Scott Stratten has been marketing online for over a decade and is an expert in Viral, Social, and Authentic Marketing, which he has coined, “Unmarketing”. Unmarketing refers to his philosophy of positioning content in front of people in a way that will be remembered so when they have a need, they automatically think of you to provide the answer. Unmarketing is not only the name of his company/brand, but everything that is associated with it such as the book, Twitter handle, and Facebook page. Unmarketing as a company started 12 years ago from email newsletters and their unique, core tactic blew up when social media entered the marketing scene. Scott continues to share his knowledge through speaking engagements, writing books, and his podcast “Unpodcast”.
A Quick Preview of the Podcast:
- Why copywriting is of upmost importance on your landing page
- The number one reason why you aren’t getting email subscribers
- The one tactic that has held true for over a decade online
To See These Tactics In Action:
To See The Transcript:
Tim: This week on ConversionCast, we’re going way back. This interview was recorded way in the beginning and as we’re approaching the one-year anniversary of ConversionCast, I felt like it would be awesome to bring an episode up that somehow seem to slip through the cracks even though it’s all about how the guest Scott Stratten from UnMarketing was able to go from about a thousand email subscribers up to about 300,000 in three months. How this slipped through the cracks, I have no idea but I’m excited that it’s here now. I’m Tim Page the conversion educator here at LeadPages and this is ConversionCast.
All right, Scott, thanks so much for coming on the show. I’m excited to have you here man.
Scott: Hey Thanks for having me Tim, I appreciate it.
Tim: Cool. So the first thing I always to ask is tell us a little bit about the results you were able to get from this particular marketing tactic?
Scott: I managed to get a newsletter list of over 300,000 people. So I went from 1000 people to about 300,000.
Tim: Wow. How long did that take?
Scott: That took about three months.
Tim: Wow. [Laughs] That’s nice. I love it. Well let’s dig into a little bit about what you do and kind of what your company is all about before we get into the tactic.
Scott: Sure. My world is on marketing so that’s me, that’s the book, that’s the company, that’s the Twitter name, that’s the Facebook page. You pick it, name it that’s what we do.
Scott: And what we do now is well nothing. You know, I don’t work anymore.
Scott: We just do talks and write books now. But what we used to do is kind of before even social media hit was about positioning. It was a positioning content in front of people. So you stay in front of them and we called in pull and stay which was you pulled their information, you stay in front of them. Back in the old days, really the only way to do that online was newsletters.
So we would pull their information, stay in front of them so when they had that need for your product or service, they choose you kind of naturally. And then you know, social media came in, blew up and I was just kind of in the right place at the right time with that tactic. So marketing is about 12 years old even though it’s really coming in the forefront over the past few years.
Tim: Yeah it seems like it. that’s awesome. So you were able to kind of you applied a lot of this kind of knowledge that you built up over the years to build your following so much. So what were you kind of doing before when you had only, you said a thousand followers. What were you doing then as compared to now?
Scott: Yeah. This was newsletter subscribers so. Because when it came to the newsletter, this is, you know, again this is back in the old days of the only thing, you know, YouTube wasn’t cracking. It wasn’t doing anything and it was still, we were still at the dial-up internet for the most part.
Scott: And I had a small at the time, now people can’t picture this today because I’m so angry and I’m just a professional ranter. But back in the old days, I used to talk a lot about work-life balance. You know because my background is actually human resources and then you know employee engagement. So I started doing a lot of talks about work-life balance and I became a keynote speaker there a decade before I was ever a keynote speaker in the marketing circles.
So I had a newsletter and it was called work your life and so I had a few thousand and this is back in probably late ‘90s now or early 2000s. I had a newsletter and it was kind of just pondering along. But here’s the thing, before I did my fix, before I did the thing that changed everything, I had a quote, I’m throwing air quotes. I know that’s fantastic for an audio.
Scott: But I’m throwing up air quotes.
Tim: I can feel it, yeah.
Scott: Yeah. So it was a viral video I had. Back then video was you know, almost unheard of online because of the bandwidth issues. So we were the people that made the slide shows that you used to see back and the motivational which is pictures, cheesy music and words.
Scott: Came across the screen. And I had the thing called the Time Movie. The Time Movie was that whole. You’ve seen that in words. It’s like you have 86,400 seconds, what would you do with it.
Scott: Just really horribly cheesy.
Scott: And it went viral and I got a million views of it and my landing page was all about me. So it’s just hey it’s what Scott does. Here’s the talks, here’s this sign up for my newsletter on this. I was converting like 0.03%.
Scott: On my landing page. So I had a million views about video and I had a thousand or 2000 newsletter subscribers at most, at most plus since there was no YouTube here I’m paying that bandwidth.
Tim: Oh, ouch.
Scott: Everybody I went from $9 a month to $1400.
Tim: Oh my god.
Scott: I’m sitting there like stop going viral. Like stop going viral no more. Like every view is a nickel.
Tim: Don’t watch my videos.
Scott: Yeah. Stop watching the video, stop watching the video. You can’t…
Scott: And I had a buddy of mine, a copywriter named Paul Myers you know, tell me I wasn’t converting. So yeah so I went. I was losing money. So success was actually a bad thing. I was going viral with no – I was bankrupting myself.
Tim: So what did Paul tell you?
Scott: He said stop being an idiot and —
Tim: [Laughs] That’s great advice.
Scott: Pretty much that. Yeah I was stopping an idiot and stop making it about you and I realized that this landing page and this still holds true now that the landing page people were hitting was taking them from this kind of motivational, very emotional experience for two and a half minutes, three minutes and they land it’s my freaking face and my webpage saying hey do this now. It really a jarring of experiences.
And so we changed we, he changed the landing page and he rewrote it. And he made the background of the page the same color as the movie. So it was black and it was just words. You know it was words that continued on into the movie. You know sometimes just sometimes we need a reminder to take you know, take a little bit easy in life and enjoy the better things and stuff. If you want to continue this journey come on and sign up for the work you like newsletter. You’ll only get it twice a month and it will be filled with this, this, and this.
Scott: You can just feel the difference right now when I say something like that.
Scott: You know, versus this. I went from literally like 0.03% to converting 30%.
Tim: Yeah that’s massive.
Scott: Yeah. So the next million I got, I got 300,000 signups.
Tim: Like so the difference there was just the continuity would you say?
Scott: Yeah. It was just realizing to really the moral of the story is, is stop being selfish.
Scott: That it wasn’t about me and I forgot that. I forgot the main, the biggest, the biggest fundamental copywriting talent, which was, make it about the reader. I just went for the jugular after. But here’s a funny part Tim is that I was happy getting those 2000 people and this is the biggest problem I see now fast-forward a decade, more than a decade. It’s still happening now. People say hey I’m converting at this or I’m doing this and you sit back and say could you be doing the exponentially better.
Because we get happy and say hey look this is what we did last month and you’re like what’s the benchmark. Do you we know how we tested, have we gone, have we split test, have we done these things that say is that actually good? Can it be better. When you can answer and say we’ve tried, we’ve tested and that’s really actually the optimal conversion rate or frequency or open rates or whatever that is then you can say that is actually good because nobody knows. You can’t tell me that somebody converts salespage at 2% and it’s like how long is a piece of string.
Scott: You don’t know. You don’t know the right number and that’s people are still doing that like today. We don’t know, we don’t realize like people are sending out and they think they’re doing split testing. They think they’re doing something right and they’re like oh I just read a study that says we should email Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m.. That’s my problem with my newsletter. That’s why it’s not getting opened. Or it’s actually because it’s a terrible newsletter. You know?
Scott: So we’re giving priorities to the wrong things and that thing literally changed my life. I’m not exaggerating. It changed my life because it built up a newsletter of over a quarter million people which then I opened my business start on marketing and we started creating those viral videos for clients. And every time a new client came in we had a launching pad of 300,000 subscribers for it.
Scott: So we actually guaranteed. We guaranteed 50,000 views minimum of your video.
Scott: We built people’s mailing lists in the hundreds of thousands. So it was a fun nine years that we did that for.
Scott: Until YouTube came along and then the automated programs made the slideshows themselves and then we’re out of business. But it was one thing, it was one change in my brain and one landing page that changed, literally changed my life.
Tim: Yeah it’s funny because it was just a kind of tactical change but it also changed your viewpoint on how you did your marketing going forward.
Scott: And everything since then, everything since then you realized that. Then you would look at it and go – it’s amazing. We could be having this conversation in 2006 and we’re saying the same damn thing today, which is you go to somebody’s site and if they’re still doing newsletters, it’s still a valid response technique. It’s still a valid communication tool. And you go and people are still doing the same thing, which is sign up for our newsletter. Who wants to sign up for your newsletter?
Scott: Right. Give me a reason. Why? What am I going to get? What are you going to send me? Because you know I’m sure you do too. I remember the old days when getting an email was exciting.
Tim: Yeah, absolutely.
Scott: You felt cool. You know I worked at a company where we had to decide who got the email addresses.
Tim: Yeah. Yeah. [Laughs]
Scott: You had like five to give out and that was it.
Scott: But now you know we guard that. And we had to realize that we have to get permission on an emotional level to get people’s email addresses.
Tim: Yeah. That makes perfect sense. So now is there anything you would change about what you did?
Scott: Well yeah I wouldn’t – once I got. I changed the landing page and here’s the funny – it’s a like a 20 minute story so I’ll give you the very short version. I changed the landing page but I’m being so cheap because I’m thinking I’m bootstrapping. Right? So I’m so cheap, I don’t use AWeber or Constant Contact or something like that to host it. I decide to originally do it myself.
Tim: Oh, man.
Scott: Manually in Outlook.
Scott: Express, Outlook Express.
Scott: And of course my whole thing just ceased and nothing would work and then I used this I used an open source script called my mail to try to do it. I broke the program.
Tim: Oh my god.
Scott: And I got booted out of the open source community. It’s the most welcoming community in the world and they told me to leave. And so here’s the funny thing. I ended up getting a newsletter of 300,000 people. I lost and this is not an exaggeration. I probably lost almost a half million subscribers before I did it right.
Tim: Oh man.
Scott: And so I finally went and you know signed up for AWeber and you ended up paying next to nothing and they just handled it obviously automatically. And I was just so – that whole kind of pennywise pound foolish move and of course that turned into coming back right back at me a few years later when we’re making movies for clients. You know, we launched a movie and they started growing a subscriber list, huge. We launched one and it goes viral, it goes nuts and the client writes me back later that afternoon and she calls me. And I’m like she’s excited because clients get so excited when it went out and she calls me. She’s like what are you doing? What do you mean what am I doing. It worked. It’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing. We’ve been working on this for four months and it’s just ready to go. She’s like no, I got 20,000 new subscribers in the first day of my newsletter and it’s bumped my shopping cart fees up to $200 because of the number of contacts I have in there now. So I’m not paying $20, I’m paying $200 now to pay my shopping cart. I’m just – I don’t get speechless ever.
Scott: I was speechless and I asked her half-jokingly. I’m like do you want me to just remove the movie? She’s like yes please.
Scott: I deleted it. [Laughs]
Tim: Oh my god.
Tim: Oh my god
Scott: But those tactics and that mindset still holds true and that’s how I grew from a thousand Twitter followers to 10,000 in one month. That’s how I have a 164,000 followers now is you realize it’s the same rule. It’s not about you.
Scott: You know you go on social. You talk to people. You talk with them. You don’t just sit there and broadcast your own stuff. So that rule still holds true for 13, 14 years later.
Tim: Wow. Yeah it’s rare. I think it’s rare to find stuff like that that still stands the test of time. You know, as things are going by so fast.
Tim: So what’s – now looking into the future I know that you know now you’re focusing on the book and everything. So what things are you doing going forward? How does this affect kind of – I mean we’ve talked about how it affects your overall mindset but like what are you doing going forward to kind of push things with the book and everything like that?
Scott: I’m actually making an honest effort to do two things. One we launched the podcast and that’s been amazing variety. On podcast it’s been just so fun.
Scott: and the other side is going back to basics and focusing on email again. That I’ve been so focused. Like I’m one of the poster boys for social media that I’m – if it wasn’t for Justin Beiber, I would be the biggest Canadian on Twitter.
Scott: Which is I had him arrested and —
Scott: But for – I’m actually going back to basics. I’m going back to try to build email again because you know, I love, I’m a huge fan of social. Obviously I’ve written books about it. My name especially on Twitter and I’ve grown every platform I can and I still realize that email is really the only medium we’ve got digitally right now that the receive has to make a decision that you know with Twitter I tweet something or I put something on Facebook. If you’re not there, it just comes and goes.
Scott: The email I still have to make a decision. Do I delete it, do I read it, do I open it later? And that’s the only decisive tool of communication we still have for the most part as marketers. Social doesn’t have that and I think that you know, I want to go back to basics now and reach out. I have fun with my subscribers. I love writing. You know, I do a blogpost, something I [[0:14:35]] [indiscernible] out to them and you know and my job is to grow that back.
Tim: Well I love it. I think you’re funny guy and not only that but you provide value so I really appreciate it. thank you so much for taking some time and coming on ConversionCast and sharing some stuff from way back in the stone age of the internet.
Scott: That’s real nice. I don’t get to talk about it very much so I appreciate you asking about it. Thanks Tim.
Tim: Absolutely. If you found this episode of ConversionCast valuable, you’ll love the free webinar that Tim is hosting this Thursday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. It’s called 4 Steps to Quickly Grow your Email List Without Spending All Your Time On Marketing and its’ designed to do just that This has bene one of our most popular webinars and the event fills up quickly so make sure you don’t miss out. Head over to LeadPageswebinar.com and register now. Once more the webinar is called 4 Steps to Quickly Grow your Email List Without Spending All Your Time On Marketing. It’s happening this Thursday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time and you can reserve your spot at LeadPageswebinar.com. We hope to see you there and of course we’ll see you on the next episode of ConversionCast.
Listen To Discover How Scott Stratten Developed Unmarketing & Exponentially Increased Subscribers