Last week we participated in a joint webinar with B2B Magazine and NCM Fathom called How to Double Your Event ROI by Infusing Digital Best Practices. Several attendees asked some really good questions, and we figured we would take the time to answer them individually.
The first question we decided to tackle was this one:
Even through Email is the most popular I am questioning its effectiveness. It seems like i send out hundreds of emails but turn out to events is often low. Any input?
My first question would be: Is your list properly segmented so that you’re emailing the right people?
For example, say you’re a retailer of sporting goods and you’re holding a local bicycle maintenance training session in a couple of weeks. You sell all kinds of sporting goods–from kayaks to hiking boots to bicycles. Ideally, you would know what your email newsletter registrants were interested in, such as camping or cycling based on their previous purchases and any other information you’ve gathered during the newsletter registration process. Ideally you would also know where they are located. So if you’re sending out an email about a bicycle maintenance event held in, say, Portland, you’re targeting customers who A) have purchased cycling-related gear and B) who live in Portland.
Next, my suggestion would be to perform some A/B testing. How good is your subject line? Is your email strictly image-based or does it contain a good mix of text and images? Are you personalizing your emails? What day are you sending them on? Little tweaks can see increases (and decreases) in open and click through rates, so just like you would perform A/B testing on your website, you should perform A/B testing on your emails.
Something else to consider is whether or not your event appeals to your audience. This goes beyond segmenting your list and takes a look at personas. Do you know who your target personas are? You have to know your audience–and what your audience is and isn’t interested in–in order to effectively market anything. It does you no good to market an event to an audience that’s interested in something else entirely.
Email marketing can be a tricky thing. I’ve personally seen positive and negative responses to event email marketing, and can confidently say that a lot of it is simply nailing your subject line, having great content that excites and engages your audience, and making sure you’re marketing to the right people. Sometimes, even when all of those things are spot-on the response still isn’t what you would hope it would be. It’s unfortunate, but sometimes there are external factors, such as conflicting events (such as having two webinars scheduled at the same time on the same day on the exact same subject), meetings to go to, people out on vacation, etc. As marketers, the only thing we can truly control is our message and our list, but if we properly cultivate and maintain those two things, as long as being aware of who we’re targeting and what our competition’s up to, we should be able to see positive results.