Low Budget Event Marketing

Low Budget Event Marketing

If you’re like most event organisers, one of the biggest challenges you probably face when running an event is creating an effective marketing strategy. Most events have small teams and everyone in that team ends up doing a little bit of everything.

Like most event organisers, you probably don’t have the luxury of having a dedicated social media team religiously going through various channels ensuring plenty of engagement. Nor do you have huge budgets to spend on adverts and campaigns.

Instead, you have to get creative in making the most out of what budget you have and ensure you maximise the return on your spend. The end goal is usually the same to spend as little as possible, for as little as possible effort yet still sell more tickets.

It can be a tricky one to get right but not impossible! Here are some of our top low budget marketing tips for your event.

Collect and Understand Your Data

It’s likely that you’re marketing on several different channels, whether that’s email, digital advertising or various social media platforms. All these channels can provide you with essential data that tells you who’s looking at your event and what’s working.

Reviewing that data as frequently as possible is essential in building an understanding about who you’re marketing to and who your potential attendees might be. Understanding which marketing channels are working best and who’s engaging with that marketing means that you can tailor your marketing budget to where you’re seeing the biggest return on investment (ROI).

To learn how to be more efficient with your budget, to work out who to target and where to target them,  do the following:

  • Set up tracking links to your post. Tracking links are the best way to see where people came from when they found your event listing/website. Bitly offer a great free service where you can customise the link and track not only how many people have clicked on the link but which social channel they came from and where in the world they’ve clicked from. They offer a paid service which offers more features, but for basic link tracking their free service is perfect!
  • Look at how your social media is performing.  All social media channels offer ‘insights’ into how people engage with your posts. You can look at views, likes and shares which tend to come as standard. Some platforms also offer you insights into link clicks as well as profile clicks. If you run a business account on some social media channels you can even check the ages, gender and time of day when your posts receive the most engagement.

Refine Which Social Media Channels Are Used

There’s a number of social media channels available for you to market your event. Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest the list goes on. Every one of these channels is both time and cost consuming. Once you’ve gathered your data, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about which social media channels work best for your event.

The best way to make your event marketing budget go further is to only fund in the channels that are going to work best for you. For example,  if you’re running a music event you should probably throw marketing on Linkedin out the window! Or if you’re running a fashion event, Instagram is the best platform to showcase all of your great visual content.

If your budget is limited pick just a couple of social media channels –  where you’re already seeing greater engagement and focus on those. If you’re unsure which platform is working best for you go back to step one and look at the data from the platform you’re already using. Look back over time to see if your engagement on some platforms has grown or dropped.

Automate Your Social Media Post

A great way to save you time and money with your social media posts is using automation tools. Automating your marketing posts for your events will help you by reducing the amount of time spent manually managing your campaigns, meaning you can be more productive and improve the content that goes out.

There are plenty of free tools that can help you with this:

  • Buffer – With Buffer’s free service you can schedule multiple posts to be automatically posted at a time you decide across multiple platforms. It works across Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram. There is a pro version of Buffer, however, if you’re looking to save those pennies to reinvest in your event the free version can offer you everything you need.
  • Planoly – Planoly is purely an Instagram automation tool but it does have some other powerful free features. You can plan and schedule your posts as well as looking at basic stats from the previous week or 30 days. Another cool feature of Planoly is that you can also grab stock images or other accounts images directly through the platform to share on your own feed. So if you’re running low on content you have the option of ‘regramming’  others’ content to bolster yours.  There are multiple paid-for accounts but the free version should be more than enough to get you going

Reach Out To Partners and Influencers

Sponsors, vendors and even your attendees all can be a part of your marketing team. Discover ways to engage with them on social media and reach out to their fans and followers as well. This way you can expand your reach to those who may also be interested in your event.

The best people to reach out to in order to build engagement are influencers these guys are the pros of social media. We aren’t saying to reach out to huge famous celebrities who can be incredibly expensive to have promote you. Look out for ‘micro-influencers’: those that fit your niche and have a smaller yet more targeted following. These are the influencers that are perfect to market your event to and get behind you.

Marketing budgets can be a nightmare, especially when you’re running a small event and you’d rather be spending the money investing in your event. Whilst you can’t eliminate all marketing costs, we hope these tips will help you save a bit of money and make your budget go that little bit further.

Market your event more effectively with Helm Tickets!

Charlotte Allkins | Marketing Assistant

Charlotte is the Marketing Assistant for Helm, coming from a design background she loves creating all types of content. Discover more of here blogs, as well as, many others here!

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Low Budget Event Marketing

If you’re like most event organisers, one of the biggest challenges you probably face when running an event is creating an effective marketing strategy. Most events have small teams and everyone in that team ends up doing a little bit of everything.

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A Brief Guide to Influencer Marketing

A Brief Guide to Influencer Marketing

The use of influencer marketing has grown exponentially over the last few years due to the ever-increasing growth of social media. Influencers are common users to promote brands and products through sponsored posts across social media. Influencer marketing can involve anything from product placements to brand mentions. These influencers are generally paid per promotional post.

However, more and more brands are beginning to use influencers to promote events.

An incredible example of the power of influencer marketing for events is Fyre Festival. Despite the festival itself being a complete disaster, without the influencers creating such a large hype before the festival it may never have spiralled out of control as quickly as it did.

Rohan Midha, managing director of the PMYB influencer agency, says that while Fyre itself was a failure, the marketing choices behind it were not.

“It just shows how powerful influencers can be,” he told the BBC.

“Influencers can reproduce the largest return on investment…That’s across the board.”

Werner Geyser, the founder of the Influencer Marketing Hub, agrees, saying since the release of the documentaries his web traffic has spiked a curiosity in the industry has increased.

“If anything [the Fyre Festival documentary] was showing utilising influencer marketing was part of its success in terms of marketing the event…It’s all publicity at the end of the day. I think brand managers and influencers will be more cautious and that can only be a good thing.”

Influencers’ primary purpose is to boost visibility and engagement around the brand and event. Read on to discover the best practices when using influencer marketing.

Create Great Visual Content

The main reason to use influencers for events is it can promote it for you on various social media channels. But you always need to keep in mind that influencers won’t share posts of your event if it doesn’t look good. Influencers have an image to maintain, so they need to constantly be sharing visually appealing content (images/videos).

If the lighting or decor is n’t up to standard and they can’t create good content,  they may not be as keen to share your event with their followers.


It is crucial that the event is ‘Instagramable’. There needs to be plenty of opportunities throughout the event to take good pictures. Whether it be something as simple as good lighting or even event accessories such as place cards, food, banners and table settings. From there they will proactively share Instagram Stories, photos and live feeds to show their followers how ‘awesome’ your event is.

Understand Your Guest List

You can’t get just any influencers to promote your product through sponsored posts. This works the same for events. You cannot just invite any influencer to your event. You need to ensure that you invite influencers that appeal to your target market, audience and attendees. This means you should really study your guest list and your social media audience.

Take a look at the various demographics and identify which influencers would be the most effective for your event. Asking your audience directly is even an option through polls and surveys on social media. This again brings greater engagement to your event. By gathering this information from their responses you should be able to gauge exactly what kind of influencers your audience would like to see at your event.

If your guest list includes any non-paid influential people within your community it’s worth checking their social media accounts see if there are any specific influencers they follow. This should give you a better idea of whom to invite and whom to avoid.

Generate Buzz Before Your Event

In many cases, you want influencers to talk about your event before it even begins. They can share pictures of an invite or even what they plan on wearing! The most important thing is to share details about the event to inform and remind followers about it. This helps generate a buzz around the event and encourage people to keep an eye out for more event-related content.

Creating this buzz before your event is especially important if your event involves some kind of audience involvement, such as product launches, concerts, etc. Generating pre-event buzz is great if you’re looking to drive higher audience attendance or if you need your attendees to take some kind of action before the event itself.

Have your influencer share plenty of event content

The whole point of having influencers at your event is to get their audience and reach to engage with your event. Briefing the influencers before the event is also essential, as you’ll need to encourage them to share as much photo and video content with their followers, along with a relevant event hashtag.

Sharing a live feed or stories from the event to document their experience is another useful tool. They shouldn’t just share content after the event is over, but share content throughout the event itself to let their followers get a real feel for the experience of the event.

Live content from events is a great way to build authenticity around your event. As everything is captured in real time there’s less risk of audiences thinking the content has been edited in any way. It makes audiences feel involved and makes them feel closer to your brand and event.

Share content after the event finishes

Using influencers to create content about your event is a fantastic way to expand your reach and potentially bring new audiences to your event. Keeping the momentum going after your event is over is also a great way to keep that audience engaged, especially if your event is recurring. It brings another level of credibility and keeps your current audience engaged.

If you had professional photography at the event, sharing those images on social media and creating blogs will give your profiles and brands a professional image. The images will look exciting and aid in creating the “fear of missing out” (FOMO) when alongside a line of plans for your next event.

This may drive attendance at your next event as well as encourage other influencers to potentially reach out to you and join your next campaign.

Sharing the influencer’s direct content is an amazing way to build engagement with your current audience; it can lead to growth in both your own and the influencer’s following. Just ensure you get their permission before sharing their content.

These are a few of the best practices when using influencer marketing to promote your event. Planning is key with this, so plan your campaign carefully and ensure you have plenty of time to build that hype and organise what elements of your event you want to highlight, capture and share. Influencers can be incredibly busy, so make sure you give them plenty of time so they can execute your carefully designed plan. If the influencer you have in mind can’t make your event make sure you have a list of backups to invite, so you can carry out your plan as efficiently as possible.


Promote your event more effectively with Helm Tickets!

Charlotte Allkins | Marketing Assistant

Charlotte is the Marketing Assistant for Helm, coming from a design background she loves creating all types of content. Discover more of here blogs, as well as, many others here!

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Low Budget Event Marketing

If you’re like most event organisers, one of the biggest challenges you probably face when running an event is creating an effective marketing strategy. Most events have small teams and everyone in that team ends up doing a little bit of everything.

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How to market your yoga class this new year

How to market your yoga class this new year

After all the excess of Christmas and looking ahead to the New Year, many of us will have the New Year’s resolution to improve our fitness or to shift a few extra pounds. This is the perfect opportunity to amp up your marketing for your class ready for January. 

 

2018 saw a huge rise in the number of yoga classes available, from Hot Yoga to Goat Yoga. In the UK, “yoga” was one of Google’s most searched-for words in 2016, while the yoga and Pilates business brings in £812m a year, and rising. 

 

Yet many yoga classes still face the issue of bringing in new clients and not knowing where to start in marketing their businesses. Drawing people into your class over others is now incredibly competitive. Due to this increase in demand, there is now so much choice for consumers to pick from. 

 

Here are a few strategies to promote your yoga class:

UNDERSTAND YOUR STUDENTS

The best way to resonate with your students is to understand what really matters to them. So do as much research as possible into what they want and what they are looking to gain from attending your class. From this position, you will know where to place yourself against any competitors and discover what your USP (unique selling point) is.By crafting a focused message that reflects the views of your students or potential students, you will be creating a bond with them that will bring longevity to the relationship. It will be these more targeted messages that will differentiate your classes from others in your local area. It is also worth cross-selling your classes with other classes you may offer. Introduce students and potential students to other classes you feel they may enjoy. For example, if you have had a Hatha Yoga class that has been successful, maybe work out why that class is so popular from your students and then use that information to push, for example, an Ashtanga Yoga class to those looking for more of a challenge or a step up. If your students are looking to join the latest trends in yoga, why not look into offering more of the novelty yoga classes that are trending on various social media, or hosting a one-off novelty yoga event to introduce customers to your classes.

DEFINE YOUR BRAND

Once you have a good understanding of your audience you can channel that knowledge into your brand. Defining what you are early on will help you keep your message and ethos consistent. Is your brand focused on beginners getting into their yoga practice? Or are they experienced yogis looking to develop their practice further? It will be this definition that will make your class stand out from the rest. Use the information gained from your students to really hone in on what makes your classes uniqueAn effective way of defining your brand is to have a website built which explains everything about your classes, as well as having beautiful visuals created to coincide with it. It should be a visual representation of your class, reflecting its look and feel. It should also perform in converting visitors to students. By using plenty of ‘calls to action’ (‘sign up’, ‘enrol here’, etc.) it should direct them into converting themselves from visitor to your site to a potential student. Being explicit in how you wish to convey yourself to potential students, create a clear marketing message about who you are and what your brand has to offer. 

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MAKE THE MOST OF SOCIAL MEDIA

With the understanding of your audience, you can now concentrate your efforts into various social media channels. For Yoga, Instagram is about to become your new best friend. Yoga is growing exponentially on Instagram with accounts like Yoga Girl boasting over 2.1 million followers. Rachel Brathen (Yoga Girl) is the perfect example of how to harness the power of Instagram to advance yourself within yoga. She defined her audience early on and has spent the last few years building a loyal following, keeping on brand, but, at the same time maintaining authenticity. Yoga is a beautiful art form and Instagram is the perfect platform to share visual content. If you are looking to share something with more depth, look at sharing on Facebook and then cross-promoting it on Instagram.Here are a few tips on how to share effectively on social media:
  • Create custom content. Instagram is mainly viewed on mobile devices, therefore, keep your content short and sweet with plenty of eye-catching imagery and video
  • Social Media gurus Hubspot recommend the perfect post on Facebook being around 40 characters despite the 63,206 character limit, and Instagram hitting the sweet spot at around 125 characters
  • Don’t forget to create a killer bio on all your social media platforms, include links to special offers or a sign-up page. Your Facebook banner is also a great place to promote, so keep that in mind when creating an amazing profile page.

The coming new year is the perfect opportunity to push your yoga classes and drive attendance with the tips we’ve mentioned. If you are looking for more information regarding promoting on Instagram check out this blog on Instagram For Event Promotion, where you’ll find some more detailed advice about how to get the most out of the platform.Up your attendance for your yoga class this new year with Helm Tickets!

Yoga, Marketing, Social Media

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Why Omnichannel Promotion Is More Effective Than Event Listing

Why Omnichannel Promotion Is More Effective Than Event Listing

There are copious amounts of websites that will offer to list your event and help your event reach a larger audience. So, in theory, boosting sales for your event. Unfortunately, too often organisers are left feeling that the time taken in creating the event listing was not worth it due to lack of increased sales.

Whilst event listing is one way of approaching event promotion, to see any measurable increase in sales it takes a range of tools and strategies.

OMNICHANNEL PROMOTION

For many years ‘multichannel promotion’ or marketing has been the favoured method of interacting with potential attendees. By communicating with them on various platforms it enabled companies to reach wider and more diverse audiences. Whether it was a print ad, word of mouth or by social media, a multichannel strategy has been the tried and tested method of promotion for many years. However, consumers are now looking for a more connected and seamless experience when it comes to promotion and marketing. Omnichannel refers to the multichannel sales approach that will also provide the attendees with a more integrated experience. The attendee needs to be able to switch from desktop, to a mobile device, to the event itself, with the experience being completely consistent. Keep the message and promotion of your event unified using the following marketing techniques:
Email Marketing: Plan and develop your communications with your potential attendees well in advance. As well as planning for different audiences, different types of audiences will call for different types of email.Reconnect via email with those already booked into your event. This will not only help to build excitement for the event but it will also help develop a relationship with the attendee and reinforce that you are building a brand/event experience.Having a plan and getting everything set up and organised in advance may seem time-consuming but the payout, in the long run, will be worth it.Social Media: Setting up a dedicated hashtag for your event that will be used throughout all your social media promotion is an effective way of creating a cohesive message.Creating engaging visuals and videos to draw attention to your posts about your event is another great form of promotion. Make sure again that all your posts are visually consistent as this will help build your omnichannel approach to promotion, which will help make your attendees feel valued.Social media is amazing for highlighting announcements and generating hype surrounding your event. Promote things such as new speakers for conferences or updates in the timetable or special features of your event.Paid social media ads are another great way to expand reach and engagement for your event., We would recommend this approach if you have a definite audience you know you are targeting. This will focus your advertising on those who are more likely to be interested in your event generally but may not know that your event is running.

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PR: It is far too easy to get wrapped up in the digital side of event promotion and then forget to put time into more tested methods such as PR.

Sending out a press release to various media outlets and listing your event in relevant business journals and newsletters still worth the time it takes to create them as it creates a more well rounded promotional campaign.Direct Mail: As we all know, we live in an increasingly digital world, yet this only adds to the power of physical, tangible marketing techniques like direct mail.Target VIP potential attendees by sending out a physical invite to the event or a promotional box encouraging attendance to your event.Website: Having a great website is an incredibly compelling component of event marketing.To potential attendees, it is a base for them to come to when looking for all essential information regarding the event. Whether the event is hosted on your existing website using something like our embeddable widget or you wish to build something new just for your event, the goal needs to remain the same.The website should be where you are driving all your promotional materials, so it’s essential that all the important information is there to assist in driving ticket sales.An issue with some event listing sites is that it can drive traffic away from your site, as well as featuring events like yours that may appeal to a segment of your demographic. This means you could potentially lose sales to your competitors!

At Helm Tickets our goal is for our organisers to succeed and our features can help you create an omnichannel promotional campaign that can help draw in new attendees, as well as aid in increasing attendee retention. To learn more about promotional strategies, keep an eye out for our blogs on marketing and promotional techniques. Create your omnichannel promotional campaign with Helm Tickets!

Event Listing, Promotion, Business, Omnichannel, Marketing 

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How to convince your attendees’ boss to send them to your event

How to convince your attendees’ boss to send them to your event

If you’re organising a professional event often, your guests will have to convince their manager to let them attend. As an organiser, you can boost ticket sales by supporting your would-be attendees in their efforts to get approval from higher-ups.

When an employee is looking to pitch to their boss, they’ll want to be as prepared as possible. Many will plan out costs, adjustments to work deadlines, plan cover for their roles and have a list of reasons why they must attend, for the benefit of the business. 

These practices don’t only apply to business conferences or professional training, they could equally be a of great values when encouraging managers to give employees access to your workplace wellbeing events, like yoga or meditation.  

Costs

When an employee approaches their manager about attending an event, the first question will be: how much is this going to cost the company? For small workforces with low budgets, this will be the first port of call when considering attendance and often, will be the reason the answer is ‘no’. The high cost of attending an event won’t always be the ticket price, as many business shows are funded through sponsorships rather than admission fees. Whether admission costs anything or not, some guests will have to travel or stay overnight while attending your event. Additional costs can quickly build up when an event is far away, happens over a number of days or requires the attendance of more than one employee.

Ancillary Costs

The challenge of additional, unexpected costs for companies wouldn’t just be affected by your ticket price. For conferences out of the area or multiple day events, there are additional costs for travel, accommodation and any daily stipends.

Practically, you can help employees keep costs low by providing details about transport and accomodation. Partner with local hotels to offer discounts to attendees who book rooms for the event. If you can’t get discounts, do the research for your potential guests. Have a list of local accommodation options with rough pricing and any offers publicly available.

You can easily do the same with transport. Consider the location of your event and any notable nearby places guests might be travelling from. Look into the best value public transportation to the venue and share the expected pricing – include a variety of options including buses, trains, subways and taxis. Some taxi companies may be able to provide discounts to guests for pre-booked rides and in exchange for promo. You could also share details of local parking availability and rates for guests who are likely to drive.

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Other problems

Workplace Disruptions

For some managers, the disruption caused by staff being out of the office could be enough to put them off approving attendance to events. Proving the value of your event will be particularly crucial in these circumstances

If your event is targeted at high-level professionals, it could be especially important to provide facilities for attendees to catch-up on emails or phone calls throughout the day. Publicise access to breakout spaces and wifi & suggest guests utilise these areas during lunch.

Making the pitch

Proving Value

If you’re running a training course or multi-day industry conference, it’s likely the ticket price could be in the hundreds, if not thousands. It’s important you help attendees see the value in the price and provide practical information about the potential return on investment (ROI) for their bosses.

Networking: If you’ve run the event before, utilise data and testimonials from previous attendees. Information about notable past attendees, large companies and those confirmed to attend this year can help employers see the lead generation and networking opportunities for their staff.

Solutions: Whether your event is a training course or a conference, make sure you can show what skills attendees will leave with. Give detailed information about the content of the day, including workshop topics and guest speakers. Where an employer can connect a challenge facing their business with an opportunity to find a solution at your event, attendance is more likely to be approved.

Skills: Testimonials and reviews from previous attendees who are able to show how your event practically helped them in their roles will show the real value in your event. Consider the goals of the event, including those within different workshops or panels. Use these to identify the problems being solved and how they can benefit an employee, department or entire company.


The benefits to a company could include:

  • Practical skills or a qualification
  • Financial benefits through knowledge of less costly solutions
  • Better project management skills leading to less time wasted in the office
  • Lead generation or networking opportunities to promote and grow the business

 

Providing Practical Resources

Some of the biggest event-organising companies in the world provide ‘How to convince your boss’ articles or email templates to potential attendees. Take a look at the events below and note their different techniques for encouraging attendance!

Adobe released a simple, one-page blog identifying the reasons why attending MAX The Creativity Conference, would be beneficial to employees and their businesses.

Data Driven Summit made a ‘Get your trip approved’ letter available for download. It details the key benefits of the summit as well as a budget template! Read the letter here.

Tech crunch’s conference homepage breaks each ticket price down with every benefit included. The number of benefits increase with the ticket price, including discounts for local hotels. The organisers also provide discounts to students, non-profits and government/military staff – making convincing bosses even easier.

Frontend United published a ‘Convince your boss’ page for the conference. This page is slightly different to some of the other examples listed, in this case, the organisers have created a 6-point list ‘debunking’ the arguments against attending. These include no ‘corporate sponsored talks’, tickets for access to the co-working space and comparatively low ticket prices.

Slush’s ‘Why Attend’ pages break down potential guests into the following categories; Startups, Investors, Speakers and Partners. Each page provides detailed benefits and information relative to the audience’s interests, needs and questions.

What you can do

 

  • Create a simple landing page with the key benefits of the event, make sure it’s ‘manager-appropriate’ so staff can forward it to their boss while they’re making their pitch…
  • Create an email template for staff to send to their managers. Ensure it highlights the value in attending and any relevant issues being addressed at the event. To get started and make sure it contains all of the key info, use our example template to the right!

Hi Manager,

I’ve found this event, [insert event name]. The event is a [conference, workshop, etc], running on the [date] in [location].

I think it’d be beneficial to go for a number of reasons, particularly with regards to [insert project/job role/task]. The [workshop/panel] will provide a great opportunity to network with our target audience – the list of expected attendees is here and includes [target company].

I’ve estimated travel arrangements to be circa [£] and there is a discount available for accomodation booked in conjunction with the [£] ticket – so it would only cost [£] to attend.

I’ve looked at the office calendar and there is no leave booked on those days, so any issues that arise in my absence will be dealt with by the team. Plus, there’s internet and office space at the venue, so I can catch up on anything missed over lunch/during breaks.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

B2B events are a different beast to selling commercial events to the public – often, approval will have to be sought by several members of staff. So, the best thing you can do as an organiser is to make it easy for decision-makers to see the benefits and potential ROI from your event.

 

Get started selling tickets for your next event today!

Professional Events, Business

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How to Market Events: Email Marketing

How to Market Events: Email Marketing

Picture this: It’s the 26th May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has come into force the day before. Inboxes are empty of marketing emails and consumers rejoice as they one-by-one, delete ‘Please re-subscribe’ messages. So, does this mean email marketing is dead now?

GDPR doesn’t mean the end of email marketing. Yes, it signals the end of spammy, impersonal content and the receivers feeling trapped by their inbox of unending nonsense. The new regulations provide all marketers with the opportunity to reassess their email marketing strategy and mailing lists. Gone are the days of large, untrackable, random email lists and now we welcome in an era of personalised, optimised email campaigns that provide value to both businesses and their customers, equalling higher engagement rates and lists that have genuine interest in your events.

What is email marketing and why use it?

Simply put, email marketing is sending communications to a list of past, potential or current customers. It’s a marketing channel that is utilised cross-industry, with both B2C and B2B marketers including it in their marketing mix. Traditional campaign styles range from regular weekly or monthly newsletters to one-off promotional communications. Email marketing is a great opportunity to engage customers.

Despite the reach of social media, email marketing remains a cost-effective strategy to gain and nurture leads. In 2017, for every £1 spent on email marketing, the return was £32.38 (Marketing Week, 2018). Plus, with complete control over ‘who, what and when’, the communications between you and your customers will provide invaluable data, so you can constantly optimise your campaigns to best reach your goals.

 

But how can email marketing boost your ticket sales?

As with many businesses, many events are successful because of repeat customers, which comes from the nurturing of the business to attendee relationship. Whether you organise training courses and rely on companies to enrol their staff regularly or you organise a local open mic night and hope you depend on the regulars show support and will spread the word. Keeping an open communication channel from the start of the ‘customer’ (attendee) journey, will encourage positive sentiment and a familiarity with your event. 

You can utilise email marketing in every stage of your attendee’s experience. Once you’ve sold tickets, send out regular updates and reminders about the event. Once you’ve got your mailing lists compiled from previous events you’ve run, contact potential ticket buyers the second you announce a new event, offering early birds and previous-attendee discounts and keep them up to date with any new announcements about the event.

And as we know the events industry is a tough one, should the worst happen, you’ll already have a line of communication open with your guests to provide last-minute updates about postponements, cancellations and even travel news.

 

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Growing your list

Before looking at email automation platforms, you need to grow an email list. If you’ve previously received consent from existing attendees to send them marketing materials, go ahead and add them to your list. Ensure you have a record of where and when your list gave consent, this is an imperative part of abiding by the GDPR.

Sometimes, marketers can be tempted to purchase email lists online. Don’t do this. You don’t have their consent, you have no idea who’s actually on the list (or if they are interested in your business) and by emailing random leads as if they’re a genuine lead, you could be putting off people who may be interested in the future plus, you risk being flagged as spam.

There are many ways to grow your email list and but the changes are, you’ll already be doing some of these as part of your overall marketing strategy – for example, you may already be syncing your attendees to your Mailchimp account! Publishing a blog? Include an email list sign up form. Using Mailchimp or Hubspot? Create mailing list pop-ups for your home page. Running PPC ad campaigns or promoting your content? Create landing pages that encourage clickers to sign up to your list. Once your email marketing campaigns are up and running, make sure you’re creating high-quality, shareable content and encourage your readers to do some of the work for you by forwarding your emails to their colleagues, friends or sharing them through social media.

Mailchimp or others

Email marketing automation platforms come in all shapes and sizes but there are some front-runners you’ll already know about it. Mailchimp is the go-to for many businesses, it’s well known, has a wide range of functionality and most importantly for some, it’s free to use up to a certain number of contacts. Mailchimp’s ‘Forever Free’ package is $0 per month and includes up to 2,000 contacts and up to 12,000 emails per month. On Forever Free, you can create and automate your emails and segment your lists (more on that later!). Despite the apparent limits, you can A/B test campaigns and extract data reports. Many businesses just getting into email marketing are unlikely to have large lists or the need to send several emails a month to their contacts, therefore Mailchimp can often be the most cost-effective platform for small and growing businesses. 

Mailchimp’s mascot, Freddie

The downside of Mailchimp is that once you have more contacts than the free plan allows, the costs quickly add up. The ‘Growing Business’ plan allows unlimited contacts and emails but is priced $10 per month and up, depending on your use of the platform. As of July 2018, Mailchimp’s pricing calculator indicates that if you grow your list to 2,500 subscribers, that’ll set you back over $30 per month, whilst 5,000 subscribers will cost you over $50 per month.

There are loads of  slightly lesser known marketing automation platforms, like Sendinblue, and therefore, it’s worth doing some research into pricing, functionality and which platforms best suit your business’ needs.

Optimising your lists

Segmenting your mailing lists allow you to record what your subscribers are interested in upon signing up, then you can ensure all content you send them is relevant to them! If you’re using an opt-in form, you can use hidden or public groups to decide how to segment a new subscriber. You can also segment by where you got the lead (a specific trade show? A specific event you ran?). Plus, you can keep track of how many subscribers are past/current customers and how many are leads.

HubSpot listed “30 Ways to Slice Your Email Database” and it’s definitely worth a read if you’re looking for some creative ways to learn about your audience and optimise your campaigns. Automation platforms like Mailchimp provide pre-built segmentation functionality, so you can send campaigns to different groups based on what Mailchimp knows about them, e.g. subscribers who haven’t opened any of your last 5 campaigns, those who have opened at least one of them or those who only subscribed in the last 7 days. Using the latter, you can kick start your relationship with a lead by sending them welcome content and avoiding sending them information long term subscribers would receive.

Segmentation enables you to increase engagement and improve your open rate (by only sending specific content to those interested), both of which help to lower the chance of you being reported as spam.

Personalising  your emails can also improve your statistics and increase positive sentiment with your subscribers. If you record first names when generating leads, use the automatic merging functionality on your marketing automation platform to address each email directly to the recipient.

Double opt-ins are another way to improve your open rate and qualify your leads. Opt-ins require any subscriber to confirm their subscription in an automated email, sent to them upon entry of their email address to your lead generation form. Although it may seem like you’re creating another step to get subscribers, mailing lists are about quality not quantity and double opt-ins mean only those genuinely interested in your services will subscribe. It ensures potential leads’ emails aren’t being added without their knowledge and if they can’t open the confirmation email, are they likely to read your campaign emails?

Constructing a campaign

Despite there being no firm rules or guidelines about email content, there are some simple steps you can take to break down your content and ensure you’re providing value to your mailing list. First off, consider the goal of your campaign.

First impressions
The subject line of an email is the equivalent of an article headline. A short, succinct and relevant title will grab the attention of readers and encourage open rates. Bear in mind that mobile is the most popular way to read emails, therefore subject lines and preview texts should be small-screen optimised – hopefully, gaining attention immediately.

Content
If you’re not too confident in your abilities to create a campaign from scratch or simply want to to speed up the process, most platforms will have pre-made templates that you can edit to suit your brand, content and campaign goals. If you’d prefer to have a totally custom campaign, this is usually pretty simple to do. Platforms like Mailchimp, Sendinblue and Sendgrid all include a drag-and-drop email designer. Usually, you can quite swiftly create an aesthetically pleasing email with photos, buttons, products, media and all of your contact information, in no time. Be sure to use Call to Actions in your emails, encouraging readers to click-through to your website, product or promotion!

If you’re stuck for design ideas, Mailchimp have a whole database of great campaign examples for you to browse, alongside their pre-made templates!

An on-brand campaign for Austin City Limits Festival from Mailchimp’s Inspiration hub.

Utilising Data

Your campaigns
Your email marketing platform should provide a wealth of information about the success of your campaigns and your subscribers. Through open rates, click-through rates and your most clicked links, you should be able to get a clear idea of what your audience sees value in, whether they find a ‘One Week to Go’ reminder helpful or enjoy receiving . lineup announcements in the run up. You’ll also be able to analyse which Call to Actions work best, helping to optimise your future campaigns. Plus, looking at your bounce and unsubscribe rates will guide you in making sure your email list is up-to-date and hasn’t gotten stale.

Everyone’s campaigns
Many platforms release yearly statistics about their userbase and subscribers. These benchmarks provide guidelines to compare your own campaign results to, as well as giving a full picture of email marketing overall and its trends. Even better, Mailchimp release their benchmarks overall and split by industry, meaning you can compare your content to your peers and competitors, then analyse whether you’re meeting those industry benchmarks and in-turn, figure out what’s going right and what’s going wrong in your strategy.

Other useful benchmarks include industry bounce rates and unsubscribe rates. Compare your stats to the benchmarks to see if you’re hitting the mark or if your email list has become out-of-date. By emailing your list regularly, you should be able to stay on top of which email addresses have expired and which subscribers are no longer interested in your business.

2018 Email Marketing Benchmarks

Mailchimp’s March 2018 Benchmark Report shows a clear picture of email marketing as a whole. For example, smaller teams should not be discouraged as company size currently makes little difference regarding engagement, with open rates and click rates all in the same region for both small, medium and large businesses. Whereas, the data does show that abuse reports and unsubscribe rates are slightly higher for smaller companies – how can you combat this and make your small company the exception?

Company SizeOpen RateClick RateSoft BounceHard BounceAbuse RateUnsubscribe Rate
1-1020.30%2.60%0.50%0.30%0.011%0.27%
11-2519.74%2.25%0.54%0.35%0.010%0.23%
26-5020.68%2.56%0.42%0.28%0.007%0.17%
50+22.10%2.66%0.50%0.38%0.008%0.18%

Mailchimp’s Statistics based on Company Size.

Go forth and email!

Email marketing not only provides the opportunity to boost ticket sales and promote your event, but also helps nurture attendee relationships. Plus, with many platforms having free packages up to a certain number of contacts, why wouldn’t you utilise a service that for most, is 100% free?

Email Marketing, Mailchimp, Integrations

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