6 Product Upsell Email Ideas That Work

15 May 2024

Do you want to learn how to turbocharge your email marketing to generate more sales and boost engagement? If so, buckle up because today, I'm going to discuss product upsell emails and how they can help you grow.

First things first, let's define the term product upsell email. The easiest way to describe it is an email that encourages your subscribers to upgrade or purchase an additional product or service. It's very similar to a friendly in-store sales associate gently nudging you toward an irresistible deal that perfectly complements your initial purchase.

Now, I'll cover a few real-world examples to illustrate how upselling can help brands across all industries:

  • Example 1: You just bought a brand new set of pots and pans for your kitchen. A few days later, you receive an email from them suggesting you add a set of premium utensils and a cookbook so you can get the most from your new purchase.

  • Example 2: You recently invested in a lead generation tool and have been eyeing its advanced analytics and automation features. Suddenly, an email lands in your inbox offering you an exclusive discount if you add a new feature ala carte.

In these situations, upsell emails are a win-win for consumers and businesses— they enhance their purchase and enjoy additional value while the brand boosts its sales and customer satisfaction. It's a beautiful thing!

Now that you understand the concept, let's dive into six proven types of product upsell emails that can work wonders for your business.

Mention Their Purchase History

I would argue that creating upsell emails that are tailored to each customer's unique purchase history is one of the most effective types of upsell emails.

This is because, by taking this step, you're making each message incredibly effective, relevant, and personalized. You might be interested to know that the data backs me up. Here are a few statistics worth knowing if you're contemplating using email personalization:

  • 80% of shoppers claim they're more likely to engage with a brand that personalizes offers and content.
  • Over 77% of all email interactions and sales are connected to personalized messages and promotions.
  • On average, personalized calls-to-action (CTAs) result in 42% more sales.

Now that you know the benefits, it's time to start personalizing. My advice is to ask new email subscribers to tell you about themselves in your welcome email. We include a brief survey where we ask people to tell us about their goals and how we can help.

Believe it or not, a couple of questions can provide you with a ton of knowledge that you can use to craft personalized emails. Once a subscriber places an order, you'll have even more information to use in your messages.

Promote a Flash Sale

Flash sales are the ultimate way to create a sense of urgency and spark fear of missing out (FOMO). Combine this sense of urgency with an irresistible upsell offer, and you've got a potent recipe for boosting sales and customer engagement.

There are many different ways to benefit from flash sales in your email marketing. When talking strictly about upsells, it's not uncommon to see companies offer limited-time bundles.

For example, a gardening website could bundle a build-it-yourself trellis, gardening tools, and a variety pack of vegetable seeds.

This simple strategy lets you offer customers a package of complementary products at a heavily discounted price. It's a great way to introduce people to what you sell for the first time and a powerful way to encourage repeat purchases.

There is one more thing worth mentioning about flash sales: Make sure you leave some distance between sales so customers are consistently excited. We found that 60% of shoppers say FOMO has led to them making a reactive purchase. You don't want to dampen this marketing magic by hosting sales too often.

Offer an Upgrade

If you're in the business of selling services or software, upgrade upsells are a powerful way to build brand loyalty and increase sales. At face value, the premise is simple: present your customers with multiple pricing tiers, each offering additional features and functionality.

The goal is to give people the freedom and flexibility to choose the plan that suits their needs. People decided to "cut the cord" with cable because they were forced to pay for things they didn't use. The same idea applies to software companies.

With this strategy, you can get more upsells by letting customers change early—if they decide to upgrade to a better plan. My advice is to send an email with this offer at a discounted price, and you'll see plenty of people upgrade to get features that add more value to your product.

Software companies are masters of this strategy, often convincing existing customers to upgrade to a premium plan with more templates, design options, or advanced tools. When you're crafting your upgrade upsell emails, be sure to clearly outline the benefits of each tier. This will reduce friction and result in more conversions.

Encourage Referral Upsells

Referral upsells are a brilliant way to attract new customers to your business while keeping your current customers engaged and rewarded.

Here's how it works: Reach out to existing customers, ask them to tell others, and share a special referral link with friends, family, or co-workers to spread the word about your product or service. It's not unlike affiliate marketing, with the big difference being that this is targeted more toward people who know each other than an influencer connecting with their audience.

As an incentive, you can offer the referring customer an exclusive discount or upgrade on their order if a certain number of people sign up using their unique link. Odds are, if they like your product enough to promote it as it is, they'll be even more eager after the upgrade.

In my experience, this is a win-win scenario: you gain new customers, and your loyal fans are rewarded for engaging with your business.

Reward Customer Loyalty

Speaking of loyal fans, rewarding your most dedicated customers is a surefire way to boost retention and your average customer lifetime value. One of the best and most effective ways to do this is by creating a loyalty program, where customers earn points or store credit with every purchase that they can redeem for discounts or upgrades.

However, it's common for shoppers to forget about their accumulated points. That's where customer loyalty upsell emails come into play. A simple reminder that they still have points and a suggestion for how they could spend those points could easily turn into a sale.

With that in mind, I suggest reaching out to your brand loyalists and reminding them of their point balances after a certain time period. For instance, you can automate a three-month reminder email whenever someone earns enough points to redeem.


Stop Cart Abandonment with Upsells

Finally, let's talk about shopping cart abandonment. There's no question that cart abandonment is a headache for online retailers, resulting in a staggering $4.6 trillion in lost sales each year. Ouch!

But fear not. Abandoned cart emails will help you recapture lost sales and re-engage with customers who left without completing their purchase. We found that almost half of all abandonment emails are opened, so this is a great opportunity to reconnect.

Interestingly enough, we found that it's possible to maximize the effectiveness of these emails by including an upsell offer based on the products the customer was considering. For example, if they abandoned a single item in their cart, you could offer a discounted bundle containing that product and complementary items they might find useful.

If the price you're offering them for both is less or equal to the cost of the one thing they wanted, there's a very good chance they'll take action.


In conclusion, product upsell emails can be a powerful tool to boost sales and customer engagement. By tailoring your upsells to customer purchase history and using tactics like flash sales and loyalty programs, you can create win-win scenarios that benefit both your business and your customers. My best piece of advice is to be patient. You probably won't see results overnight. But if you're persistent and consistent, upsell emails are an excellent way to grow your business.