Email Marketing Is Still a Great Tool for Event Producers
With the growth of social media, email marketing is being pigeonholed as a dying marketing medium. With merely seconds to capture a viewer’s attention, it’s easier to think that tweeting, posting and snapchatting would be more effective than email newsletters. But that’s totally not the case.
Some Email Marketing Facts
Did you know that there are over 2.9 billion daily email users, yet all of the daily posts on Facebook and Twitter only equal .2% of all emails sent each day? A crazy stat, but not all that crazy if you stop to think about your own average day. For myself personally, I spend 4 to 6 hours stuck on my work email, and another 30 to 60 minutes checking on Facebook. I send up to 200 emails per day, and am lucky if I make 1 post per day on social media. That being said, email marketing for event promoters is far from dead. We’ve had clients blast out to lists and sell out entire shows from email marketing alone.
Things Have Changed
It wasn’t that long ago when the best approach to email marketing was straight up spamming people. All you had to do was swap email lists with your best event promoter friends, hit your list every week, and you were golden. Quantity over quality. Now, things are quite different. There are a series of new anti-spamming laws (including the new law being introduced in Canada on July 1, according to CanSpam) and adequate technology in place that makes unsolicited email marketing incredibly difficult to do. Customers are also much more sensitive about what hits their inbox, and have a variety of tools to filter out messages permanently (block sender, add to junk folder, report as abuse/spam, unsubscribe/opt-out, etc.)
People are also more connected today than ever before. While you could maybe get away with pissing a few people off in 2001, if you upset people with a poorly written or ill-timed email in 2014, you’ll be publicly beaten to a pulp on Facebook.
Recommendations for Event Promoters
myZone has been doing email marketing for special events since ICQ was cool, and we’ve learned a couple of things along the way. We’ll summarize some important thoughts here so you can make sure your own email marketing strategies are rock solid.
Double Opt-In: Make sure every email address that you collect is double opt-in to reap the benefits. Keeping your list clean from the beginning saves you money, while improving engagement and deliverability (i.e. more people get your mail in their inbox).
Build a Solid HTML Template: It’s really important that you have someone design a cross-platform compatible HTML template for you. When done properly, your email will look good in Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, iPhone, Android and Blackberry (yes, people worldwide–from Jamaica to Indonesia–still love Blackberry). It’s also important that your template properly references all images (absolute references), is easy to edit, and is readable even before people agree to download images.
Test Before Sending: The platform we use for our clients comes with a nifty “Inbox Inspector,” which shows you exactly what your HTML template looks like across 10 different platforms. Be sure to use something like our Inspector to test your email against all platforms every time before you send. It only takes one misplaced character to throw off your design.
A/B Test: This is a way to compare two different email marketing strategies side by side and see which one gets better engagement rates (impressions, opens, click throughs, forwards, etc.). You can A/B test pretty much anything. A/B testing can be a bit time intensive, but is something you should be working on. Different things that you can A/B test are
HTML design templates
Various times of day
Days of the week
Frequency of send outs
For instance, we’ve found that just slightly changing up a subject line can have as much as a 200% difference in open rates.
Purge Regularly: This is a great way to save quite a bit of money while improving deliverability rates (the % of people who actually get your emails). We recommend purging people from your list if they haven’t opened any of your emails in the last 10 send outs over a 6-month period (or whichever comes sooner). We recently had a client with a 50,000+ person list and a 5% open rate cut that list down to 10,000 names with a 25% open rate. Not only did our client reduce the chance of getting caught in people’s spam filters, but their email marketing costs were cut by 80% while keeping total opens the same. You need to save all original lists while making sure the total opens don’t change significantly with your new list.
Keep It Newsworthy: If you don’t have anything exciting to say, don’t say it! While it’s important to keep your send outs regular, you should have something really interesting for people to read each and every time your emails go out.
Stay Active: Whether you host an annual music festival or a weekly club night, it is important to keep your email lists active by frequently engaging with your subscribers. At minimum, send something out every 2-3 months, or your list will get stale. People are likely to unsubscribe from you if they forget who you are. And be sure to keep your email newsworthy, of course (see point above).
Why Engagement Is Key: One of our web properties (clubZone.com) has a very large global email newsletter list of people who have purchased tickets to Halloween or New Year’s Eve events. One year, we forgot to hit the global list until we got into Halloween marketing mode around Sept 1st. What happened? We got a horrible engagement rate and a ton of unsubscribe and spam complaints, even though the list was fully opt-in. Why did this happen? We didn’t build a relationship with that email list for the 9 months following last NYE.
Choose the Right Email Marketing Software: There are lots of email send-out options out there, from free to expensive (with mid-range options in-between). Some ticketing providers offer free email marketing solutions integrated with their ticketing system, but compare the features that come with each platform. Some systems will give you dramatically higher send-through rates than others simply because they pay the correct fees to the powers that be to ensure your Hotmail emails actually get through. Others will group your IP addresses together with the rest of their clients. And if one client gets caught spamming, everyone gets penalized. We recommend our clients use MailChimp.com because of how easy it is to use, the low cost, and tons of handy features (including templates) that event promoters love.
“We were doing email marketing on our own for many years, and thought we were doing it right until we got some email consulting advice from myZone. In a few minutes of work, we were able to cut our monthly cost down over 50% while more than doubling our open rates. I highly recommend myZone managed email services to any event promoter.” -Leeland Hruskin, www.StampedeClubCrawl.com
If you’d like to talk to one of our marketing experts on how we can help you sell more tickets via email marketing, please email us!
Alternatively, If you just want to go ahead and sign up to MailChimp, use the affiliate ID below, and myZone will give you free email consulting support for the first 3 years!
We’ve helped many clients save a considerable amount of money on their send outs while increasing open rates using a few of the strategies listed above.