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Optimizing E-mail Notifications To Build Participation Habits

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

The role of e-mail notifications is to create the habit of regularly participating in the community.

The use of these notifications changes as both the community matures and members become regular visitors of your community.

Let’s split notifications into two types, e-mail notifications of new posts by any member and e-mail notifications when you receive a response to your own contributions. 

In a new community, it makes sense to switch on both notifications of new posts and notifications of responses received for all members. This helps the community become a habit. You’re inserting e-mail notifications into the existing habits of members (checking e-mail). 

As the community reaches the establishment phase of the community lifecycle, switch off notifications of new posts before it becomes overwhelming. This is typically 3+ per day. But keep notifications of responses received switch on for all members. 

As the community enters maturity, you make notifications of responses received opt-in for mature members but opt-out for newcomers. This helps new members develop the habit of visiting the community and prevents veteran members from ignoring e-mails they receive. 

The danger isn’t that they begin ignoring the notifications, it’s that they ignore all communications from the community. 

Veteran members should now be in the habit of visiting the community on a regular basis. They need to see notifications on the website not in their inbox. Facebook did this very well a few years ago. 

To simplify, for the first 3 – 6 months turn on notifications of new posts and responses. Once you get more than 3 to 5 posts per day, turn off notifications of new posts. As members reach {x} number of posts (maybe 50 – 100) turn off notifications of new posts (let them know about this) and focus on notifications via the community webpage. 

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