Meeting Mentor Magazine

July 2017

How to Improve Email Marketing for Events

Social media and mobile marketing hog the limelight these days when it comes to event marketing. Email, around for decades, may seem old fashioned by comparison, but consider this: 91 percent of people check their email every day, providing a direct conduit for delivering messages about conferences or events.

Moreover, a June 2016 survey of U.S. marketers conducted by the Data & Marketing Association and Demand Metric found that email had a median ROI of 122 percent — more than four times higher than other marketing formats examined, including social media, direct mail and paid search.

But here’s the catch: While many meeting planners use email marketing to promote their events, few spend time or resources to optimize their email marketing strategies, according to Eventbrite, an event technology platform that last year powered ticket sales and registrations for more than two million events.

The company’s 2017 Email Benchmarking Report offers event organizers useful statistics and strategies to help create more effective email marketing campaigns for events. The report is based on a survey of 341 event organizers, with 51 percent of respondents planning professional conferences and the rest a mix of festivals, workshops and sports/music events.

The report’s main point: There is no better way to improve email metrics than to test what is working and what is not. This applies to everything from subject lines, best days of the week to send emails, and what type of content to include.

Best Practices for Testing

Start with the subject line. Crating different subject lines is relatively easy to do, and results can be seen quickly through open rates. According to MailChimp, the best email subject lines are 50 characters or less. In general, be descriptive and provide the reader with a reason to open your message.

Keep it simple. Testing several variables at once is not only complicated, it makes identifying what’s working and what’s not much more difficult. Focus on one variable, whether it’s your subject line, headline or call to action (CTA), before moving on to the next.

A/B test your content. Create two versions of your email (version “A” and version “B”). Send version A to one set of subscribers and version B to another limited set. Then send the better-performing email to the remainder of your email list. Continue testing as often as you can to get the most out of your campaigns.

Track results carefully. Keep a record of your email tests so you can look back and learn from your results to optimize future campaigns.

Other Recommended Practices, Useful Statistics

Consider reducing the length of your emails. The average time spent reading an email newsletter is 51 seconds.

Offer value. Not all of emails should be about selling something. Emails need to offer value to the reader as well — otherwise people will stop opening them.

Segment your email list. Email segmentation allows you to deliver relevant, customized content to your subscribers. For example, you could segment your email list by geographic location, tailoring the message for each separate region. The more targeted and relevant content you send, the better your click through rate (CTR).

Add more links. Include multiple links to increase chances of getting clicks.

Here’s a look at some key statistics from the report:

• The average open rate for conferences and professional events: 23 percent
• The most popular day to send emails for organizers of professional events: Wednesday
• The average click through rate (CTR) for all respondents: 4.95 percent
• The median unsubscribe rate per email for all respondents: 0.6 to 1 percent
• The most popular vendor: Mailchimp
• Organizers who said they never test their subject lines: 26 percent
— Regina McGee

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 2,500 corporations and associations through our 325 Associates globally. www.conferencedirect.com

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, the leading publication for senior meeting planners, is circulated to the clients, prospects and sales associates of ConferenceDirect, which books more than 3.87 million room nights. www.meetingmentormag.com

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