The Cost of Every Message You Send To Your Community

I joined Elizabeth Warren’s community about a month ago.

Since then I’ve received a couple of emails a day. Some of them are newsletter digests, others are from the community manager, others are donation requests written in her name.

There’s probably data somewhere which proves the more emails you send, the more donations and acts of advocacy you gain.

But don’t be surprised when members quickly begin to tune you out. Like a balance sheet, every expense also has a cost. If members deem an email irrelevant, they’re far less likely to open the next email.

Because it’s hard to quantify the value of attention, let’s put an imaginary cost on it. I’d suggest $0.20 per email to member i.e. sending an email out to 10,000 members would cost $2k.

Now is your email so important to members (and so critical to your mission), that you would spend $2k to send it out? And if you are going to spend $2k to send it out, shouldn’t you invest a lot more time to make it as relevant, educational, and entertaining as possible? If you don’t believe a member would be grateful for receiving it, don’t send it.

Now you can lower the cost by sending the email to fewer members (better targeting) or sending fewer emails. And you can raise the return by ensuring every email you send to your mailing list offers so much value it’s a no brainer to you and members.

Sending emails to community members isn’t free. Member attention is finite and you should invest wisely in it.

p.s. pro-tip > send as few regular, weekly, updates as possible.

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