Upsells – Watch Out for This Tactic

Upsells – How They Get More of Your Money

If you spend any time doing anything online in the make money online marketing niche, you’re going to end up buying your fair share of information products.  Courses on “how to make money doing X” and software tools designed to help you speed up the process of building sites and drawing traffic are always of interest to Internet marketers.  Some of the products are good and some are awful.  That just goes with the territory.  One thing, however, is always a nuisance, regardless of the product – upsells.

upsells - greedIt wasn’t all that many years ago that the software or information products you’d see for sale on Clickbank and elsewhere were essentially self-contained.  You’d look over the sales page, decide if the product was potentially useful to you and then you’d see the price and decide whether you wanted to buy.  Those days are gone, and now, marketers are creating what is known as a “sales funnel” to extract every possible dollar out of their customers.  Upsells are the key to that.

Upsells in Action

Today, many products are sold in a somewhat deceptive manner.  The sales page will talk about the product, how it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, and how your purchase of it will allow you to make more money, or build Websites faster, or get more traffic, or whatever.  More often than not, these sales pages talk about how their product is complete, or “holds nothing back” and is everything you need and all you have to do is pay some small price and the product is yours.

Usually, the process starts with offering you something for free in exchange for your email address.   The free product is usually an ebook or a report that offers a bit of useful information, but leaves out the important parts.  It’s designed to get you to buy the main product, which itself is generally offered at an affordable price.


The price is usually some tempting number, such as $7, $17, or $27.  Studies show that buyers are more receptive to prices ending in the number 7, so such prices are ubiquitous in the Internet marketing world.  The price seems reasonable to you, especially since that low price is going to give you everything you need, so you add the product to your cart, pay for it and then you expect to go to the page where you can download it.

upsells add upThat’s when you run into the upsell, usually presented as a “one-time offer” or OTO, as it’s known in affiliate marketing circles.   “Wait!” the page will say.  “You’re only going to see this offer once.”  This is an appeal to scarcity; they want you to worry that you might lose out if you don’t buy what they’re about to offer you.  You’ll then encounter a sales page or a video explaining to you that while the seller is grateful for your purchase, you really need some additional product in order to maximize your use of it.  At this point, you may discover that the product really wasn’t complete, and that some of the features described on the sales page aren’t actually available in the product you agreed to buy.   Or you’ll find that the seller has a companion product that will allow you to use the product you’ve already bought more effectively.  Generally, upsells are more expensive than the original product; that’s why they’re called upsells!

Sometimes, the upsells are simply a broader application of the product.  Perhaps the main product is a WordPress plugin that can be used on one site.  The upsell might be a version of the software that you can use on 5, 10, or unlimited sites, for a higher price.  It’s reasonable to charge more for added functionality, but it’s a bit disingenuous to wait until after the customer has agreed to buy it to offer the better version of the product.

You can buy or not, but these days, what generally happens when you decline the upsells is that you’re taken to another page where you’re offered the very same upsell for a lower price!  This is known as a “downsell” and it’s just an attempt to get something extra out of you.  You can either accept or decline this downsell and now you expect to get your product, right?

sales funnelThese days, about 75% of the time, you’re going to encounter more upsells, or at least one more.  The second upsell is usually more expensive than the first one, and is usually something that’s promised as “exclusive” – perhaps it’s one on one training or access to some seminar.   A common tactic is to make the last of the upsells a membership product that requires that you pay monthly.  The idea of a “sales funnel” is to take a broad group of people who might have casual interest and filter them out until what’s left is a dedicated group of customers who are willing to buy whatever is offered to them.

Affiliate pages for Internet marketing products usually describe the sales funnel in detail, pointing out to potential affiliates how much they be able to earn once all of the visitors to the sales page are forced through the funnel.  Even though the main product may be a $17 item, you’ll see the seller touting the fact that affiliates will be able to earn up to $157 per sale or some such figure.

There’s a reason that sellers use upsells and long videos and lengthy sales letters to sell their products – they work.  It’s pretty frustrating, however, to make the decision to buy a product that you were told was complete and which was offered at $17 or $27, only to find out that you’re now being told that you won’t get the full functionality of that product unless you spend an additional $47, $97 or $67 per month.  Upsells may be profitable for the sellers, but that doesn’t mean that you need to fall for them.

Upsells Conclusion

How can you avoid upsells?  By doing some research beforehand.  Take the time to find out about the product from some source other than the sales page.  Check out marketing forums, or do a search for a review.  Be careful – a lot of “reviews” for products are written by affiliates who are actually trying to get you to buy it.  You can often find out more by looking at the bottom of the page for an “affiliates” text link.  This will take you to the page with information for the product’s affiliates that will often identify such things as how the sales funnel is constructed or how many upsells there are in the chain and how much they cost.

If you want to learn more about making money online without having to deal with endless upsells, you should consider joining Wealthy Affiliate, a training program to help you become an effective affiliate marketer.  You can sign up for free, and even free members can earn commissions and receive Web hosting (with limits, of course, you’ll get a lot more by upgrading to Premium.)

Upsells are part of the Internet marketing world.  Try to be on the lookout for them when you buy products related to making money online.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *