Recap: UnMarketing on holiday campaigns, email frequency, and more

By now, it’s no secret that Scott and Alison Stratten of UnMarketing are two of our favorite marketing experts. We trust them to stay on top of the trends, know what everybody’s talking about, and always, always have an opinion. You may know them from an event, their books, or podcast—or from the monthly live videos on Emma’s Facebook page.

As always, if you’re unable to make the Facebook live or forgot to bring your headphones to work, we’re here with a recap of their conversation.

This week: Holiday marketing, email frequency, and email as the last frontier

In this week’s Facebook Live, Scott and Alison celebrate the season by discussing holiday marketing, how many emails you should be sending, and the advantage email marketing has over other mediums.

Don’t forget—they always love answering your questions, so “like” our Facebook page to make sure to tune in for next month’s livestream.

Email’s best (and worst) weekend

It’s been a few weeks since we last checked in with Scott and Alison, and since then, holiday marketing has begun in full swing. They note the holidays that follow Thanksgiving—Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday—as “the worst weekend for email.”

This can be interpreted a few ways, either as the busiest weekend for email marketers, or the most overwhelming weekend for customers. Regardless, we can all agree it’s a lot.

A Canadian Thanksgiving

Our Canadian Facebook live hosts go on to mention that not only are the emails overwhelming around Thanksgiving, but the fourth Thursday of November is also...just another Thursday everywhere else other than the United States.

And yet, they’re still receiving an unheard-of amount of emails because companies are either:

A.) sending to everyone on their list instead of geographical segments

B.) doing anything they can to make a sale, or the most likely,

C.) all of the above.

On live video

Because Scott and Alison have such a natural stage and video presence, they frequently get asked about tips for marketers looking to do the same. Their advice? Remember that your business isn’t the practice room.

With live video, you have one shot to make you and your brand look great, so you want to make sure you confidently look the part. Just because anyone can do a Facebook Live doesn’t mean they should or it will be beneficial to meeting their goals. 

Determining email frequency

After point out the sheer volume of emails they received over the holiday weekend, Scott and Alison bring up the question that many of us have as marketers: “What would you say for companies who want to plan out the frequency? Would you recommend companies have different lists?”.

They landed on the importance of setting expectations and meeting them as being the key to setting email frequency. Senders must fulfill the obligations of their unspoken customer contract, whether that’s “we’ll send weekly emails,” or “receive announcements for our fall fashion line.”

Set up the expectations of the frequency. When the expectations feel betrayed, that’s when customers begin to tune out and unsubscribe. If you’re sending more or less than usual, you’re breaking that trust. Let’s say you send out an email once a month, and then Black Friday or Cyber Monday comes around and you send eight. That’s a problem. 

Usually, someone is sitting on every marketing team pushing for more emails because they equal sales, and then other companies have to send out just as many or more to be noticed. There has to be a compromise between sending no emails and sending 17 in one week.

Quotable moments

On sending 17 emails

“Can you imagine that same experience being appropriate in real life, like when you walked in from of the store there were 17 people yelling at you, and then someone else around the corner is like ‘Did you see our store? Don’t miss it!’

It would be so inappropriate but in email, because you don’t see the others’ person face, you’re kind of without that human reaction. If you’re the one sending emails, I want you to remember that groan of a person receiving too many emails.” - Alison Stratten.

A principle to determine send frequency

“Either 'bye or buy'—either buy from us or goodbye.” - Scott Stratten

On visualizing your customer’s reactions

“Imagine someone’s face as they open your email, and if it’s not happiness, excitement, or you’re answering a question for them, then your frequency probably needs to change.” - Alison Stratten

What sets email apart

"Email is the last frontier of decision-based consumer response. Every subscriber must decide:
Am I going to read this? Am I going to delete this? Am I going to unsubscribe?”

Wrap up

This is where we usually tie our blog posts up with a nice conclusive bow, but when we’ve got so many experts around, we’ve got to keep the conversation going. Tell us—what did you learn from Scott and Alison? And make sure to like us on Facebook to make sure you join us for next month’s livestream! We’ll see you then.

Scott and Alison Stratten are co-authors of 5 best-selling business books, co-owners of UnMarketing Inc and co-hosts of The UnPodcast. Experts on the changing world of business and marketing through entrepreneurship, you can connect with them at unmarketing.com. 

About the Author

Kaitlin Wernet

Kaitlin Wernet is a content specialist on Emma's marketing team. When she's not restraining herself from using too many exclamation points or grabbing one more La Croix from the office kitchen, she can be found working on her first book or planning her next big travel adventure.

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