My good friend Eve Fox over at M+R just gave me the heads up about an article she and her colleague Karen Matheson wrote called "Do Email Silences Matter?". Though the sample size is small, which they readily admit, the article goes a long way to quantify the damage done by lapses in constituent e-mail communication, something I hadn't seen before. Below are the key paragraphs summarizing the results.
One month gap:
"Three of the four organizations experienced declines of at least 1% in click-through and response rates after gaps of one or more months in their email advocacy messaging. The other organization had only a one-month gap in its messaging and its click-through and response rates fell only slightly (less than 1%) the next month."
Two to three month gap:
"An email silence of two to three months resulted in lower click-through and response rates to the next advocacy message. The gap in communications caused click-through rates to drop an average of 3.80% while response rates dropped an average of 3.03%. A one-month gap in advocacy messaging resulted in an average drop of 1.41% in click-through rates and a 1.06% drop in response rates to the first advocacy message after the gap."
Like all good consultants they offer recommendations, which all boil down to this maxim - Stay In Touch. This advice parallels much of what we've see on Frogloop in that what matters for offline communication matters for online too. Like the offline world, staying in touch helps keep relationships strong.
Another nice tidbit is the sample e-mail communications calendar, a must for coordinating cross departmental e-mail communications schedules.
Thanks Eve for sending this along. And for the other data hounds out there, we welcome submissions from anyone who has useful research to share with nonprofit online communicators.