With the rise of paid media and web 3.0, is email still an important channel? The answer is simply “Yes”. Strong email marketing is essential to the success of any conference. Why is email a critical marketing channel? Email marketing is still ranked as the most utilised marketing channel, with 93% of B2B leverage email marketing in their campaigns*. It is one of the quickest and most effective ways to personalise your messages and segment your audience accordingly. For conference marketing, it allows you to consistently engage with your audience throughout an event cycle, in a dynamic, engaging and user-friendly way. Here are some of team MPG’s ‘conference email marketing do’s and don’ts’ to get you started for your next campaign. DO’S #1 DO get your data right with a well-structured database – your contacts need to be appropriately tagged (i.e. sector, seniority level, job title). Segmenting by behaviour ensures that prospective attendees are pushed down the marketing funnel and nurtured in the right way. #2 DO automate some of your emails to generate the best results – registration confirmations, abandoned basket follow-up emails, and downloadable content confirmation emails are all valuable touch points that are quite straightforward to automate. #3 DO lead with content – have a well-thought-out content marketing strategy, with a good balance of promotion and content-led communications to position you as a thought leader. #4 DO have a clearly mapped-out email marketing plan – to prevent email fatigue, marketers must carefully plan their email campaigns to ensure that periods of high communication (early birds, registration deadlines etc.) are followed by a period of engaging, content-led emails. #5 DO work to a long lead time – to attend your conference, prospects need to have enough information, time, and conviction to commit to paying for a delegate ticket, transport and accommodation, and time away from their day-to-day work. #6 DO get personal – use the information you hold about your audience (like first name and company) to grab their attention. Use their behaviour and previous engagements with your brand to give them more of what they are most interested in. #7 DO make your emails short, snappy, and visually appealing – think about the marketing emails you receive, you probably skim and pick out the most important info before deciding whether to read the paragraph copy, right? Email design is important; make your key information stand out. #8 DO experiment – with sender names to see which ones get the best open rates and A/B test elements of your emails such as preview text, CTAs and imagery to see which messages perform best. #9 DO always include basic event information – like conference dates and location. Don’t expect your audience to remember this information from previous emails or have to click through to your website to find out. #10 DO have a clear call to action – your emails need to be informative and engaging, but they also need to inspire action – whether it’s downloading a piece of content, exploring the agenda, or buying a pass for your event. DON’T’S #1 DON’T only send email campaigns in the few months leading up to your event – this is a huge missed opportunity by far too many conference organisers. Keep past attendees and leads informed all year round. #2 DON’T send out emails with too many messages – for every email campaign, identify one key focus e.g. exciting updates to the agenda; the latest speakers; or an early bird deadline. Make it clear to the recipient what you need them to do with obvious CTAs. #3 DON’T flood your audience’s inbox – sending multiple emails every week makes it more likely that your target audience will unsubscribe. Plus, using words like “free”, “buy”, or “urgent” in your subject lines can mean your emails are flagged as spam. #4 DON’T focus only on promotions, or communicate the price straight away – especially at the beginning of the campaign when prospects are not ready to commit/buy. First, convince them of the value, benefits, and business case for spending their time and money on your conference before communicating prices and promotions. #5 DON’T neglect your website – potential buyers will make their decision about whether to attend an event based on what they see on your event website. They will want to explore the agenda and speakers, and see who they can meet. Your website must be optimised to engage and convert website visitors or your email marketing won’t work. #6 DON’T send the same message to everyone on your database all the time – split your database into key groups based on demographics or behaviour to ensure your messages are targeted at the most relevant people. #7 DON’T forget mobile optimisation – with the majority of senior execs now opening emails on mobile, if you’re not optimising for mobile, you’re likely missing engagement opportunities. #8 DON’T forget to measure your email results – monitoring and regularly analysing deliverability, open rates, and click through rates is essential for making good decisions about your email marketing. #9 DON’T email data that hasn’t been contacted in over 12 months – old email addresses are often recycled as spam traps in a bid to weed out companies with questionable data practices. Make sure you “clean” old, unengaged data first before emailing or it could lead to your domain being blacklisted. #10 DON’T forget about your registrants once they are signed up – keep them informed about their event experience – changes to the agenda, new speakers confirmed etc. For free-to-attend events, these emails are vital to ensure registrants attend the event. For paid-for events, this is a great opportunity to encourage them to invite their team or upgrade their pass. There is a lot to think about and get right when it comes to email marketing to promote conferences. And we strongly recommend you invest in strong strategising, planning, campaign management and execution of your email marketing – as this is a critically important communications channel connecting every conference organiser with their target audience. * https://bestwriting.com/blog/b2b-email-marketing-stats Do you need help improving the performance of your email marketing? Team MPG has a wealth of knowledge and experience in email marketing to ensure a successful conference. Get in touch to find out more.