Thursday, April 15, 2010

ETR: Upsells

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Issue No. 3008 - $1.00

Thursday, April 15, 2010

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"Persuasion is often more effectual than force."


By David Cross

Salt is a restaurant tucked away near Patterson Park in Baltimore. I ate there last week. I'd give it 8.5 points out of 10, which for me is a very good rating. The food was great and I received an immediate warm and friendly welcome by the owner, Jane. But it was my waitress, Theresa, who really made the evening.

She also reminded me of the importance of push marketing, which is what we do as direct marketers. We go out and find customers. Then we promote products, services, and ideas that are of interest to them. That is probably the business model you want to follow.

When I ordered, Theresa didn't just write it down, nod, and manage a "Yeah," like many waiters and waitresses do. She repeated my order back to me. As she did, she described each dish exactly, including the flavors and subtleties of how it would be prepared.

I knew I'd made the right choices, because Theresa immediately validated my decisions. And my taste buds were titillated as she expanded on the already-appetizing menu. Throughout the meal, she took a genuine interest in how everything tasted.

And now comes our marketing lesson...

I dislike being "sold to," don't you? But I do enjoy getting suggestions for things I might enjoy. Theresa took the opportunity to suggest drinks, appetizers, and side dishes that would complement my entree. And after I'd eaten, she conjured up visions of scrumptious desserts that I couldn't pass up. Those additions probably added $25 to my bill. All told, I'm guessing she pump's up Salt's sales by a few hundred thousand dollars every year. If the restaurant has three "Theresas," that means an additional 15 to 25 percent in profits.

But push marketing is not something you do once and rest on your laurels. Push marketing should permeate your online business. And at no time is this more important than when a customer is in the process of taking an action -- like making a purchase or signing up to receive information from you. That's because, at that hallowed time, your customer is much more likely to take the exact same action over again. How many times have you gone shopping for one thing and come back with many other items? (This is what Michael Masterson calls "The Buying Frenzy.")

When your customer is placing an order, do you take the order and nod? Or do you suggest things they may like that would complement their choice?

  • Ordering a nice fountain pen? How about this lovely leather-bound notebook to go with it to record your important thoughts?

  • Signing up for a one-year subscription to our newsletter? You'll love it! If you add a second year to your subscription right now, we'll knock off $50 and give you this free magnifying glass.

  • We notice you're buying the Beginner's Trout Fishing Kit. Check out this beginner's guide to trout fishing written by our in-house trout fishing expert. It's yours for just $9.95 with the purchase of your kit.

I could list dozens of real-world examples off the top of my head. One upsell that you're probably familiar with is's Prime service -- which gives "members" unlimited two-day shipping on millions of items.  (It's free for 30 days; $79/year thereafter.)

Companies that offer upsells generally increase their average per-transaction value by 15 to 30 percent. In other words, just by giving customers the opportunity to add something else when placing their order, an average customer order of, say, $87 is now worth $100 to $113.

Ready to start using upsells? Here are some tips:

  • The cost of the upsell should generally be less than the cost of the primary item. Some marketers suggest that somewhere between a tenth to a third of the price of the original item is about the right price to test.

  • Do it judiciously. Offering an upsell on every item in a shopping cart or in your e-mail pitches can be overwhelming (giving customers too many choices) and result in too high a final price (which means they may cancel their entire order). Start by testing one upsell on a popular item. You are trying to nudge up your overall average order value, not double it in one fell swoop!

  • The upsell should be relevant to the primary item being sold. But if you want to test an overall "all items in cart upsell," check the stock in your garage or warehouse and offer something you already have.

Most shopping carts and e-mail marketing programs have upsell capabilities. Done correctly, it can boost your online business with very little extra work on your part.

[Ed. Note: Using upsells is just one of the dozens of Internet marketing techniques, tactics, and "secrets" that experts just like David Cross will be revealing at ETR's upcoming 5 Days in July Internet Business Building Conference.

Even if you're a total beginner, are a bit (or very) tech-phobic, or have never run a business, you can start your own profitable online venture. And the Early to Rise team, including experts responsible for the success of Agora Inc., can help you do it in just five days.

Come with nothing... and leave 5 days later with a fully functioning Internet business... and the skills and expertise you need to make it thrive. Find out more about 5 Days in July here.]

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What a Great Way to Start the Morning!!

Members of the Options Power Trader service (offered by our sister publication, Investor's Daily Edge) got an e-mail from options expert Ted Peroulakis telling them to take a gain on three more positions in their portfolio. That's 11 winners in a row, and Ted has his eye on more big gains that his readers could take in the next few days. To learn more about this exciting service -- and how you can get your own "breakfast bundles" -- click here.

"Your piece on existentialism was simply eye-opening. Thank you once again for the mind-opening literature."

Ivan B.
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Where Can You Find the Best Business Partners?

You may consider your competitors to be your enemies. But in business -- especially online -- some of your most profitable deals will come from partnering with them. At our 5 Days in July Internet Business Building Conference, you'll learn how to set up these lucrative joint ventures. And put together win-win deals.

The Language Perfectionist: Punctuation Peccadilloes

By Don Hauptman

I titled a recent column "Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope."

An eagle-eyed reader pointed out that the sentence contains an error called a "comma splice." Because the two phrases could be complete sentences, they should be separated by a semicolon, not a comma. But as I noted, I was quoting the title of a 1970s Broadway musical. The playwright knew what she was doing. Because the show is about ghetto life and uses street language, the "intellectual" semicolon would have looked out of place.

Here are some other punctuation errors I spotted in the media:

  • Missing hyphen: "Mr. Obama will deliver his State of the Union address Wednesday night. The word is that he will offer some small bore assistance to the middle class."
A compound adjective (also called a phrasal adjective) that precedes a noun should be hyphenated. Some exceptions to the rule exist, but in this case a hyphen is required. Correct: "small-bore assistance."

  • Misplaced apostrophe: "Authorities also broke up a ring of airline thieves in St. Louis who... were targeting soldier's bags that were shipping off to war."
Most likely, the crooks weren't stealing just one soldier's bag, so the word should be plural possessive: "soldiers' bags." Errors involving possessive apostrophes are remarkably frequent.

  • Extraneous commas: "Google executive, Alan Davidson, spoke at the same hearing...."
The above sentence is restrictive -- meaning that "Alan Davidson" is essential information and, thus, should not be placed between a pair of commas. A pair of commas properly frames an appositional phrase that's nonrestrictive, or optional. Example: "Victor Hugo, a French author, wrote Les Miserables."

If the restrictive/nonrestrictive distinction is tough to remember, try this tip: If you were to read the Google sentence aloud, you wouldn't pause naturally before and after the executive's name. That's a signal that the commas are superfluous.

  • Misused parentheses: "Frank Goode... is a retired worker (at a wire factory) and a father of four who suffers from an unspecified ailment brought on by the toxic coating applied to the wire."

A few exceptions aside, parentheses should be used only for optional or peripheral references -- that is, content that could be deleted without affecting the rest of the piece. But the mention of his working "at a wire factory" is clearly not peripheral. If the parenthetical phrase were deleted, the subsequent reference to "wire" wouldn't make sense. Solution: Delete the parentheses.

[Ed Note: For more than three decades, Don Hauptman was an award-winning independent direct-response copywriter and creative consultant. He is author of The Versatile Freelancer, an e-book that shows writers and other creative professionals how to diversify their careers into speaking, consulting, training, and critiquing.]

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