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Ecommerce Penny Product Upgrade Strategy (Hint: 1¢ Bottle Of Wine)

Growth Marketing

How do you take someone from knowing nothing about your eCommerce product to spending their first dollar in your store?

That is something I asked the team at Dry Farm Wines, who runs the world’s only natural, lab-tested, health-focused wine club.

Dry Farm Wines sells a wine subscription with a starting price point of $159 a month, as you can see below:

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But no one buys a $159 monthly subscription for a product without being convinced it’s right for them.

So the Dry Farm Wines team needed a way to convince wine lovers to sign up for their first month to discover what it’s like to drink:

  1. Pure, artisanal, and deliciously clean wine
  2. Low-alcohol wine that tastes better and pairs better with food than non-organic wines
  3. Wine that gives no hangover, no headaches, and uninterrupted sleep

To do it, they came up with a genius offer called a “Penny Bottle Upgrade” (similar to a content upgrade, but you give away your product for a penny instead of a piece of content).

They then promoted it using this simple landing page:

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The Dry Farm Wines team didn’t use any paid ads, try to rank their page for a keyword to get organic search traffic, or use growth hacks to promote their Penny Bottle offer. Instead, they recruited health partners at events who were willing to support and endorse their product.

Every year, Dry Farm Wines supports over 100 events. Here is a sample of a few events they’ve sponsored where health leaders mingle:

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It's at these occasions the Dry Farm Wines team meets the majority of their partners. They give the hosts of these events an abundance of wine to serve. When people get a chance to sample the wine, the team then has an opportunity to talk with potential partners attending the function about how Dry Farm Wines can help them share a healthier way of drinking with their communities.

After developing a relationship with a partner at these events, the Dry Farm Wines team creates a customized landing page with their Penny Bottle Upgrade for each partner that they can use to promote to their audience and earn an affiliate commission for referring new customers.

Here is what they look like:

Health Partner: Dave Asprey (Bulletproof Coffee)

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Health Partner: Mark Sisson (Primal Blueprint)

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Health Partner: Robb Wolf (The Paleo Solution)

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Health Partner: JJ Virgin (The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods)

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The Dry Farm Wines team has created pages like this for even more health partners as well, including Dr. David Perlmutter, Wellness Mama, Chris Kresser, Kwik Learning, Mercola, and more. This proves that the same system is repeatable with any partner.

The key takeaway here is that Dry Farm Wines found something that worked (health partner + penny bottle upgrade) and doubled down on it to grow their business.

Once they have a partner on board and set up their landing page, they give them their unique landing page link to promote the offer to their audience. Partners promote in a variety of ways including emails, articles and podcasts:

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Here’s a snippet from Mark Sisson’s article on “The Definitive Guide to Wine” that links to his Dry Farm Wines partner page.

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These three marketing channels (emails, articles and podcasts) drive curious wine lovers to the health partner pages Dry Farm Wines setup. Once on the page, they see the Penny Bottle offer.

Dry Farm Wines used Sumo to create a Click Trigger Popup so when people click the red “Claim Your Penny Bottle” call to action button on the landing page, they see this:

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This one popup works so well that 272,590 people have seen it. It’s generated 126,405 high-quality leads who are showing an interest in wine by entering their name and email. That’s a 46.03% conversion rate!

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After someone enters their information, Dry Farm Wines job is not done. They use Sumo’s Success popup to tell people their next step:

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To increase conversions, they add a URL on their Continue button that sends people directly to the product page for Dry Farm Wines’ wine membership, with the Penny Bottle upgrade code applied to their order.

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If people land on this product page but don’t buy, Dry Farm Wines has an automated email campaign set up using Sumo’s Automated Email Responder feature to educate and direct people back to the product page above.

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If the Success popup and Automated Email Responder still haven’t convinced people to buy, Dry Farm Wines send an automated email drip sequence to their Penny Product popup leads where they introduce them to the Dry Farm Wines story and continue to educate them about why the company’s wines are so good.

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Golden Nugget: Instead of trying to convince your email subscribers to buy your product, use your partner’s content to do the selling for you. Notice how in email #9 and #10 Dry Farm Wines link to testimonials and articles from their health partners (Mark Sisson and Wellness Mama).

Here’s an example of one of those emails featuring their partners:

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At the end of the article linked to in the email, there is a recommendation from Wellness Mama to try Dry Farm Wines by getting a bottle for a penny, with a link to her partner landing page.

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Due to Dry Farm Wines’ partner sales data being sensitive, they can’t reveal the exact sales number of people who opt in for the Penny Bottle Upgrade then convert into a paying customer. However, to give you a general idea of how well this new marketing tactic works, one of Dry Farm Wines’ partners brought 7780 visitors, 284 new subscribers, and 804 total orders.

At a price point of USD 159/month, that is $127,836 sales generated from one partner relationship, plus the monthly recurring revenue of $45,156 from the 284 new customers who are on a Dry Farm Wines subscription.

Sales for some partners are higher (over half a million dollars), while sales for others are tiny. The key is to invest in your partner relationships and then use your Penny Product upgrade as a tool to help your partners promote and convert new customers for your business.

Here is a summary of the three steps to follow Dry Farm Wines’ strategy:

  1. Find partners (Dry Farm Wines sponsors over 100 events per year with wine to find partners)
  2. Build a partner landing page (Dry Farm Wines builds a custom landing page for every partner and add a Click Trigger Popup at the top of the page for the Penny Product upgrade. Click here to use Sumo to add Click Trigger Popups to your pages)
  3. Promote your partner landing page (Dry Farm Wines get their partners to send emails, articles and feature them on their podcasts. To make it easy for your partners to promote you create a swipe file with email copy and offer to help with content for articles and podcasts)

Penny Product upgrades are one of the most untapped marketing tactics in an eCommerce marketer’s arsenal. Try it. Or if you just want tasty, natural wine while you think about it, try Dry Farm Wines with a penny bottle 😉


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