Guide: Event Email Marketing 101


October 3, 2018


Guide: Event Email Marketing 101

Email marketing is one of the most powerful online marketing strategies you can use to promote events. By sending well-crafted marketing emails you can regularly check-in with your audience, increase registrations, secure sponsorships and speakers, and grow your event brand. This guide provides everything you need to consider when creating an effective email marketing strategy for your event.

Email Marketing Metrics & KPIs

Before we dive into event promotion, we need to think about the KPIs that should be measured to define campaign performance and success. Here are some metrics you should consider measuring for your campaign:

Open Rate: Rate of subscribers who open your emails.

Click-Through Rate: Number of subscribers who opened the email and clicked on the content (clicks could be on calls to action, blog posts, download documents, etc.)

Unsubscribe Rate: Some people may choose to unsubscribe from your campaigns. While that is to be expected, you should keep track of the unsubscribe rate and adjust your actions if the percentage becomes too high. A wave of unsubscribes may happen for a variety of reasons, such as users are not seeing value on the messages being sent, or the frequency of messages is too high.

Metrics will vary by industry, and even by company, so the best thing to do is know your benchmark and work towards constantly improving your performance. According to research by Mailchimp, the industry average open rates for the events industry is 20.41%, the click-through rate is 2.19%, and unsubscribe rates are 0.28%.

You should consider other KPIs according to the goals you need to accomplish. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Ticket sales
  • Session registrations
  • Sponsorship inquiries and signups
  • Speaker inquiries and signups

Ideal Email Length & Structure

In terms of email structure, less is more when crafting emails. Long emails that require a lot of scrolling may be dismissed with the click of a button. To promote an event, focus on having one clear call to action per message. If you are focussed on selling early-bird tickets for example, make sure the message is loud and clear so prospects will take notice.

Email Subject Lines for Events

A well-crafted subject line can define the success of your entire email campaign. Without an attractive reason for people to open your email, your contacts may end up not even reading what you have to say. While studies show that shorter subject lines yield higher open rates, you may want to focus on a message that generates curiosity and inspires action.

Here are some strategies and ideas of subject lines to promote your event:

  • Fear of Missing Out: “Last day to grab your tickets to the ABC Conference!”
  • Curiosity: “Lineup for ABC conference is out!”
  • Funny: “All you can eat muffins (and a great conference too)”
  • Vanity: “Become a better marketer in 1 step!”
  • Greed: “2 for 1 tickets. One day only. Go!”
  • Sloth: “3 steps to become a better marketer”
  • Pain Point: “How to drive more sales through email marketing”
  • Retargeting: “The ticket in your cart is about to expire”
  • Personal Subjects: Hey John, will we see you there?”
  • Straightforward Subjects: “ABC Conf 2018”
  • Top Subject: “Upgrade to VIP”

Email Call to Action

If you want readers to take action (and we know you do!), you need to tell them what you want them to do. The best way to do this is by adding a button to your email, using a colour that contrasts with the other colours on the email, so that it stands out from the rest of the page. Pay close attention to the copy you add to the button, making sure it has a clear message. Avoid generic messages, such as “click here”, and be more direct instead, such as “Get Early Bird Tickets Today”.

Pro tip: Consider adding the button close to the top of the email, so users don’t need to scroll down all the way to see it. Consider adding one call to action button on the top portion of the email, and another one on the bottom.

Pro tip (2): Try testing different button locations, colours, and messages to see which ones perform best!

Email Design & Branding

One of the primary objectives of running an event is to generate brand awareness and create a memorable experience, so pay special attention to branding and design. Make sure the email design is consistent with your event branding, not only in terms of colours used, but also imagery, language, and layout. Having a consistent brand experience will help you create a brand that sticks!

Email List Segmentation

Sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time is the best way to guarantee the success of your email campaign. Think about the different groups of people that you are targeting and how they may require a different messaging. The beauty of segmenting your lists is that you can personalize and craft very targeted messages, and obtain better results.

For example, here are a few lists you can create to attract more sponsorship interest:

  • Companies who demonstrated interest in sponsoring one of your events in the past, but never did.
  • Companies who sponsored your event in the past, but stopped.
  • Companies who sponsored your last event.
  • Companies who would be a good fit to sponsor your event (cold calling).

Although the goal is to secure more sponsors for your event, segmenting your lists will allow you to draft exclusive offers as incentives for each group. This will also allow you to craft a custom message to each group, which may yield more responses than a generic email. Similarly, you might also segment your attendee list, for example by job title, industry, and ticket type.

Email Content Themes & Milestones

It’s always a good idea to put together a calendar to help you define the milestones that you need to communicate with your audience. Here are some themes that might inspire you when planning your event email marketing calendar:

  • Save the date message
  • Early-bird tickets on sale
  • Notifying of price increases
  • Promote speakers
  • Promote workshops
  • Accommodation, transportation, and tourist attractions
  • Special offers
  • Photos and videos from previous events
  • Sneak peek of the key takeaways from the event
  • Post-event survey
  • Follow up with a discount code for the next year’s event


Email marketing is definitely a science, but it’s not a difficult one to master. Follow the steps in this guide and you’ll be able to put together a solid email strategy to meet your event goals. On that note, here are some new features Attendease recently released to support more advanced email features, including eye-catching templates for different email types. Like what you see? Book a demo to see Attendease in action!

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