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Grow Your Copywriting Business with Upsells and Cross Sells

How to Upsell Your Copywriting Services without Offending Your Clients


Upsells are a great way to grow your copywriting business. They’re like offering a second delicious chocolate right after the customer has decided to buy his first. Who’s going to say no to that?

Once you’ve done the hard work to obtain new copywriting clients, keep your eyes open for opportunities to increase the volume of business they give you.

Getting additional copywriting work from existing clients is far easier than attracting new clients and should certainly be a part of any strategy for growing your freelance writing business.

What Is an Upsell?

An upsell, often also referred to as a cross sell, is an attempt to persuade your customer to purchase a more expensive item, an upgrade or add-on.  It can also be a suggestion to increase the size of an existing order or extend a contract.

The upsell is something the customer is likely to want but will also result in a more profitable sale for you.

Upsells Are Nothing New

The practice of upselling is a time-tested sales technique.  You’ve probably encountered upsells and cross sells in real life many times yourself.

Think of the cable TV company that persuades you to buy the larger package with more channels, the shoe salesman who shows you a matching purse to go with your new shoes, the hairdresser that talks you into buying hair gel to go with your new cut, and the carpet-cleaning company that convinces you to have your whole house steam-cleaned and not just the formal living room.

And then there’s the most famous upsell of all, McDonald’s famous query, “Would you like fries with that?”

These scenarios are win-wins for both the buyer and the seller.  The buyer gets something of value and the seller makes more money.

Change Your Mindset

To be successful at the upsell, you have to change your mindset from freelance copywriter to valued advisor.  You need to demonstrate to your copywriting clients that you’re more than someone who simply executes their ideas.

You’re a talented, experienced marketing professional who can offer valuable advice and is looking out for their best interest.

 Writing an Upsell Letter

Let’s take a look at how an upsell works for a traditional online business.  The approach for introducing an upsell in writing is fairly simple.

You thank the client for their previous purchase and reaffirm the benefits they will get from it.  Next you state that you want to give them a chance to get even MORE benefits by choosing an additional product.

Here’s an example of this strategy in the form of an upsell letter written for a retailer who sells jewelry boxes online:

Thank you for purchasing my handcrafted mahogany wood jewelry box.  I know you’re going to love the intricate carving on the outside and the rich velvet fabric on the inside.

If you’re looking to personalize this jewelry box, especially if it’s a gift, we can carve up to 3 initials on the top.  The additional cost is only…(insert rest of sales pitch). 

That’s it.  Get right to the point.  You don’t need to resell them on why your jewelry box is better than any other.  The customer already trusts that it is or she wouldn’t have made the initial purchase.  You just need to state the upsell offer and position it as the added value that it is.

Upsell Your Copywriting Services

Wondering how you can apply upselling to your copywriting business?  Like selling a product, offering an upsell for a service involves providing something of value to the client.  Here are a few examples:

  • Your client has requested a small pamphlet for her business but you think a full-sized 4-page brochure could better serve her purpose.
  • A client has asked you to write a basic website with only a Home, About Us and Contact page. But you think FAQ and Testimonial pages would be worthwhile additions that help him sell more products.
  • Your client has hired you to write a tagline for her business. But you know a tagline is just one component of marketing.  Offer a complete identity package that will establish the company’s brand and create consistency throughout all its advertising and promotions.

Here’s an actual example from my own copywriting business.  The initial letter is from one of my existing copywriting clients.

Hello Susan,

 Please give me a price on a sales letter promoting my tax services to the clients I worked with last year.  I want to make sure they come back to me.  Here are the key points I wish to make:

  1.  Thank you for being a tax client in 2016 and please come back in 2017.
  2. My rates to you are the same as last year even though my rates for new clients are going up.
  3. You can save 10% on your tax prep. if you sign up for online access to your tax information through the IRS, which means the information won’t need to be entered manually.

 The letter needs to be short and sweet. How much, ballpark, would you charge me for something like this?  Looking forward to hearing from you.


Pro Tax Services

Here was my response to Cathy in which I offer an upsell:

Hi Cathy,

 I’d be happy to assist you with your letter.  The price would be $200.

 But I have a few thoughts about the letter from a marketing perspective. 

 One letter is often not enough to get results.  You need to get in front of your clients multiple times to best persuade them to take action. That’s why you never see a TV commercial just once! 

 Also with a letter regarding taxes, you might be sending it too early (the recipient is not yet ready to think about his taxes) or too late (the recipient has already contracted someone else to do them).

 The letter you described has multiple points.  They’re good points, certainly worth mentioning, but they would have more impact if broken into separate letters.   

 Finally, your letter is only going to existing clients.  You haven’t done anything to get new clients.  

 So here’s a different approach.  What if you did 3 letters, mailed out at strategic times in the tax season?  Each one would have one key selling point.  Here are the topics:

  1.  Invite them to be clients again and pay the same rate they did last year, even though your rates for new clients have increased.
  2.  Tell them how to save 10% by signing up for the IRS data.
  3. Offer them a gift (a $50 restaurant or gift card) for referring a friend.  It’s a way to recruit these clients to become your salespeople by recommending you to people they know.  

 I am proposing this 3-letter strategy because I believe it will deliver better results than a single letter.  And, as an email, the cost for sending 3 letters versus 1 letter is the same.

My price for copywriting the 3 letters is $400.  If the 3 letters net you even one additional client, you’ve made back your investment.  Let me know your thoughts.



In case you’re wondering, the client appreciated the advice I offered and chose the 3-letter strategy.  She was pleased with her results as was I.  In addition to repeat business from her previous clients, she gained several new clients and my $200 project became a $400 sale.  Ka-ching!

Just imagine how lucrative it could be if you were able to double every copywriting sale you made!

Timing Is Everything

The best time to suggest an upsell is right after your client has placed an order.  That’s when she is in the “buying zone” and will be most receptive to your suggestion.  Don’t worry about her canceling the first order; she won’t.  That’s already a done deal.

A casual mention of your most compelling upsale, attached to a reason (the benefit it will provide to the client), is your best bet.

The 4 Biggest Mistakes in Upselling

Upselling is practically effortless. Because it’s done after the customer has already decided to make a purchase from you, the difficult part of the sales conversation is done.  You’ve established a rapport with the client, identified his needs, presented benefits, responded to any objections, and finally asked for and received the order.

Offering an upsell at this point is like suggesting a slice of strawberry cheesecake for dessert after a delicious steak dinner.  Who’s going to say no?

With momentum on your side, the best technique is to present the upsell the information in a “by-the-way” manner and avoid these four mistakes:

  1. Coming across as pushy
  2. Forgetting to point out the value of the upsell
  3. Offering something that is unrelated to the primary sale
  4. Leaving money on the table by not offering an upsale at all!

A Final Word on Copywriting Upsells

Research shows it costs four times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to sell to an existing one.  If you aren’t upselling your customers, you’re not maximizing your profits.

By upselling your copywriting services to those already on your client roster, you can reduce your cost of sales and drive revenue all while enhancing their loyalty.  Done right, it will help you build deeper relationships with your customers.

So don’t hesitate to offer your copywriting clients an upsell.  It’s not sleazy if what you’re offering is something that will provide a legitimate and valuable benefit to your client.

Getting your copywriting customers to increase their spending with your company isn’t about chasing the dollar; it’s about providing the best solution for their needs. You position yourself as trusted advisor versus a product pusher.

Fortunately, there’s no downside to offering an upsell or cross sell.  While some of your copywriting clients will see the value in your offer and make a purchase, others won’t, whether for budget or other reasons.  Don’t let it bother you.  Even if they decline your offer, you’ve demonstrated that you’re not just an order-taker.  You’re a thoughtful marketing expert who brings fresh ideas and practical solutions to the table.

So upsell with confidence.  When you do, you’ll enhance your position with your clients and generate more revenue for your copywriting business.

Want more tips to grow your freelance copywriting business? Request my FREE report. Email Susan Greene at and put “Copywriter Report” in the subject line.

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Really sends the message home – POW!

Wow! Sounds great! I’d call that a wrap. Thank you so much for bearing with me. This was well worth the effort. Really sends the message home – POW!

Corey Hooper
Creators Bounty
Lighthouse Point, Florida

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