Tis the Season for Upsells and “Subscription Gift-ers”

It’s the time of year where your print counterparts are busily taking advantage of the holiday spirit, but what is your online business doing this year to increase sales or subscriptions?

If you’re an experienced online publisher, you certainly have an upsell at the bottom of every order or email subscription confirmation page. But in the season of gifts, why not upsell your customers to a gift subscription or product? One of the publishers we refer to below has found a way to link renewals to gift orders, while others have opted to offer complimentary gifts to the gift-ers instead of the gift-ees.

It’s common this time of year to see our print counterparts doubling subscription and product sales by offering the infamous “buy one, get one” offer . Well, as an early step to whatever your 2008 resolutions may be, how about making this holiday season the one where you step up to the plate?

For example, if you’re a healthy living recipe book publisher with a book like “Healthy Dinners and Soups by Sally Suzie“, why not slap a ribbon on it and call it a two-for? Anyone in the market for this book knows someone who could use a recipe book, never mind a health-conscious bundle of good eats. Alternatively, you could leave this product alone, and work with the confirmation page.

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Instead of a “Thank you for your order, it will arrive in 7-10 days”, how about adding an upsell to the bottom of the page that offers the user a holiday bonus? “Happy Holidays from Sally Suzie! We’d like to offer you a chance to send our 12-Month Lazy Dinner Collection as a gift, and receive one for yourself, FREE!”. See, if they need to shop for old Aunt Edna on her 96th holiday season, you might as well give them a good reason to choose you over your competitors. And what better incentive than a gift for yourself?

Taunton Press offers current subscribers of Fine Homebuilding a discounted gift subscription while asking for renewal orders. My, that’s a fine way to increase renewals and gain new subscribers (even if the unsuspecting subscribers don’t know it yet). Ohio Magazine and Martha Stewart Living both have similar offers, but would benefit by linking it to their renewals like those clever Taunton folks.

Runners World magazine is also a good example of offering incentives to potential “subscription gift-ers”. They offer a gift to you, the buyer, in exchange for subscribing one of your unsuspecting runner friends to their magazine. The offer comes complete with a post-dated e-card for your friend, and the “Runner’s World Training Log” as a gift for you. Which we’ll optimistically assume that as a free product, has more ads inside to entice you to join the Runners World subscription family as well.

So here are just a few examples of small attempts made to increase sales and customer base during the holidays. Make us proud, and if you have any other ideas, tell us what you’ve done to increase holiday sales this season.


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