Top Email Marketing Hacks for Event Planners

As an event planner, you know the success of your event can well come down to how good your email campaigns are. And while there are many ways to market events these days, none quite compares to email as a simple and cost-effective way to getting the word out. That is after all how most email marketing companies make their living!  And yet, there is a downside to email marketing. You need to entice your reader to open the message. Then you need to convince them to click through and sign up.  And doing that well all the time isn’t easy.

EventTech Talk spoke to Oleh Koropenko from 99firms.com, a listings site for online marketing agencies, who feels email marketing for events doesn’t have to be as complicated as one thinks. Have a look at some simple email marketing hacks he suggests event organisers use to get their events off to a great start:

Email Marketing Hack #1: The Subject Line

We’ve already gone over the importance of a great subject line in a previous post, but we’re covering it again. Why? Because 47% of your subscribers are going to decide whether to read an email based on the subject line*. In fact, it’s so important that Obama’s presidential campaign staff tested hundreds of different subject lines to see what worked best. The winner for the campaign was short and sweet – “Hey.” Your subject lines should:

– Contain max 50 characters

– Not be click bait

– Avoid using words like “Deal” or “Miss”

– Include the word “Alert”

Email Marketing Hack #2: Use a Preheader Text

This is the other section of your email that people will see without opening it. Using a preheader text can improve open rates by 30%*. One company reported a 96% increase in return per email thanks to adding a proper preheader.  Your preheaders should:
– Have a short headline

– Always be used

– Be different to the subject line

Email Marketing Hack #3: Watch the Sender Name

It seems that 42% of people worldwide will check to see if they know the sender before opening an email. It’s not surprising considering the amount of spam and malicious software that makes the rounds. Mindberry found that tweaking its email address increased open rates by 57%. You sender name should:

– Always be a dedicated email address

– Be similar to your regular company email address

– Not be linked to a “No Response” service

Email Marketing Hack #4: Segmentation

This is a big topic, but it’s marketing 101. You have to tailor your message to suit the target market. Not every subscriber on your list is going to fit the same profile. Therefore, sending the same email all your attendees is a bad idea. Segmentation should:

– Be done in a way that makes sense to you

– Group similar attendees together

– Be simple. Don’t make it too complicated – choose one or two traits (ex. job title)

Email Marketing Hack #5: Personalisation

If you’re not addressing your subscriber at least by her name, your campaign has the same impact as the old junk mail campaigns addressed to the occupant.

Personalisation should:

– Start with the greeting

– Be carefully checked. Misspelling your attendee’s name won’t earn you any points.

– Consider personalising the content of your email to the specific audience. For example, if you know that your attendee list is made up of corporates and academics, create two separate versions of the same email invite – with each one outlining the sessions that would be of interest to them.


Not sure how to personalise your event emails?  Find out what your peers are doing along with some expert advice on how you can customise your attendees’ event experiences by downloading your copy of ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to Personalisation’.

Email Marketing Hack #6: Automation and Triggering

Running a successful campaign these days means getting information to attendees in a timely manner. When someone clicks through to the site to check the event’s details, you need to follow up with them while they’ve still got the details in mind. This can be hard if you’re relying on a team to do the follow-up. Even the most accomplished team can only get through so many leads in a day. Automated trigger emails, on the other hand, have a 95% higher open rate*.

Using automation here makes sense. It should be:

– Used where a fast email response is required

– Used with carefully chosen trigger points

– Considered when it comes to referring potential leads to your sales team

Email Marketing Hack #7: A Clear Call to Action

Everyone knows they need to click on the link, right? Create Debate found that CTA button increased clicks by 45%. Make it easy for your attendees and show what it is you want them to do. Your CTA should:
– Stand out

– Be simple – one action per email

– Be clear – “Click here to register”

Email Marketing Hack #8: Use Images

Did you know that 65% of us want an email that is more about visuals than words? It’s fact you should bear in mind – images convey information more easily. Helzberg Diamonds added an arrow pointing to the CTA and saw a 26% increase in clicks. Images should:

– Be small in size so they can load fast

– Be carefully chosen

Remember the ‘visual’ draw of your event doesn’t necessarily have to be the subject matter itself.  You can perhaps use pictures of your event’s location, venue or keynote/celebrity speaker. Try to avoid stock shots or generic images of people speaking at podiums – use images from your past events instead.

Email Marketing Hack #9: Don’t Forget About Video

Videos are even better than images — 64% of us are more likely to buy a product after seeing a related video. Implix found that including a video in its emails increased CTR by 96%. Videos give people a different opportunity to learn more about your event and they also do a good job of conveying the personality of your organisation too.  Your videos should:

– Never play automatically. Allow people to decide for themselves whether they want to see the video or not.

– Not be embedded into the email as they are often too big and can have a negative impact on the user experience

Email Marketing Hack #10: Fear of Missing Out

Creating a sense of urgency can boost open rates by 22% because people don’t want to miss out on exclusive deals. Make sure you use this to your advantage, whenever possible.

Related article: How to Create Invites that Draw People To Your Events

Email Marketing Hack #11: Timing

People are more likely to open your emails when they’re not busy. Send them out when your potential attendees can pay attention. Do experiment with sending out event invitations at different times of the day and different days of the week. That way, you will see what works the best.

A research study from Eventsforce, for example, found that Tuesdays and Wednesdays mornings were seen as the best times for sending out invites by a majority of event planners. Having this information on hand can help you identify the areas you can improve in subsequent reminder emails or invitations for your next event.

Email Marketing Hack #12: Mobile Responsive

If your email doesn’t display well on mobile, you better not send it. Seven out of ten people will delete an email that doesn’t display well on their mobile devices. And that’s a huge number considering that 42% of all emails are viewed on mobiles. Mobile-responsive emails should:

– Have one column

– Be optimised to load fast

– Use simple, clear fonts.

Email Marketing Hack #13: Email Content

Forget trying to dazzle the audience with your literary brilliance. Emails that are around 50 to 125 words tend to get more than 50% response rate. Alongside the main value proposition of your event (why someone should come to your event in the first place), details on keynote speakers, agendas and venue highlights also do well in grabbing your readers’ attention. Showcase your event’s main selling point and use simple language to put across the key take-aways for attendees. And remember, keep it simple. You can always provide a link to more information if you have to.

Email Marketing Hack #14: Email Formatting

Plain text emails are 25% more likely to be opened. We know that sounds confusing considering that we said you should include images. The key here is to be guided by your target market and the devices that they’re likely to use.

If they’re working with slower internet connections, for example, you’ll want to keep the emails as simple as possible – i.e. plain text. When in doubt, opt for no images.

Final Notes

Following these simple hacks will certainly put you in the right track to delivering successful email marketing campaigns around your events. And though they may require a bit more work up front, you’ll definitely find the extra effort worth your while.

* Sources for all stats and case study references within this article can be found in this infographic created by 99firms.co.uk.  If you would like to get in touch with the author, you can reach him @DMGeekcom.


Did you know that personalised emails can get you a better return on your event’s marketing ROI? Find out how Eventsforce can help you personalise all your delegate communications by clicking here or getting in touch at info@eventsforce.com