Email marketing has been proven to be one of the best ways to promote products, services, and events. In fact, email marketing is more effective at generating sales than search engine marketing and social media marketing, so it’s essential that email marketing is included in your event marketing plan.
Research has found that 4.24% of visitors from an email marketing message to a website or sales page buy something compared to just 2.49% from search engines and 0.59% from social media. One reason for this could be because email marketing messages are 5-times more likely to be seen than messages posted on Facebook.
The data paints a clear picture. Email marketing works, and you need to promote your events through email marketing to maximize attendance and ticket sales.
10 Ways to Use Email Marketing to Promote Your Events
For event promotion, your email marketing goal will typically be to drive people to your ticket sales page. The following 10 recommendations will help you increase interest in your event among the right audiences and motivate them to click through to visit your ticket sales page where you can include an irresistible event description, images, videos, details, testimonials from prior attendees (if yours is a repeat event), and so on.
Once people land on your ticket sales page (and assuming you’ve created a great ticket sales page), they’ll want to attend your event, and they’ll buy tickets. But first, you have to get them to that ticket sales page with awesome email marketing messages.
1. Define Your Audience
Who would be most interested in attending your event? Before you can start sending promotional email messages, you need to figure out who to send them to. That means you need to define your audience of possible ticket buyers.
Create profiles of your target ticket buyers, so you can build your email subscriber list with the right people. Ideally, you should start working on building your email marketing list a minimum of six months before your event (even earlier if possible).
2. Segment Your Audience
Segmenting your audience into smaller groups of people who share similar reasons for wanting to attend your event is practically a guaranteed way to improve your email marketing results and boost ticket sales.
An easy way to understand why segmentation is so important is to think about the audience for an air show. This type of event will attract aeronautical enthusiasts and parents looking for a family-friendly weekend activity to do with their kids. These are two very different audiences, and the email messages sent to them promoting the event would need to include very different messages to drive the most ticket sales.
While aeronautical enthusiasts would be most interested in learning about the specific type of aircraft and pilots appearing at the event, parents with young children might be most interested in the related activities, such as play areas and face painting. If the event managers send messages about airplane specifications to parents, the response rate will be much lower than it could have been had they sent parents a message highlighting family-friendly activities.
In other words, segmentation allows event marketers to send more relevant messages to their audience members. You need to do the same thing with your event email marketing campaigns to ensure the right people are getting the right messages.
3. Integrate Your Tools
For email marketing to be most effective, your email marketing tool should integrate directly with your ticketing software, your web analytics tool (such as Google Analytics), your digital advertising accounts, and your social media accounts. This is critical to not only track your email campaign performance and make changes to improve your results but also for effective remarketing through online shopping cart abandonment email campaigns (discussed in #8 below).
For example, AttendStar is one of the leading ticketing platforms, and it integrates seamlessly with web analytics, social media, online advertising, and email marketing tools to ensure you’re always in complete control of your event marketing, messages, ticket sales, and results.
4. Send Pre-Event Messages
With your audience defined and segmented and your technology set up, it’s time to start creating email marketing messages to promote your event. You can begin several months before your event by sending messages to previous attendees (for repeat events) and your email subscriber list that start getting them excited and talking about your event.
Your goal at this point is to send meaningful email messages that pique recipients’ interests in your event. To that end, these messages can include:
- Performer or speaker announcements
- Is this event right for you? (messages that help recipients understand why they’d enjoy the event)
- Sponsor announcements
- Sneak peek messages
- Behind the scenes messages
- Performer or speaker interviews
- Compilation videos from previous events
The key is to create early excitement and provide information that people will want to talk about and share on social media. To that end, make it easy for recipients to forward your pre-event email marketing messages and share them on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
5. Send Special Ticket Offer Messages
When tickets go on sale and your event date gets closer, you should send special ticket offer messages to jumpstart ticket sales. Early ticket sales are critical to your event’s success, so consider sending the following messages:
- Ticket sales are starting soon (in 24-48 hours)
- Early bird pricing discounts
- Flash sales
- Ticket giveaways
- Bulk or group ticket discounts
- Bundled ticket offers (e.g., tickets with drinks, food, special activities, or merchandise)
6. Send Milestone Messages
Milestone messages are very effective in keeping your audience engaged and interested in your event while also creating a sense of urgency to motivate them to purchase tickets. The goal with milestone messages is to make recipients feel like they’ll be missing something big if they don’t buy tickets or like everyone else is going to the event except them.
Some milestones that could prompt an email marketing message include:
- Certain number of tickets sold (or remaining)
- End of early bird discount
- Start of a promotion
- Certain number of performers added
- Specific number of days before the event (countdown)
7. Send Abandoned Cart Messages
Remarketing email messages have open and click-through rates that are nearly three-times higher than traditional email marketing messages. They also have an average conversion rate of 30%, which is significantly higher than the less than 5% conversion rate of traditional messages.
Therefore, it’s critical that you send abandoned cart messages to recapture potentially lost sales. Ideally, this process should be automated between your ticketing software, ticket sales page, and email marketing tool.
8. Send “Time is Running Out” Messages
To create a sense of urgency, send messages to notify your subscribers that time is running out to buy tickets. Even if you plan to sell tickets at the door, it’s always better to sell more tickets in advance. With that in mind, send “time is running out” messages one week before the event and again three days, two days, and one day before the event.
9. Send Last Chance Messages
The last message you send prior to the event should be a last call to buy tickets. Send this message a few hours before online ticket sales end, and include a countdown clock to make the message sound as urgent as possible. Include any last-minute promotional offers, and use strong sales copy to get as many last-minute sales as possible.
10. Test, Track, and Tweak
Make sure you can track the results of your email marketing efforts and how they affect ticket sales, so you can modify your campaigns to improve results along the way. Test subject lines, offers, design, and calls to action to find the best combinations that drive the most ticket sales.
Again, your ticketing software, web analytics tool, email marketing tool, advertising accounts, and social media accounts must be integrated for you to accurately track conversions and the success of your email marketing investments. Without this information, you won’t be able to make critical decisions with confidence nor will you be able to optimize the return on your email marketing investments.
Keep in mind, your ticketing platform and your email marketing tool need to offer the necessary features in order for you to leverage all of the tips offered above. Therefore, do your research and choose the tools that give you the most marketing opportunities at the best prices, so you can maximize both your promotion efforts and ticket sales for your event.