When it comes to marketing meetings, event planners focus on cost-effective, efficient and immediate tools such as websites, social media and email. Email is by far the weapon of choice for busy organisers with the Event Marketing 2018 report showing that email marketing is the single-most effective channel for promoting events.
But the inbox is a noisy place, with many people receiving hundreds of emails every single day. How can you break through the clutter to engage your delegates? We’ve asked our team of marketers for their best advice to create clever email campaigns that will boost your meeting attendance.
Write with purpose
When writing an email, keep in mind who your reader is, what your message is, and the next step (or call-to-action). For example, the first email you send could be to previous attendees that you want to inform of an upcoming meeting, and the call-to-action is to register today. Once you’ve established these basic facts, go forth and write. Don’t forget to include a compelling value proposition that will persuade your readers to immediately register!
Keep your message simple
The most important part of any communication is developing a crystal-clear message. This is crucial for effective email marketing campaigns. Research has shown the average person spends just 15 to 20 seconds reading an email – leaving very little wiggle room to get your message across. Establish your core message and strip out unnecessary filler, your readers will appreciate an email that gets straight to the point.
Master the art of the subject line
First impressions count! Subject lines are the teaser that will entice readers to open. Far too often, subject lines are the afterthought hastily cobbled together before sending. To boost your event marketing success, focus on optimising the subject line to maximise open rates. Keeping it short and sweet is the top tip, one study found subject lines of 10 characters or less achieved an open rate of nearly 50%.
Make things personal… but only if you can do it well!
Everybody loves to feel special. An email addressed directly to your recipient will feel more personal than a generic greeting. Most email platforms make it easy to personalise your e-correspondence with fields such as first name, industry, previous events attended, and so on. This advice comes with a caveat, as bad personalisation (i.e. Hi there [first.name]!) is a big turn off and will likely to lead to a swift delete.
Segment your contact list
Consider segmenting your lists to offer tailored communications. In your database of contacts, you may have segments such as delegates that attended previously, delegates that expressed interest in future meetings, delegates that attended a related seminar or roundtable, and brand-new prospects gathered through another source. Your emails are more likely to convert into registrations if you spend time breaking your contacts into distinct segments and tailoring your copy to each. It’ll be worth it, research by Campaign Monitor highlighted a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns.
Provide value in your emails
Content marketing is an important part of any event marketing strategy, as it allows you to establish your event and demonstrate its value to potential attendees. Sending the email is one small part of a wider process, what incentive are you providing to readers? Providing value is as simple as a short blog post summarising the takeaways of your last meeting, or a guest post from a speaker at your upcoming event with some teaser content on what to expect.
Attach a calendar invite
Increase your registration figures and persuade delegates to commit by attaching a calendar invite to your email. Many event registration platforms such as Eventbrite allow you to create pre-populated calendar invites that can be easily imported into Outlook, Apple and Google calendars. You could also include ‘share this event’ buttons for delegates to post to their social media channels and spread the word.
Make your email visually pleasing
In addition to strong copywriting and a clear call-to-action, the format of your email should be professional, easy-to-read and true to your brand. According to one industry expert, attendees are 15 times more likely to register for an event if there is consistent branding across marketing communications. Bear these points in mind: Is your font clear and readable? Have you included a high-res version of your logo? Are the colours true to your event palette? Is your signature professional?
Put your signature to work
Speaking of signatures, every pixel of your email is an opportunity to engage. Your email signature is a significant piece of real estate and your last chance to capture their attention. Be sure to include your name, job title, phone number, any relevant social media links, your website and even your event hashtag (if you have one).
Check compatibility with all devices
Every marketer knows that communications should display properly not matter how they are received. Though it’s a reasonable assumption that everybody reads email with a smartphone and therefore fancy HTML elements are fine, you should ensure there is a plain text version of your email available. This is really easy to do in most platforms such as Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor, as you can convert your HTML into plain text with one click.
Proof, proof, and proof again
The devil is in the detail in events – whether it’s finalising the crucial details of your meeting or casting a final eye over your communications. It never hurts to have an extra pair of eyes check over your email campaigns to make sure your spelling, grammar and sentence structure are all up to scratch.