Be honest: when’s the last time you got up close and personal with your customers?
Whether it’s an in-person event or a live webinar, hosting an event is a brilliant way to make a lasting impression as a business.
Nearly 100% of people agree that face-to-face interactions with customers and colleagues are crucial for long-term business relationships. Meanwhile, webinars are all the rage right now right for digital businesses who otherwise don’t get many opportunities to speak to their audience directly.
Heck, we attend events all the time and we can’t recommend them enough!
And with the help of email marketing, hyping up an event is arguably easier than ever.Looking to host a meet-up? Maybe a webinar? How about a happy hour?
With email still the number one preferred form of communication, getting in your attendee's inboxes is essential for getting people excited up and ensuring a solid turnout.In this guide, we’ll highlight how to use email marketing to promote your event no matter what you might be putting together.
Let’s dive right in!
1. Organize Your Attendee List in Advance
This is a big one!Before worrying about the fine details of promoting your event, it’s important to spend ample time planning.
Poor planning goes hand-in-hand with no-shows and confused attendees. Nobody wants to have another Fyre Festival on their hands, you know?
You’re going to want to think about a reasonable timeline for your event. This will not only help you plan out the types of emails you want to send to your attendees but also how far out you need to start planning.
Eventbrite recommends a 16-week timeline for larger, big-ticket events that might require significant travel time or budgeting.On the flip side, two weeks is standard for promoting a webinar in most cases. This sort of timeline is fair game for in-person meet-ups and smaller local events, too.
Having a rough roadmap will help you better understand how many emails you’ll need to put together as part of your hype campaign.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of using email to organize an event is the fact that you’re able to segment your email list based on who you want to invite. Unlike social media where you can only send one-size-fits-all messages, you can segment your email event invites by factors such as...
- How long someone has been a customer (think: loyal customers versus first-time buyers)
- How much money someone has spent with your business
- Which products or pieces of content someone prefers (think: a lead magnet)
- VIP or loyalty program members versus regular readers
Segmenting your list for your event ensures that your event emails are sent to relevant people that actually might attend. Doing so means your invitations feel more “for your eyes only” and exclusive.For example, let’s say you want to hold an event for your biggest spender and VIP customers. Or perhaps you’re holding an in-person event for local customers that wouldn’t be of interest to international or out-of-state customers. Segmentation can help narrow down exactly who to target with your event emails!Here’s a good of example of a segmented invitation from Invision. This 101 webinar is clearly targeted toward Invision newbies versus anyone who already knows what they’re all about.
Oh, and if you’re automatically tagging your contacts through self-segmenting, organizing your event list is a cinch.Rather than putting together your lists by hand, Sendlane's advanced segmentation and marketing automation can handle most of the legwork for you!
2. Reduce No-Shows By Encouraging RSVPs
Spoiler alert: no-shows are a nightmare for any event.This rings true for in-person events and digital ones alike.
Whether for event introductions or confirmation emails, we recommend encouraging your contacts to RSVP in some way, shape or form. Doing so helps keep them in the loop and gives you a concrete idea of how many people will be attending your event.
A tracking link that funnels to a confirmation page is a good start. This could be to a payment page, third-party event site (such as Meetup) or even social media.Speaking of which, creating a specific Facebook event for whatever you’re putting together is a brilliant move.
Although we acknowledge that email marketing is still king, funneling your attendees to Facebook can’t hurt. This provides another channel for attendees to ask questions and post updates prior to your event.
Tacking on an “Add to Facebook” button with a link to your event serves as a way to let attendees RSVP.
Pro Tip:Keep an eye our for our upcoming Facebook integration where you'll be able to instantly sync your contacts and segments between Sendlane and Facebook, streamlining your entire communication strategy!
Additionally, you can invite attendees to add events to their Google Calendar to serve as yet another reminder to ensure that they show up.
Remember: your contacts are crazy busy and you probably are, too. RSVPs can help you manage your expectations while reminders serve as a second line of defense to avoid no-shows.Plus, as soon as you secure the sign-up, you can funnel your webinar registrants into an automated workflow for steps 3, 4 and 5!
3. Build Buzz and Highlight Expectations for Your Event
Okay, now onto the good stuff! Encouraging folks to get off the couch or take time out of their schedule might seem like an uphill battle.The key is to type up whatever you’re putting on so that it seems worth attending! There is no “right way to do this, but we’ve broken down some common tactics below for your invitation and event-specific drip campaigns.
For starters, a brief snippet of what your event is about will help give your attendees a taste of what to expect. Many big companies also show off their awesome guest-lists to get people excited.
If you’re putting on an educational event (including webinars), a snapshot of what your attendees will specifically learn is great for building hype. This immediately answers the question of “What’s in it for me?”
Here’s an example from Google:
On a similar note, invitations can also be used to highlight your contacts’ pain points that showing that your event is relevant to them. This makes your event seem instantly more valuable by serving as their much-needed solution.
Another tip for making your event emails more engaging is by giving them a human touch.Have photos from previous events? What about social posts from anticipated attendees?
This tactic by Litmus does double duty of building buzz and proving that their conferences are worth attending.
In the case that you’re running a paid event, offering early-bird discounts is a proven strategy for driving sign-ups sooner rather than later.You’ll always have people who are on-the-fence or that want to wait until the last minute. However, a well-timed discount as part of your promotion can be the extra “push” that those procrastinators need.
If you’re still itching for attendees, offering additional discounts closer to the event is also a-okay. Just make sure that your early birds are grandfathered into whatever extra incentive you’re offering.Again, even a small incentive can be the push that somebody needs to RSVP.
The specifics of your event campaigns will obviously vary based on your brand.As long as you highlight the benefits of your event and provide your contacts with a compelling reason to attend, you’re golden.
4. Send a Last-Minute Blast to Score More Attendees
Remember what we said earlier about people being crazy busy?Last-minute reminders are a must-do for in-person and digital events alike.
In addition to serving as an “Oh yeah!” moment to attendees, this is a good time to remind attendees of specific directions they need to know (think: parking, directions for logging into a webinar, etc).
Although many businesses send a 24-hour or day-of reminder, something as timely as an hour prior to an event kick-off is totally cool, too.
Don’t be shy about sending these sorts of follow-ups, either. If someone signed up for your event, they want to hear from you. You may be surprised at how many no-shows you avoid because of a last-minute message.
5. Follow-Up And Say "Thanks"
Let’s say your event has successfully come and gone.Congratulations... but that doesn’t mean your email campaign is over quite yet.Following up with a brief “thank you” message not only shows your appreciation but ultimately encourages them to come back to see you next time.
Such emails are also a great place to ask for feedback if you want to know how to improve future events.Another nice touch is to put together a sort of recap of your recent event.
Here’s a “thank you” from Salesforce which includes photos, content that was shared at the event and a recording their conference’s keynote speech.
Most digital businesses take a similar approach by posting replays of their webinars, for example.
The takeaway here is to show your attendees some love! After all, your events are only as good as the folks who show up.And with that, we wrap up our guide!
How Are You Creating Hype for Your Business’ Events?
With today’s customers craving a personal touch from businesses, we predict that in-person and digital events will continue to boom.That means you need a smart promotional strategy to drive higher attendance.
And in turn, that means mastering the art of email marketing! With the tips above and Sendlane’s intelligent marketing automation features, you can do exactly that.