If the best event of all time happens in the forest, but no one is there to see it – did it really happen?
All great events have one thing in common – attendees.
Before you can wow people with thought leadership, educational content, or exhibitors you need to get them to register, and then show up. We do this, in large part, through email. The effectiveness of your email campaigns is essential to your event success.
Our recent Live Engagement Tour roadshow gave us a special opportunity to perfect our event email campaigns. Since we had 6 stops and they were spaced out over the course of 6 weeks, but all had the same content and theme, we could test email campaigns, adapt them, and send them again and see how they performed.
In order to create great email campaigns you need to keep trying new things, and be extremely data driven.
First, define your key metrics:
- Open Rate (who opened the email)
- Click to Open Rate (of those people how many clicked the link)
- Conversion Rate (of the people who clicked the link how many registered)
Then make adjustments to your campaigns, and compare!
In order to get an accurate assessment on whether a change improved performance, you need to do two things:
- Change as little as possible other than what you’re testing (this is why A/B testing 2 emails at the same time to a random half of your sample is so effective)
- Compare the emails to others with a similar purpose and audience (for example – Emails to a broad group in your database will have lower open/click rates than emails to registrants to encourage attendance – so you should compare emails within those two groups separately).
Our Live Engagement Tour promotion campaign started 8 weeks before our first stop and evolved as we went, testing subject lines to improve open rates and content to improve click through rates.
We started with a general invitation email to all US cities. We tested one with more detail – and a concise two sentence email trying to drum up excitement and get people to the landing page. The click through rate was much higher on the long email (7.16% click to open compared to 3.7%), so we went with more detail for our future emails.
Our open rates were still lower than we would have liked (around 17%), so we decided to get more specific with the subject lines by adding city names. This got us to an average open rate of 27%! We chose to keep all future emails from that point on specific to each tour stop.
Happy with that open rate, we went back to improving click through rates wondering what we could do for our message to resonate more with our audience. After a caffeine powered brainstorming session we knew what we wanted to try. We were in a unique position – doing events for #eventprofs, and held ourselves to meeting their very high expectations in every aspect of our strategy – so why not tell them that! We changed the copy of the email to reflect that and our click to open rate went up to 10%.
Since we still needed more registrations, we decided to take the #eventprof to #eventprof message and get personal. We sent a personal email (no HTML formatting) from Lindsey Lyle, our Head of Event Marketing, to everyone who had visited our landing page. Our open rate was 57% and our click to open rate was 43.8%.
We were able to meet our registration goals by improving our campaign over time. These results also showed us how #eventprofs preferred a personal connection over a generic touchpoint.