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SEO 17 min read March 1, 2024

5 Upselling Techniques for SEO Agency Services

5 Upselling Techniques for SEO Agency Services
Kateryna Hordiienko
Kateryna Hordiienko
Research Editor at Serpstat

The SEO business relies heavily on continuous development. However, the market is already quite saturated, so you won't be able to expand your customer base endlessly — it's too expensive, complicated, and risky. If external development sources are unavailable, it's time to look inward and offer something more to your existing customers.

Today, we will talk about upselling as a technique for increasing revenue. It's not a new method, but it still works effectively in most online and offline business areas. However, there is one important caveat: it should be used with the utmost care so as not to irritate the customer and not to push them away with excessive persistence.

So, let's figure out what an upsell is, why it is so effective, and what strategies you can use to promote your SEO agency's services.

What is Upselling?

The classic definition of upselling involves increasing the number of identical or similar products in a check. It's as simple as possible — you offer to buy more, motivating the client with discounts, special promotions, or even your charisma :) But upselling in SEO is a bit different. Usually, it involves activating a more expensive service plan, increasing the budget, or performing additional work to improve the result. You change the contract terms rather than the check amount, thus getting a long-lasting effect.

In SEO, as in other digital services, the line between defining what is upselling and cross-selling is very thin and fuzzy. For example, how should you regard adding new types of services to an existing contract? On the one hand, you can consider it an expansion of the range of services, and on the other hand, it might be a mere increase in the contract amount. Therefore, upselling is usually considered when new services have the same ultimate goal, such as increasing traffic, brand awareness, visibility in search results, etc. Accordingly, cross-selling adds new goals, such as improving reputation through SERM or launching advertising in addition to website optimization. 

How to Upsell a Digital Marketing Client?

Before signing a new contract, you should review it again to answer the question: is there any room for improvement? If you're wondering how to upsell customers you're just starting with, consider the following tips:

  • Study the business thoroughly. Conduct a detailed analysis to identify strengths and weak points. To properly apply popular upsell techniques, show a deep understanding of the customer's goals and needs. Demonstrate that their success is essential to you.
  • Personalize your offer. If you don't know how to get an SEO client, develop a new service or package specifically for them. A Marq's business survey revealed that 87% of businesses acknowledge that at least some of their customers expect personalized content, with 43% of respondents indicating that most customers expect personalized content.

In an article about building communications with SEO clients, we've already discussed personalization in detail.

  • Demonstrate your expertise. One of the tips on upselling is to show the client that you understand a specific topic and know how to achieve the goal. In this case, relying on specific results and research rather than various diplomas and awards is better.
  • Maintain empathy. Do not overplay the role of an expert. The best upsell technique is to explain everything in simple terms, reveal the essence of your methods (without trade secrets, of course), and generally speak the client's language. Be sure to answer questions and listen to comments to develop an ideal communication policy. 

Source: Profit Blitz

State of the Connected Customer 2020

How to Upsell Existing Clients?

In the book Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance, Professor Paul Farris claims it is 3-14 times easier to upsell existing customers than new ones. Based on Outboundengine.com statistics, loyal customers are five times more likely to repurchase, five times more likely to forgive, four times more likely to refer, and seven times more likely to try a new product.

It's an impressive statistic that many upselling strategies are built around. But is it really that simple? In fact, there are some specifics as well. Let's take a closer look at how to upsell to existing customers:

  • First of all, convince them with details. If a company already works with you, they won't be interested in vague "improvements" and "optimizations." To make your upselling technique successful, you need to back it up with numbers. For example, by applying an in-depth analysis of the competitive environment, your client can get 5% more traffic and 2% more net profit.
  • Maintain open communications. For upselling to a customer, you need to monitor their satisfaction with your products and services. If your reputation has deteriorated recently, you should focus on improving it. 
  • Apply new technologies. For example, AI, which everyone is talking about these days. Just using this term can increase the efficiency of upselling products in the digital sphere.

AI-related keywords in the Serpstat Keyword trends

AI-related keywords in the Serpstat Keyword trends

If competitors are already actively using a similar solution, approval is in your pocket.

  • Choose the perfect time. One of the most successful upsell strategies is to offer your product immediately after a significant breakthrough in the client's business development. Did the company go international, get additional investments, or exceed the annual financial plan? The euphoria of these events will be your best assistance. 

5 Strategies to Upsell Your SEO Services

So, we've covered the prerequisites that will increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Now, it's time to move on to details, reviewing strategies and examples of upselling that have proven themselves in real business practice. 

1. Case Studies and Social Proof

We've already mentioned above that upselling works well when you show your customers specifics instead of empty promises. Where can you get these results from? Of course, from your previous or current projects in which you've achieved success. If you're wondering how to upsell your services to a client, follow these guidelines for choosing examples:

  • Look for a case study in the same business line or a closely related industry so the client can associate their business with it.
  • Focus on indicators directly related to your work, such as traffic growth, ROI increase, etc. You can also demonstrate overall financial results to support your upselling strategy but don't focus on them to not distract the customer's attention.
  • Describe the full range of tools used to achieve the goals. Ideally, it should be broader than the client's current toolkit or include more expensive subscription plans. This will create a link between additional services and success. 

We talked about how to upsell a marketing client, emphasizing the crucial role of empathy. You can add it to your case studies by collecting feedback from real customers. Take an interview with a manager or responsible person, which you can then break down into quotes. Ask your customers to leave feedback on external platforms and social media. A good example is an empathetic success story we wrote with the Canadian SEO agency PRAGM. 

About Pragm

2. Advanced Analytics Services and Reporting

Of course, statistics are precious. But in the form of dry numbers, they cannot help you with effective product upselling. So, your task is to make them as clear, understandable, and visually appealing as possible. Analytical reports, presentations, and dashboards will be useful in this regard. It's worth reviewing some of the points:

  • Focus on strategic goals. Show the progress of achievement and compliance with deadlines.
  • Demonstrate the potential for additional development — acceleration or improvement of the final indicators. You can relate it to a specific example of upselling to show which tool can be used.
  • Show simple, easy-to-understand graphs on the front page but provide details on the following sheets. To make your upselling strategy work as efficiently as possible, you should present it to all parties — from top managers to specialists.
  • If you need to deliver bad news, don't be embarrassed. But be sure to explain why it happened. Be as frank as possible, and don't hide important information. By the way, bad news allows you to realize other upsell ideas. You may recommend an additional service to improve the situation if it's not your fault.
  • Make your reports flexible and interactive. Allow users to choose their own layout and get advanced information in one click. Services such as Serpstat can help you with this

Why is reporting so vital for upselling? 

1.It visualizes your achievements, allowing clients to evaluate them at a glance.
2.You can return to it anytime, while consultations must be booked in advance.
3.It makes it easier for those in charge to provide arguments to the management that makes decisions about concluding new deals and allocating budgets.

3. Exclusive Access or Previews

Everyone wants to be the first and one of a kind — it's one of the basic rules of human psychology. So, if you plan to create a new pricing plan or launch some additional services, offer them to your top customers first, even before the relevant information appears on your website. In such examples of upselling, you can combine the exclusivity argument with a financial benefit — a discount for early access (what game developers often offer). 

Of course, this technique will only be effective if you have thoroughly tested your product and are ready to take responsibility for its quality. You shouldn't learn how to upsell your services by experimenting on customers — this can lead to significant reputational damage. Moreover, you should ensure that migration to new services is easy and hassle-free. 

But there is a safe option for this scenario as well. If the product is in development and you want to "test" it in natural conditions, offer a new service to your customers in a free demo version available only to a narrow circle of regular subscribers. This will help you collect reactions and get information for further refinement. Later, you can upsell products to customers by simply setting a price for them. People are less likely to refuse a service if it is already being used and bringing results. 

4. Technology Advantage

To know how to upsell products, you must first identify customers' needs. Each of them may have their strategic goals, current tasks, business models, and approaches, so offering them the same services is irrational. You can find tips on how to upsell in your CRM. Carefully analyze the following information:

  • What products and plans the customer is using now, and what they used in the past;
  • What were the communications with customers, and what their recent dynamics are (improving/decreasing);
  • How much time has passed since the latest change in budgets;
  • What promotional offers were provided to the client, and which ones they took advantage of;
  • What stage of the life cycle a particular client is at, etc.

Source: HubSpot Dashboards & Client Reporting, Agency Analytics

Source: HubSpot Dashboards & Client Reporting, Agency Analytics

This will allow you to create a personalized offer to make cooperation profitable for both parties. A great example of upselling is creating a customized subscription plan with additional services for customers at the final stage of their business life cycle. At this stage, they may be considering switching to your competitors. By understanding how to do upselling, you will be able to retain them and get more benefits by expanding your product range. 

5. Complementary SEO Services

Another thing that everyone loves is gifts. Start with a generous offer. Propose to conduct a free website audit or launch a trial Google Ads campaign, make a detailed market analysis for the anniversary of your cooperation, or point out a potentially effective link-building area. In these examples of upselling, you improve customer relationships and build trust. Also, you allow customers to test additional products under favorable conditions. 

Source: ossdesignstudio.com 

Free SEO audit

One more of the upselling tips is to never stop at what you've already achieved. Clients will be grateful that you gave them unique opportunities. However, they probably won't be interested in developing a new cooperating method. To know how to get SEO clients and benefit from it, create a personalized strategy, set the ultimate goals, and calculate estimated spending. 


Upselling in SEO is more complicated but more effective compared to e-commerce or offline retail. Creating a "buy two, get one free" promotion is not enough in this area. You can only upsell products and services to the client if they meet their strategic goals, current needs, and expectations from cooperation with your agency. But the result will bring you more than just short-term gains — it will increase the customer's long-term value. 

Therefore, to apply marketing upselling, you must understand your customers, build trust, and demonstrate an interest in their success. Use CRM and modern analytics systems to generate personalized offers, provide exclusive early access to your products, and launch private previews. Build trust by offering free SEO services and make strong arguments with successful case studies. Emphasize your achievements by generating convenient, informative reports. 


The definition of upselling in these areas is slightly different. It implies promoting improved services and products with the same goals and features. 

In digital marketing, the line between these concepts is fuzzy. But to define what is upselling and cross-selling, you should pay attention to the ultimate goals of providing services. If they coincide with the current ones, it's upselling, and if they differ substantially, it's cross-selling.

First of all, you need to build trust with your clients. Emphasize your expertise and the productivity of cooperation with you through reporting, successful cases, and social proof. To learn how to do upselling, offer certain services for free, give exclusive early access to certain products, and allow customers to test them in demo versions. 

A very simple and vivid example is the offer to upgrade to a premium plan, justified by new business development opportunities and access to the most advanced technologies. Another example of marketing upsell is providing access to a preview of a new product and then setting a price for it.

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