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How to Use Email Marketing to Drive Event Attendance in 2020

email marketing

Event marketing and email marketing are two separate entities — they just happen to work incredibly well together.

When it comes to marketing your events, email is anything but outdated. In fact, it’s extremely effective. This holds even more truth in the world of B2B marketing, where email is almost always the first choice for announcing news, communicating with clients, and more. So when it comes to your event marketing strategy, email marketing should be top of mind to help you drive attendees, ensure results, and get your audience hyped up about the event to come.

With that in mind, here are some tips to help your team maximize its pre-event email marketing efforts.

Driving Event Attendance

Build your email list thoughtfully

While your marketing team’s email list may be massive, you definitely want to narrow it down when you begin to market your next event.

Ask yourself – does it make sense to target people who aren’t in your host region? If you’re hosting an event for directors, should you be sending emails to specialists? Probably not, and the less targeted your emails are, the higher the chance the send will result in those dreaded “unsubscribes.”

To make it more personalized, dig into your CRM tool and find the prospects who may actually consider going to your event (not to mention, the ones you really want in attendance). Building a list of your most loyal advocates, your local prospects, and some industry leaders is a great place to start to avoid the spam folder.

Test a mix of plain-text and design-heavy emails

A/B testing is more important than ever when the results may impact your event registrations and attendance. Because of this, it’s a good time to test a couple of different options with your email sends. Since this function is included in most email marketing tools, it should be simple to plan and execute.

For example, some of your prospects may be persuaded by a bright, bold design that showcases your speakers. On the other hand, a plain-text email from an executive at your company may go a long way for others. By testing both, you’ll appeal to all of your potential audiences, and maximize your registration rates.

Show off your agenda and speakers

You’ve likely worked hard (and maybe even shelled out some cash) to secure your event’s stellar speaker lineup. Where better to promote it than in your pre-event emails?

Your speakers and agenda are one of your biggest selling points. Not only can they make-or-break the event itself, but they’re a key factor in driving registrations and ensuring attendance. For these reasons, at least one email send should focus solely on promoting your speakers. This is a great place to hype up your audience, so you should include headshots, bios, credentials, and even video content.

Present special offers, discounts, and contests

What’s the one thing that unites professionals from all over the world? Free stuff, of course!

The emails you send leading up to your event are a great place to test out different contests, promotions, and special offers. For example, you could reward your email subscribers with early-bird pricing, or even an opportunity to buy tickets before they’re released to the general public.

You could also consider offering gifts, company swag, or even a few select VIP experiences to anybody who registers within a designated time frame. This creates a sense of urgency, encouraging those who have been on the fence to click “Register.”

Display a clear call-to-action

Humans’ attention spans are short, and only getting shorter. This means people likely won’t scour an event email in order to find the registration button. What this really means is that if there isn’t a clear CTA, you may as well consider them a lost cause.

Whether your end goal is to send your reader to the event website, subscribe for event updates, or register straight from their inbox, the action you want them to take should be abundantly clear. And not only that – it should be visually appealing, too. Wherever you choose to direct your readers, make sure your CTA is branded, eye-catching, and all around click worthy.

email marketing trends
Email Marketing Trends

While these are tried and true methods, there are some emerging email marketing trends that it may be worth testing out. Below, we’ll highlight two of the most popular.

Interactive content

BuzzFeed took off for a reason – almost all of their content has some level of interaction. Consider testing this in your own event emails. For example, a carousel image featuring your keynote speakers and their bios, or a post-event survey.

These small measures will keep your audience engaged and get them looking forward to your future emails.

Mobile optimization

If you haven’t already started optimizing your emails for mobile devices, you definitely want to start. Modern professionals are almost always on the go, and making sure that your email is not just readable, but optimized, on their mobile device is key to keeping their attention.

Who said email was dead? Certainly not us! With these simple tips, you can jump start your email marketing efforts and have plenty of time to focus on what matters most: making your event stand out.

By Guest Writer Claire Brenner, Team Lead, Content Marketing @ G2
Claire is the content marketing team lead at Hailing from the University of Dayton, Claire found her way back home to Chicago upon joining G2 in May of 2016. In her free time, you’ll find Claire practicing calligraphy, seeking out the city’s best BYOB sushi restaurants, and planning her next trip.

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