Emails and events go hand in hand. Membership managers are all too familiar with the plethora of emails that go along with the events they plan and manage.
You’re likely used to setting up automated emails to handle registration, reminders, surveys, and more for all your events. If you’re like most membership managers, you either inherited or set up a tried-and-tested structure for all your event emails. With templates and back-end logic (message triggering) all set up, it’s not likely you’ve taken the opportunity to analyze the way you handle event emails.
In most cases, the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality is a good one, but set aside that attitude for a moment and you might realize that with only a little work, changing the way you think about event emails can open up exciting opportunities to boost the success of your events.
The purpose of this article is to step through each standard type of event email, and present new ways you can design and manage them to help meet your event goals. Event emails can be a powerful tool to support event engagement, and ought to be a central part of every event manager’s event engagement mix.
Let us show you a few ways you can boost event engagement with strategic email campaigns, starting with Registration Emails:
Ramping up Registrations
Registration emails are run-of-the-mill, but the way you manage them can have a big impact on your event.
For new registrants, these emails are your first contact, so it’s important to make a good impression. More than this, they’re also an important reference for event details. Top-quality registration confirmation emails get flagged or pinned, supporting engagement by keeping your event and your brand top-of-mind for a recipient.
For your organization, these emails can introduce a lot of headache. Producing, managing, and monitoring them can either take lot of work or a little depending on the tools you use to manage them. Adopting an email automation platform like MailChimp is a great first step, but ideally your Membership Management Software (like Member365) offers email automation functionality that integrates with your CRM, eliminating the need to manually manage lists.
Registration emails ought to be written once, and sent out automatically to each and every registrant after registration. More than this, they should also be written to avoid tripping email spam filters.
Tips for Reminder Emails
Event registration numbers never match event attendance numbers. This is a simple truth known by all event managers.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your ratio.
Here are some email simple techniques you can use to boost attendance rates:
Send multiple reminder emails
Don’t overwhelm readers with annoying message frequency, but it’s generally better to err on the side of sending too many messages, rather than not enough.
Mix up the message with different content for each email. Opening anything from you should be a positive member experience.
Consider adding a layer of complexity to your email automation by configuring conditional logic. If users engage with one email, but not another, that might indicate an interest in its content. Consider sending another to those who show interest.
Include click-through opportunities to better measure engagement
Email opens are a great engagement indicator, but click-throughs are better. They demonstrate that readers are actually reading your emails.
Capture click-through metrics by including at least one CTA in each reminder email. Consider linking to content concerning your event subject matter, or the website of one of your speakers. This will not only help you capture valuable data that will help you predict overall event engagement, but offer your speakers an influx of high-quality site visitors.
Compare email engagement to event engagement year-over-year
It’s tough to confidently predict event engagement based off email engagement until you’ve established a pattern between the two. Compare email metrics to event engagement metrics after your first year, and during your second, see if you can establish a relationship between the two.
If overall click-throughs increase by 3% in your second year, and event attendance increases by 3% as well, there’s good reason to consider these two values correlated.
In your third year, test this hypothesis. If email engagement values move similarly to overall event engagement, you can be confident that email engagement values will indicate overall event engagement.
During Your Event
Getting event attendees to your event is one thing. Keeping them there is another.
Add a targeted email campaign to your list of tactics you use to keep event attendees at their events. Consider:
Email meal options and maps
Offering catered off-site meals? Consider segmenting your event attendees into groups according to their assigned restaurant. At lunchtime, trigger an email with all the information they need to find their restaurant, including a Google Maps link they can use to find directions. When lunch is over, send another to help them find their way back.
Segment lists based on workshop registration
Help attendees find their way to their workshops by building workshop reminder campaigns similar to the way you’d do so for your overall event. As the start time approaches, trigger an email giving workshop attendee’s everything they need to find and participate in their workshop. If your event space is a big one, or taking place across multiple locations, include Google Maps links like mentioned in the example above.
The best time to capture feedback on an attendants experience is right when that experience ends. If you want to know, for example, how your audience felt about a given talk – use your membership management software to select a segment of the audience for a targeted survey as soon as the talk ends.
Be careful not to send surveys to the whole audience. Overwhelming attendees risks having them unsubscribe, and even small sample groups can provide accurate representations of overall audience sentiment.
This technique works with nearly every event activity. Workshops, talks, roundtables and more. Apply the technique anywhere you’d like insight into member experience, and you’ll be sure to find them!
After Your Event
It’s important to demonstrate your appreciation for those who participated in your event, even if they didn’t show up.
That’s why it’s so important to segment post-event emails into, at least, “Attended” and “Didn’t attend” segments.
Deliver value to attendants and non-attendants alike by sending links to relevant content like speaker notes, video highlights, speaker websites, articles, reports, and more. These emails help build your event brand into a one-stop-shop for all things relevant to your event subject matter. Consider optimizing your email for sharing by encouraging attendants to forward it with ‘Challenge’ content like quizzes.
Open Your Mind to Event Emails
Above are only a few ways you can take your event emails to the next level and use them to support your event goals. A proven tactic to boost event engagement, next time you take a look at your event email campaigns, take the opportunity to try out some of the tactics above!