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Communities Creating Email Overwhelm

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

Counting the number of emails a member received from one organisation upon joining the community recently.

  • 1x Weekly newsletter from the company.
  • 1x Special email announcing the community.
  • 1x Confirmation email when they registered.
  • 1x Welcome email when they clicked the confirmation email.
  • 1x Email congratulating the member on making their first post.
  • 1x Email letting the member know they had received a response to their post.
  • 1x Email letting the member know they had received their ‘first post’ badge.
  • 1x Email letting the member know they were now being followed by the admin.
  • 1x Email letting the member know they had received a direct message from the admin.
  • 1x Email letting the member know they had reached a new level.
  • 1x Weekly community digest.
  • 1x Curated monthly community newsletter.

Timing was a factor, but all 12 emails were sent within 3 days.

You can intuitively see how receiving each email individually makes sense.

But combined they create overwhelm which almost guarantees members will never read any of your emails again (aside, while you distinguish between emails from the community and the rest of the organisation, a member doesn’t).

A few basic tips:

1) Limit distribution of emails. If your platform allows it, limit the number of emails a member (especially a newcomer) will receive to just 2 to 3 per week.

2) Don’t send out gamification emails. For newcomers who quickly move up levels, this creates far too many meaningless emails. Either limit this to the higher ranks or turn it off entirely.

3) Don’t send out DM or follow emails. DMs should only be for active members who regularly visit the community and follow-related emails are pointless.

4) Don’t enroll newcomers automatically in the newsletter or digest. Either wait a week or two or invite members to opt-in when they’re ready.

5) Delay the welcome email. Wait until after a member has made their first post or been a member for a week.

Try going through your registration process yourself. You might be surprised just how many emails members receive.

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