Customer Teams

5 ways to use in-app messaging for cross-selling and upselling

With the notion that it’s more efficient to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one looming, many companies are looking inward to focus on their current customer base. This means both ensuring you’re supporting customers in ways that drive long-term retention and taking opportunities to provide them with even more value from your product.  

As email and other traditional channels grow noisier, the most effective way to reach your customers is inside the application itself. You might already be using in-app messages to communicate updates and announcements to your users — but how can you leverage your application as a tool for timely and relevant value-add opportunities, too?

The key to in-app cross-selling and upselling is to provide contextual information to customers (based on how they’re using the product) and make it as easy as possible for them to upgrade. Insight from product usage data gives you a better idea of who to target and which features or functionality each subset of users could benefit from. Most importantly, remember to always provide the “why” behind what you’re offering: how will this help these users, and why should they buy it?

To help offer some inspiration, here are five use cases for leveraging in-app communications for cross-selling and expansion efforts: 

1. Solve an immediate problem

Think about how you can include upgrade options within your product that offer an immediate solution to a customer’s problem. For example, if your application requires users to purchase storage space, you can use in-app notifications to notify them when they’re storage is almost out, and provide a direct link to purchase more. You could also create in-app guides to let users know about an upgrade option they might not be aware of — the simple act of moving this communication inside the product can go a long way.

2. Convert trial customers

If you have a subset of trial users, first look to your product usage data to try and uncover any patterns in those that convert to paying customers. Once you’ve identified which features or workflows drive conversions, you can set up in-app walkthroughs to steer users to those particular features or actions in the product. As you get started, set an initial goal (e.g. to increase trial conversion by ten percent) and track your progress over time.

3. Focus on a single high-value feature

Rather than taking a broad approach to upselling, one effective tactic is to hone in on a specific feature that a subset of your users aren’t currently paying for. Then, create an in-app messaging campaign targeted to this segment of your user base, offering information and examples of how their workflow could be improved with this additional functionality. You can also use product data to identify two features that many of your users leverage together, and then target customers that only currently have one or the other in their subscription or account.

4. Automate a product demo

The ultimate in-app communication is an automated demo that walks customers through the product without any involvement from your sales team. This is particularly effective in exposing customers to additional parts of your product that they might not be currently utilizing. To make the experience even more personalized, you can tailor any content you provide (videos, customer success stories, etc.) to the user’s role, account type, or use case. You should also make sure any relevant pricing or purchasing information is easily accessible, for example by linking to these resources within the demo.

5. Target a new persona

If you’ve identified a new persona using your product, think about how you can better serve these users with features and functionality they might not be leveraging. By tracking how these customers use the application differently from your existing user base, you can identify opportunities to expand their usage and offer upgrades to meet their specific needs. And by using personalized in-app messages to highlight functionality that will directly impact users’ success, you’re more likely to drive action compared to communicating via email or another channel outside the product.