Event marketers spend their entire day trying to target a very specific audience. While there are new ways to reach your audience via digital marketing, email marketing is still one of the most impactful. This guide will help explain why email marketing is one of the most effective ways of connecting with your audience, and how you can create simple campaigns that engage with them.
What is email marketing
Email marketing is the strategy of sending emails to your customers. Notifying your customers about event announcements, pre-sales, on-sales, and upcoming events is an essential task. Our guide below will help explain how to get the most out of your email marketing efforts & make sure you are providing value to your customers instead of just being another spammy email in their inbox.
Why email marketing is important
Email marketing has stood the test of time because it works. 99% of consumers check their email on a daily basis. Plus, users are willing to receive new information when checking their email. That can’t be said about someone that’s checking social media & trying to wind down for the day. Your sponsored post isn’t going to be as impactful at that moment, assuming your targeting is similar in both cases.
Most importantly, you own your email list. Your customers already know who you are, so there is no need to explain that to them. Social media channels may be free for you to reach your audience for a short period of time, but we have seen how once they hit a certain level of popularity you suddenly have to pay to reach your audience. Or, they just go the way of MySpace & you loose years of cultivating a platform that someone else owns.
Additionally, you can use the first party data you collect via your email marketing campaigns to create audiences to target on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Email marketing services
There are a ton of email marketing services on the market. Many of them offer user-friendly editors so you can create your emails in minutes. You should look for services that offer A/B testing, segmentation tools, sender reputation management, and solid support. Here are a few popular services:
- Campaign Monitor
- Constant Contact
- Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Many ticketing providers offer email marketing, but keep in mind that most of them are simply white-labeling one of the services above. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just don’t let them make you feel like you have to use their service. You can normally get a better deal by going directly to the service provider (that’s true for most organizations that are white-labeling services).
Additionally, there are organizations that will manage all of your email marketing campaigns for you. They will build your emails, schedule them, and send reports so your team doesn’t have to bother with it. These organizations are great at optimizing your opportunities.
Growing your list
Before growing your list it’s important to know who you can & can’t send emails to. Email marketing is regulated by the FTC under the CAN-SPAM Act. In order to send marketing emails to users they need to explicitly opt-in to your mailing list. You should ask your ticketing provider to add an opt-in box on their check-out page so users can opt in for future communication. If that’s not possible, you can send customers a transactional email (like a know before you go email), and ask them to opt-in.
Here is a list of common ways you can grow your email marketing database:
- Ticket Buyers (export from your ticketing provider)
- Webform Opt-ins
- Wifi Login Page
Segmenting your list
The most common mistake organizations make with email marketing is blasting their entire list. A good open rate on these types of email marketing campaigns is 10%-13%, horrible. You can increase your open rate to 30%+ by simply targeting your audience. It’s no different than targeting on any other digital medium.
Event marketers have an enormous amount of information about their customers that can help you segment you list. The simplest way to start is by creating segments of your list based on the genre of events your users have attended. Here are a few segments you can start with:
- Classic Rock
- Dirt (Monster Trucks / Motocross)
- Family Shows
- Hip Hop
- Triple A
Maintaining these segments can seem like a large task, but if you batch your work weekly (or even monthly) it should only take a few minutes. Simply export ticket buyers from shows as you have them & add/update their records to include them in the new genre segments. If you are consistently sending “know before you go” emails then that can be an opportune time to do this.
Improving email open rates
Don’t become known for sending irrelevant content. Every tactic you find on the internet about improving open rates boils down to this simple truth. Here are a few tips to help increase your open rates:
- Only send emails to people you have express permission from.
- Segment your list.
- Schedule your emails for when people are likely to open them.
- Only send emails when you have something they may be interested in.
- Include the name of the event/artist in the subject line (if you are segmenting your list this should be familiar enough for them to open).
Email marketing campaigns for events
Don’t fall into the trap of sending an e-mail on Tuesday at 10am because it’s Tuesday at 10am. There should always be a purpose for your email send. Here are a few ideas specifically for the event industry:
- Event Announcements: Keep your audience informed, but make sure that you are segmenting your lists.
- Exclusive Pre-Sales: These e-mails have high open rates & click-through rates (assuming you are segmenting them). Try to get a pre-sale for every major event you are promoting.
- On-Sales: Many promoters opt to send e-mails to their segmented lists for on-sales instead of announcement emails.
- “Know Before You Go” Emails: It’s a good idea to send an email to ticket buyers on the morning of the event they have a ticket for. Send them any information you think would be valuable to them such as directions, parking info, box office hours, will-call procedure, or security measures they should be aware of. The open rates on these campaigns can be 50%+, so it’s a great opportunity to cross-promote a few upcoming events.
- Thank You Emails: Send ticket buyers an email the next morning thanking them for coming to your event. You can include surveys, sponsor coupons, or just cross-promote upcoming events.
It’s tempting to send mass emails when shows aren’t selling tickets. However, It’s important to think about the long-term ramifications of doing this. If this becomes a habit then the only time your entire list hears from you is when you are trying to push an event they likely aren’t interested in. Over time, your open rates will decrease & people may ultimately opt-out. Instead, keep your email list engaged with highly curated content that they care about.