Planning a successful event takes more than just finding the perfect venue and scheduling speeches.
Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools to promote your event, boost attendance, and create buzz leading up to the big day. And, with the help of some of the best email marketing platforms out there, you can achieve a lot with them.
With smart segmentation, well-timed sends, and compelling calls to action, you can host an event that exceeds your goals and gets people talking. Follow these 11 proven email marketing tips to make your next event a winner.
Why Event Hosts Should Use Email Marketing
Email marketing is a must for any event host looking to drive awareness, engage attendees, and maximize event success. Studies show that event promotional emails deliver $44 in revenue for every $1 spent.
Beyond impressive ROI, email enables event hosts to segment and tailor messaging, creating customized journeys that speak to different attendee interests.
Automation streamlines campaigns while freeing up time for hosts to focus on event logistics and programming.
Perhaps most importantly, email fosters real connections with attendees before, during, and after events – turning one-time guests into lifelong loyalists. For memorable events that meet goals and grow communities, hosts should have email marketing in their toolbox.
1. Build a Subscriber List with Giveaways
Securing a robust email subscriber list is the critical first step for event email marketing success. Yet many hosts struggle to rapidly grow their database. This is where strategic giveaways come in handy.
Consider offering an appealing incentive like free event tickets, discounts, gift cards, or access to exclusive content in exchange for email sign-ups.
Promote the giveaway through existing channels like social media, website popups, and word of mouth. For extra exposure, explore partnerships with complementary brands that can help cross-promote the giveaway to their audiences.
As emails roll in, remember to abide by permission marketing best practices. Communicate how subscriber data will be used and allow opt-outs at any time. Providing transparency and choice helps nurture genuine, trusting relationships.
Avoid flooding newly subscribed inboxes right away too, carefully timing your post opt-in emails to strike an ideal cadence. With this ethical approach, giveaways enable event hosts to profit from an owned list of past and prospective attendees who have demonstrated clear initial interest.
2. Segment by Attendee Attributes
Once you’ve built your email list to scale, resist the urge to blast out mass generic broadcasts. Instead, embrace the power of segmentation to boost conversions and sales.
Divide subscribers into distinct groups based on attendee attributes like past event participation, location, job title, industry, and brand affinities. This creates defined categories like VIP donors, residents, executive leadership, healthcare workers, tech enthusiasts, families, and so on.
Segmenting by attributes lets your event craft highly tailored email content and journeys. For example:
- Send special insiders-only updates to top-tier supporters
- Welcome first-time guests by highlighting newbie-friendly sessions
- Keep the C-suite in the loop on noteworthy speakers
- Remind hometown neighbors to invite local friends for localized word-of-mouth buzz
When subscribers receive relevant outreach matching their interests and backgrounds, they pay closer attention, appreciate the personalization, and remain more eagerly engaged as brand ambassadors.
Contact strategy platform Mailchimp found that segmented campaigns enjoy higher open rates on average. So divide and conquer based on subscriber attributes for superior event email success.
3. Ensure Mobile Optimization
It’s no secret that smartphones have become extensions of our hands. So with email opening shifting device dominance from desktops to mobile, event email marketing must prioritize mobile optimization.
- Craft easily scannable copy using bite-sized paragraphs, numbered lists, and bolded subject lines.
- Hyperlink critical event details so recipients tap for more information.
- Ensure any embedded images are sized appropriately, avoiding tiny fonts or forcing zooms.
- Review email tests on multiple device screens through Litmus to identify formatting snafus.
- Confirm forms are tap-friendly for hassle-free data entry.
- And prominently display one-tap calls that enable recipients to instantly RSVP, buy tickets, register, donate, or share.
With gettingTickets reporting that a staggering 96% of event ticket purchases happen on mobile, the stakes for flawless mobile optimization are high. By embracing mobile-first email design, hosts grant on-the-go subscribers seamless booking access, boosting registrations and event attendance.
4. Personalize Content
Even with segmentation to divide groups, individual personalization should remain an email marketing priority. Luckily, merge tags make this achievable at scale. These small bits of code allow for dynamically populating subscriber names, locations, past event participation, and other data points right in the email copy.
The difference between generic “Dear Attendee” and tailored “Dear [First Name]” salutations is immediately apparent in subscriber open and click-through rates.
Beyond names, personalized content customization matters too. Mention relevant cities when citing event destinations. Reference past years someone has attended and thank them for their loyalty.
Congratulate VIPs on recent promotions spotted in the news and LinkedIn. And spotlight-related side events of likely interest based on personas.
With data bedrocks like Salesforce integrating with ESPs (email service providers) like Mailchimp, gaining access to subscriber insights for personalization is easier than ever. Dial up the personal touch across event email programs – subscribers will notice and reply positively.
5. A/B Test Subject Lines
Arguably the most important component of any email, subject lines wield outsized influence over campaign success. With recipient attention spans shrinking, subject lines have mere seconds to compel opens.
That’s why consistently A/B testing alternate versions is so valuable. Experiment with emotional triggers like curiosity, urgency, exclusivity, and social proofing. Toggle length to pinpoint ideal character counts. And try different subscriber addresses like first names vs last names.
A/B testing subject lines never stops being necessary either. This graphic from Sendgrid shows the many reasons why it’s important to test your emails:
Because subscriber interests fluctuate over time. What entices this week may fall flat next month. Luckily many ESPs bake effortless split testing directly into their platforms. Setting up a subject line A/B test takes just minutes but uncovers data goldmines.
By continually iterating, event hosts gain insider subscriber psychology understanding. And they accrue swipe-worthy pre-written subject assets to mix and match long after tests conclude. Don’t leave your email open rates up to guesswork. A/B test relentlessly and let data guide your event mail dominance.
6. Promote Through Social Media
Even armed with a primed subscriber list, event hosts should amplify email campaigns through social media.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and YouTube present golden awareness-building opportunities.
- Strategically showcase email signup incentives or embed email excerpts natively into status updates.
- Utilize platforms’ lead generation tools by gating compelling social content behind email capture forms.
- Or advertise existing posts to expand visibility to broader event-relevant demographics.
When deploying social cross-promotion, tailor messaging appropriately on each unique platform. Play to each network’s atmosphere, strengths, and audiences. Brainstorm creative ways past attendees can rally their connections with share-friendly posts too.
And don’t forget to track email sign-up sources closely. This reveals which platforms convert subscribers best to inform optimal ongoing social budget allocations. Synchronize email, social media, and your website with trust markers for maximum event exposure and registrations.
7. Send Engaging Invitations
The event invitation email marks the critical first impression prospect attendees evaluate when deciding whether to register.
So crafting an engaging invitation lands among the most important event email best practices. Important components to include are the event lineup, speaker bios, venue details, schedule, ticket types, and special performances or attractions.
Complement copy with eye-catching visuals like videos, GIFs, photos, logos, graphics, and maps.
Invitations also establish the initial brand tone, voice, and personality that will thread through all event communications.
Define clear differentiated positioning around things like being innovative, educational, entertaining, or community-focused. This framing sets consistent expectations for the experience attendees can anticipate.
Finally, prominently promote the main website and social channels for supplementary event information research. An artfully designed invitation provides a perfect email centerpiece to inspire sign-ups and build premiere event buzz.
8. Share Relevant Updates
Post-invitation, subscribers eager for event specifics closely monitor their inboxes. Capitalize by offering exclusive curated updates.
Share newly announced speakers, experiential activations, or special celebrity cameos well ahead of tickets going live or the event occurring. Provide venue and city destination spotlights highlighting attractions near the facility.
Unveil featured exhibitors that align with target attendee interests so relevant groups feel compelled by emerging panels or show floor booths.
For mega-events spanning multiple days, publish daily schedules or mobile app walkthroughs to help guide plans.
And don’t shy away from early ticket release alerts either – these can power sales momentum through demand urgency. Subscribers feel honored to receive insider previews unavailable elsewhere.
Forging an event email updates strategy earns trust through transparency and positions hosts as go-to industry curators worth learning from long after events conclude.
9. Automate Reminders
Pre-event buildup generates natural crescendos of interest and tasks for attendees. Eliminate forgetful no-shows by automating key email reminder touchpoints. Confirmation messages help lock in commitments right after signup.
Near the early bird ticket cutoff or during special holiday promotions, timed nudges urge soon-to-expire action.
Final week lead-in reminders build palpable anticipation, presenting the last chances to schedule travel and register.
Even once events start, the utility of automated reminders continues. Thank you notes foster goodwill with mentions of specific sessions attendees joined if tracked. Post-event surveys solicit actionable feedback for improving future iterations while memories remain fresh.
Nurture email drips keep conversations going by recapping favorite moments. Sophisticated ESPs like Mailchimp and Constant Contact allow setting up these entire automated sequences in advance to fire reliably on preset schedules. Automate reminders so subscribers stick to plans and hosts avoid manual scramble chaos.
10. Track Engagement
Meticulous email engagement tracking should anchor any event marketing strategy.
- Analyze open, click-through, and bounce rates to judge how well subject lines and content resonate.
- Review activity trends over email series progression to learn if momentum builds or lulls at certain points.
- Dive into subscriber behaviors by segment to identify outperforming groups by industry, seniority, location, or other attributes.
- Proactively address high bounce rates or opt-out rates so list health doesn’t decay.
- Monitor goal completions like ticket purchases, survey participation, social shares, event page visits, and more to value the email’s impact on conversions.
Over time, refined observations further strengthen personalization and segmentation for future sends. For cloud suite ESPs like MailChimp or HubSpot, robust email analytics come built-in to simplify reports. Never send an event email without having tracking enabled to glean subscriber insights.
11. Offer Post-Event Surveys
The attendee journey does not conclude once events wrap either. Post-event surveys present invaluable email opportunities to collect feedback while memories remain top of mind. Ask pointed quantitative rating questions on aspects like registration ease, venue logistics, content quality, vendor partnerships, food and beverage, or takeaway value.
Mix in open-ended qualitative feedback fields for suggested improvements too. To encourage survey participation, offer enticing motivators like contest prize entries, gift cards, access to exclusive presentations, or discounts on future events.
Carefully compiled survey results provide field intelligence event hosts can act upon. Pinpoint specific areas working smoothly versus pain points requiring priority attention to address by next year’s affair.
Uncover potential untapped attendee demand for new segments like certifications, specializations, or networking formats. And determine pricing thresholds and feature wish lists to hone event packaging and promotion.
Close the feedback loop by sharing back event outcome summaries publicly to signal hosts listen to audiences. Email surveys keep relationships thriving year-round.
Email marketing separates good events from great ones. By growing subscriber lists strategically, personalizing content, automating journeys, and tracking engagement data, hosts gain precision tools to maximize event registrations, enhance experiences, and build communities.
RSVP to this winning email marketing playbook and watch your events thrive like never before. The proof is in the responses.