When it’s time to host an event, marketers need strategies for promoting the event and encouraging registration. One channel they turn to? Email.
Email marketing can be instrumental in driving subscribers to sign up and attend, which in turn drives the ROI of your event.
According to research done for our Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends report, most event organizers believe that email marketing is the most effective marketing channel for promoting events.
But how can you build email marketing strategies that help you reach these goals? While there may be no silver bullet, there are many strategies that have been proven to work as you promote an event.
In this post, you’ll find 9 outstanding email marketing strategies paired with some favorite examples.
1. Be deliberate with your announcement
Your event is a big deal, so make sure prospective attendees know it. Sending out an announcement email is a fundamental way to drive registrations.
The key to this email strategy is packaging your message as breaking news. Help your subscribers feel like they are the first to hear about your awesome event and get the enthusiasm flowing.
For example, C100, host of 48hrs, does an excellent job of announcing their event and the companies that will be at the center of it:
Notice how they offer congratulations, as though this is the first these 21 companies have heard about the selection. It’s a small copywriting decision that creates intrigue and excitement.
2. Include a video
A study by EyeView video found that having a video on a page increased conversions by 80%. In another study by Vidyard, 70% of marketers reported that video is more effective than other content in driving conversions.
Including a “sizzler” video from previous events is a great way to immerse subscribers in your event. This video can showcase speakers and explain what attendees can expect.
Influitive, a customer success software company, tackled this brilliantly for their Advocamp event series with a fun and educational video featuring Head Counselor Buck.
3. Share testimonials
Along the lines of the video approach, show your subscribers that your event is going to be awesome with the assistance of previous attendees.
The ClientSuccess team does a great job of this for their CS100 event series. The event speaks for itself through people like Elizabeth Doherty, its biggest champion.
If you haven’t hosted the event before, you can include testimonials from speakers or future attendees that share their excitement. If you’re hosting a retail store opening or one-off event, you can showcase testimonials that share how much people love your brand or products.
For example, check out how Amy Porterfield, an independent coach for entrepreneurs, uses a testimonial pulled from Facebook to promote a webinar:
4. Showcase your speakers
Dedicating an email to the outstanding speakers at your event is another great way of grabbing subscribers’ attention and getting them to click “RSVP.”
For many events, it’s the speakers who provide the majority of content, so it’s only natural for them to be a big factor as a subscriber decides whether they want to attend.
There are a few ways that you can draw attention to your speaker line-up. You can take some inspiration from Wistia, a video hosting company, and highlight a handful of your top speakers:
Or, if your event is boasting some well-known celebrities, you can feature them front-and-center as Collision, a tech conference, did in the below email:
Another tactic is to list your speakers to showcase how much value is coming to the event. For example, check out this line-up from 48hrs:
5. Give the gift of opportunity
It’s one thing to tell people that they’ll have a lot to take away from an event. It’s another thing to tell people that they have a lot to bring.
Whether you’re hosting a conference, an in-store event, or a webinar, try giving people an opportunity to contribute to the event. Your event is nothing without participants, after all. Make sure your prospective attendees realize how special they are.
For example, Vanguard, an investment company, recently announced a new CEO and CIO. To help their clients feel comfortable with the transition, the team hosted a webinar where participants had the opportunity to ask questions to the board and the new CEO.
In a similar vein, Gainsight wants their email recipients to know that attending their event is much more than attending an event— it’s taking part in a movement.
6. Offer early bird discounts
When it comes to creating compelling calls to action, the early bird discount is an established staple. In fact, 64% of event planners believe early bird discounts to be the best promotional method for an event, according to a report by BizBash and Eventbrite.
Sending your contacts discounts in advance of your event is an effective way of driving registrations. Of course, that discount has to end sometime, and having a clear deadline is key for driving action.
Notice how Unbounce creates a sense of urgency for their Call to Action Conference by mentioning how many tickets are left.
Dreamforce makes things seem even more urgent. Whereas most event planners hope that their events will sell out, with Dreamforce that’s pretty much a guarantee. That’s not something marketers are hiding.
7. Promote registration at another event
One of the best times to drive registrations for an event is while subscribers are in attendance. Capitalize on your attendee’s elation and let them know about special offers for future events.
This works especially well for annual events. Give your attendees an unbelievable offer now that commits them to an event in the future.
CoinDesk executes this brilliantly with their Consensus event series:
8. Send out content that gives subscribers a taste of what they’ll get
Once you’ve sent subscribers your best content about early bird offers, speakers, and testimonials, it’s time to move on to other approaches.
Going back to the fundamentals of inbound marketing, think about how you can provide a fun, engaging, and educational spin to your event promotion emails.
One example that we particularly love are these fun facts from SaaStr, a community for SaaS entrepreneurs. These facts are a fun and creative way to get prospective attendees interested in the event, but they also put the spotlight on the people who will attend.
9. Send a direct message from a company leader or influencer
Another email marketing strategy is the direct message. Have your CEO, your CMO, or Head of Events personally address your contacts.
Among all of the visual-heavy images that can flood someone’s inbox on any given Monday, a person-to-person email might be the approach you need to break through the noise.
Here’s a snippet from an email from Social Media Examiner’s CEO Mike Stelzner promoting Social Media Marketing World, their flagship event:
Alternatively, you could send a message from an influencer. If you’re having a retail store opening, for example, you could show a celebrity wearing the clothing to promote the product.