As I’ve been wrapping up the current cohort of Email Muscles this week and working on the launch of the next cohort (which starts on April 11th), I keep thinking of what I’d like to share:
Stories that would tie to the core messaging
Benefits and features of joining this time around
And the strategies I want to use during the launch
The first two come easily to me. I have already mapped out everything I want to talk about, when, and how.
If anything, I have too much to share - and it’s a whole Sophie’s Choice situation of figuring out which stories or parts I’d be leaving out.
But the third one… This part has been occupying my busy brain the most.
See, the available marketing strategies are plenty, and they’re all around us every day.
Beyond the fact that we’re bombarded by thousands of marketing messages every single day (unless you live under a rock, in which case, I suppose you wouldn’t have even gotten here), it’s a human phenomenon to have something on your mind, and then seeing it popping up everywhere repeatedly.
It’s called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, or the frequency bias.
A quick history rundown
The term “Baader-Meinhof phenomenon” was coined after a terrorist German group from the 1970s with the same name.
But it wasn’t until 1994 that this term got its name. A man called Terry Mullen wrote a letter to a newspaper about learning about this group for the first time, and then seeing their name in another unrelated, coincidental source. The story was published, and that newspaper got plenty of letters from other readers describing similar situations in their lives.
The idea is that once we notice a particular topic, or learn a new one, we have a tendency to “see” more of it around us - even if statistically and factually, it’s not appearing everywhere. We’re just more sensitive to it, so we think it’s everywhere.
Marketing tactics around me these days
Okay, first let’s level the playing field - not everything we see around us is a marketing tactic.
But plenty of it is - every piece of information that is supposed to move us in a certain direction is a marketing tactic.
This week, I started seeing more and more urgency and scarcity around me.
(In a nutshell - scarcity = limited amounts, urgency = limited time, although both are way more nuanced than that)
And guess what? Those messages I keep seeing are all using those tactics untruthfully.
For example, the apartment I’m staying in these days in Valencia has many laminated paper sheets with “rules” and warnings spread around.
I get why the rules are there, to begin with - it’s a big and very transient apartment, and the landlady doesn’t live here herself. “There must be order”, as they say in Germany. And yet, most of the rules are not being enforced or followed.
This sign, for example, is hung above the sink in the kitchen.
“It is mandatory to keep the sink and kitchen utensils clean after using them”, it says both in Spanish and English, “failure to comply with this rule will lead to immediate eviction from the home, as well as the loss of the deposit”.
I could count on one hand how many times the kitchen was left clean in the past month. The sinks are almost constantly full. How many people have been evicted from the flat in the last weeks? None.
When it comes to emails, my inbox is also full of fake urgency and fake scarcity on a regular basis, and I’m not the only one.
But this example from Gravity Blankets this week was one that I particularly paid attention to this week, well, because of the frequency bias.
Their whole sales campaign followed a very common (I’d argue it’s also overused and boring) best practices in DTC email marketing:
An email every other day throughout the launch (which felt like more than that to me), then multiple emails (4 of them!) on the cart-close day (the last day of the sale).
And then, surprise surprise, I got this email a day after the sale had officially ended:
They have extended their “Buy One Get One” (BOGO) sale.
*Sidenote: I’m giving this example of this specific brand, but most if not all of the eCommerce brands I know and have subscribed to in the past and present are using the same tactics. All for the sake of making a few more sales.
Best-value, price-seeking, price-aversion, and impulse-buyers wouldn’t mind those email campaigns. Some of them might actually wait for the day after the sale was over and hope to see an even better deal. Some may appreciate the extension (because our inboxes are off the rails with the number of emails we receive daily) because they have truly missed the sale.
But other types of audiences are growing frustratingly tired of those old marketing techniques.
Because they feel (and rightfully so, IMO) deceived and lied to. Yes, even though this is such an old shtick by now.
The brand that has been sending them emails and supposedly nurtured a connection with them told them “today is the last day to enjoy this sale”. In fact, they gave them more than a few “warnings” like that. And yet, despite what they previously promised, they broke that promise.
Will that kind of customer ever buy anything from a brand that broke their trust? It’s hard to tell, but the likelihood of that is very low.
In marketing, we frequently talk about the know-like-trust process, the hurdles we need to pass and the relationships we need to nurture with different types of customers to get them to open their wallets and invest in a solution.
So if anything, trust is the currency on which businesses are built, persevere and thrive. When you break that trust, you lose business.
Fake scarcity and urgency can only work in your favor so many times when you don’t stick to your word.
Back to the task at hand
So… launch and marketing strategies.
I’ll let you in a little secret: launching is hard work, it’s stressful, and I don’t know a single business owner who loves being in “launch mode”.
So while strategizing for my upcoming launch, I’ve asked myself a series of questions:
What worked well last time, and what didn’t?
What do I want to experiment with this time around?
And how can I make this process much simpler for me?
The third question, yet again, is what I’d like to focus on.
In my previous Email Muscles launch, back on November 2022, I used both urgency and scarcity. And while I believe I used those strategically, truthfully and more ethically than plenty of other brands out there, I decided to do things differently this time around.
So during the new launch, I’m going to ditch the scarcity.
The last time I launched, I had 3 spots filling up quickly. I had 7 “remaining spots”, and thought that enticing my subscribers/followers to join by mentioning that multiple times was a good idea. In hindsight, I think it made the offer less attractive. Not a great look.
Even though I wholeheartedly believe that Email Muscles is a great container to be in for so many small business owners out there, there’s no more time to waste and you need to build something before you can even rely on it or even feel ready - I’m not a big-shot industry name (yet).
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have multiple cohorts running simultaneously, working hard toward it, and believe it’s just a matter of time to get there - but I doubt that I’ll have more than 10-15 business owners would be knocking on my door this time around, and that’s a generous estimation. And I’m totally fine with sustainable growth like that.
The spots are not really limited, cause I’m the only one who decides what every group would look like, how many business owners will be in each group, and what my schedule looks like. Hypothetically, I could even open 2 smaller groups with less than 10 Musclers in total if I wanted to.
So what kind of strategies will I use this time around?
Without spilling too much and to keep you on your digital toes -
Urgency (kick-off date is fixed)
Social proof (lots of success stories from Email Muscles graduates!)
Storytelling (around and about the cohort, the ideation process, etc.)
Consent (implementing a soft opt-out option from launch emails)
Transparency (staying true to my vulnerable self and, very possibly, sharing a launch debrief too)
Alright, it’s time to go back to tweaking some last parts of the launch copy!
If you’d like to ask me anything about Email Muscles or consider joining the upcoming cohort - feel free to schedule a quick chat with me here to see if it’s the right solution/timing for you.