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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). Sixty-two percent of marketers who use email marketing to promote their events use event management software (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. Wrap up 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.
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Campaign Monitor customers are taking major strides in their marketing. And a lot of it’s due to the use of email. From welcome campaigns to automated journeys and robust content newsletters, brands large and small are growing their lists, engaging their audiences, and driving more revenue with email. This post takes a look at a few of these customers, examining what they’re doing with email to make such a big splash. Feel free to jump onto their websites and subscribe to their list so you can see the magic happen for yourself. But until then, enjoy the synopsis. Resy uses email to drive reservation authority If you’ve eaten out somewhere other than a fast food restaurant in the last year, you’ve probably seen a Resy logo somewhere in your travels. Resy is an extremely fast-growing tech company that works with restaurants to provide online reservations for your favorite spots. But that’s not all they do. First, let’s take a look at what happens when you use Resy to book a reservation. Above is a transactional email from Resy that confirms a created reservation. Transactional emails are perfect for this scenario: they get triggered by an extremely specific action (e.g. a reservation), and send automatically with details generated from that action. This email works perfectly to not only confirm that a reservation was received, but to also provide next steps, connecting concepts like important details and information to the character of a reservation company. Now that you’ve had the chance to opt in to their marketing emails, you may receive an email like this: This email serves as an incredible newsletter. Yes—a newsletter. Many of you may be firmly pegging this email as a sales-focused message, but this has all the signs of being a very versatile newsletter. The first reason this email acts more like a newsletter is due to its detail-centric layout. Focus is placed on the description of the restaurant, giving you ample information to decide whether or not to give it a shot. Second, there are restaurants on this list that aren’t reservable via Resy. The reason behind this supposed waste-of-space? This tactic impresses thought leadership into the reader’s mind. Now that the reader knows Resy isn’t solely honed in on booking reservations, they may receive Resy’s recommendations with more authority and lack of bias. This will in turn remind the reader to use Resy in the future to find new restaurants, as Resy has identified themselves as the authority on this subject. Rolling Stone Australia creates readership and revenue with email Touting a major readership, Rolling Stone continues to drive traffic to their articles and posts using email. And there are a few tactics they employ to make sure their content is solid, and their revenue opportunities are maximized. Sending a weekly newsletter, Rolling Stone uses strong imagery, a simple layout, and attractive headlines to draw people deeper into each article. This layout is simple enough to make it easily digestible, while still holding lots of information. The accessibility of the email’s template also makes it easy to insert sponsorships and ads. Fitting with the bulk of their content, Rolling Stone inserts ads for musical events, new releases, and other pop-culture materials that still provide an engaging experience for their readers. Because these ads are on-topic, the content still holds its ideal of curation and creates a seamless experience between partner and original content. SXSW uses segmentation to inspire event registrations Each year, thousands of musicians, filmmakers, and creatives of all backgrounds descend on Austin, Texas, to celebrate and share creativity. Naturally, SXSW is expected to send incredibly engaging emails to captivate such an artistic community. And they nail lit. Here’s a registration invitation they sent out to their entire list. With tracks for both music and film, there are plenty of opportunities for segmentationhere. Speaking of segmentation, SXSW sends personalized content to their registrants of the film festival in this email. By sending personalized content, they: show their knowledge of their audience help their customers have a better experience drive more sales for add-on packages From their 2015 festival, SXSW sent this email to give very clear opportunities for ticket purchasing. It’s focused on content, linking to new films and musical acts that will be showcased at the festival. But by organizing the content very clearly with different photos and color blocks, they make their calls to action very clear, so you know exactly where to go to take the next step. Wrap up These companies are driving tons of engagement and new levels of revenue with the power of email. If you’ve looked through these examples, you’ll see that none of these emails are outrageously complicated. By keeping email design straightforward and uncluttered, it’s easier to guide your subscriber toward the action you want them to take. Take some of these design and messaging ideas for yourself and grow your brand today!
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How do you ensure you’re sending out your newsletters, promotional emails, and more at the right times? It takes a little planning, forethought, and set-up, but starting with an effective email marketing calendar can simplify a major piece of the puzzle. Once you plan and visualize when to send out your newsletters, kick off your email campaigns, and schedule your marketing follow-up emails throughout the year, it’s easier to stick to your guns and follow through. That means the goals you set for yourself at the start of the year (or sales cycle) will be more achievable and doable than ever. If you’re not sure where to start or how to schedule your email campaigns, check out these 5 email calendar templates. You’ll master the art of the email marketing calendar in no time. When to schedule time-based email campaigns and marketing follow-up emails According to MarketingSherpa, 72% of people prefer to get promotional messages through email versus any other platform. Your subscribers expect these emails and prefer them delivered via their inboxes, so it’s wise to jump on the bandwagon. Of course, the power of promotional email campaigns is doubled when you tie them into marketing gold mines like holidays, national observances, and special days of the year. Think National Coffee Day, the Superbowl, Valentine’s Day, the first day of Spring, or National Cleanup Week (Not sure when each holiday falls? Search Engine Journal has the entire year broken down by holiday via this marketing calendar.) Here’s an example of a spring email offer from Birchbox: Before you start planning and scheduling email campaigns, go through your calendar and mark any holidays or special events that tie into your business, especially annual sales and promotions. You can take this a step further and use events that are personalized for each individual subscriber. These can include things like birthdays, wedding anniversaries and anniversaries of when they subscribed. These email marketing campaigns can be created to automatically get sent from Campaign Monitor using data you already know about your customer. This information could be stored in your Salesforce CRM, Shopify eCommerce or another tool that integrates with Campaign Monitor. Your promotional email campaigns can be one-offs, but, more than likely, you’ll send a series of emails and reminders to tempt your subscribers. Follow these calendar templates to schedule a winning promotional campaign. Calendar template #1: Email campaign for one-day events 2 weeks before sale/promotion/event – Announcement email 1 week before sale/promotion/event – Marketing follow-up email/reminder 1 day before sale/promotion/event – Final follow-up email and last chance reminder Calendar template #2: Email campaign for ongoing events/promotions 2 weeks before the ongoing event – Announcement email 1 week before the ongoing event – Marketing follow-up email/reminder 1 day before the ongoing event – Reminder During the event – Reminder 1 day before the event ends – Final follow-up email/last chance reminder When to schedule informative, useful email newsletters As opposed to promotional email campaigns, informative newsletters are usually entirely non-promotional. Instead, they seek to provide your subscribers with useful, helpful, or pertinent information. You can schedule these to send around holidays if the topic is relevant (for example, you can send cleaning and organizing tips around National Cleanup Week). However, these types of emails are also great for filling in gaps in communication between you and your audience. It keeps you in constant contact, builds trust, and provides value. This informational email newsletter from Resy, an app for booking tables at restaurants, is a great example. In it, the company highlights hot dining spots around NYC: These newsletters can also be personalized based on each subscriber’s behavior in previous email campaigns. As a subscriber clicks on specific content topic links you can use that behavioral information to personalize future newsletters with more of that type of content. To create your own newsletter-worthy email content, look at the content you create on your main channels as a jumping-off point. Tie in your helpful emails and use your newsletter as a linking opportunity. Calendar template #3: Informational email newsletters Look for gaps in your email marketing calendar between promotions, sales, and events – Send one-off emails with helpful tips, how-tos, or recommendations (can tie into web content) Weekly, during optimal send-times – Send out a weekly newsletter with updates, links to recently published content, and helpful tidbits (provide an opt-out option if weekly is too often for some subscribers) When to schedule event announcements and promotions Have a big event coming up that needs some promotion? Is a big change coming to your company that you need to communicate with your loyal subscribers? Sending out an event announcement is a great way to keep your audience up-to-date with all the goings-on. Big events are especially important to advertise via email. For instance, if you want to invite locals to an in-store gathering, a big party, a concert, or a benefit, they’re more likely to respond to a personal email invitation. That’s because emails drive conversions better than any other marketing method, including social media. Additionally, email has an average organic reach of 79%, which means over three-fourths of your recipients will receive and read the emails you send. This example from SXSW showcases how the yearly conference uses email to help get people to register: This email from Hudson Ranch and Vineyards, meanwhile, is a great example of how to make an email invitation to an event seem exclusive: Calendar template #4: Event invitations and promotions with marketing follow-up emails 4-6 months before the event – Save the date announcement: Let subscribers know what the event is, plus where, when, how, and why it’s happening 3 months before the event – Official announcement/invitation: Depending on the type of event, formally or casually invite your subscribers, detailing time, place, and other important information 1 month before the event – Begin weekly marketing follow-up emails/reminders: If your audience needs to save their spot or register, remind them and provide a call-to-action button in these emails 1 week before the event – Last chance reminder (“Spots are filling up quickly”, “Time is running out to register”, etc.) Calendar template #5: Announcements This template depends on what type of announcement you’re making. For example, if you’re going to announce a huge customer appreciation event, you can really build it up. On the other hand, if you’re making big changes to your business model/website/some other factor that will affect the customer experience, you need to avoid dropping hints and be as transparent as possible. This template is for the former scenario when you can really have fun with it. 2 months before the big announcement – Build up anticipation for the actual announcement, but don’t give it away yet (“A surprise is coming…”, “We’re getting ready for something big”, etc.) 1 month before the announcement – Follow-up email reiterating the initial message Weekly, up until the announcement – Reminder emails with curiosity-inducing hints Wrap up Email marketing campaigns are nothing without a plan to implement them. If you don’t take the time to schedule your emails and optimize send-times, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to grab more interest, opens, and click-throughs. Even more than that, your goals for the quarter or the year may slide by the wayside without a solid email marketing calendar to stick to. This calendar guides your marketing and helps you send the most impactful messages imaginable. Use the templates above to schedule your emails for the biggest impact, then let ‘em loose. You’ll make a much bigger splash with your subscribers and customers.
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