Using Your List to Upsell to Fans

CD with headphones

CD with headphonesWhat are you doing with your email list? You might be sending out newsletters, announcing tour dates, or even sharing your latest video. That’s all good – but if you’re not using your list to upsell fans on your merchandise, then you’re missing out on an opportunity to maximize your income.

For some musicians, selling doesn’t come easy. They’re uncomfortable with the process, and the whole idea of self-promotion is not a pleasant one. However – and this is especially true if you don’t yet have representation – you need to promote your music if you want to succeed.

With that in mind, here’s some information about how to use your email list to upsell merchandise to fans.

What Is an Upsell?

Simply put, an upsell is a sale you make after a fan has already made an initial purchase. For example, if a fan buys one of your early CDs on your website, you could upsell them with later CDs. If they buy a tee shirt, you could upsell them on a hat or a jacket.

The basic marketing principle behind upselling is that once a fan has said “yes” to buying from you once, they are more likely to say it a second time. There are several psychological principles that play a role, but the key thing you need to know is that selling to someone a second time is always easier than selling to someone the first time.

Basic Upselling

The most basic upsell is one that is directly related to the item already purchased. A fan who buys an EP might be relatively easy to sell on your full CD or on a DVD of one of your concerts.

The items you upsell depend on what you have available to market and what the fan’s initial purchase was. It’s a good idea to choose related items.

Array of music tee shirtsThe most basic upsell involves sending a simple email to a fan after they make a purchase. You can disguise it as a thank you email if that makes you more comfortable with the process, and then upsell using a call to action at the bottom of the email.

Upselling Big Ticket Items

At times, you may want to try to get fans who have bought from you before to buy a big ticket item from you. For example, say that you have released a box set – something that includes all of your CDs as well as bonus content such as live performances of songs you haven’t released yet or covers of famous songs.

The price for a box set might be over $100 depending on how big the set is and what is included. That might seem like a lot to ask fans to spend, but there’s a technique you can use that can make the box set seem completely irresistible. It’s called a soap opera sequence.

A soap opera sequence is a sequence of five emails that’s designed to move the reader emotionally by telling them a story. Each email ends with a cliffhanger, and that’s what gives the sequence its name. Here are the five parts to include:

1. Set the stage – introduce yourself briefly, promise to share a great story and include a low-key call to action at the end.
2. High Drama – hook them with a key point of your story, making sure that it’s got plenty of drama and interest to keep them reading.
3. The Epiphany – share something important that you learned while putting together your boxed set – something that really makes it unique.
4. The Hidden Benefits – tell fans why they really need to buy the boxed set. It may be helpful to give them hints about Easter eggs, bonus tracks, and anything else you haven’t already shared.
5. The Call to Action – this last email is where you include a hard core call to action to get them to buy the boxed set.

Note that each email should include a call to action at the end, and you may want to use a PS to tease the next email and keep them reading.

One way to add a sense of urgency to the process is to tell fans that you’re offering the boxed set (or whatever your big ticket item is) at a reduced price for a limited time, or that you have only a limited number to sell. The scarcity of what’s available may prompt them to take action because it is a very human thing to fear missing out on a great deal or experience.

Self-promotion might not be your thing, but you need to do it if you want to make it as a musician. And let’s face it, selling via email is a lot easier than doing it in person!

If you want to learn more about how to sell your music and grow your fan base, click here to sign up for our FREE webinar!

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