Planning an event? Have you thought about even marketing via email? If not, you could be missing out. Email marketing is one of the marketing channels with the highest rate of return and marketing your event via email can make a world of difference in the number of attendees you get. Don't just take our word for it, though. According to Wishpond, 78% of event presenters say that email marketing is their best marketing tactic. And, 26% of recipients open event-related emails with 4.95% clicking on the links. If you use email marketing correctly, you can get a big boost in event attendance and even increase ticket sales!
But how do you know you're using email marketing correctly and getting the best return on your event marketing via email? Don't worry, that's why we've put together this article with 8 best practices for marketing your event through email. Plus, we'll be sharing six different emails you should be sending to your market your event so you know exactly what to do and what to include.
Email Marketing Best Practices for Event Promotion:
Event Marketing via Email: Best Practices
There's a lot of work that goes into planning an event. You have to find a venue, get speakers, bring in vendors, create an event schedule... Oh, and you also have to find a way to get people to actually attend. Even though 2020 and a global pandemic brought an increase in virtual events, that really only took care of the "venue" part of planning—even for virtual events, you still need to find a way to bring in attendees.
That's where email marketing comes in.
With the best practices for event marketing via email we're including here, you'll be able to build event marketing email campaigns that earn higher open and click rates, boost conversion rates (more attendees!), and even increase the number of people who share news about your event with others.
1. Send a Pre-Event Email Marketing Series
Our number one best practice for event marketing via email is to create and send an event email marketing series before the official launch. The goal is to create a cohesive, memorable message with your entire email marketing series. You can and should start this entire series off with a special pre-launch series designed to build buzz and get potential attendees excited about what the event has in store. We'll be identifying some of the emails to include in your event marketing later. Here, let's talk about the types of emails you can send for your pre-launch.
The Announcement Email
Your announcement email can be simple, like this email from Litmus announcing its London Live event:
The First Teaser Email
Sending teasers is a great way to generate some excitement about your event. Be sure to include teasers that are going to inspire FOMO or urgency in your subscribers like this email from Marketing United in which they tease out the keynote speaker:
The Second Teaser Email
If you decide to send more than one teaser, it's a nice touch to share images and testimonials from previous events. Here's an example from Litmus:
2. Exclusive Offers
One of the easiest ways to get people to make the commitment to attending your event is by making them an offer. This might be a discount for early-birds, free vendor merch, or even discounts on food or drinks at the event. You can also take a page from the Joint Futures playbook and target not the early-birds but the "last-minute-birds" with a special offer:
If you're planning on using an exclusive offer (and we highly recommend it), you'll want to be sure to make the offer available for a limited time. You don't need to use countdown timers or anything, just let people know that the discount isn't going to be available forever.
3. Use Social Proof
As we saw in the second teaser email from our first best practice for event marketing via email, social proof (things like reviews, testimonials, and user-generated content) can have a big impact. The idea behind social proof is that people will do something because other people are doing it. It's basically peer pressure for marketing. You can use social proof to give potential event attendees the push they need to register for your event.
4. Open Up to Questions
In addition to making sure that your emails are informative and share the information your subscribers need to know about your event, you'll want to give them the chance to ask questions. The easiest and cleanest way to do this is probably through a contact form. Just share the link in your emails and on social media and let subscribers know they can reach out with questions. Here's an example from Louie Spence that includes a "what to expect" section in the email as well as a link to ask questions:
You might also want to consider creating a page specifically addressing frequently asked questions like how to buy tickets to the event, how much tickets cost, what parking is like at the venue, and more.
5. Encourage Invitees to Invite Others
As humans, we have a tendency to congregate with others who like the same things we do. So, why not encourage your subscribers to invite others to attend your event with them? Consider offering a group discount on the cost of tickets or even running an online contest to encourage sharing of your event. Here's an example from Circles showing how to use an online contest to get the most from every single email:
6. Keep Guests Informed
Send regular updates to both those who have registered for your event and those who haven't. For those who have registered for your event, you might include information about speakers, the schedule, vendors at the event, etc. For those who haven't registered, you can still share this same information—just be sure to share pricing and registration information, too.
7. Send Reminder Emails
Another of the best practices for event marketing via email is to send reminder emails to your attendees. This helps you nurture relationships, keep attendees informed and excited about the event, continuing to encourage them to share your event with their networks (if registration is still open), and even promoting upsells and cross-sells.
8. Thank Attendees After the Event
The last on our list of best practices for marketing your event via email deals with what happens after the event is over: thank your attendees. While event organizers definitely put in tons of effort to make sure an event is enjoyable and well-attended, an event without attendees isn't really an event. That's why it's so important to thank your attendees. Plus, it can encourage them to come again next time! Here's an example from Litmus to use as inspiration:
Notice that Litmus uses this email to thank attendees, continue social media engagement, let attendees know that they'll be getting slides from the conference in a later email, and even soliciting feedback about the event.
6 Event Marketing Emails to Drive Attendance
Now that we've covered some event email marketing best practices, it's time to talk about emails you can send to drive event attendance. Each of the six emails we're sharing here is a chance for you to get your subscribers and potential attendees excited about your event and let them know how your event will meet their needs and improve their lives. Your emails should nurture subscribers through the process of registering for your event as well as keep them informed about news related to the event and keep your event on their minds.
Email Idea #1: Announcement
The announcement email is an important first step when using email for event marketing. This acts as a "save the date" and gives recipients information about what's happening, when it's happening, and where. The great thing about announcement emails is that you don't have to have much more information than that. If you do have some information about even speakers or special things that are going to be happening at the event, sharing them in your announcement email can make a great impression.
Announcement emails don't need to be long. It's essentially just a heads up that something cool is coming. We do recommend that you give recipients the option to sign up for a reminder when event registration goes live.
Who should get it: Everyone on your email marketing list as well as past event attendees.
When to send it: 3–6 months before your event is a good rule of thumb.
Here's an example from Framer that includes the bare-bones information your announcement email must include as well as a CTA instructing recipients to "get on the list:"
Email Idea #2: Early-Bird Pricing
After you send your "save the date" or announcement email but before you send out the invitation email, you should definitely promote some early-bird deals. Promotional pricing is a great way to front-load your registrations.
Who should get it: People who interacted with your announcement email.
When to send it: Send early-bird pricing emails before the invitation email.
Here's an example of an early-bird pricing promotion email from Circles:
Email Idea #3: Invitation
The invitation email is your first chance to get recipients to register as attendees. Like all sales emails, your invitation email should highlight your value proposition to let attendees know what they are going to get or learn from your event (how it's going to improve their position). Along with that, you'll need to include compelling CTAs to motivate readers to take the important step of actually registering for the event.
Who should get it: Your entire email list and past event attendees.
When to send it: 2–3 weeks after the announcement email.
Here's an example of an invitation email from Google for their Google Cloud Next '19 event:
Email Idea #4: Confirmation
Once someone registers for your event, you'll want to send them a confirmation. Don't just say "you're registered" and let that be the end of it, though. Transactional emails like confirmation emails have 4–8X higher open rates than regular marketing emails (SendX) and get average click-through rates of 4.8% (99Firms). This makes them a great chance for you to push your attendees over to your website or share additional resources with them.
Who should get it: People who registered to attend your event.
When to send it: Confirmation emails should be sent right after the person registers for your event.
Here's an example of a confirmation email from Universe's Hustle Con event:
As you can see, Universe includes the ticket information as well as an "additional info" section that includes a link to the FAQ page, ways to share with your network, and directs you to visit the website for more.
Email Idea #5: Reminder
Reminder emails are gentle reminders to attendees that they have an event coming up. They can also include additional information that will be helpful for attendees to know about the event. Some brands include things like information about the keynote speaker or certain sessions that may be big draws for attendees.
Who should get it: Reminders should be sent to confirmed event attendees.
When to send it: You might want to send more than one reminder email. For in-person events, we recommend sending your first reminder email three days before the event and additional reminders two days before and then the day of, if that makes sense for your event and your audience. For virtual events, you can send your first reminder the day of (or late the day before) and then another 1–3 hours before the start of the event.
Here's an example of a reminder email from Litmus:
We love that this reminder email includes an agenda for the day as well as ways attendees can get involved on social media.
Email Idea #6: Follow-Up/Thank You
Follow-up/thank you emails are a great way to not only let attendees know that you appreciate them but to gather important feedback about your event that you can use to improve future events. Start these emails off by thanking your attendees before sharing highlights of the event and then moving into a request for feedback or testimonials.
Who should get it: Send your thank you/follow-up email to everyone who attended your event.
When to send it: There are two best times to send this type of email and they depend on what your goal is for the email. If you're seeking feedback, send the follow-up email as soon as your event is over. If you're trying to encourage attendees to sign up early for the next year, give them a few days.
Here's an example from Iterable:
As you can see, Iterable asks for feedback, shares links to on-demand recordings of event activities, and shares another link to a blog post that covers highlights of the event.
There you have it! Now you're armed with all the information you need to successfully market your events via email and a selection of email examples of the best practices and email ideas in action for inspiration. Wondering how you can get those event emails automated? Check out our list of the best email marketing service providers to find one that has the automation tools you need.