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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:

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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How to Write Simply Amazing Social Media Posts for Events

SocialMedia_EventsSocial media. Everyone is doing it, but a lot of people are doing it wrong.

Well-written, engaging (simply amazing) social media posts can boost the visibility and attendance of your event, but poorly written, over-tagged, spammy updates can lead to potential attendees unfollowing and unfriending.

Be a Friend
Build a following before your event. Just like with life, you have to be a friend to make friends. Like, share, comment on your friends’ and followers’ content—keep it lighthearted, fun, positive. Or if it matches your voice, be a bit irreverent and witty.

Take a look at the profiles of your attendees or commenters. What are their interests, hobbies, passions? If a lot of your attendees snowboard, and it happens to snow, post something like this: It’s official, snow is falling. Have a grand time on the mountain.

Hashtag That
Create a short hashtag that your attendees can use to talk about your event. If it’s a large conference, use several hashtags and promote them on your event signage and event page.

Use no more than two hashtags per tweet. With Instagram, you can get away with many more.

Hashtags encourage and organize conversations. If your attendees think something needs to be improved (for example, if there is a bad parking situation or you’re running out of water), they’ll often begin chattering about it using the hashtag. Delegate social media monitoring to at least one person. That way, if something needs to be fixed, you’ll catch it.

Carefully research hashtags before you put them out there. Check out who else is using the hashtag and for what purpose. Never use sensitive hashtags to promote your event.

Use handles and tags to mention your performers or the venue.

Make It Pretty

It’s poor etiquette to delete Twitter posts, so make sure that what you have is spelled correctly and polished.

You can edit Instagram captions and Facebook posts after they go live, but triple check all of the handles and hashtags before you tap publish. Avoid sloppy updates that use “ur” for your or “4” for “for.” Write updates in a word processing program first to smooth out your content.

Use a tool such as Grammarly to check your grammar—Grammarly is a browser plug-in that “green lines” grammar errors— ones that even an eagle-eyed editor would miss.

Use Tweetdeck or a similar tool to schedule out posts, so that you can make sure you have the right handles and hashtags. But proceed with caution—when tragedy in the news strikes, it takes social media by storm and can make your previously scheduled tweets seem insensitive.

Short, short, short. Yes, it’s tempting to include all the information about your event into one little tweet (along with five exclamation points), but shorter works better. Two things to include are links to where to buy tickets and the event hashtag.

Did we mention there would be pizza? RSVP for a slice of the action: [event link]

The ideal character count for tweets is 71-100, according to this AdWeek infographic, although Twitter allows 140.

Even though it’s convenient and faster to link your Instagram to your Facebook and Twitter, it’s best to write individual posts for each account.

Include images or links to videos. Create a highlight reel of your past events or a photo montage of your performers.

Tie It Together
People love facts and trivia. Tie your event in with fun facts.

Can you guess the most widely produced wine in the world? Hint: it’s going to be at tomorrow’s wine festival: [event link]

If something loosely related to theme of your event happened in the news, re-post it.

Let your performers takeover your social media as part of a planned influence marketing campaign.

Interact with your audience. Respond to comments and questions, but avoid angrily responding to random haters. You can damage your reputation by acting impulsively or defensively. If something goes wrong, step away from the screen and come up with a plan of action before you post.

There’s no need to be humble. Share all of the press you get. Use the publication’s handle so they get some love.

Does the venue have more going on than the performance, such as drink or food specials, VIP rooms, pool tables/video games? Share it.

Pro tip: Need free guidance or social media love? Ask our expert promotion team. Email promo[at]brownpapertickets[dot]com.

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