a recurring payment for $20 a month. You might worry that you're going to lose money with this option, but if your average monthly member only sticks around for 6 months and your lifetime payment is the equivalent of 12months, it not only gives you extra cash but also means your member will stay a part of your community for longer than they otherwise might do. If you're still nervous about offering a lifetime membership, think about offering an annual membership instead. Or if your course/membership is already an annual membership, how about offering a lifetime upsell when it comes to renewal time?

4. The Cross Sell

This kind of upsell is great when you have a whole raft of products and you want to cross promote them. Essentially you would make one or more of those additional products available as an add-on to the current offering someone is purchasing.  The product isn't the next step up from your current offering, or even directly related, but you find that people often take the two together to further their knowledge. For example if I'm selling an Advanced Facebook Marketing course, I might offer buyers my Advanced Pinterest Marketing course as well at checkout. It's a particularly useful technique when you have multiple courses available, especially if people can then access all their products with just one simple login.

5. The Loss-Leader

Technically this isn't an upsell for your membership, it's actually a reversal, and your membership site is the upsell. Here, someone purchases a low cost product (an ebook for example) and is then offered the chance to join your membership site. The original low cost product is often referred to as a tripwire, and the principle behind this kind of upsell is that people are more likely to purchase a membership or course if they've already bought something from you. Digital Marketer is a great example of this kind of upsell, where you can buy any one of their tripwires (which are individual courses from their membership site) and will then be invited to join the membership site, giving you a whole library of more useful content and a community. Because you've already invested in them, it feels less like you're ‘taking a chance' by signing up to the membership.

When do I actually offer an upsell?

An upsell, by it's nature, is usually offered before (i.e when the product is added to their shopping cart) or straight after your member has made their initial purchase.  However some upsells can also work well when presented the first time someone logs into your membership site (Level Up), or when presented via an email sequence after purchase (Loss Leader). How you execute the upsell will also depend entirely on what software you're using for your membership site, some, like Digital Access Pass and MemberMouse, have the ability for upsells built in. Others might need a little more work to get your upsells up and running.

So there you go, a brief introduction to upsells. If you're not already utilising these in your sales funnel then I hope it's given you some inspiration for how you can do so.

One last important thing! When you're thinking about how you could utilise upsells for your membership site make sure that your chosen upsell is logical and relevant to your buyers. If you're offering a membership site on how to train your dog, you obviously wouldn't make your upsell a guide to cat grooming! Whilst there's a small chance that some people might want both, you'd be much better off sticking to the subject you KNOW that they have an interest in!

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