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How to use email to increase event attendance

November 17, 2023 | Jimit Mehta

Have you ever put your heart and soul into organizing an event, only to have a disappointingly low turnout? It's a frustrating experience that can leave you feeling demotivated and defeated. But fear not, because there's a powerful tool at your disposal that can help you increase event attendance: email. Yes, email is still one of the most effective ways to communicate with your audience and get them excited about your event. In this article, we'll show you how to use email to your advantage and maximize attendance at your next event. So grab a cup of coffee and get ready to learn some actionable tips and tricks that will make your email campaigns the talk of the town.

Build a targeted email list

Building a targeted email list is an essential first step in using email to increase event attendance. Essentially, it means compiling a list of people who are likely to be interested in attending your event and who have given you permission to contact them via email. You don't want to waste your time or theirs by sending emails to people who are unlikely to be interested in what you have to offer.

To build a targeted email list, start by identifying your ideal audience. Who is most likely to attend your event? What demographics or interests do they have in common? You can also look at past attendees, customers, and other leads to get a better sense of who you should be targeting.

Once you have a sense of who you want to reach, you can start gathering email addresses. You can use a sign-up form on your website or social media channels, ask for email addresses in person at events, or even purchase a targeted email list from a third-party provider (although this can be risky and is generally not recommended).

Remember, building a targeted email list is not a one-time task. You should constantly be adding new contacts and removing those who are no longer interested or relevant. By keeping your list up-to-date and targeted, you'll be able to maximize the impact of your email campaigns and increase attendance at your events.

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Use an attention-grabbing subject line

When it comes to email marketing, the subject line is often the first and most important point of contact you have with your audience. It's the first thing they see in their inbox, and it can make or break whether they open and read your email.

That's why it's essential to use an attention-grabbing subject line to entice your audience to click and read more. Your subject line should be short, clear, and concise, while also being engaging and intriguing.

One effective way to craft an attention-grabbing subject line is to create a sense of urgency or exclusivity. For example, you could use phrases like "limited time offer," "only a few spots left," or "exclusive invitation." These types of subject lines create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) and motivate your audience to take action.

Another effective approach is to pique your audience's curiosity. For example, you could use a question, a teaser, or a bold statement that makes them want to learn more. Just be sure to deliver on the promise of your subject line in the body of your email so your audience doesn't feel misled.

In short, using an attention-grabbing subject line is all about standing out in a crowded inbox and motivating your audience to take action. By taking the time to craft a compelling subject line, you can increase the chances that your emails will be opened, read, and acted upon.

Craft a compelling email copy

Once you've got your audience to open your email with an attention-grabbing subject line, it's time to deliver the goods with compelling email copy. Your email copy should be clear, concise, and focused on the benefits of attending your event.

To start, make sure your email has a clear and engaging opening that entices your audience to keep reading. You could share an interesting fact or statistic, tell a story, or ask a question that relates to your event.

Next, focus on the benefits of attending your event. What will your audience gain from attending? Will they learn something new? Connect with like-minded people? Have a great time? Make sure your email copy clearly communicates the benefits and value of your event, and make it clear why your event is a can't-miss opportunity.

It's also important to be concise and to the point in your email copy. People are busy and don't have time to read lengthy emails, so make sure your message is clear and easy to understand. Use short paragraphs, bullet points, and subheadings to break up your text and make it easy to scan.

Finally, end your email with a clear and prominent call-to-action. This could be a link to register for your event, an invitation to contact you with questions, or a request to share your event with friends and colleagues.

In short, crafting a compelling email copy is all about communicating the benefits and value of your event in a clear and engaging way. By focusing on the benefits, being concise and to the point, and ending with a clear call-to-action, you can increase the chances that your audience will take the next step and attend your event.

Include a clear and prominent call-to-action

An essential component of any effective email marketing campaign is a clear and prominent call-to-action (CTA). A call-to-action is a directive that tells your audience what you want them to do after reading your email. It's a way to guide your audience towards taking the next step, whether that's registering for your event, contacting you for more information, or sharing your event with their network.

To include a clear and prominent call-to-action in your emails, make sure it stands out visually. You could use a different color or font, or even include a button to make it more eye-catching. Your CTA should also be placed in a prominent location within your email, such as near the top or bottom.

Make sure your call-to-action is specific and actionable. Rather than using generic language like "click here," use language that clearly communicates the action you want your audience to take. For example, you could use "Register Now," "Get Your Ticket," or "Learn More."

It's also important to ensure your CTA is aligned with your overall email message and the purpose of your event. Make sure the language and messaging in your CTA match the benefits and value you've communicated in the rest of your email. This will help increase the chances that your audience will take action and attend your event.

In short, including a clear and prominent call-to-action in your emails is essential for guiding your audience towards taking the next step. By making your CTA visually prominent, using specific and actionable language, and aligning it with your overall email message, you can increase the chances that your audience will take action and attend your event.

Personalize your emails

Personalizing your emails is a powerful way to increase engagement and boost attendance at your event. Rather than sending a generic email to your entire email list, personalization allows you to tailor your message to each individual recipient, making it more relevant and compelling.

To personalize your emails, start by using your recipient's name in the email subject line and greeting. This simple step can make your email feel more personal and less like a mass communication.

You could also use data you have about your audience to personalize your email content. For example, if you know that some of your recipients attended a similar event in the past, you could mention that in your email and explain how your upcoming event is different or better.

Another way to personalize your emails is to segment your email list based on audience characteristics. This could be anything from demographics like age and location, to interests and past behaviors. By segmenting your list, you can send targeted and relevant messages to each group, increasing the chances that they'll find your event valuable and want to attend.

Finally, consider using a more conversational tone in your emails. This can help your emails feel more personal and engaging, and can help build a relationship with your audience. Use language that's natural and approachable, and avoid using overly formal or stiff language.

In short, personalizing your emails is a powerful way to increase engagement and attendance at your event. By using personalization techniques like using your recipient's name, leveraging data to create targeted messages, and adopting a conversational tone, you can create more engaging and effective emails that motivate your audience to attend your event.

Use visuals to make your emails stand out

Using visuals is an effective way to make your emails stand out and grab your audience's attention. In a crowded inbox, a visually appealing email can make all the difference in getting your audience to open and engage with your message.

Visuals can take many forms, including images, graphics, videos, and even emojis. When choosing visuals for your emails, make sure they're relevant to your event and support your overall message. For example, you could include a photo of a speaker, a graphic illustrating the benefits of attending your event, or a short video showcasing the event experience.

To ensure your visuals have the desired impact, make sure they're high-quality and optimized for email. Large or low-resolution images can slow down load times and make your email look unprofessional, so make sure your visuals are optimized for the email format.

Another way to use visuals in your emails is to create a branded email template that incorporates your event's colors, fonts, and logo. This can help your email look more polished and professional, and can help your audience identify your event more easily.

When using visuals in your emails, it's also important to consider accessibility. Make sure you include alternative text for images, which can be read by screen readers, and avoid relying solely on visuals to convey important information.

In short, using visuals is an effective way to make your emails stand out and grab your audience's attention. By choosing relevant and high-quality visuals, optimizing them for email, and incorporating a branded email template, you can create more engaging and effective emails that help drive attendance to your event.

Time your emails strategically

Timing your emails strategically is an important factor in maximizing event attendance. Sending your emails at the right time can make a big difference in how many people open, read, and respond to your message.

The best timing for your emails will depend on your specific event and audience. For example, if you're organizing a weekend conference, you might want to send your initial save-the-date email several months in advance to give people time to plan their schedules. On the other hand, if you're promoting a local networking event, you might want to send your emails closer to the event date to keep it top of mind.

One effective strategy for timing your emails is to send them in a series, spaced out over several weeks or months leading up to your event. This can help build momentum and keep your event top of mind, without overwhelming your audience with too many messages at once.

You can also use data to help determine the best time to send your emails. Most email marketing platforms provide analytics that show you when your audience is most active and engaged with your messages. Use this data to time your emails for maximum impact and engagement.

Finally, make sure you're considering time zones when scheduling your emails. If your audience is spread across different regions or countries, you'll need to make sure your emails are arriving at a reasonable time for each time zone.

In short, timing your emails strategically is an important factor in maximizing event attendance. By considering your event and audience, using a series of emails, leveraging data analytics, and accounting for time zones, you can increase the chances that your emails will be read and acted upon, ultimately driving attendance to your event.

Follow up with attendees after the event

Following up with attendees after the event is a crucial step in building relationships and fostering engagement. It shows that you value their attendance and are interested in continuing the conversation beyond the event itself.

A post-event follow-up email can serve several purposes. First, it can provide attendees with a recap of the event and highlight key takeaways or moments. This can help reinforce the value of attending and keep the event top of mind.

Second, a follow-up email can include a survey or feedback form, allowing attendees to share their thoughts and opinions about the event. This feedback can help you improve future events and better meet the needs of your audience.

Third, a follow-up email can provide a call to action for attendees, such as signing up for a newsletter, registering for a future event, or following your organization on social media. This can help keep attendees engaged and continue building the relationship beyond the event.

When crafting your post-event follow-up email, make sure it's personalized and relevant to each attendee. This can include referencing specific moments or conversations from the event, or highlighting how they can continue to benefit from your organization or events in the future.

In addition, consider timing your follow-up email strategically. Sending it within a day or two of the event can help keep the momentum going and make the event feel more immediate and impactful.

In short, following up with attendees after the event is an important step in building relationships and fostering engagement. By providing a recap, gathering feedback, and providing a call to action, you can continue the conversation and build momentum for future events.

Use email automation to streamline the process

Email automation is a powerful tool that can help streamline the process of promoting and managing events through email. With automation, you can set up a series of emails to be sent automatically to your audience at specific times, based on their behavior or other triggers.

Using email automation can save time and reduce the risk of human error. Instead of manually sending emails and tracking responses, you can set up a series of emails in advance, and let the automation take care of the rest. This can free up your time to focus on other aspects of event planning, while ensuring that your email marketing efforts are consistent and effective.

There are many ways to use email automation for event promotion. For example, you could set up a series of emails to be sent to new subscribers, providing them with more information about your organization and upcoming events. Or, you could use automation to send reminder emails to people who have registered for an event but haven't completed payment, encouraging them to finalize their registration.

You can also use automation to send targeted messages based on specific behaviors or interests. For example, if someone clicks on a link to a specific session or speaker, you could automatically send them more information or related content.

By using email automation, you can ensure that your audience receives timely, relevant messages without requiring a lot of manual effort. This can help you increase event attendance, build relationships with your audience, and ultimately drive the success of your events.

In short, email automation is a powerful tool for streamlining event promotion and management. By setting up a series of automated emails, you can save time and reduce the risk of error, while ensuring that your audience receives timely and relevant messages.

Experiment and iterate based on email performance

Experimenting and iterating based on email performance is a critical part of using email to increase event attendance. No matter how well-crafted your email campaigns are, there's always room for improvement, and the best way to find out what works and what doesn't is to test different approaches and analyze the results.

One of the most important metrics to track is open rate - the percentage of people who open your emails. A low open rate may indicate that your subject lines aren't compelling enough, or that your audience isn't engaged with your content. By testing different subject lines and analyzing open rates, you can learn what types of messages resonate most with your audience.

Another important metric to track is click-through rate - the percentage of people who click on links in your emails. A low click-through rate may indicate that your calls to action aren't clear or compelling, or that your content isn't relevant to your audience. By testing different calls to action and analyzing click-through rates, you can learn what types of messages and offers are most likely to drive engagement.

To experiment and iterate effectively, it's important to have a clear understanding of your audience and their interests. Use audience segmentation to group subscribers based on their interests or behaviors, and test different approaches with each group. By analyzing the results, you can learn which messages are most effective for each segment, and tailor your campaigns accordingly.

In addition, be sure to track overall performance metrics such as conversion rate (the percentage of people who take a desired action, such as registering for an event), as well as metrics such as unsubscribe rate and spam complaints, which can indicate that your emails are not resonating with your audience.

In short, experimenting and iterating based on email performance is essential for optimizing your email campaigns and increasing event attendance. By testing different approaches, analyzing results, and tailoring your campaigns based on what works best, you can drive better results and build stronger relationships with your audience.

Over to you

If you're looking to increase event attendance, email marketing can be a highly effective tool. In order to get the best results, there are several key strategies that you should keep in mind.

First, it's important to build a targeted email list, so that you can ensure that your messages are reaching the right people. You should also use attention-grabbing subject lines and craft compelling email copy that clearly conveys the benefits of attending your event.

In addition, including a clear and prominent call-to-action can help encourage people to take the desired action, such as registering for your event. Personalizing your emails and using visuals can also help make your messages more engaging and relevant to your audience.

Timing your emails strategically is also important, so that you can ensure that your messages are being received at a time when people are most likely to take action.

Following up with attendees after the event can also help build long-term relationships with your audience and encourage repeat attendance. Finally, using email automation can help streamline the process and ensure that your messages are being sent at the right time, without requiring a lot of manual effort.

By experimenting and iterating based on email performance, you can refine your approach over time and continue to improve your results. With these strategies in mind, you can use email to increase event attendance and build stronger relationships with your audience.

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