How to Cross-Sell and Upsell with Direct Mail

Everyone knows it costs a lot more to gain a new customer than to sell again to an existing one. That truism applies regardless of what you sell or the channels in which you market. If your product is consumable or you sell a service that expires, then repeat sales may be the most important. That’s why marketers are always looking for ways to build scalable cross-sell and upsell programs. 

Strictly speaking, cross-selling means encouraging a customer to buy an item or service related to something they’ve already bought. Accessories fall into this category, such as selling a protective cover for an outdoor gas grill or pillows that go with a sofa. If you sell a service, then a cross-sell might be more services. Insurance brokers, for instance, can sell an umbrella liability policy to go along with property and auto insurance.

Upselling is when you convince a buyer to invest in a more expensive or full-featured version of a product. A mobile phone with longer battery life or a better camera is a good example of upselling. To use the insurance example again, you might upsell a client to a higher-premium policy with lower deductibles or accident forgiveness in place of standard auto coverage.

Create upsell product bundles or highlight ways customers can save money by buying in bulk. With direct mail automation software, you can present these offers on a postcard or in a letter as easily as you can send an email. Simply show the prices of products purchased individually and compare them to the bundled or bulk price.

Why Direct Mail? It is Highly Effect

Direct mail is an effective way to present cross-sell or upsell offers to customers. According to the USPS Household Diary Study, households say they will or might respond to 32% of the direct mail advertising they receive. Intended responses are typically higher than actual results. However, households with incomes greater than $150,000 report they intend to respond to 1.4 pieces of advertising mail per week, and they may consider responding to another 1.9 pieces per week.

It would be a mistake for marketers to ignore this productive channel of customer communication.

new triggered direct mail personalization tools - contextual direct mail marketing

Triggered and Personalized Mail Is Commonly Used

The key to cross-sell and upsell success is gathering information about individual buyers and their purchase activities and then using that data to affect the marketing efforts. Knowledge is critical. Offers to purchase irrelevant items or incentives offered at the wrong time will fall flat. 

Organizations store much of this buyer-specific knowledge in CRM systems. A CRM records when a customer made a purchase, what product they bought, and other information likely to influence personalized communications. From a direct mail perspective, triggers originating in the CRM can initiate the creation of a postcard or letter at the ideal time. Data passed from the CRM influences the text, images, and offers to be included in the direct mail advertising.

An understanding of how your customers use your products will help to formulate a plan for upselling them. Suppose your company sells software, for example. An analysis may reveal that customers who buy your basic version outgrow its capabilities after about six months. This would be the time to contact them via a direct mail letter or postcard. Compare the features and capabilities of the basic version to the pro version of your software and offer a discount for an upgrade.

See this article for details about CRM-triggered mail powered by Postalytics:

Profiting from Triggered Direct Mail Automation

Digital printing has made it possible to create highly relevant and personalized upsell and cross-sell marketing messages. Use data about your customers, such as age, gender, and location, along with information about the products they’ve already purchased to control the offers and the images in your mailing pieces. Accomplish this personalization and segmentation during the design phase of your direct mail project. Use variables to select the right combination of text and images to connect with individual customers.

Postalytics Direct Mail tracking
Postalytics analytics dashboard

Cross-Sell and Upsell Strategies

Upsell messages are an ideal place to include customer testimonials. Show your customers that others like them took advantage of upgrade offers and are happy with the result. People assign more credibility to the statements of other customers than to claims made by sellers. Use this preference to your advantage.

Loyalty recognition also plays into your cross-sell/upsell strategy. Customers are accustomed to being treated like a number instead of an individual. They are always impressed when a company expresses gratitude for their business and rewards them with discounts on future purchases. Past customers have already demonstrated they trust you by making an initial purchase. They will be more likely to pay attention to a new offer that comes to them — especially when it arrives via a channel that also thrives on trust, the postal mail.

Here’s an article that explains how to easily leverage the power of variable data in direct mail:

How to Insert Variable Data Fields into a Postalytics Template