Be careful of how much you ask your audience to do.

Over ten years ago, my productions of The Awesome 80s Prom and Altar Boyz were two of the first shows to send an email to their audience after they saw the show: to thank them for coming, and to ask them to come back, spread the word, etc. (see the now so outdated NY Times article about it here.)

I experimented with a whole bunch of different types of marketing “asks” in those emails and in the emails we started sending to customers before they came to the show as well.

And while engagement rates with these emails were always high, I noticed something pretty quickly when I asked them to do too many things.

I was reminded of this the other day when I got a marketing email from a show that wanted me to buy tickets . . . and download a CD . . . and watch a video . . . . like the show on Facebook . . . and write a review…

What did I do?

None of them.

What I learned way back then (and honestly what I have to remind myself every time I design an email to an audience mine) is that your audience gets distracted very easily, and even more so today than ten years ago.

If you offer your readers too many choices, not only may they not do the thing that is most important to you (in this case, buy tickets), but they may just not do anything at all.

The moment I started putting one . . . just one . . . call to action in my emails, surprise, surprise, I started getting better results.

So rather than try to push three things one time in an email, I started pushing one thing THREE times.


I know, I know . . . as Producers, Writers, Entrepreneurs, we have so many things we want to tell our audience. We’re like kids at the zoo! Look at this, Ma! And this too! Did you see this?

But guess what . . . your audience doesn’t care about it like you do.

You’ve got a much better shot at trying to get them to care about one thing . . . just one.

(And if you think this is just my opinion, then read about the famous “Jam Study” here.)

So the next time you’re designing an email or any type of communication to your audience, follow this checklist:

  1. What is the ONE thing that you want your audience to do?
  2. Push that ONE thing at least three times.

And if you’ve got something else you want to get them to engage with?

Do that one thing next time.

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.