It’s not easy to cut through the noise of a full inbox. Even so, event email marketing is a worthwhile part of an event marketing campaign. So how do you make sure recipients actually see your event promotions? The key is to craft email messages that target the right demographics and speak to the issues your audiences are most interested in. If your email marketing for events can cover those two aspects, you’re well on the way to a killer email campaign that gets the results you need.
What Is an Email Marketing Campaign?
Email marketing is direct marketing where emails are sent to recipients who sign up to be on your mailing lists. Rather than hoping customers and clients and potential customers and clients find you online, marketing emails let companies and organizations speak directly to consumers, providing information on products and services. Over time, email marketing can help you build relationships that boost customer engagement and retention.
Within this category, there are email marketing campaigns, a series of emails that typically have a defined start and end date and a defined marketing goal. Email campaigns are suitable for a wide range of purposes, including event marketing, product launches, sales, and branding and awareness campaigns.
What Does an Email Campaign Look Like?
For a corporate event, a typical event marketing email campaign includes a series of emails that first introduce the recipient to the event or serve as event invitation emails. After the event announcement, each email provides further information with the goal of encouraging event registrations and ticket purchases.
Key details are provided early in the campaign, potentially in the form of an event invite. This ensures your audience has plenty of time to buy an event ticket, arrange travel and accommodation, and get ready to attend. These details might include:
- The event date
- Registration deadlines
- Where to buy tickets
Further event details are given out over the course of the email campaign to build excitement and attendee engagement, a sense of urgency, even FOMO (fear of missing out). Each email should include a specific call-to-action that invites the recipient to click through to read more information, register for the event or buy a ticket, or perform another relevant action.
The key with sending emails is to stay in constant contact with your audience. By drip-feeding event content over the duration of the campaign—from an event announcement or event invite to reminder emails—you can sustain audience engagement and keep readers actively interested.
With email segmentation tools, you can create campaigns that automatically adapt to each individual recipient. For instance, you can create a campaign with two different email sequences:
- One for people who haven’t yet bought an event ticket
- One targeted to ticket-purchasers
Initially, each person receives emails that are designed to pique interest, build excitement, and encourage them to register. Then, once someone buys a ticket, they’re automatically moved from one list to the other, so they receive emails specifically targeted to event attendees. For these people, emails should include more actionable content such as the event schedule and signup forms for specific sessions.
Email Marketing for Events Works: Here’s Why
Email marketing is a proven strategy with a wide range of benefits. Why is it so effective?
1. Everyone Uses It
More than 4 billion people use email on a daily basis, and 64% of small businesses use email marketing. Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C organization, email is an effective way to reach your audience.
2. Emails Are Customizable
Social media marketing is amazing for reach, but sometimes people can feel like just one of the crowd when they see a Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok message. Email marketing tools let you create messages that personally address each recipient with information such as their name, location, or job title. And segmenting your email lists in the first place makes sure individuals receive targeted emails, depending on actions they take, such as visiting your event website, completing registration or a ticket purchase, or downloading the mobile event app.
Another advantage is that, while you can plan an entire campaign in advance as part of an event email marketing strategy, you can also modify it as the campaign plays out. For instance, if people respond positively to an email that contains video content, you might decide to modify future emails to include more video clips.
3. Email Makes It Easy to Access Information
It’s imperative that people who attend your event can access event information whenever they need it. Event emails give them an easy way to store and access that information. They don’t even need to remember the event website, as they can simply search their inbox for the most recent email and use that as a quick way to access the site.
4. Emails Are Shareable
It’s not just social posts that are shareable. Anyone who receives your email can quickly and easily forward it to colleagues and acquaintances who they think might be interested. Make sure to add some great content to each email—such as video clips or useful event info—to up your chances of getting shared.
Event Marketing Best Practices for Effective Email Campaigns
1. Segment Your Email Lists
Email is a mass medium, where you send out messages to many people. For events, that can mean hundreds or even thousands of recipients. The trouble is, every recipient is an individual. They have their own professional needs and preferences. How can you craft messages that are tailored to each one?
The short answer is that you can’t and shouldn’t. If your email list is large enough to be useful, it’s too big for crafting individual messages; that’s not a valuable use of your time. However, you can get the next best thing by segmenting your email lists. This lets you create broad or narrow demographic groups and send emails that are tailored to those groups.
Segment Attendee Groups
Creating different segments for attendee groups lets you tailor email content more precisely. Some ways to segment your audience for effective event email marketing can include:
- Job title/industry: For any specific event, people will find value in different event aspects, depending on their professional roles. You can Target people in a specific industry or industries and/or draw attention to specific aspects; for example:
- A keynote address that’s of interest to people in managerial roles
- A job fair to interns and other people at the start of their careers
- Location: For a hybrid event, you could highlight live content to locals and virtual content to overseas attendees. Or, for an international event, you can include information about language interpretation services for overseas readers.
- Customer history: For some events, you might want to target long-time or high-value customers in different ways from other customers.
Regardless of how you segment your audience in other ways, it’s always important to create a separate subgroup for event ticketholders. This means having two similar, but separate, campaigns—one for your target attendee audience and one for actual ticketholders or registered attendees. Once someone from the target audience group registers or buys a ticket, remove them from that group and add them to the ticketholders group. This prevents them from receiving useless or redundant information via email.
2. Stay Consistent with Branding
As part of your overall event marketing campaign, your event email marketing should stay consistent when it comes to visual and verbal branding. Whatever your overall event branding looks like, your emails should maintain that tone, style, and look over the course of the entire campaign.
3. Write Emails That Get Results
Writing effective emails is both an art and a science. There are proven methods for increasing click-through rates (CTR) and getting more eyeballs on your words. But to translate those results into ticket sales and attendance figures, you need to make a personal connection with your audience.
Use Email Templates
Email templates are useful for a variety of reasons. They make it easier to achieve consistency with branding and other creative elements and help you save time when writing emails.
- Segmenting: Templates make it easier to craft emails for different audience segments. By using email templates, you can quickly slot in specific content for each segment to create several targeted versions of the same email.
- Personalization: Personalizing subject lines and email text can help you make a connection to your email recipients. Templates make it easy to add in those personal touches.
- A/B testing: Using templates can also help you easily test variations in language, layout, and other elements. If you decide you want to try A/B testing, templates make it easy to slot in variations.
Create a Sense of FOMO
We all like to think we’re savvy consumers, too sophisticated to fall for cheap tricks like the “fear of missing out” that advertising tries to evoke. But the truth is, it appeals to a deep desire to be a part of something with other people. FOMO is a strong driver of behavior.
Because of this integral part of human nature, tapping into FOMO is a highly effective way to get people to open your emails. Let your email recipients know there’s something awesome waiting for them inside and that they can’t afford to let the opportunity pass them by. Whether it’s enticing pictures of previous events, early-bird discounted ticket prices, or a chance to score VIP perks, exclusive offers are an effective way to increase email click-through rates and incentivize registration.
Prove Your Event’s Value
An impactful subject line gets your readers to open those emails, but that can only take you so far. Once they’ve opened the email, you have to turn those email readers into ticket-buyers.
- Tailor email content to target demographic segments.
- Highlight the most relevant keynotes, sessions, and other content for each segment.
- Add images and video clips to boost engagement while providing information.
- Highlight reels from past events
- Messages or presentation highlights from event speakers
- Marketing messages from sponsors, industry thought leaders, and other notable figures
Add a Clear CTA
Every email you send should include a clear call-to-action (CTA) that offers the reader one or more steps they can take after reading the email. For people who haven’t yet registered for your upcoming event, that CTA is generally a purchase button that takes them right to the ticketing and registration page.
For people who’ve already bought their tickets, CTA buttons are still useful. You might include links to:
- A pre-event survey
- The event website
- Event FAQ
- Social media channels
- Other places where they can get event information
3. Nail the Timing
The content of your event emails is important, but it’s not the only aspect of the campaign that matters. To give your emails the maximum impact, it’s also important to get the timing right.
Timing Your Campaign
Starting your event email campaign too early can risk losing your audience’s attention because the waiting period is too long. If you start the campaign too late, you may not have enough time to maximize your audience reach.
The right length of time for email marketing for events also depends on the size and scope of the event. Big industry-wide events need a longer campaign than niche or internal corporate events. If attending an event costs a significant amount of money or involves international travel, the campaign should start several months in advance. This ensures people have time to get approval and funding and organize travel and accommodation if needed.
The longer your email campaign is, the more important it is to time individual emails to create a sense of momentum. This typically means your campaign begins with emails spaced weeks or months apart. As it gets closer to the start date of the event, you gradually speed up the pace of your campaign so emails arrive more frequently, with multiple emails in the week leading up to the event.
Create Event Email Marketing Campaigns That Actually Work
Email can be a hugely effective way to market your upcoming event. By incorporating these key details into your event email marketing strategy, you can get into your audience’s inboxes and deliver the information they need to know that your event is the one they want to attend.