Forefront Communications

Lessons from INBOUND 2023: Email Marketing for Events

Amanda Perrucci

Amanda Perrucci

How can B2B fintechs improve their email marketing to increase open rates and event participation? An informative session from email marketing guru Jay Schwedelson, CEO of Worldata Group, at HubSpot’s INBOUND 2023 conference offered some tips and tricks CMOs should consider.

Personalization is the key to effective email marketing, right? Wrong. Nowadays, just about every email in your inbox refers to you by name in some way – whether in the subject line, the greeting or both. It’s become a non-differentiating tactic – merely demonstrating that you have data on your audience members isn’t going to help your firm stand out from a sea of emails. When it comes to promoting events like conferences and webinars, the challenge is even greater, as you’re asking recipients to commit to attending, invest more time with you and reengage in the future.

Jay shared some tips to make your emails more effective for promoting events*:

Subject lines that start with a number increase open rates by 22%. When it comes to event email marketing, try punching up your subject lines by emulating the intrigue of a listicle-style article. Why? Because people want to know if the information you’ll be presenting is worth their time – and they want the SparkNotes version. Keep it simple and to the point.

Subject lines with “Webinar” as the first word decrease open rates by 19%. Webinars aren’t exactly a sexy format, and it can be very hard to entice people to take the time out of their busy day to tune in. Focusing on your audience’s pain points and using those as the hook will almost always yield better results than a standard “Join Our Webinar” subject line.

We know you need registrants, but think about how the event will benefit attendees. Event marketing success is often judged by the number of registrations and qualified prospects that result from an event or webinar. Many times, we as marketers allow that reality to influence our strategy – the wrong way. Consider focusing more on the content and value of the event and use that to encourage sign-ups. As an example, Jay highlighted the success of pre-event/webinar email blasts that include video snippets of the speakers previewing some of the insights in store for attendees. It’s a unique opportunity to show potential registrants what they’ll learn and spark their interest.

Send more emails! You’re not sending enough emails. We are inundated with emails every day, but can you recall the last event/webinar invite you received? Probably not. People require multiple touchpoints before they pay attention or retain information. Bottom line: one email invite almost certainly isn’t enough, but there’s no substitute for knowing your audience. If your list consists mostly of prospects you’ve never engaged with, you can afford to be more aggressive. If it’s a list of mostly clients, be careful not to spam. 

Reframe your attitude toward unsubscribes. Marketers tend to shy away from sending “too many” event promotion emails for fear of annoying prospects and clients. Jay’s take on unsubscribes: they’re an easy and effective way to refine your lists and ensure the contacts you are reaching are genuinely interested in your content. Typically, people unsubscribe from your emails for one of two reasons:

1. They’re purging their inbox.

2. You caught their attention and they realized they are either no longer interested in your firm/product or no longer the right fit.

Regardless of the reason, these unsubscribers are not qualified prospects. Granted, there will always be a handful of people who reach out with negative feedback, but we’ve yet to find a firm that has perfected its list and email cadence to the point in that no one in its audience has ever complained (if you’ve found that magic formula, let us know!).

Stay in front of your registrants – emails sent within 4 hours of the event increase the show-up rate by 24%.  We all sign up for events and webinars regularly, but not all of them make it into our calendars. Without a nudge or two, they can be easily forgotten and missed, so don’t be afraid to remind your registrants of your event/webinar. Remember: they signed up. They want to be there.

Email marketing isn’t the only way to get sign-ups for your event/webinar, but it’s often the easiest way to reach your audience. Focus on the benefits for your attendees, reach out early and often and continue to test different approaches – and your results will improve naturally.

*All datapoints were provided by Jay based on his firm’s work

Enjoyed our limited series “Insights from INBOUND”? Check out the insights from our previous installment HERE.