Among the billions of emails that are sent daily, there is a common goal among all of them: to drive action. Whether that action is to subscribe, to donate, or to simply open the message, an email’s objective is to always persuade the reader to engage in some way. For event marketers, their email strategy oftentimes revolves around a single action: registering for the event. According to the Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends report, most marketers (40%) believe email to be the best channel for promoting events—more than digital ads, social media or content marketing. This comes as no surprise as email continues to be the go-to form of communication for many businesses. The challenge then becomes crafting the ideal email strategy that aligns with the goals of an event marketer. To assist with email crafting process, here are 10 event email design tips that help to drive event registration. Event email marketing is a nuanced kind of email strategy and these tips make sure to address the specific needs of event marketers. 1. The Rule of Three Perhaps the most important rule when it comes to event email design, or any kind of email design for that matter, is simplicity. The most visually appealing emails are the ones that are not too cluttered and easily readable. The key is to make the message memorable for the reader and nothing achieves that more quickly than simplicity. A good rule of thumb keep in mind is to not to exceed three subsections within an email. This will ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for the reader. As you can see in the example below, Wistia, a video marketing platform, follows the rule of three beautifully. Notice that there is very minimal text because most of the key information is already included in the graphics. This example illustrates that an email with simple, minimal design makes for an enjoyable read while also leaving the recipient wanting more. 2. Apply a Consistent Color Scheme A very specific event email design principle to adhere to is keeping a consistent color scheme throughout the email. Doing so creates a visually unified aesthetic while also showcasing your event branding. The above example shows how the Forecast 2017 conference maintains a repetitive color scheme throughout, using accents where appropriate. 3. Harness the Power of Video Video marketing continues to be core strategy for marketers so it only make sense to utilize it within email campaigns as well. This study from Syndacast shows that simply including the word “video” in the subject line increased clicked-through rates by 65%. The above example shows how Unbounce used a video a main speaker to persuade people to register. Having an eye-catching thumbnail image also helps to invite more clicks. 4. Strategically Place CTA buttons As mentioned before, the goal of an email is to drive action. Often times the main action that is presented to the reader is a call-to-action button. Within the context of event marketing, this button usually leads to a registration page. Since driving the reader to click on the button is the key action, the placement and design of the button is crucial. One way to make the CTA button stand out is to use a color that is different from the rest of the email but still agrees with the overall aesthetic, as shown in the example above. In terms of placement, make sure it is in line with the overall flow of the email. This is why many CTA buttons are often times at the end of the email. You can also include the button a second or third time to emphasize its importance, as shown in the example from Invision. So as long as the placement makes sense contextually, you should feel free to arrange the buttons as you see fit. 5. Leverage Social Proof There are few things as persuasive as the opinions of others, especially within the context of conferences. Social proof is the concept of solidifying one’s perspective through the collective influence of others. Thus if you have positive reviews from your previous events, make sure to use them within the email to further drive event registration. The above example shows how Amy Porterfield, a business coach for entrepreneurs, promoted her webinar through the praise of previous webinar attendees. Social proof can come in the form of social media mentions, survey responses, video testimonials, or any other kind of evidence that establishes the awesomeness of your event. 6. Spotlight Your Speakers Many attendees and prospective attendees will be most excited about the speaker lineup. To further amp up the hype, you can design the event registration email to solely spotlight your speakers while giving more context about each one. HubSpot’s INBOUND conference always has stellar speakers and they’re not shy about showing them off in their emails. Even if your lineup isn’t as impressive as the one above, there are plenty of ways to create enthusiasm around your speakers. You could give a short summary of their experience, offer a sneak-peek of their speaking topic, or list their accolades. If you’ve chosen them to speak at your event, there is definitely a way to show them off. 7. Add a Personal Touch Personalization is a cardinal rule for effective event email design. One study showed that personalization throughout an email improved click-through rates by 14% and increased conversions by 10%. The above example shows how the Bizzabo platform provides a wide range of personalization tokens within its email marketing feature. By personalizing the email in the right context, you create a message that resonates with your target audience. 8. Apply a Concise Subject Lines Remember that effective event email design begins before the email is actually opened. The subject line is the first thing the reader will see so it is important to optimize this portion of the message. Research has shown that short, catchy subject line usually results in higher open rates. According to a study by Informz, subject lines with less than 10 characters had open rates of nearly 54%. Of course this statistic shouldn’t be applied to all emails as some require more information in the subject line, but this is a good reminder to maintain short, pithy subject lines when possible. Doing so will pique your reader\'s’ interest and entice them to open the email. 9. Create Sense of Urgency Another form of effective event email design would be to include a countdown clock. This timer would count down to the final day of registration which creates a feeling of urgency for prospective attendees. Below you can see that The Web Summit does a great job of making the countdown the largest part of the email to maximize its effect. Including a countdown clock is a simple yet dynamic visual graphic that causes the exact effect you’re looking for. A sense of urgency equals a reason to take action, which results in more registrations. As shown in the example above from Web Summit, a simple countdown clock with a brief explanation of the event is enough content to communicate the necessary information while inducing a feeling of urgency, a perfect balance to drive registrations. 10. Optimize for Mobile An overarching design principle to keep in mind is to optimize your email for mobile devices. Because 65% of email users access their email through a mobile device, it’s imperative to create an optimal mobile reading experience. Overlooking this key feature will result in an unpleasant association with your event brand. Wrapping Up To offer a quick summary, here are a few key points from the aforementioned examples. Maintain simplicity both in terms of content and visuals. Doing so will make your email more memorable and stand out from the rest. Leverage your best assets, which includes your speaker lineup and previous attendee testimonials. Both of these can be strong forms of persuasion. Think of creative ways to use video. Utilizing dynamic content will increase the likelihood of your reader engaging with the email. Mix and match these event email design tips to create the perfect formula for your particular event brand. And while these tips specifically focused on increasing event registration, these best practices can be applied to help achieve your overall email marketing goals.
Stephen is a Content Marketing Strategist at Bizzabo. Launched in July 2012, Bizzabo is the world's first event success software. It helps organizers create successful events by empowering them to build amazing websites, manage event registration, grow communities, go mobile and maximize event experiences - using a beautiful, user-friendly platform.