In order to generate excitement and attract the audience needed for a successful event, planners should employ email marketing – early and frequently – to promote it. Before the event, most marketing activities will direct attendees to the event Web site and email marketing is the most reliable and cost-effective way to draw in your audience.
The Target Audience
The successful email marketing campaign must consider the nature of the event’s audience:
• Repeat attendees – Is this an annual or recurring event where mostof the invitees have attended a previous event?
• Existing organization – Does most of the audience belong to an established group, e.g. association, company (employees or customers), community, etc.?
• Recruiting focus – Is one goal of the event to recruit new individuals to attend your event and perhaps join the established group?
Email Marketing Solutions
The optimum email marketing strategy for your event can range from informational forcompany employees attending a required meeting to promotionalthatattracts paid trade show patrons. No matter which category fits your intended audience, a good email marketing solution can be a planner’s best friend.
Email marketing solutions for event planners should be able to track and report on each recipient and their activities, including:
• Opt-out – want to be removed from future mailings
• Undeliverable – addresses are invalid (bounce-back)
• Views – looked at the message (address is valid, but no response)
• Click-throughs– took action from the message to view the Website
• Partial registrations – began the registration process but stopped
• Registrations – complete registrations who intend to attend the event
• Attendee – attended the event (or a previous event)
When evaluating email marketing solutions, make sure it is easy to use and the features suit your needs. A successful email marketing solution should optimize event marketing spend and dramatically automate the email marketing function.
Event Notification Schedule
While timelines for events vary widely, below is a general schedule that can be used to get your email marketing campaigns started. Once event details have been finalized, the schedule can be changed to accommodate your marketing goals and better align with your overall meeting strategy.
- 1 year before the event: Save-the-Date. Send an advance notice to attendees and exhibitors immediately after the previous year’s event, or as soon as you know dates and location of the new event. Make sure your Web site has a placeholder page in place.
- 6 months before the event: Event Web Site Open. Once the event Web site is ready and launched, send an email to previous and required attendees.
- 3-6 months before the event: Event Invitation (Registration open). Send a short, targeted message to each group of with an invitation to register.
- 1-3 months before the event: Alternate Invitations/Reminder to Register. Send different messages and offers if the original invitation did not lead to action. Do not spam or re-send the same message repeatedly.
- 1 month before the event: Registration and Travel Announcement. Send short reminders to attendees who haven’t completed their required information. Travel should be booked before room blocks fill or are released and airfare rises (typically 21 days’ prior to travel).
- 3 weeks before the event: Event Reminder. Send a “Get Ready” message to attendees with any new updates.
- 1 week before the event: See You at the Event. Just before staff departs for the event, send a final message to attendees. This serves as a final reminder for the event, and will trigger last-minute questions while the staff is still in the office and able to resolve issues more easily.
- 0 days before the event: Daily Event Update. Each morning during the event, send a newsletter to attendees with an overview of the coming day and highlights from the previous day. If your event has a mobile component, more frequent updates can be sent to Smart phones during the event.
As the campaign proceeds, each new email should target only individuals who remain in the intended group. For example, do not re-send an invitation to registered attendees; this will confuse them and produce questions and more work. An email list “gets old” rapidly and typically 20% or more addresses become invalid each year. Make sure to invest the time to remove opt-outs (this is the law), investigate and update undeliverable emails, and find new prospects to invite. Many email marketing solutions can help you update lists with automated capabilities such as de-duping and list versioning.
The integrated email marketing solution found in Certain ensures an organization’s message is heard, keeps attendees more engaged and helps optimize every event marketing dollar spent. Certain sends and tracks targeted email campaigns with customizable templates, robust reporting and comprehensive list management capabilities without adding to the planner’s workload.
Find out more about Certain’s comprehensive email marketing capabilities at www.certain.com