Event planning without event promotion doesn’t amount to much. The best-laid plans will be ineffective if people are not aware of your event in the first place.
There are many marketing strategies that can be useful to event marketers but one tried and true method that delivers a positive ROI almost every time is email marketing.
Emailing your mailing list is an effective way to perform outreach, and if you run your email campaign properly, it can also be an effective way to generate ticket sales.
Here are some tips to help you promote your event:
Email Marketing Best Practices
Event email marketing is just like any other email marketing campaign. There are certain best practices that will ensure a more successful campaign.
Use an Event Email Template
Sure, designing an email isn’t necessarily difficult but why would you leave any of the details up to chance? Using an email template means you can get an expertly designed, eye-catching, email without any extra effort on your end.
Look for a template that easily enables you to add your event branding elements. A template will help ensure consistent messaging and make it perfectly clear to the recipient that the email comes from you.
It will also save you time on the design end which, of course, will save you money and help you stay within your budget.
Segment Your List
If you have a massive mailing list, it is important to break it down into particular segments. If you are promoting a local, in-person event like a conference or trade show, you’ll want to focus on the people on your list who are in the city where the event is taking place and then those who are within reasonable travel distance. That will ensure that your open rates and click-throughs remain high.
If the upcoming event has massive reach in a particular industry or field, then you can extend it to a national audience but you won’t necessarily want to start there.
Your goal will be to get people to buy tickets or register, so the email needs to be sent, first and foremost, to the most qualified members of your audience.
If you are planning an online event or webinar, an invitation can be sent to everyone.
Monitor Email Performance
Email marketers know that all campaigns should be monitored for performance elements. Tracking your open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.
If you are monitoring these numbers, you will be able to understand what is working and what isn’t. It will also allow you to improve your email campaigns in the future.
One thing you can do is A/B test parts of the email to see what gets the most traction. A/B test your subject lines, CTA text, CTA button placement, or email copy.
Taking this simple step can help you really hone your campaign and its content to deliver the best returns.
Include Event Description and Details
Your marketing strategy needs to include your event details, otherwise, what’s the point?
This may seem like an obvious point but it is worth mentioning as often an invitation email is too vague to be effective.
Be sure to include the date, time, and location. But also give people a reason to attend. Include an event description that will clearly outline why your audience should attend. Tell them what they can expect to see/do, who the entertainers/speakers/presenters will be, and what they can gain from attending.
Spell it out.
Provide Valuable Content
To increase the likelihood of being opened and read, your email needs to land in the inbox. Providing valuable content can help you avoid being labeled as spam.
People will not open emails from you in the future if your invitation email is uninteresting or lacks the information they were expecting.
Including images, GIFs, and video content is a great way to engage with your audience. It is also a great way to work in some elements that will provide you with a little social proof. If this is an annual event, for example, include images and videos from last year that show attendees having a great time. No one wants to be left out of a good time and if you can position your event as being popular and exciting, you are likely to generate more sales.
Do not overload your invitation email but in your follow-up, or subsequent emails, consider including a link to a blog post or some piece of content that lives on your branded event website.
If you can consistently offer content that people want to see/read, you can be sure that emails from you will be opened.
Send an Automated Email
Using an automated email system will save you time. Simply upload your contacts, choose your template, fill in the copy in whatever clever or creative way is appropriate and send it out. You can schedule emails to go at particular times and segment your list so that certain people will get certain emails. For example, if someone purchased tickets through your invitation email, you do not need to send them purchase reminders. But if someone clicked through to the purchase page and didn’t buy tickets, they would need a purchase reminder.
These tools will help you personalize your subject lines. A recipient is far more likely to open an email that has their own name in the subject line than an email that is more broad and general.
Send a Follow-Up Email
It is important to send a follow-up email after your invitation email.
Most promoters and marketers will begin their event promotion months ahead of the event. That is a lot of time between the initial invitation and the event itself. It is entirely possible that interested parties may completely forget about your event.
Follow-up emails will help ensure that everyone who wants to attend, does attend.
The number of emails you need to send will depend on the timeline. The further away your event is from the invitation, the more follow-ups you may need to send. But remember, no one wants their inbox to be bombarded with messages so do not overdo it.
Allow time to pass between emails so people do not unsubscribe or ignore you completely.
Always send a follow-up the week before, or the week of your event. Many people wait until the last minute to buy tickets for events. It is not uncommon for people to think they have lots of time to purchase and then it slips their mind entirely. Do not leave that money on the table!
Email Design Tips to Help You Stand Out
Email marketing is only as effective as the emails themselves. People receive dozens of emails each day and to get opened AND to register with the recipient, you will need to design your email properly.
Make CTAs Perfectly Clear
Make sure that your call to action is clear and actionable.
Instead of just including a link, use a CTA button. Buttons are more obvious and perform 33% better than hyperlinks.
Make the button a color that will stand out from the rest of the email. Consider using a bold color that relates to your branding or simply a bold color that hasn’t been used elsewhere in your email.
Keep the text short: something like “Register Now” or “Buy Tickets” will work best. If you are unsure, this is something that can be A/B tested.
You will want, especially in follow-ups, to create a sense of urgency and having an obvious, actionable button will allow readers to act on that urgency.
Optimize For Mobile
People spend a lot of time on their phones so it is important that your emails are mobile-friendly. It is a pretty safe bet that if your email is not legible on a mobile device, your recipient will not click-through and they are unlikely to open any future emails from you.
Most email builders will allow you to optimize for mobile, just be sure to do a preview and check things over before you send it out.
Make it Easy to Sign Up
Do not make it hard for people to buy tickets from you. Your event may be great but if people have to work too hard to find out where and how to buy tickets, they are just going to take a pass.
Don’t forget to brand your ticketing page so that visitors are not confused and know that they are, in fact, in the right place.
Using an event ticketing system to make this process easier. Look for a provider that also offers integrations with email marketing platforms and/or allows you to design branded emails and import contacts.
Event email marketing is a solid way to spread the word about your event and set yourself up for success. If you would like to boost attendance and increase ticket sales, an email campaign is a great place to start. Follow the best practices and design tips laid out in this post and reap the benefits by way of ticket sales!