Sometimes I like to highlight a very specific advertising approach that works in a very specific context…
The risk of doing this is that you’ll start reading, think, “Oh, but my business is different,” and tune out or stop. Don’t do that. Because your business both is and is not different.
While at the tactical level your business may require a different implementation, I provide these specific examples to teach the principles and strategy underneath.
We start with the tactics, because that’s the superficial thing we can point and and investigate. But then we go deep, and you can ask yourself, “How can I apply these specific tactics and strategies to my own business, in a way that works for my unique situation?”
Oh, and if you are in a situation where it’s easier than that — where you can see direct parallels — great!
I want to share how I’m being sold to by a company you probably wouldn’t hear about unless you make music…
And this is a great example of how an ecommerce business with a ton of different products or SKUs can drive consistent interest in their product line and always be selling.
The company is Waves Audio.
They specialize in software plugins for the digital studio — like apps that can be loaded inside your music recording and production software.
Waves has a special focus on the plugins involved with mixing and mastering your audio (whether recorded or electronically-produced) to create a professional, polished sound.
And among those in the know, their tools are among the best in the industry.
I make my music in a program called Reason, which until very recently was incompatible with Waves products. So I didn’t follow them, even though I knew about their quality.
Then, Reason made a big update to their software to support the industry-wide VST plugin format. And suddenly I started paying attention to what Waves had to offer.
So I got on their email list. I visited their site. I grabbed a bundle of their top plugins.
And then, the deluge.
I realized they were not only a great software company, but — importantly to our conversation — they are a great marketing company…
Aside from the fact that they’re selling downloadable software, they’re the same as pretty much any ecommerce company with a large number of products.
They have a TON of SKUs.
(They currently have 188 different plugins, plus 53 different bundles, plus 10 digital mixers, plus 48 different pieces of digital music hardware, plus 3 SaaS subscription options — assuming I’m reading their website right. Note as you read the rest of this article that this is enough that they’re not constantly exhausting the strategy I lay out below.)
The question then becomes: how can you maximize sales on all these different products, and always be promoting things that will capture your audience’s interest and keep them engaged?
The answer that Waves has come up with?
Daily sales make their world go ‘round…
Let me explain.
It’s not quite every day. But very frequently, I get an email with a subject line along these lines:
ON SALE TODAY — $29 for [Plugin Name]
Inside the email? The plugin mentioned in the subject line, plus a handful more daily deals.
Here’s the brilliance of that. That shows up in my inbox before I wake up. Then, throughout the day as I browse the internet…
I’m getting retargeted with advertising for the exact same daily deals.
Pretty much the same copy. With screenshots of the plugins. Links to the product sales pages.
And sometimes, the discounts are pretty extreme — in a way that’s good for me, the consumer. Products that retail for up to $199 or more (and are totally worth it for the professional producer) with their prices slashed down to just $29 for less than 24 hours.
I’m getting hit from all angles on this. And only me and people like me, who would be interested in the deals.
Not sure exactly how they have their campaigns structured. They could be targeting only customers. Or at the very least, people who are on their email list. Or who have visited their site within the last 30, 60, or 90 days. No matter what, a targeted audience for their deals, using retargeting.
Plus, their product pages feature “Included In” to upsell you to the bundles (which usually add up to less than $29/plugin, even for the more expensive plugins) and “You May Also Like” to cross-sell you on other plugins that aren’t necessarily available at the same deep discount.
They know this truth: “A buyer is a buyer is a buyer is a buyer.”
And once they have you shopping based on the daily sale, they can likely get way more than the $29 out of you.
And here’s the other thing they know…
When you’re not shopping, you are probably blind to these deals.
Just think about the last time you had a major appliance go out. Suddenly you look at the ads, and — AMAZING! — the stores have GREAT appliance deals this weekend! They’re having a sale — what luck! Until you realize they run similar sales every weekend, but you don’t pay attention until you’re in the market.
Waves is running these same sales all the time. Because when someone like me starts thinking about the next slight edge they want to give to their sound…
They want to be there, and they want it to feel like great timing and a great opportunity to buy right now.
(And by the very nature of ON SALE TODAY the purchase decision is made urgent — the same sale won’t be there tomorrow, you can’t put it off.)
First and foremost, if you’re in an online retail business with a lot of SKUs, this is practically a copy-and-paste template.
Run daily deals. Announce them by email. Then have retargeting campaigns set up to follow your most-engaged customers around the internet, making sure they can’t miss the daily deal while it’s on. Even better if you can tie in revenue-maximization strategies like upselling and cross-selling to deal shoppers.
If you’re not in a business that parallels Waves so closely? How can you create limited-time opportunities to engage with you and do business with you? How can you tie in multiple touch points, in multiple locations, using retargeting in parallel with other media? What can you do to upsell and cross-sell serious shoppers?
The principles work, even when the specific tactical implementation may need to be adjusted.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,