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How should I use e-mail to promote my event?

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E-mail is a powerful marketing tool that can have a huge impact on the success of your event. The following are a few email-related tips to help event organizers ensure that success:
  • Don't be spammy. Be conscious of how people feel about getting unwanted e-mail or too many e-mails from the same sender. Err in the direction of fewer, more thoughtfully prepared messages spaced out over time.
  • Start early. Don't wait until the last minute to begin your event e-mail campaign. Give your invitees time to warm up to your event. Space your e-mail messages out, and use the lead time to build interest by delivering messages at regular intervals. Avoid a long quiet period followed by an urgent “Tickets are going fast!” e-mail.
  • Early-bird discounts work. One of the few pieces of information that is almost always welcome about an event is the availability of an early-bird discount. The most successful such discounts reward people who are prepared to make a decision sooner rather than later.
  • Think outside the invitation. Use e-mail creatively to share information that will get people excited about your event in advance. Foster a feeling of inclusion among your invitees by letting them know who's coming, who's speaking and what the activities are going to be.
  • Don't forget your sponsors. It's a common mistake to limit the visibility given event sponsors to the day of the event. Include them in your e-mails—and not just their logos. Your sponsors will appreciate the opportunity to have their content exposed in your pre-event, outbound e-mail efforts.
  • Put the “what” in your event invitation. More so than almost any other factor, giving your invitees a clear picture of what is going to happen during the event and at what time, drives registrations. People like to know what to expect.
Jack Mardack is director of marketing at Eventbrite, an online events marketplace (www.eventbrite.com).
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