Too much of a good thing?

There’s no doubt that e-mail can be an effective way to communicate, inform and promote a call to action. And when it comes to e-mail, effective marketers know that you can have too much of a good thing.

That said, some associations seem to divide e-mail allocations across programs and departments using quotas that resemble real estate more than member needs. This makes for good politics, in the better sense of the word, but it risks diluting the impact of the more important and potentially effective communications.

There’s no “magic number” of e-mails, but in testing for saturation, you want to look at both membership and partner mailings as part of the overall picture. If you’re sending out more than three e-mails a week, you might want to look at your full set to evaluate both current response rates as well as trends in open rates, click-throughs and opt-outs among members.

It’s natural to develop strong attachments to the ways in which we communicate with members. Because e-mail is relatively inexpensive, we risk a tragedy of the commons – too much overwhelms the member and renders all communications less effective. Here’s a gentle call to making the choices at the association level, or at least preening when the relevant data tell you it’s time to do so.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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