Promoting events can be a tough business, and you’ll need to use every tool in the box to draw in the delegates you’re hoping for. One of the most promising options is email marketing. Although it is often overlooked in event promotion – after all, we all receive hundreds of emails we never open every year - with the right approach and an effective integrated marketing strategy, you might be surprised by the dividends it can pay. Of course, we’re not just talking about growing your event before it takes place, either: as part of a long-term plan to foster meaningful relationships with delegates and the organisations they represent, email marketing can ensure your event has a legacy that lasts long after the attendees have headed home.
Everyone has those marketing emails they delete without ever opening. In these instances, the one part of the message that everyone sees is the subject, so that’s where your email can be made or broken. Subjects which provoke a reaction are more likely to get your email opened, but for obvious reasons it’s wise to avoid stimulating anger or offence. Similarly, don’t be too formal or familiar.
Instead, go for a punchy subject which communicates clearly that your email includes information of value. For example, “Business growth tips at this event” is less likely to be opened than “Five ways this event will help you grow your business”.
Many users have their email accounts set up so that some image formats do not appear. Similarly, your email may not be compatible with every system out there, so keep it simple and use as few different formats as possible. Always send a test email to a colleague or your own personal email account to get a sense of how it will look to the recipient, ensuring that it is clear and easy to read without the page being too busy.
Images and videos
Coloured text boxes and other such additions can make an email more appealing and easier to read, provided the effects are not too over the top. That said, be careful to use them only where you are certain they will be helpful. Other features could include an image of a speaker or previous event, but you might find that a video of one of your speakers giving an earlier presentation on a related topic is more helpful.
Including a thumbnail of the video that users can click on to view the whole clip is a good way of encouraging them to invest time in finding out about you and your event, as well as convincing them your event will provide content of value to them.
There is no harm whatsoever in sending out multiple emails. In fact, it’s a good way to build interest in your event as long as you avoid overkill. Generally it’s best to send out an early email some months beforehand, announcing the speakers and features you have already confirmed and offering early-bird discounts, as well as a link to your online event registration system to make signing up as easy as possible.
Then, send a reminder email a couple of days before these discounts are due to end, followed by another about a fortnight after that and a final reminder email no more than a week before the event. This should include reminders of event details for those who are already registered and a “last chance” call to action for those who have not reserved their place yet.
Your event should not stop adding value to your organisation once the attendees have left. As part of an integrated marketing strategy it can go a long way towards forging successful relationships. You have the option of linking to a survey that will give you useful feedback on how to improve future events, as well as positive testimonials to use in future marketing communications.
However, emails are also useful as a means of inviting delegates to keep up the conversation on social media by including your Twitter handle or creating a LinkedIn group, while providing video clips and transcripts of presentations can be a good way to remind delegates of the value of the event. This will also grant you access to a group of delegates who you know are already interested in what you do, making them a great target audience for messages regarding forthcoming events.