event-camapignIf you’re in the business of staging events, be they large exhibitions or small conferences, you’ll be familiar with the constant, nagging feeling that no one’s going to turn up.

They nearly always do, but the headcount is entirely down to you. Why would anyone attend if they had no idea the event was taking place or if you didn’t provide a sufficient reason for doing so?

Email marketing remains a brilliant way to promote events and encourage people to attend. And, like most campaigns of this nature, you’ll need to conduct a series of emails (i.e. autoresponders) that go something like this:

  1. The ‘coming soon’ announcement that provides basic details on the location, date and content of the event along with a ‘register’ CTA (call to action). Consider this one a cliff-hanger.
  2. The ‘further details’ email that delves into the speakers, exhibitors or presentations people will be able to enjoy come the big day.
  3. The ‘reminder’ message that encourages people to sign-up ASAP, based on the fact that the event date is looming.
  4. The last-ditch attempt to boost attendee numbers.
  5. The ‘today’s the day’ email, sent on the morning of the event (you may catch the odd late attendee).
  6. The post-event email that explains how wonderful it was and an indication that it’ll return in the future.

In this post, we’re going to focus on email number 4 – that last chance you have before the event to boost the number of people attending.

There’s no shame in sending out this email. Quite the opposite, in fact; people are busy and as any seasoned email marketer will tell you, it takes a few cracks of the whip to elicit interaction with the CTA.

The example we’ve picked is for an exhibition, but the techniques used can be translated to any event-focussed email marketing campaign.

Step 1: Create a sense of urgency with the subject line

According to research, subject lines that create a sense of urgency enjoy a 22% higher open rate. An air of exclusivity is vitally important, too – you want to make the recipient feel as though, A) they may miss out on something, and, B) it’s all about them.

In our example, they’ve nailed it on both counts:

Tuesday is but a few days away and, clearly, I’m able to plan a visit that will benefit me and me only. Why wouldn’t I continue to read the rest of the email?

Step 2: Follow the ‘5 Ws’ rule

Newspapers have long abided by the rule of the 5 Ws. To the uninitiated, this means that every article must start with the who, where, what, why and when if it is to captivate the reader.

Let’s take a look at the header of our example email:

And let’s break down how they’ve incorporated the 5 Ws:

  • Who: The Independent Hotel Show
  • Where: Olympia, West London
  • What: A business event
  • Why: For luxury and boutique hotels
  • When: 18-19 October

No matter the device on which I receive this email, upon opening it, I can gather all of the above just by looking at the header.

I’m encourage to do something else, too, which brings me onto the next step…

Step 5: Make the CTA prominent and repetitive

This is your last ditch attempt to get people to register, remember, therefore you can’t shout too loudly when it comes to pointing them in the direction of how to do so.

In the header example above, you’ll note the ‘REGISTER NOW’ button displayed nice and clearly, but it is also featured twice more further down the email.

There’s absolutely no question at all when it comes to what I’m expected to do upon reading this email.

Step 6: Personalise the copy

The main body in our example features a welcoming image and nicely written copy that puts the recipient front and centre. Personalisation is used (“Dear Mark”), along with plenty of uses of the word ‘your’ to really make me feel like this is an event which I should attend.

Words like ‘complimentary’ confirm there are no financial barriers to entry and just three paragraphs encapsulate what’s in it for me if I attend.

Step 7: Dig into the detail

If people are still on the fence about attending, this is your last shot to really dig into the detail of what will be on offer. Focus on imagery (from the last event, if one existed) and include links to relevant landing pages (on which they’ll find further ‘register now’ CTAs, of course):

Step 8: List partners and sponsors

If your event is supported by partners and sponsors, use the footer of the email to highlight their involvement, like so:

If you’re lucky enough to have some big names on board, make sure you give them the lion’s share of the space. People will often be tempted to attend events if they’re dazzled by big names, but demonstrating that it’s a significant deal due to the number of organisations willing to support it is also a surefire way to raise anticipation levels.

Wrapping up

Like everything in email marketing, event promotion is relatively simple. It just requires common sense and the ability to drop any fears that you’re irritating people. Remember – if you follow the rules by making the unsubscribe process simple, people will do just that.

We hope the tips in this post help make a success of your next big event.