Updated: Oct 24, 2019
This is the third article in a series about how to market your event with email. And by market, I mean put butts in seats.
In the first article, I talked about a few of the obstacles that can get in your way when it comes to sending emails to your list. In short: People signed up to your list to hear from you. So, talk to them.
The second article laid out an effective messaging strategy (I’m going to refer to this as IAS for the remainder of this article) you can use to promote the event. In short:
Identify a problem
Agitate that problem
Solve the problem
Now I want to talk about what type of emails to send and when to send them.
People’s list of unread messages is long, and their attention spans are short. Your overarching objective with these emails is to stay on top of that inbox pile and remind them why your event will solve a particular problem.
You will start out slow and gradually ratchet up the frequency of the emails as the event gets closer. Most people will make the purchase decision at the last minute, so you need to keep reminding them that they do want to attend your event.
Key point: You cannot create desire in your customer. You can only awaken what is already there.
Your emails are not targeting people who have no interest in your event or are not ready to receive that information now. You want to get your message in front of people who know they have a problem but need to be shown you offer the right solution.
Here’s how you do that…
Using our fictional dog trainer and his “Be Your Dog’s Pal, Not Its Pushover” training event, here’s how I’d set up his email sequence:
TYPE: Save the Date WHEN: As soon as you can confirm the venue, date & time MESSAGE: This is a brief announcement that explains 3-5 key benefits that the attendee will get from your event. Build anticipation.
TYPE: Registration Now Open WHEN: As soon as you can start selling tickets MESSAGE: Focus on the IAS formula and include a link to the registration page.
TYPE: Who Is This For? WHEN: 14 days before registration deadline MESSAGE: Tell your list who benefits from going to your event. Again, use that IAS formula.
TYPE: Success Story #1 WHEN: 10 days before registration deadline MESSAGE: Share a testimonial on how your event changed someone’s life. Include pictures!
TYPE: Meet Your Trainer WHEN: 7 days before registration deadline MESSAGE: Share the personal story of your trainer or keynote speaker and how that individual used this system or product to overcome “the problem.”
TYPE: Success Story #2 WHEN: 5 days before registration deadline MESSAGE: Share another 1-3 testimonials from previous event participants. Make these real stories, not just a couple of sentences. The standard “This obedience class changed my life” is not going to sell anybody. Go with “This obedience class changed my life because I finally learned how to communicate with my dog and build a strong relationship. He doesn’t bark or jump on guests anymore. And the UPS driver no longer wets himself when he sees my dog!”
TYPE: Top Training Tips WHEN: 3 days before registration deadline MESSAGE: Throw a couple of bones, a little inside knowledge, to the reader. This should be the ultimate teaser on the experience they’ll get from attending your event. This is the email version of the old Ginsu knife commercials, “But wait...there’s more! You’ll not only learn how to make your dog sit on command, but we’ll help you teach him how to make you the best double cappuccino you’ve ever had!”
TYPE: Registration Ends Soon WHEN: 2 days before registration deadline MESSAGE: Send a brief reminder that there is a hard deadline to meet. There is no need to write “War and Peace” at this point. Just give the facts and registration link.
TYPE: Registration Ends Tomorrow WHEN: 1 day before registration deadline MESSAGE: Remind the reader of the impending deadline and reiterate 3-5 bullet points of key benefits they’ll receive from attending your event.
TYPE: Time is Running Out! WHEN: Morning of registration deadline MESSAGE: Build a sense of increasing urgency that the time has come to sh*t or get off the pot. But say it more delicately than that.
TYPE: Last Chance to Register WHEN: About 4 hours before registration deadline MESSAGE: This is your Hail Mary email. This only needs to be a few sentences long to push that call to action. Maybe even hit on a couple of short pain points on what they'll miss by not going. Make sure to have that registration button prominently displayed. You can also send another email one hour before the registration deadline.
TYPE: What Did You Think? WHEN: 1-2 days after the event MESSAGE: This is only to those who attended the event. Ask for feedback and testimonials. With the person’s permission, you can use these testimonials for your next event marketing sequence.
Naturally, you can add and subtract from this sequence as you see fit. Every subscriber list has its own personality, so modify this sequence to best fit your readers and their purchasing behavior.
That being said, I often see this event marketing dichotomy take place: Most of the registrations will come in the last 24-48 hours.
If you only send the last few emails, you will get very few registrations. The previous emails in this sequence prime the pump by showing value. By the time they receive the last few emails, they’ve already made up their minds if they’re going or not. You just need to remind them that they need to act on that decision before it’s too late.
And one last piece of advice...monitor your registrations closely. If people have registered, don’t be an amateur and keep sending them emails to attend the event. Move them to another list where they’ll receive an automated email sequence thanking them for registration and what to expect when they show up. I’ll talk about automations in a future article.
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