How to Write Email Newsletters that Actually Get Opened

EmailNewsletterInvites-Hands-CoffeeEveryone who puts on events shares a terrible fear: what if no one shows up? If you do nothing to promote your event, it’s a real possibility. Email newsletters are a viable promotion channel, especially for those who have fan clubs and mailing lists. Yes, they take a little bit longer to create than the average social media post and (if you have a large mailing list) can be costly.

But a well-designed and well-written newsletter is worth the effort. Increase your open rates and get those RSVPs pouring in. Here’s how:

Grow Your Email List

  • To have a newsletter in the first place, you need a list of email addresses. Check legal requirements in your state for what constitutes spam and follow those rules.
  • At events and trade shows, have a sign-up sheet for your newsletter or a fishbowl for attendees to drop business cards.
  • Place the newsletter sign-up box in the footer of your website’s homepage and if possible, on your Facebook page. Tell potential subscribers what to expect from the list and how often you will email.
  • Include sharing buttons in your invites. That way, your subscribers can easily forward it to friends, which they are more likely to do if there are incentives, such as ticket discounts.
  • If you’re a musician or show producer, give your email subscribers the VIP treatment. Send exclusive access to new music and/or special pricing. DIY Musician recommends that you trade newsletters with another artist or band to grow your list.

Increase Newsletter Open Rates

Confession: my personal email inbox has 2,000 emails and most of those are promotional newsletters. ‘Inbox Zero’ is a losing battle. To get a newsletter invite opened in an inbox as stuffed as mine, you need to use clever copywriting.

  • Include the words, ‘You’re Invited’ in the subject line. It’s clear, simple, direct, and intriguing.
  • Personalize your newsletter invites. According to Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
  • Write something clever, irresistible, the kind of subject line that begs you to open the email.

Not Like This:

GET TICKETS NOW!!!!
Hurry! Discounted Tickets Inside
Don’t Miss This Event This Saturday at 9:00 PM in Everett

Avoid all-caps, exclamation points, and writing that fails to describe what’s inside. Don’t use words that trigger spam filters, such as “free,” “clearance,” and “guarantee.”

More Like This:

Pssst… Your Friends Are Going to This
RSVP for Our Best Show This Year
We Don’t Have Jetpacks. We Do Have This…

Take Us to the Shiny Details

Jim Nelson once said, “Never open a book with weather.”

The equivalent for event promoters and copywriters: “Never open your newsletter with a big block of text that has nothing to do with your event.”

Opening lines matter. It’s 2017, age of the flea-size attention span. Make the most important details stand out. Get right to the time, location, cost, and other key details such as parking and transportation. Include a prominent call-to-action button that takes the potential attendee right to the page to buy tickets.

Share your advice. Comment below with your email invite tips and techniques.

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The Event Organizer’s Guide to Instagram

Instagram_Birds-EventOrganizersWhen it comes to Instagram, event organizers have it easy. By nature, events are interesting and photogenic—ideal subjects for this visual platform. The creativity is endless: focus your phone camera on the stage or the crowd, feature dressed-to-kill festival attendees, publish short videos of a rehearsal or head backstage for pics of performers getting all glammed up.

Who Uses Instagram
Millennial users are flocking to Instagram (90% of users are under 35).  This generation responds to authenticity and prefers to spend money on experiences rather than material goods.

In other words, Instagram is a useful marketing tool for reaching an event-going audience. So yes, if you’re an event organizer, Instagram is worth investing time in. And it’s growing fast. According to Brandwatch.com, use has doubled in the last two years.

What to Post
Whatever you do, be real. While it’s OK to post your event flyer once in awhile, to gain followers, keep most of your content non-promotional.

corn-peppers-grillUpdate no more than once a day, no less than once a month. If you update too often, you’ll clog your followers’ feeds. Think of social media as one big party—if you talk too much, people will back away slowly. If you don’t talk enough, you’re the awkward, forgotten-about one in the corner (been there).

According to BufferSocial, “Major brands post an average of 1.5 times per day to Instagram. There’s no drop-off in engagement for posting more, provided you can keep up the rate of posting.” That said, once-to-twice a week is a good, manageable posting schedule. Monday and Thursday are the days with the most user engagement.

If you don’t have “enough” going on to post regularly, show off your personality. Create a #throwbackthursday once in awhile, or post your crew in zany holiday costumes. Or give a behind-the-scenes tour of your sponsor’s facilities.

To encourage engagement, make visual contests—if you’re hosting a pop-up dinner at a mystery locale for example, zoom in on one detail of the venue and have attendees guess where it is. Or have a caption contest, where you ask your followers to caption your pics.

Always ask your attendees’ permission before you take/use their photo.

Instagram’s new “Story” feature works similar to Snapchat – share stories with your followers using images that disappear after 24 hours. Use Story to capture your event’s “essence” on the day-of or to give a sneak preview of your event.

Make Every Shot Count

instagrambpt

Did you know we’re on Instagram? Follow us, we’re goofballs.

Don’t settle for bad lighting or grainy pics from far away. Consider getting a DLSR to create high-quality images.

But phone photography doesn’t mean bad photography. For the love of Leibovitz: Get close. Fill the frame. Change your perspective. Strive for a clean, uncluttered background. Remember the composition rule of thirds (don’t place your subject directly in the center).

If you’re shooting outdoors, target “magic” hour, (aka nature’s photoshop)–the hour before sunset or sunrise, when light is soft.

Instagram isn’t just photography; it’s design. Consult a designer about using filters, collages or creating graphics. Start with an overall vision of what you want your account to express and the type of pictures you want to feature. All black and white? All with the same, super-flattering “Valencia” filter?

Consistency goes a long way in attracting followers.

Instagram Ads
Instagram allows sponsored ads—photo ads, short video ads and swipe-through image carousels. Consider an ad to boost event registration—the cost varies if you’re paying per impression (CPM) (view, likes, comments) or click (CPC). Instagram ads can be useful if you’re trying to lead potential attendees to your event registration page. Just like with Facebook ad targeting, you can target by location, demographics, interests or actions.

Photo credit: photo of birds, Amanda Halm; photo of grilled corn and peppers @FoodInField

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