Is Still a Great Tool for Event Producers
With the growth of social media, many people consider email marketing a bit of a dying marketing medium. Who has time for reading email newsletters when people are busy tweeting posting & snap-chatting?
Did you know that there are over 2.9 billion daily email users? Did you know that all of the daily posts on Facebook & 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 4-6 hours stuck on my work email, and another 30-60m checking on Facebook. I send maybe 100-200 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 that 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. Today, things are quite different. There are a series of new anti-spamming laws (including the new law being introduced in Canada July 1 2014 | CanSpam), and a bunch of technology in place that makes unsolicited email marketing incredibly difficult to do effectively. 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, report, unsubscribe 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 / poorly timed email in 2014, you’ll be publicly beaten to 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 a few 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. There are a ton of advantages to making sure your email list is double opt-in. In short, keeping your list clean from the beginning saves you money, improves engagement and deliverability (ie: more people get your mail in their inbox).
- Solid HTML template: Its really important that you have someone design a solid HTML template for you. When done properly, your email will look good in Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, iPhone, Android and Blackberry (believe it or not people in Indonesia still love Blackberry). Its also important that your template properly references all images (absolute references), is easy to edit, and looks good even before people agree to download images.
- Test before sending: The platform we use for our clients comes with a nifty “Inbox Inspector” which will show you exactly what your awesome HTML templated email looks like across 10 different platforms. Be sure to use something like this to make sure your email looks great on all platforms each and every time you send. It only takes one misplaced ” to throw off your design.
- A/B Test: A/B testing is a way to compare 2 different email marketing strategies side by side, and see which one gets better engagement rates (open rates, click through rates etc.). You can A/B test pretty much anything. A/B testing can be a bit time intensive, but is something you can chip away at one idea at a time. Things that you can A/B test: Different subject lines, different HTML design templates, different content layouts, different times of day or days of week, and different frequency of sendouts. Example: From our own experiences we’ve found just slightly changing up a subject lines 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 AND improve deliverability rates (the % of people that 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 of 6 months (whichever comes sooner). We recently had a client with a 50,000+ person list with a 5% open rate cut that list down to 10,000 names with a 25% open rate. Not only did he reduce the chance of getting caught in people’s spam filters, but he cut his cost of email marketing by 80% while keeping his total opens the same.
- Keep it Newsworthy: If you don’t have anything exciting to say, don’t say it. While it is important to keep your sendouts regular, make sure you’ve got something really interesting for people to read each and every time you send it out. Don’t have anything exciting to say? Talk to your marketing team and get creative.
- Stay active: Whether you are an annual music festival, or a weekly club night, it is important to keep your list active by frequently engaging with your customers. At minimum, send something out every 2-3 months or risk your list getting stale. People are much more likely to unsubscribe from you if they forget who you are. Be sure to keep it newsworthy of course (see point above). A good example of what not to do: 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. Each year, we forget to hit the global list until we get into Halloween marketing mode around Sept 01. What happens? We get a horrible engagement rate, a ton of unsubscribe and spam complaints… even though the list is fully opt-in. Why does this happen? We didn’t build a relationship with that list for the 9 months following last NYE (oops).
- Choose the right email marketing software: There are lots of email send-out options out there… from free to expensive and everything in between. Some ticketing providers offer free email marketing solutions integrated with their ticketing system, but be sure to look under the hood and 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 make sure your hotmail emails actually get through. Others will group your IP addresses together with all the rest of their clients and if one client spams, everyone gets penalized. We recommend our clients use www.MailChimp.com because of how easy it is to use, the low cost, and tons of handy features 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, email us!
Alternatively, If you just want to go ahead and sign-up to MailChimp, use this affiliate ID, and myZone will give you free email consulting support for the first 3 years! https://login.mailchimp.com/signup?pid=myzone. 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.
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