Marketers rely on a lot of tools to drive live event attendance and conversions. But time and again, emails remain the top channel for achieving event marketing goals. Here’s how to get the most from your live events with the help of lessons drawn from the best event marketing emails.
On average, B2B marketers use a total of 5 different channels to generate buzz and maximize engagement for their live events. Recent research published by event tech provider Bizabo shows that email ranks as the top channel for promoting live events among 46% of B2B and 24% of B2C marketers.
Let’s look at what the best event marketing emails can teach us about crafting effective event invitation, promotion, confirmation, notification, and follow-ups.
1. Create a sequence of email touch points
Live events typically consist of three stages: pre-event, in-event, and post-event. You need to map out a sequence of emails to be sent out at each stage in order to maximize engagement.
Pre-event emails are crucial since they set the pace and determine the initial results of your live marketing project, while post-event emails are also very important since they directly impact your campaign’s conversion rates and ROI. That’s why we’ll talk about these points in greater detail later in this post.
2. Build anticipation and excitement
Apart from generating awareness, pre-event emails help boost attendance rates by building anticipation and interest well before opening day. At a bare minimum, your event marketing campaign needs to send out invitation, confirmation, and reminder emails.
Email automation vendor Delivra recommends the following best practices when doing pre-event send-outs:
- Invitation emails – Sent weeks or months in advance (the bigger the event, the earlier the send-out) since potential attendees need time to secure buy-in from their boss.
- Confirmation email – sent right after the recipient responds with an RSVP (best handled through email automation).
- Reminder email – sent once daily 3 days before the event (including a final reminder sent 1 hour prior to event opening).
3. Revisit your subject line strategy
There’s sadly no hard-and-fast rule that spits out irresistible email subject lines. But with careful tracking and testing, it’s possible to tweak your subject line strategy to get better inbox placement and open rates for your event marketing emails.
Event Technologies analyzed 1.25 pre-event and post-event emails and found that:
- 44 out of the top-performing 50 pre-event emails (according to open rates) mentioned the event name in the subject line.
- 40 out of the top-performing post-event emails also mentioned the event in the subject line.
- Pre-event emails whose subject line included the event name had an open rate of 24% vs 18% for pre-show messages whose subject line made no mention of the event.
Aside from naming the event in the subject line, it’s also good practice to indicate a specific call-to-action (CTA), e.g., “Visit us at DMA 2017 &THEN – Booth #1234”.
4. Look for sources of conversion friction
One thing that sets the best event marketing emails from the rest is that they provide a seamless experience for your recipients, from email open all the way to landing page conversion.
According to Kissmetrics, anything that gets in the way of this conversion journey is friction. There’s clearly a lot of points in your recipient’s clickpath where friction can slow down or hamper conversion. Here’s a quick rundown of a few places to closely keep an eye on:
- Email copy – Is the copy short and easy to read?
- CTA – Does the CTA stand out? Does it clearly specify the action?
- Design – Is the design responsive?
- Social sharing – Does your email make it easy for people to find and connect with you on social media?
- Landing page – Does it seamlessly transition from the email? Are the landing page copy and CTA consistent with the email?
5. Plan your follow up ahead of time
Should you try to reconnect with your event attendees after the show? Of course, by all means. But following up requires more than just sending out a quick email. Like pre-event emails, post-show follow ups need some careful planning:
- Prepare a prompt and personalized follow-up plan
- Carry out the follow-up over a series of nurturing emails
- Start following up 1-2 days after the event; don’t wait until 2 weeks
- Offer different possible nurture paths
- Make sure to reference a specific activity at the live event
- Be careful about adding event leads directly into your marketing database
What other live event marketing email best practices do you follow?