There are few things that matter more to the success of an email communication strategy than consistency. Sending messages at regular intervals - like the same day and time, every time - helps create a cadence that readers can count on and even anticipate.
No one knows this better, perhaps, than James Clear, bestselling author of Atomic Habits. He sends a newsletter called 3-2-1 Thursday every week without fail on, you guessed it, Thursdays.
He takes consistency to another level by also sending his messages in the same format every time. (Check them out here, if you're curious.) Over time, readers like me, come to know what's inside: the time it will roughly take to consume the message and the value they can expect to get from it.
I know when I open a 3-2-1 email, I'll be able to read the entire thing in 5 minutes or less and I'm almost guaranteed to find something interesting, insightful, or worthwhile inside.
His consistency has trained me to trust the content and to want to open the messages.
But why does Clear, an author, take the time to create a high-quality newsletter every single week? Why would he (or his team) put so much effort into providing value for free on a regular basis when his main objective is to sell books?
Because developing a strong, loyal, and engaged email list is an investment.
The next time James Clear has a book - or any other product - to sell, he'll have a large group of people trained to open his messages and hear his pitch. It's the long game. And, it will have been well worth his time.
You can use email as an investment, too. (Remember this? And this? How about this?) So that, by the time year-end appeals hit your donors inboxes, they're primed and ready to open, read, and click your email.
You'll have brought them a step closer to your mission with every message - so that making a gift is no longer a big leap.
Before I let you go, , I wanted to share an excerpt from a recent issue of 3-2-1 Thursday that I instantly appreciated and saved. It's a poem by Danusha Laméris on the value of small kindnesses, and I hope you find it worthwhile, too:
“I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”