Email still generates the biggest ROI in events marketing

  • Posted by: Martin Roberts
  • Category: Marketing

E-mail marketing continues to be a vital tool in the marketing of events (worth US$7.5 billion per annum) not just because it continues to generate the highest ROI of all marketing channels, but also as the only way to realistically communicate time-sensitive event updates such as new speakers enlisted (social-proof), early-bird offers, venue information and the nurturing of delegates in general. ROI cannot simply be measured by how many conversions (tickets sold) happen as a result of a click from the email to the checkout page but in the greater number of sales that come about indirectly from the email campaigns, the recommendations, repeat business and heightened brand awareness.

Email marketing works. That’s the good news. The bad news is that all these benefits only come if the email isn’t hidden in plain sight. The email must jump out of the inbox and excite the recipient. A badly constructed email can, at the very least, be a waste of a valuable target.

Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes

If you blast your message without care to identify that the recipients are highly targeted (might actually want to attend your event) and meticulously validated, then you risk more than a wasted email. Unless you use guaranteed B2B contact data, you risk an irritated prospect-base at best and a damaged domain reputation at worst. ESG offers a 200% guarantee (twice the refund of any invalid data). This is what’s commonly known as a ‘no-brainer’ ?.

Content is king

The fact that the effects of an email campaign can be so easily tracked means that there is no excuse for campaigns using ineffectual copy. If you’re emails aren’t working, then try our templates (at the foot of this page). From launch notifications to new-speaker updates, to upselling, to existing delegates, to event reminders, to event round-ups, our templates are tried-and-tested to drive attendee sales.

We created these events email templates bearing in mind power rules for reader engagement. Whether you do use our templates or not there, here they are. Use them wisely…

Snappy subject lines

58% of adults check their emails whenever they go online. The problem is that there are approximately 300 billion emails sent every day. Make sure your events marketing emails are opened. Use a snappy, eye-catching subject but keep it brief. Don’t be predictable and ask ‘Do you want to attend our XYZ event’, rather ask ‘Are you ready for the best/only XYZ event…?’.

You would never buy B2B contact data that doesn’t have proper details such as names, job titles etc so use them. Include at least the first name in the subject or go one further and target to job titles. Sprinkle in some FOMO.

Get to the point

Any marketing message should answer Who, Why, What, When, Where. Who the event is for. Why the event is important to the recipient of the email. What will happen at the event. When and where is it. Get this in early.

Proof, social or otherwise

Use quotes from upcoming speakers, signed-up attendees. If this is a repeat event, then it would be unforgiveable not to include video clips from the last event in the email, testimonials, stats and all the buzz from last year.

Ask for the sale

Use calls-to-action (CTA) at the start and the end of the email and, if it’s a long email, a smattering in-between. Decide what you want a conversion to be. A download of the event brochure? A ticket sale? A call? A register of interest? Whatever it is, don’t rely on your email recipient remembering to come back later. Reel them in now.

Time it to perfection

A question we are often asked is ‘what is the best day of the week and best time to send email campaigns? You want the best response from your message so it’s important to have the recipient of your email in the best frame of mind when the email pops up.

I don’t like Mondays. Who does? And what’s the first thing you do on Monday morning? You wade though the emails in your account deleting everything in a mad frenzy and have very little time for any new messages. Don’t be a victim of the Monday email carnage.

TGI Friday! We all love Fridays and may be in a receptive mood. If the decision can be made quickly it may be that your message will be acted on in ‘end of the week emotional abandon’. However if the decision takes longer it may be forgotten by Monday. Not quite cut & dried this one.

Don’t be too Pernickety
pernickety [pəˈnɪkɪtɪ] US, persnickety
1. excessively precise and attentive to detail; fussy
2. (of a task) requiring close attention; exacting
The time of the day that your email is received can make some differences in how well the campaign goes but it’s impossible to gauge exactly how or when the email will be viewed. If anything try to avoid first thing in the morning when your recipient is in a less receptive mood.

And then there are things that you really should never do:

Avoid: shooting fish

You have at your disposal, if you have sourced your data from ESG, a database which you can use anytime, again and again, at no ongoing cost to you, so why alienate your prospects with a crass ‘smash and grab’ email which has nothing interesting to say. Don’t shoot the fish in the bucket; they’ll still be there next week. Tease them out with targeted, time or event related messages. Hint at great things to come. Get them hooked into your message. Send them some tips and advice. When they reply, listen to what they say.

Avoid: buy now!!! SALE NOW ON!!

Not only will this be obvious to your prospects, their email programs and spam filters are very sophisticated and the logic they use (‘heuristics’) will rank your email as spam by analysing the email for such exclamations and ‘excitable’ language. Also avoid using large images as they also upset these filters. If you use images, try and ensure that they are subtle and aren’t critical to the message because some email programs like Outlook may block them or at least not show them until the recipient clicks to allow them. Keep it simple. Keep it subtle. You’ve plenty of time if you have kicked off your email marketing campaign at event launch.

Avoid: sending it now

Don’t send the email this second! Send it to yourself first. Leave it a day so you can see the wood from the trees and then read the email again. You’ll be glad you did. This is a good tip for any important email, no matter how many recipients. Once you have the B2B contact data from ESG, and you’ve written your email, ensure that everything is written well, spelling is checked and at least one other person has read it, from their point of view. Then, if you really can’t wait, send it to a few hundred recipients. Wait for feedback, adjust the email and send to the next few hundred. Once you are happy it’s as good as it can be, send it to another section. A/B test. Resend…

Avoid: inaccurate B2B contact data

The worst possible mistake is to use inaccurate B2B contact data. Not only will you waste your marketing team’s valuable time and energy but you risk having your email domain (probably the same as your website domain) blacklisted.

ESG provides a 200% guarantee on B2B contact data. We will refund 2X the amount for any data that you say is incorrect. No quibbles. We do not present an invoice until after the data has been received. That’s how sure we are that our data is the best it can possibly be and better than any provider in the market. Each record comes with a LinkedIn profile which you can click to verify the name, company, job title etc. and so you can test the contact data for validity.

    London | Mumbai: +44 (0) 207 609 2800 | New York: +1 (0) 646 757 1645 | Email: [email protected]

    Author: Martin Roberts

    Leave a Reply


    • Francois Magree

      The assertion that email marketing has the largest ROI is based on the idea that email marketing has a relatively low cost, yet is capable of delivering high volumes of targeted and personalized communications to potential attendees. The article provides data from a variety of sources to support this claim and suggests that email marketing should be a key component of any events marketing strategy. An excellent article. Thank you.

    • Nina

      Email marketing can certainly be a cost-effective way for businesses to reach a large number of potential customers and clients. By sending targeted and personalized messages directly to individuals’ inboxes, businesses can generate high volumes of leads and sales at a relatively low cost compared to other marketing channels. This can result in a strong return on investment (ROI) for email marketing campaigns.

    • Penny D

      It is important to note that the success of email marketing campaigns depends on factors such as the quality of the email list, the relevance of the message, the timing and frequency of the emails.