7 Ways to Boost Your Events With Smarter Email Marketing

From conferences to smaller-scale networking events, local fundraising events to annual galas, event planning can be very challenging. One of the biggest challenges of event planning is ensuring that your community or invited guests will actually show up on the big day.

If you host any kind of event, you know that effectively promoting it to the right audiences is as important as the rest of the planning and logistics.

For businesses, nonprofits, associations, and any other type of organization, email marketing remains the single most important tools.

We’re often led into thinking that the rise of social media as a marketing tool has reduced the overall effectiveness of email. That’s simply not true. Social media is another important way to spread the word and engage with your audience, but it never replaced the efficiency of email.

You must have the right strategies in place to support your email marketing efforts. Otherwise, all those event invitations might be ignored, there are a few basic strategies you can use to boost the impact of your promotional emails on the final outcomes of your event:


If your email campaigns for events have become less and less effective at converting recipients into registered attendees, it might be time to refresh your strategies.

Automating some or most of your email marketing tasks is an essential first step for increasing the impact of any modern email campaign. This is especially true for organizations with extensive contact lists of clients, members, subscribers, or donors.

Today’s marketing automation tools make it easier than ever to implement smarter email strategies into your event planning and promotions. Consider these tricks:

  • Set up automatic email triggers. One example might be to automatically send an invitation or event reminder to subscribers who visit your site during a certain timeframe.
  • Carefully schedule your email blasts. Use your email automation and management tools to analyze the times of day that see the highest open or click-through rates, then coordinate your invitation blasts around those times.
  • Develop omnichannel strategies. Use other outlets to supplement your email campaigns. For example, use targeted text messaging tools to send registration reminders, then refer subscribers to your email RSVP form.

Email marketing automation tools are a smart investment. Not only do they drastically simplify the email marketing process, but they also include smart tools that can directly boost your promotional strategies for your event.


This is a foundational marketing strategy that can directly benefit your email automation efforts, like the ones described above.

The idea is to use your database or management software to group your constituents, clients, or other contacts into discrete segments based on specific characteristics. This simple concept gives you the ability to significantly refine and focus your email marketing campaigns. The most common segmentation criteria include:

  • Age bracket
  • Geographic location
  • History of engagement with your organization
  • Chapter (for associations and some nonprofits)

Whatever type of management software you use, make sure that its features support customizable data segmentation. This is an essential strategy for practically all forms of digital marketing. Membership databases tend to offer very strong segmentation tools, so explore the Fonteva guide to membership software for more context.


Larger organizations tend to already be aware of this best practice, but it’s important advice for smaller businesses, nonprofits, or associations looking to scale up and boost the impact of their events. Basically, this strategy makes sure all your tools speak the same language.

Software integrations are essential for building sustainable and scalable internal practices, particularly when it comes to more multifaceted tasks like event planning and promotions. Using integrated management systems that contain comprehensive or add-on event planning and management tools will help you streamline and personalize your email marketing strategies.

That’s because using integrated systems will make it significantly easier for your team to implement the first two strategies above, email automation and list segmentation. Your marketing, planning, and management tools will all be drawing from the same organized pools of segmented contact data.

If you use the Salesforce platform, you’ve already got a leg up — with the  AppExchange, you have access to a marketplace of add-ons and plugins for all types of organizations. Browse through Double the Donation’s list of top apps for nonprofits for an idea of the range of functionality available for Salesforce users.


Opt-ins and calls-to-action, the digital marketing elements that actually convert your reader into a customer, subscriber, or registered attendee, are incredibly important for the success of your promotional campaigns.

Too many organizations, though, rely on outdated opt-in techniques to secure further engagement with readers and email recipients. Modernize your strategies for securing more attendees with these techniques:

  • Make it easy for recipients to register. Directing email recipients to an externally-hosted event site is often less effective than embedding a simpler form directly into your messaging. Focus on securing the ‘yes’ response before asking for more detailed registration information later.
  • Use pop-up forms in smarter ways. Pop-ups have a bad reputation because they’re often misused, but they’re still extremely effective opt-in tools when used thoughtfully. Grow your email list and audience for your events by offering actual value with your pop-ups, like an invitation or discount code.
  • Create gated content to encourage engagement. This is a great way to both attract new subscribers and secure event registrations. If you’re hosting a charity auction, for example, allow access to the catalog of your top auction items only once the reader has signed-up or registered.

Outdated pop-ups, buttons that simply read ‘subscribe now’, and registration forms that are a hassle to complete won’t help your event marketing strategies. Instead, your opt-ins and email calls-to-action should always clearly offer readers value and speed.


As mentioned above, offering value through your email marketing and event promotions is important for expanding your audience and securing more attendees. Digital content is one of the simplest and most direct ways to offer that value.

Email and content marketing techniques support each other very well, directing increased traffic to each other and boosting conversions along the way. Let’s say you’re promoting your association’s upcoming annual conference. You might promote your event with the help of supplemental content by:

  • Directing email recipients to informative articles about the conference on your blog.
  • Offering recorded interviews with top speakers and industry leaders to your website visitors who subscribe to your email list.
  • Creating a content-rich weekly ‘event countdown’ style email newsletter to keep your audience engaged leading up to the conference.

These are just a few examples, but the main point is to use your digital content and email marketing in mutually supportive ways to promote your events. Increasing engagement in this way will get readers excited and convert more RSVPs.


Taking a simpler, more relaxed approach to your promotional emails is a best practice that marketers in all sectors have come to rely on.

As digital consumers, we encounter a huge number of marketing messages every day, and we have little tolerance for emails that waste our time or mislead us. As you promote your upcoming event to your email list, follow these essential formatting and design tips:

  • Keep your subject line short and straightforward
  • Limit the number of colors used in your email message
  • Don’t include long videos, large image files, or unnecessary attachments
  • Keep your message highly organized to avoid misleading readers
  • Focus on just one topic, like your event or a special offer, per email

Keeping things simple is the easiest way to ensure your promotional emails won’t fall on deaf ears. A minimalist, focused approach that doesn’t try to accomplish too many tasks at once conveys respect for your readers’ time and attention.

As you draft new email blasts leading up to your event, make sure that several pairs of eyes take a look first. Multiple perspectives will catch any elements that seem out-of-place, forced, or otherwise intrusive.


Automation software and integrated database systems are extremely helpful for taking the guesswork out of the majority of event promotion via email, but nothing can replace direct communication. After all, if you want to know something about your attendees, clients, or donors, the best way to learn is simply to ask.

Attendee surveys are an effective way of gathering information that can be extremely useful as you develop new email campaigns in the future.

When it comes to email marketing, perhaps the most valuable question to ask your event attendees after the conference, gala, auction, or meet-up is, “What is your preferred method of communication?”

In your database or management tool, update their profiles with their responses. This information will become extremely useful as you segment your email lists for your next event, making it easy to immediately focus on those who prefer email and screen out those who rarely engage with it.

If your organization needs new digital tools, make sure to conduct a thorough membership software comparison. Top-notch tools will contain plenty of self-service options that allow members and users to actively provide you with additional information.

Email remains one of the most important marketing outlets out there for organizations and businesses promoting their events. By incorporating a few smarter techniques into your email strategies, you can seriously boost the impact of your messaging.

Focus on streamlining and simplifying your emails while offering real value to readers for the best results. Then prepare for record turnout on the big day.


Guest Author:
Jake Fabbri is the Vice President of Marketing at Fonteva with over 18 years of experience working in marketing management. He has experience with lead generation, content marketing, marketing automation, and event.