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A Guide to the Perfect Event Email Marketing Campaign

Damarley Robinson |

Female event planner sitting at her desk composing an event email marketing campaignIt’s no secret that some marketers believe that email marketing has lost its effectiveness – they believe that inboxes are simply too full, and you can’t break through the noise. If you’ve heard the same, don’t listen. Email marketing is just as effective as it has always been, offering an incredible ROI of $38 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 3,800% ROI. The key is breaking through all that noise to reach your customer.

So, how do you do that? How do you stand out amongst all the discounts and newsletters to get your customer to open your emails? You’ve got to get personal.

What is Email Marketing?

Let’s start at the beginning and get clear on the basics. Email marketing is simply using emails to market what you sell – simple right? The concept certainly is, but nowadays people aren’t listening out for the AOL “you’ve got mail” sound. The average office worker receives approximately 121 emails a day, and 306.4 billion emails were sent daily throughout 2020. Staying on top of your email inboxes is now a challenge. That means that to use email marketing effectively, you’ve got to do more than simply turn up in their inbox.

Number of sent and received e-mails per day worldwide from 2017 to 2025

graph showing the number of sent and received e-mails per day worldwide from 2017 to 2025Image Source: Statista

Why is Email Marketing so Essential for Events?

Email marketing campaigns are the best way to stay in contact with your warm leads – people who have actively opted in to receive your emails. This allows you to reach your audience directly when you have something to say. When you use other forms of promotion, such as social media, you put information out there and then hope the right people will see it. Only email marketing will allow you to get in direct contact with your potential event attendees with such ease, you don’t need to mail hundreds or thousands of physical letters and pay the postage, and you don’t need people to get on the phone. You can simply hit send, and it can reach thousands of inboxes.

The statistics confirm its effectiveness, too. As mentioned in a survey, event creators found that 78% found email marketing the most effective marketing tool, and those tracking where sales came from attributed 45% of ticket sales to marketing.

What are the Benefits of Personalizing your Email Campaigns?

The key reason why some marketers fail to get the results they’d like from their email marketing campaigns is that they’re failing to think of the human receiving the email. They focus on what that email can do in generating sales, and the big numbers, but they don’t consider what Sam, Leah, and Charly are seeing when they open the email. When you personalize the email marketing campaign for each prospect, you speak to them and their needs. They learn to like and trust you, which is essential if they’re going to buy from you and attend your events.

5 Must-Know Ways to Personalize Your Email Campaigns

Business person reading personalized event emails on smartphone and laptop computer screen online, communication and marketing concept

So now you know why it’s so important to personalize your email marketing campaign, let’s get into some of the most effective email marketing techniques.

1. Segment

Segmenting your audience is a powerful way to ensure your email marketing reaches the right people, and you don’t bore your audience with information they don’t need or care about. How long do you give an email before you move it to the trash? Considering the average attention span for an adult is 8 seconds, you likely give an email 8 seconds or less to tell you why you should give it the time of day. Segmentation allows you to divide your email list into different segments that can then receive different emails or different versions of the same email.

For example, if you’re running an event where you’re having a lot of exhibitors, your list may be 75% people who simply want to attend, and 25% those who have expressed an interest in booking a table. If you send the 75% of people who are simply attendees an email about exhibiting, you’re going to show them your emails aren’t always worth opening at worst. This can be a slippery slope to low open rates.

You can get much more granular than this, so it’s an incredibly powerful way to reach your audience and personalize your email marketing campaigns.

One of the best B2B email marketing examples of this is Duett, a conversion copywriter who allows subscribers to self-select which segment they want to be in from the welcome email. She is not alone, either, and this is a great way to divide your audience without needing a dozen different entry points from your website.

2. Use Real Names

This is the most basic personalization trick out there but stick with me. The reason why most emails that land in your inbox now are addressed to you is because it works! Make sure you use custom fields to gather and enter specific information about a recipient to personalize your emails. Our email marketing platform has over 40 custom fields, so you can easily and quickly generate personalized emails that connect and convert.

Personalized event email subject lineImage Source: Campaign Monitor

Another thing you should consider is what your “from” name is. 68% of adults in the US say they look at the “from” name when deciding whether or not to open an email, so make sure your “from” name aligns with the name they saw when they signed up for your list. If your audience refers to you as your brand, don’t use your CEO’s name. While getting an email from a single person can increase open rates (for example, if they have an account manager), most people will just delete or junk an email if it’s from someone they aren’t familiar with, so test or ask your audience if you aren’t sure what’s best.

3. Start with a Strong Email Marketing Strategy Template

When all your focus is on getting the right content in the email, you can forget to effectively personalize it for your audience. Instead, save time, money, and brainpower with a strategic email marketing template. This will allow you to use tried and tested layouts and customize the sections for your different audience segments. For copy, speak to your copywriter or marketing team about creating templates you can use over and over again based on the most common emails you send to your audience so you can focus your resources on personalization.

4. Brand Your Emails

Keep your brand styling consistent from email to email. If you have one text-only email, and the next one is full HTML/CSS, your audience isn’t going to know what to expect from you. Instead, use the visual elements of your emails to be instantly recognizable. If you have different audience segments, then consider slightly different branding for each segment, especially if some of your attendees may be in a few different segments. This will help your audience think “this is for me” when they first open the email before they’ve even read a word.

Branded event email marketing template

5. Use Subscriber Data to Add Further Personalization

You can also use subscriber data to further personalize your email marketing campaign. For example, if you’re holding a B2B event, you may have 2 segments, those who are employees and those who are decision-makers and entrepreneurs. If you’re holding a range of talks for the second segment, you may have a few talks that appeal mostly to women and some to men. Instead of sending out an email about both to the entire segment, you could customize the content based on the recipient’s gender, ensuring they only receive the content they’ll actively be interested in.

One of the best email marketing examples of this is Adidas. They moved from sending generic emails to delivering gender-specific emails so customers who identified as men only receive menswear offers, women receive womenswear, and parents see children’s offers.

5 Secrets to Successful Event Email Marketing

Male event professional using a laptop with the (email, call phone, mail) icons.

When you personalize your email marketing campaigns you increase trust, make a connection, and train your audience that your emails are always worth opening. The emails that get opened and read from start to end are the emails that offer value, so make sure you show your audience that your emails are worth opening long before you start asking them to buy tickets.

Email — as a communication technology — hasn’t changed much over the years, except for a few innovations. That said, it comes as no surprise that best practices in email marketing have remained relatively the same, yet many event marketers struggle to get the most out of their email campaigns to promote their events.

So, as a gentle reminder, here are 5 secrets of event email marketing that most marketers probably know, but are not able to maximize:

1. Write Subject Lines that Capitalize on FOMO

It’s a term that was popularized by millennials, but Fear of Missing Out, or simply FOMO, is an age-old concept that when used correctly in event marketing could be a powerful weapon. Event producer Jenny Stanfield explains: “FOMO or Fear of Missing Out is the anxiety we get when we think we are being left out of an amazing experience. FOMO is a major driver for your prospective attendees, and one that you can easily capitalize on in our social media-driven, shareable world.”

event email example with fomo element

From the moment potential event participants receive an event promotion email, they should already feel FOMO if they do not open the email and take action using a FOMO-driven subject line. Any special offers like an early bird discount should be front-loaded to create a sense of urgency. Likewise, anything that would add a “cool factor” or wow experience (e.g., any advanced event technology) should also be highlighted with a FOMO subject line.

2. Provide Enough Information to Get Them Interested, But Deprive Them So They Attend

One of the biggest mistakes event marketers make is providing too much information in their promo emails. Why would potential event participants register or attend an event if they already know everything that’s going to happen?

Event Email marketing should contain enough information to pique audience interest, but leave out enough to encourage registration and increase attendance. If an event app is an essential part of the event experience, this is also the time to provide instructions describing the app, how to download it, and how to use it.

3. Create a Strategic Email Autoresponder Campaign

There is power in numbers. When it comes to email marketing to promote events, the magic number is 5.

According to research, the ideal number of emails that marketers need to send out for the best conversion rates is 5. This reiterates the importance of multiple touchpoints in marketing. The key to creating multiple touchpoints with email is to write emails with varying messages, moving within the same narrative. Utilize essential email marketing tactics such as guiding recipients through an email promotion funnel based on their actions (those who open versus those who don’t; those who click versus those who don’t).

event professionals sending automate event emails

It’s also important to invest in the right tools. Most event management software integrates with email autoresponder platforms. Many event planning software also have built-in email functionality making it easier to manage everything in one place.

4. Use Video Where and When Appropriate

Pictures are worth a thousand words. Videos, even more. As reported by VWO, videos can increase conversion rates by as much as 80%. That’s a number no event marketer can ignore.

Below are some “sizzler” or teaser video ideas that can be seamlessly incorporated into event promotion emails to increase registrations and attendance:

  • Highlight reel from previous events to create excitement
  • Messages from keynote speakers
    Short blurbs from influencers who will be present at the event

These videos may take time and resources to produce, but the return, when done right, is worth a hundred-fold that effort.

5. Create Clear Calls To Action

This is another rule of thumb that is often forgotten. Each email should have one, single-minded, simple, and compelling CTA. Whether it’s to register, review the event’s agenda, or download a mobile event app — an event email should always end with a call to action.

At the end of the day, email marketing is a crucial ingredient in the success of an event. The email inbox is one of the fastest routes event marketers can take to achieve positive business results. The key is to implement these not-so-secret best practices with personalization and to continuously analyze, experiment, and optimize.

Ready to learn more? Request a live demo to learn how Aventri can help you run effective email marketing campaigns to promote your events, expand your brand awareness, and fill your event with the right attendees. 

An Association Planner's Guide to Hybrid Event Engagement eBook Guide

This Post was Written by Damarley Robinson

Damarley has worked at Aventri since 2019 as an SEO Analyst. He excels at leveraging the power of analytics and user feedback to create and sustain brand loyalty, boost visibility, and creates compelling web content that drives inbound traffic.

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