Marketers agree that email is one of the best channels for promoting events. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best examples for inspiring your promotional strategy.
Elsewhere on the Campaign Monitor blog, we’ve discussed how email marketing is effective for driving event registrations and some of the smartest ways to segment event emails. But how do marketers leverage email to specifically promote an event?
In this post, we take a look at how a wide variety of organizations—from tech companies to festivals to hotels—are launching event email promotional campaigns.
Note: We’ll be focusing on design, here. But you can find some great subject line tips elsewhere on this blog.
Examples of event email promotion
Synapse: Counting Down the Days
Your event is happening then, but your contacts are receiving your promotional email now. Illustrating this gap in time—and its gradual narrowing—is one way to communicate urgency to your prospective attendees. This technique, called urgency marketing, has been proven to work.
In this email promoting the Synapse user conference, the team at Segment delivers an effective 1-2-3 punch with this email. There’s the countdown clock, a discount that expires in a short amount of time, and a bold CTA that pushes the reader to register ASAP.
Hotel Matilda: Showcasing Attendees
Your attendees are the life of your event. You can’t have an event without them and at the same time, the prospect of meeting other attendees is one of the main reasons that people attend events to begin with.
Hotel Matilda is a boutique hotel known for its beautifully designed confines. It just so happens that these confines also make for a great event space. Recently, the hotel sponsored SMART + Design, a visionary arts festival. In this promotional email that highlights happy attendees at other Hotel Matilda events, the team at Matilda builds FOMO and anticipation for the event.
Moz: Breaking Down the Cost
Professional conferences can cost a lot of money. While the content and networking opportunities that they provide are often more than worth the price of admission, it can be difficult to convince your boss to share the same point of view.
Enter the marketing team at Moz with a brilliant idea: breaking down the cost. With the help of a clever infographic, Moz informs attendees—and by proxy their bosses—where the cost of admission goes.
Global Fund for Women: Connecting the Cause
No event exists in a silo. It’s part of a larger movement—in your industry, neighborhood or the world. One of the biggest challenges that marketers face when promoting an event is communicating this bigger picture to attendees. In 2004, a study at Carnegie Mellon revealed that an image of one person vs. an abstract idea made people feel more charitable. This concept, explored further in the marketing best-seller Made to Stick, can also be applied to event promotion.
The Global Fund for Women, a non-profit foundation funding human rights initiatives, does a great job of this with their Grassroots Movement for Justice event. The most prominent element in this email is a picture of a woman. She’s working in a field somewhere else in the globe. She seems happy.
In the following copy, this marketer drives the point home of how this woman is related to all women in the movement against climate change.
BuzzSumo: Channeling the Power of Stats
Most event marketers (40%) believe email marketing is the most effective channel for promoting an event (source).
You are 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet (source).
Stats are compelling. They provide neatly wrapped up statements that help us better understand something. They can provide us with the evidence we need to affirm or disprove our beliefs. Presented in the right way, they can even move us to make big decisions. Like signing up for an event.
The team at BuzzSumo gets this. BuzzSumo, after all, is a platform predicated on sorting through massive piles of web data in order to provide their users with valuable, pertinent information. In one promotional email for an upcoming workshop, the marketers behind BuzzSumo placed a bold enticing stat front and center. What’s more, this stat clearly communicates the potential value that attendees stand to gain from the event.
Livefront: Keeping it Simple
There’s a reason that A, B, C is easy as 1, 2, 3. Research shows that list-style content has this sort of quasi-magical effect on readers that makes them feel good. List-style content also makes marketers feel good because it’s just so freaking effective at driving click-through rate, among other metrics.
In this email promoting an augmented reality and demo open house, the mobile app and design company Livefront uses a list to great effect. In a 1, 2, 3 flourish, Livefront proposes a convincing argument for why a contact should attend their event. And it all revolves around bubbles.
Ad Age: Sounding Out Color
The blank page. It’s the scourge of any writer and the eternal companion of those in the 21st century who spend countless hours in email clients. When something pops through that client that contrasts greatly with the typical blankness, it stands out.
For their Ad Age Next event, the eponymous publisher leverages the power of color to create an eminently readable email. The layout of the email is broken down into different sections, each of which features different value props of the event, each of which come in a variety of loud colors.
SoHo House: Going Big on Images
Pictures aren’t just worth a thousand words, they are also linked to better marketing performance. People are more likely to share images over standard text that they find on the internet.
Soho House is less of a house and more of a network of houses. It’s a private, members-only club for those in creative industries. For the opening of one of their houses in New York City, they decided to go all-in on an image. This might seem to be breaking some email design principles—there’s not a clear CTA and there’s very little contextual info. But the image is so vibrant and arranged that it begs to be cursored over and clicked by readers.
Optimizely: Showing off Access
Whether you have a celebrity, industry thought leader, exclusive offers or discounts—your event has something to offer attendees that they wouldn’t normally be able to find. As Cari Goodrich, Senior Director of Global Marketing Programs at Looker, puts it: “The three pillars of a successful event are people, places, and things that prospects usually don’t have access to.”
In some cases, you may be giving your attendees access to watching the most decorated US Swimmer in history give a keynote speech. At least, that was the case at Optimizely’s Opticon Conference. Knowing that they had a big name on their hands, the team at Optimizely featured Michael Phelps in some of their promotional emails.
SXSW: Highlighting the Possibilities
At its best, a festival is a choose-your-own-adventure kind of experience. There are a variety of sessions, speakers, activities and food items. It’s up to the attendee to decide what they experience and when.
The marketing team at South by Southwest (SXSW) lays out the value of attendee choice clearly in this promotional email. SXSW lays out different adventures that an attendee can happen on at their event. Whether you’re more interested in film, music or tech, there’s something for you at SXSW.
We’ve looked at a variety of different emails from different industries. We’ve seen examples of colorful design, data-driven copy and dead-simple messaging. When crafting the email promotion strategy for your next event, keep the following in mind:
- Countdown timers and time-sensitive copy are an effective way of creating urgency.
- When trying to convince a reader to convince their boss, consider illustrating the cost behind your conference.
- Draw a connection to what readers will have access to at an event, be that people, knowledge, or the chance to make a difference.
- Organize the value props of your event in simple ordered lists to drive home the value of your event.
- Or, consider a bold image-centric design.