In my previous post about upsells, I spoke about how to leverage upsells to drive monetization for your transaction path. Today I continue with a discussion on where you can get third party offers to use as an upsell. Upsells are an important part of maximizing revenue per session.


There are many places you can go to get upsells. Each provides a different value proposition with regards to revenue opportunity and uniqueness …

1. Your Merchandise / Services

  • Leveraging your own products and services as an upsell makes the most sense. You already have access to the products and services and know them well.
  • Since you don’t have to share revenue with anyone, these are usually the most profitable opportunities.
  • It is just a matter of selecting the most relevant products and presenting them effectively.

2. Affiliate Programs

  • The benefit of leveraging affiliate programs is that you can basically select from a catalog of offers to incorporate on your site as an upsell. Since you are selecting the offers, you can make sure they are relevant and of the quality consistent with your brand and business.
  • You can sign-up for individual affiliate programs or you can leverage an affiliate network to access a catalog of offers from many different merchants.
  • There are a few negatives to using affiliate offers…
    1. Many of these are not high margin offers. Many companies will pay you from $2.00 to $10.00 for every transaction you drive for them. This is not an absolute as some can definitely pay more.
    2. While using an affiliate network gives you access to many different offers, there is also less money to earn as the affiliate network takes a percentage as well. The affiliate network is a middle-man that also has to get paid… lowering your revenue opportunity.
    3. Affiliate offers are not unique. Many different sites can present the exact same offers to their audiences. This may not matter to you, but if a unique offer is a requirement, then affiliate networks are not the way to go.

3. Direct Partnerships

  • While affiliate programs and networks are fairly turn-key approaches to getting offers to present on your site, there can be greater revenue opportunity and stronger offers by creating a direct partnership with another company.
  • By doing this, you can create a custom offer that is relevant to your audience and not available anywhere else.
  • Because there are only two partners, there are fewer parties to share revenue, which should drive more revenue for you. And if the offer is for a subscription or membership, you can possibly negotiate for a share of downstream revenue or a bigger upfront revenue share since you are bringing in a significant, on-going revenue stream for the partner.
  • The disadvantages of direct partnerships include:
    • Greater pressure to perform… Because you negotiated a direct relationship with another company, you will have a partner eagerly looking for a return on their investment.
    • More setup work… Without any affiliate networks to broker a deal, you will need to shop around the idea to one or many companies, negotiate the business terms, and execute a contract.
    • More maintenance work:
      • Since this is a custom relationship, you will need to have on-going communications and reporting to make sure the program is also performing well for your partner. You want to maintain a good relationship with them so you can extend or expand the relationship down the road.
      • You may also need to check-in to make sure the partner is providing the services promised to your audience.
  • One thing you also need to keep in mind is geography. If your business is national or international, then you should provide upsell offers that cover the same geographies. If yours is a regional business, then partner upsell offers can be for the same region or broad national or international offers.

In part three of this topic, I will talk about ways for implementing upsells and how to use the confirmation page for viral marketing and audience retention. Please feel free to reach out to me with any comments or questions. And be sure to check out my site over at

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