Use Case: Cross-sell and Upsell to Your Customers

  • Updated

Use Act-On to reach out to existing customers about purchasing new products and services.


Industry: All industries
Primary Actor: Act-On Administrator
Stakeholders: Marketing Team, Sales Team
Reason: Cross-selling or upselling products and services to existing members
Goal: Keep existing customers loyal to your brand and increase revenue 



You have a list of existing customers who have already purchased your products or services from you. Now, you’d like to encourage your existing customers to upgrade or purchase additional products!

What Needs to Happen?

Your All Contacts list (or primary marketing list) includes current customers who have already purchased your products or services. Ideally, you’ll have a column in your list to identify which product or service your current customers have purchased.


With Act-On, it’s easy to reach out to your existing customers with marketing materials personalized for them. Create list segments for existing customers who have previously purchased products or services from you. Each segment should be based on one product or service – for example, a segment for customers who signed up for a specific subscription service, or a segment for customers who have purchased a specific type of consumable product.

Once you’ve created these segments, you’ll build an Automated Program with marketing materials tailored to cross-selling or upselling additional products or services to current customers.


A. Create a Segment for Existing Customers

First, you’ll need to segment current customers based on the product or service they’ve purchased. Your All Contacts list (or primary marketing list) should have a column that identifies which product or service each contact has purchased (For Act-On Contacts, see Customize List Columns and for Marketing lists, see Managing List Columns in Act-On).

In this example, we’ll create a segment for customers who took out a mortgage. Later, the goal will be to cross-sell a credit card to these customers.

To do this:

  1. If you are using Act-On Contacts:
    Go to Contacts > All Contacts, and at the top right, click New Segment.

    If you are using Marketing Lists:
    Go to Contacts > Marketing Lists and find your primary marketing list (or the list with your customers’ data). Click the dropdown arrow to the right of your list and select Create a Segment.

  2. Give your segment a Name and select Query for the segment Method.

  3. For your query’s logic fields, enter the following:
    • On the left, select  Profile for your query type
    • Select your Product column/field from your list
    • Select contains for your operator
    • Enter the name of the product or service you’re segmenting for – here, we’ll segment for the column value “Mortgage” (for customers who have taken out a mortgage)
      For example:


  4. At the top right, click Save.
For more on creating segments, see Creating a Segment.


B. Create Marketing Materials to Cross-sell and Upsell

Now that you’ve made a list segment of existing customers, it’s time to create targeted emails to cross-sell or upsell additional products and services to them. You should create at least three emails for your cross-sell/upsell initiative, which you’ll schedule later with an Automated Program.

C. Build an Automated Program to Target Your Segment

Once your segment and targeted marketing materials (cross-sell/upsell emails) are ready, build an Automated Program for your cross-sell/upsell initiative. This will help you schedule emails that encourage your current customers to purchase additional products and services.

  1. Go to AutomationAutomated Programs and at the top right, click + New Program.

  2. In the Settings tab, under Contact Sources, click Select Sources, select the segment you created in section A above, and click Submit. This applies the Automated Program to the contacts that, for example, Purchased a Mortgage Product:


  3. In Options, select Suppress entrants on suppression lists
    This ensures that contacts on bounce lists or suppression domains are blocked from entering.
    It’s highly recommended that this option is selected.

  4. At the top left, click Build > Program Flow the Automated Journey Builder appears.

  5. Click Add and select Send Email

  6. Select the first email for your cross-sell/upsell initiative (created in section B above) and click Submit.

  7. Now click the AutoProg_04.png under the Send Email Message step, and select Wait. Set your program to wait a specific amount of time or until a specified date to send the next email.

  8. Repeat the last 3 steps to add each email in your campaign to the program.

  9. At the top right, click Save.
  10. If desired, create Branch steps to resend emails to customers that did not open or click on them – learn more here.
Need additional help with building and running your Automated Programs? See the Automated Journey Builder User Guide and Using Act-On's Automated Programs Dashboard.



You’ve now created a robust segment and Automated Program that will help you generate more revenue by cross-selling and upselling to existing customers!

Next Steps

Time for your customers to renew their subscription with you? Learn more about using Act-On’s Automated Programs to automatically send messages targeted to customers who are close to their renewal date here: Customer Retention and Renewals.

FAQs & Troubleshooting

Why aren’t contact records entering my segment?

If you’re not seeing contacts entering your segment, make sure that your segment query is using Contains for its operator. If not, this might be preventing contacts with the correct product from entering your cross-sell or upsell segment.

Can I test my Automated Program and emails?

Yes! You can test your automated program before officially starting it and sending cross-sell/upsell emails. See Test an Automated Program.

Where can I find reporting for my emails?

You can find reporting and metrics for any email in the Sent Message report:

  1. Go to Automation > Automated Programs.

  2. Hover over your automated program and click Show Dashboard.

  3. In the Report tab click Email performance.

  4. Under Individual Emails, click on your email to open the Sent Message report.

  5. View the results for your cross-sell/upsell emails, including engagement and unique counts for sends, bounces, and clicks.

For more information, see How to View Sent Message Reports.

Was this article helpful?

Have more questions? Submit a request