Using email for event marketing begins with permission: at the very least, you need the green light from your prospects to show up in their inbox. But the results don’t happen unless you have their attention, as well. (If you have children the distinction is familiar. Certainly you have permission to talk to your kids whenever you want, but does that always mean you have their attention?) But email’s peak performance occurs when you move past attention to anticipation. When your prospects are expecting and looking forward to your message, they’re already have way to registration.
Ad hoc or ad infinitum? Emails are more likely to be anticipated if they arrive on a regular schedule. Many event marketing emails, however, resist scheduling and are sent on a more ad hoc basis. For registration deadline reminders, running them as needed is unavoidable. But consider putting your other messages promoting your event into a regular schedule, sending them out on the same day at the same time each week. Make a note of it in the copy as well so your audience realizes they are on a schedule, like “This Week’s Annual Conference Update includes new networking opportunities, a list of attending companies, and a RSVP reminder for the gala dinner event…”
Give away the store. There is no reason to hold back with your event marketing emails, and save the best bits for the show itself. The more detail you can provide about what will happen on stage – including specific case studies or data points that will be shared – the more interesting your emails will be to your event audience. Put aside any reservations about giving away the store. Even if you could cram an entire 40-minute keynote presentation into the body of an email, your audience would still view the email as an appetizer to the show itself, not a substitute for attending. This tactic also makes every single message about the show valuable to your audience. If reading the email teaches them something, they’ll soon start to look forward to reading the next one. You’ve just build anticipation.
Go narrower. Many of the event marketing emails I see try to include something for everyone. A single message often includes something about the keynotes, speaker lineup, agenda sessions, networking opportunities, expo hall, hotel and even flight information. The objective is to try to include as many hooks as possible, so whatever someone’s interest is in a show, there is a blurb devoted to it. But the truth is that emails like this do not provide enough of a hook on any of the topics they cover. Trying to please everyone results in engaging nobody. If you know you are going to send multiple emails in support of your event (and you do, because you are) devote each to a narrower topic. The idea is not to deliver all the content you can about the show in each message; it is to use each message to draw your audience in closer and forge a connection with your event. A narrower focus in your event emails is a more intimate conversation.
Trailer and teasers. TV shows get you to tune in again by ending each episode with a sneak preview of what next week’s show will be about. You can do the same with your event marketing emails. Include a section at the bottom of each that telegraphs what the next message will be about: “Up next week: An inside look at the pre-conference preparation we do with each speaker.” This tactic works especially well when the content of your messages is educational and narrow (as described above).