As an event organizer/planner, what is your number one priority? My guess is to get your ideal audience to register and attend your event, right?
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, or what sort of event you’re organizing, whether it’s a paid for workshop or a free conference, the need is the same. In fact, 83.3% of event planners say their primary goal is to promote their event and register delegates.
Now, there are several ways you can promote your event. You could print and hand out flyers, send out press releases, advertise on magazines and newspapers, run radio jingles and so on. On average, businesses use 5.5 different methods to promote their events.
However, email is cited as the number one method used by marketers to promote their event, with 76% of marketers employing email for event promotion.
Now, let’s take a look at how you can use email to effectively promote your next event, by learning from Ifeanyi, a business developer in Lagos who recently promoted a business conference and exhibition that registered over 1800 delegates and saw a greater attendance rate.
Identify Your Audience
What’s the first thing to do when promoting an event? Identify your target audience.
Ifeanyi’s event was a business conference and exhibition targeted at small business owners in Lagos. So, the first task for Ifeanyi was to gather and compile a database of his target’s email addresses.
Where to Get Emails
- Registration Forms: Ifeanyi created event registration forms online. He used sites like eventbrite and ConnectNigeria’s event hotspot to gather contact details of people who would be interested in his business conference and exhibition.
Sites like eventbrite and ConnectNigeria already have an established audience and they actively promote listed events to their audience. He also created an event page on his website that also had a registration form.
- Past events: Looking at past events his company organized, Ifeanyi segmented the database of past registrants and extracted the business professionals from his list.
- Customer database: His current customer database and prospect list was also a great place for Ifeanyi to get emails.
For more on how to use online tools to attract delegates to your event, click here.
Create a Schedule
Next, Ifeanyi created a schedule of emails to send to his list. His objectives were to
- Create awareness for his event
- Build excitement
- Encourage social sharing and
- Ensure attendance
So, his email schedule looked like the table below
|Event Announcement||3 Months to Event||Awareness|
|Registration Now Open||2 Months to Event||Awareness|
|Benefits of Attending||7 Weeks to Event||Awareness, Build Excitement|
|Speaker List||6 Weeks to Event||Build Excitement|
|Participating Organizations||5 Weeks to Event||Build Excitement|
|Speaker Interviews||4 Weeks to Event||Build Excitement, Encourage Sharing|
|Social Media Activity: Tweet Chats with Speakers||3 Weeks to Event||Build Excitement, Encourage Sharing|
|Conference Agenda||2 Weeks to Event||Ensure Attendance|
|Countdown To Event: How to Make The Most of Event||7 Days to Event||Ensure Attendance|
|Countdown to Event: How to Network||4 Days to Event||Ensure Attendance|
|Countdown to Event: What You Need For the Event||1 Day to Event||Ensure Attendance|
|Countdown: About To Begin||Event Day: Few Hours to the Event||Ensure Attendance|
Notice how he spaced his emails.
Even though every email sent further enhanced awareness for the event, some emails were designed to build excitement (like the speaker list and speaker interviews), while others were designed to ensure that registrants actually showed up to the conference and exhibition.
How to Optimize Your Emails to Increase Open Rates and Drive Registration
In order to ensure his emails were opened and drove engagement, Ifeanyi had to optimize the following components of each email he sent:
Subject Line: Ifeanyi made sure that his subject lines were brief, straight to the point and set clear expectations for what his readers would see in the email. When necessary, he included his company’s name in the subject line, included his reader’s name or personalized his subject with the word ‘’you’’.
As examples, some of his subject lines were
- Invitation from [Company Name]
- 7 Reasons Why You Should Attend [Company Name]’s Business Conference
- [Recipient’s Name],Check Out Our Speaker Line-Up
To learn more about subject lines, check out MailChimp’s research on subject lines here
Sender Name: Ifeanyi made sure that all the emails he sent were from his email address and not from his company’s email.
A test by Hubspot revealed that emails from a personal email perform better than emails from a company email. In fact, in the test, emails from a real person had a 0.53% higher open rate and a 0.23% increase in clicks
Personalization: Moving a step further, Ifeanyi ensured that every email was addressed to the readers name. Each email started with ‘’Hi [Recipient’s First Name]’’
Email Body and Design: Every email sent was optimized for mobile readers. Which means he:
- Used brief and compelling messages
- Limited the use of images
- Made sure the font size was large enough
Call to Action: Ifeanyi placed a link to his event’s registration page in every email to drive registration. He also placed social sharing buttons and forward buttons to encourage his audience to share and forward his emails.
For the next post, we’ll look beyond the event and how you can build communities around your event.
Photo credit: premiereventhalls.com