Article first published September 2017, updated November 2019
When it’s time to host an event, marketers need strategies for promoting the event and encouraging registration. One channel they turn to? Email.
Email marketing can be instrumental in driving subscribers to sign up and attend, which drives the ROI of your event.
According to research done for our Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends report, most event organizers believe that email marketing is the most effective marketing channel for promoting events.
But how can you build email marketing strategies that help you reach these goals? While there may be no silver bullet, there are many strategies that have been proven to work as you promote an event.
Read on to discover 9 outstanding email marketing strategies paired with some favorite examples. You can also use these tips with our free email event templates to announce your biggest event yet!
6 types of professional events worth considering
Before you can focus on driving event registration, you have to choose which type of event will suit your brand’s needs the best. There are hundreds of different event types out there that can help increase engagement between your brand and your target audience, so we’ve gone ahead and narrowed down your choices to these top 6.
With more and more people turning to the internet to solve their pain points, a webinar could be an excellent choice for your next event. Webinars can be both prerecorded or live and are great when it comes to new customer acquisition.
Webinar topics can range quite a bit but tend to focus on some introductory content that your audience is searching for to help them with an issue they’re having.
Source: Really Good Emails
2. Product launches
Product launches are another great example of an event that your brand can host to help you better engage with your current audience, all while still drawing in new prospective customers. Product launches are excellent because—like webinars—they can be held both online or in person.
These events focus on updating your audience on a specific launch or product update. That means that the topics of discussion are very specific to whatever you’re launching, making them more suitable for existing clientele.
Source: Really Good Emails
Conferences are great events to help bring together industry experts and a specific audience. These events typically revolve around a given niche but cover a wide variety of learning topics that professionals can benefit from.
An excellent example of a conference is the Content Marketing Institute’s yearly Content Marketing World Summit event.
Source: Content Marketing World
4. Networking events
Networking events tend to take on a similar tone as conferences; however, they focus on bringing together industry experts and those in the industry looking to get to know one another and share information amongst each other.
While these events may have some learning seminars worth checking out, many of the event highlights focus on networking 1×1 with like-minded individuals.
Source: Really Good Emails
5. VIP events
VIP events allow your brand to really get to know those who share your beliefs and passions. These events are often created to celebrate those who are considered VIPs within your brand. These can be special dinners to honor your VIPs or special promo events that allow your VIP segment to experience something that your standard subscribers may not get access to.
6. Trade shows
Trade shows are exhibitions where companies can present their latest products, but also get to know their customers on a more personal level. These shows allow consumers to come to you, ask questions, get demonstrations, and leave you with valuable feedback that can help you develop new products or content to share later on.
9 email marketing strategies that will help you drive event registrations
Once you’ve decided on what type of event you’re hosting, you’ll want to utilize email marketing to help you drive event registration. Not sure where to start? Consider these 9 email marketing strategies to help you get started.
1. Be deliberate with your announcement.
Your event is a big deal, so make sure prospective attendees know it. Sending out an announcement email is a fundamental way to drive registrations.
The key to this email strategy is packaging your message as breaking news. Help your subscribers feel like they’re the first to hear about your awesome event and get the enthusiasm flowing.
For example, C100, host of 48Hrs in the Valley, does an excellent job of announcing their event and the companies that’ll be at the center of it:
Notice how they offer congratulations, as though this is the first these 21 companies have heard about the selection. It’s a small copywriting decision that creates intrigue and excitement.
2. Include a video.
A study by EyeView video found that having a video on a page increased conversions by 80%. In another study by Vidyard, 70% of marketers reported that video is more effective than other content in driving conversions.
Including a “sizzler” video from previous events is a great way to immerse subscribers in your event. This video can showcase speakers and explain what attendees can expect.
3. Share testimonials.
Along the lines of the video approach, show your subscribers that your event is going to be awesome with the assistance of previous attendees.
The ClientSuccess team does a great job of this for their CS100 event series. The event speaks for itself through people like Elizabeth Doherty, its biggest champion.
If you haven’t hosted the event before, you can include testimonials from speakers or future attendees that share their excitement. If you’re hosting a retail store opening or a one-off event, you can showcase testimonials that share how much people love your brand or products.
For example, check out how Amy Porterfield, an independent coach for entrepreneurs, uses a testimonial pulled from Facebook to promote a webinar:
4. Showcase your speakers.
Dedicating an email to the outstanding speakers at your event is another great way of grabbing subscribers’ attention and getting them to click “RSVP.”
For many events, it’s the speakers who provide the majority of content, so it’s only natural for them to be a big factor as a subscriber decides whether they want to attend.
There are a few ways that you can draw attention to your speaker line-up. You can take some inspiration from Wistia, a video hosting company, and highlight a handful of your top speakers:
Or, if your event is boasting some well-known celebrities, you can feature them front-and-center as Collision, a tech conference, did in the below email:
Another tactic is to list your speakers to showcase how much value is coming to the event. For example, check out this lineup from 48hrs:
5. Give the gift of opportunity.
It’s one thing to tell people that they’ll have a lot to take away from an event. It’s another thing to tell people that they have a lot to bring.
Whether you’re hosting a conference, an in-store event, or a webinar, try giving people an opportunity to contribute to the event. Your event is nothing without participants, so make sure your prospective attendees realize how special they are.
For example, Vanguard, an investment company, recently announced a new CEO and CIO. To help their clients feel comfortable with the transition, the team hosted a webinar where participants had the opportunity to ask questions to the board and the new CEO.
In a similar vein, Gainsight wants their email recipients to know that attending their event is much more than attending an event—it’s taking part in a movement.
6. Offer early bird discounts.
When it comes to creating compelling CTAs, the early bird discount is an established staple. Sending your contacts discounts in advance of your event is an effective way of driving registrations. However, that discount has to end sometime, and having a clear deadline is key for driving action.
Dreamforce makes things seem even more urgent. Whereas most event planners hope that their events will sell out, with Dreamforce, that’s pretty much a guarantee. That’s not something marketers are hiding.
7. Promote registration at another event.
One of the best times to drive registrations for an event is while subscribers are in attendance. Capitalize on your attendee’s elation and let them know about special offers for future events.
This works especially well for annual events. Give your attendees an unbelievable offer now that commits them to an event in the future.
CoinDesk executes this brilliantly with their Consensus event series:
8. Send out content that gives subscribers a taste of what they’ll get.
Once you’ve sent subscribers your best content about early bird offers, speakers, and testimonials, it’s time to move on to other approaches.
Going back to the fundamentals of inbound marketing, think about how you can provide a fun, engaging, and educational spin to your event promotion emails.
One example that we particularly love is these fun facts from SaaStr, a community for SaaS entrepreneurs. These facts are a fun and creative way to get prospective attendees interested in the event, but they also put the spotlight on the people who’ll attend.
9. Send a direct message from a company leader or influencer.
Another email marketing strategy is the direct message. Have your CEO, your CMO, or Head of Events personally address your contacts.
Among all of the visual-heavy images that can flood someone’s inbox on any given Monday, a person-to-person email might be the approach you need to break through the noise.
Here’s a snippet from an email from Social Media Examiner’s CEO Mike Stelzner promoting Social Media Marketing World, their flagship event:
Alternatively, you could send a message from an influencer. If you’re having a retail store opening, for example, you could show a celebrity wearing the clothing to promote the product.
These email marketing strategies are, by no means, mutually exclusive. See how you can combine them for winning combinations. At the same time, certain strategies may see more success in driving registrations than others. That’s why you should experiment, measure, and optimize.
Looking for event ideas? Consider one of these different event types:
- Product launches
- Networking events
- VIP events
- Trade shows
Ready to see how Campaign Monitor can help you send outstanding emails for your next event? Then schedule your live demo today.