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For some events marketers, email is the go-to channel for getting bums on seats. Yet despite its success, it is often neglected.

When your campaign schedule is building up to one key date, and is focused on hitting a target for registrations, it can be hard to see how email automation can play a role.

However, events marketers face the same challenges as everyone else – today’s inboxes are crowded, unsolicited email is considered spam and people rush through their emails on the move. Funny how what worked a few years ago is no longer bringing in the numbers.

But how do I tackle this?

Events marketers must rise to the challenge by ensuring their emails are relevant, timely and compelling. Automation is the key to achieving that. It requires extra planning up front, but the results will be well worth it. Adestra client UBM saw 119% higher open rates and 76% higher click-to-open rates from automated emails compared to regular campaigns for one of their top events.

Where do I start?

Take a step back from your targets and start thinking about your audience – some people will be aware of your event, some will have attended previously, some will not. Their motivations for attending may be entirely different. Use this understanding to segment your data. Tailor your messaging accordingly and create journeys that drip feed those compelling reasons to attend in bitesize chunks. Remember – you only get a couple of seconds of someone’s time. This process can be automated.


Branch your journey depending on the engagement you see – those who open and click can be fed into another program for development. This can include other channels such as telemarketing and direct mail.

Make sure you have an automated form abandonment email. There may be different reasons why people fail to complete the registration, so why stop at one email – send a series of emails tackling these reasons. UBM’s abandoned form reminder converts on average at 20%.

If your event is free to attend, identify those registrants who may be at risk of not turning up – perhaps they were registered by a colleague or have a history of no-shows. Start a dialogue with them and let them know you don’t want them to miss out!

Make sure new registrants are fed into a welcome program giving them key information and helping them get the most from the event – travel and venue information, plus detail on aspects of the event you know are of interest. The number and cadence of emails can be automatically adjusted depending on how close to the event they register.

During the event

Don’t stop now – target the no shows and tell those who didn’t register what they’re missing. Help those at the event make the most of it. Keep them updated with in-event news. Add a live Twitter feed to your emails.


Automate your follow up – make sure you say thank you to those that attended and share the highlights. Ask for feedback via a survey and collect reviews that you can use in your marketing next year. Follow up specifically with the people that didn’t attend – let them know what they missed and encourage them to register their interest for next year.

Taking time upfront to plan your visitor journeys and automate where possible will save you time in the long-run and can make a massive impact on the performance of your email marketing. It will also give your visitors a better experience and keep them coming back for more next year!

6 easy ways to get more people to your event