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Event marketers rank email as their most effective marketing channel.

With over 85M UK event attendees in 2016 (and growing) at over 1.3M business events, there has never been a greater need to cut through the noise to ensure your event is front of mind.

You could have the best-looking and the best-written email out there, but you need to get your subscribers’ attention in the first place. This takes us to the age-old question for email marketers: how to write an effective and engaging subject line. In this blog I’m hoping to share some experiences, tips and advice on writing subject lines, specifically for the event sector.

Some of the key considerations for subject line in any industry are:

  • Length – do you go short and snappy or full of detail?
  • Pre-header – is it effectively supporting your subject line?
  • Personalization – are you giving your client what they want?
  • Symbols & emojis – are they appropriate for your industry and audience?
  • Testing – is your strategy rigorous enough?
  • Human nature – are you inviting urgency, curiosity, exclusivity, or FOMO

What should I test?

Now let’s focus in on the events sector. Naturally, you’ll want to draw attention to the key features of the event you’re advertising, such as the advice attendees are likely to receive or even a breakdown of the agenda. Specific keynotes and speakers often make it into subject lines too, although in our experience we’ve seen better open rates when event marketers focus on the benefits of attending the events rather than the features itself. Something like “This event will change your life” is a bit tongue-in-cheek but could end up working wonders.

Let’s go back to some of those key influencers in more detail. Subject line length, for instance: we all know mobile is now likely to be the main reading source for email, so your sweet spot is between 40 – 50 characters – not a great deal to play with! This is where your email pre-header can really come into its own – grab your subscribers’ attention with the subject line and knock ‘em dead with an exciting and engaging pre-header.

As for personalization, if you’ve been handling your data in the right way then personalizing subject lines can help to increase open rates. Go beyond first names if you can: a contact’s location or even their product preferences can be used, e.g.

Love [PREFERRED FOOD]? This is the event for you!

Another thing to consider is segmenting your data to send more relevant subject lines. If we take a lifestyle event for example, there could be broad range of interests represented at the event: family, food, home, travel, health and fitness, and so on. If you have the individual’s preference then send a relevant subject line about a very specific part of the event outlining its benefits.

Finally, make sure you test, test again and then do some more testing. Subject lines are the quickest and easiest thing to test on an email campaign. If your data is big, then testing to gain just a few percentage points can have a massive increase in your reach.