05. Email Marketing:
The Complete Guide

Email is a direct line to your audience, and it’s an excellent driver of ticket sales if you use it correctly. Let’s take a look at how you can create emails that excite and entice audiences to take action and ensure your open rates trend upwards.

Why email marketing?

Via email, you can directly engage with potential event-goers and past attendees, who are arguably your most valuable customers. With a solid email marketing strategy, you can also continually expand your audience base.

Like with paid ads, you can choose a broad email marketing strategy and message your entire list at once, or you can segment your audience and send targeted communications. The key is to send the right message to the right audience members at the right time. This can be done, in part, by leveraging past email performance data to learn what does and does not resonate with your audience in order to optimize future campaigns.

Eventbrite Boost makes it easy to leverage email to reach and grow your audience. One of the easiest ways to do this is by re-engaging past attendees. Although these people have already shown up for your events, you need to keep them tuned in with news about your latest offerings. 

Since your events are already listed on Eventbrite, Boost gives you the option to create an email list of everyone who’s already bought a ticket. And with Boost’s high daily send limits — 6,000 emails per day with the upgrade plan, 2,000 with the free plan – you can deliver on volume, too.

Matt Orlove, founder and CEO of ORLOVE, has seen email drive past ticket sales. And he saw his deliverability rise by 20% when using the Eventbrite email platform for dedicated email blasts. “I know the platform so well and it’s very user-friendly,” he says. “I love the backend.”

Email marketing best practices

Despite what you might have heard, email isn’t dead. When email promotion is done right, it’s one of the most powerful and effective tools for getting the word out about your event, but it’s also one of the easiest channels to handle incorrectly. Follow these email marketing best practices and you’ll be able to make the most of your email marketing efforts.

Segment your audience

You’ve likely put a great deal of time and energy into building your email list. Don’t make the mistake of treating your entire subscriber base as one entity. No two customers are the same, and by segmenting your list based on interests, location, or past engagement, you’ll strengthen your reputation and build rapport with your customers by providing meaningful content they’re actually interested in. With Eventbrite Boost, you can segment based on the data points in your Eventbrite account.

Develop compelling offers

To get the most out of incentives, make sure they’re compelling and exclusive. One strategy to move tickets is a “purchase and get” incentive, which requires audiences to buy tickets in order to receive a compelling bonus, such as a big discount or a 2-for-1 offer or VIP upgrade. Offering pre-sales to your loyal customers is a great way to build loyalty and drive repeat purchases. Though incentives are a useful tool, be mindful of how often you offer them. Customers may begin to expect deals as a matter of course.

Keep subject lines and copy short and succinct

Your subject line is the first thing customers see in their inbox and will determine whether or not they read your email. Entice recipients to open your messages by writing engaging and relevant subject lines. In terms of body copy, lead with the single most compelling piece of content and include a clear call to action such as “Buy Tickets.” For content below the fold — or which recipients will have to scroll to get to — let them know what’s coming by using clear, brief sentences. You should always test how different email lengths perform, but we recommend keeping it simple. Your header image should ideally be of the event you want to drive the most ticket sales for.

Top tip
All emails you send should be mobile-responsive, meaning your email service provider can adapt to different device displays, optimizing them for any screen size.
Get in the Kitchen / Victoria Sanders / Chicago, IL

Use preheader text for secondary information

When you receive a new email, the subject line is always displayed in bold text. The preheader, or secondary subject line, is the regular text that follows. It may seem small or negligible, but the preheader allows you to grab your reader’s attention and convey key information at a glance. Most email service providers offer the option to edit preheader text, but if not, you can manually edit your email’s preheader by adding custom text to the “alt text” area of the first image in the HTML of your email.

Timing is everything

Once your audience is properly segmented, you’ll need to decide when, and how often, to send emails. Remember that you should never send out an email unless there’s something meaningful to say, so build your frequency around special announcements and/or the release of event dates. Consider details such as how far ahead of your event you want to reach your audiences, how many emails you plan to send in total, and which day of the week and time of day you’ll send or schedule your emails.

Always be testing

Insights gleaned from testing, and the resulting changes you implement, will lead to incremental gains that add up over time. The variables you test should include send times, subject lines, calls to action, and layout. Test one element at a time, as adjusting multiple variables at once will muddle your results. Most importantly, cultivate a testing culture and philosophy in your email marketing practice. Getting email right takes time and dedicated attention, but when you do, you’ll be rewarded with increased opens, clicks, and, best of all, ticket sales. With Eventbrite Boost, it’s easy to run A/B tests of content, subject lines, and layout.


Grow your email list

No matter how healthy your current mailing list is, you want it to grow, which takes care and hard work. Unsubscribes are a natural part of the email marketing lifecycle and you should always take a proactive approach towards building your list. For email to be effective, the quality of your subscribers is just as important as quantity.

Here are some common strategies event organizers use to grow their mailing lists:

Inbound marketing and email capture forms
The first step to building an engaged list is offering a quick, easy way for your audience to sign up. Always have a well-placed newsletter sign-up form on your website where new customers of your business can opt in. Folks who proactively sign up for your mailing list are likely to be among your most loyal attendees: they want to be the first to know when tickets are on sale.

Social media
Build brand loyalty on social media channels like Facebook by using ads that encourage people to sign up for your email newsletter. This tactic will help you gain new leads and also allow you to engage current email subscribers. Upload your email list to your social media platform and retarget these customers with offers and event invites.

Free giveaways
Offer customers a chance to win free tickets or prizes in return for their email address. These contests or sweepstakes will incentivize audiences to sign up for your newsletter making for excellent promotions on social media or other websites. Be sure your rules for entry are clearly stated.

Build your mailing list at the event
Capture attendees’ contact information to market your events to them in the future, especially if they aren’t already loyal ticket buyers. Tools like Join By Text allow audiences to quickly and easily sign up for your email list by texting a phone number. It’s not a free service, but it will make your job easier.

Measuring email performance

Evaluating the performance of an email campaign involves comparing current efforts and outcomes with those of previous campaigns. Check out these four benchmarks to see how your email performance stacks up.

1. Open rate

An email’s open rate is how many people open each email you send. Within the events industry, average open rates hover around 21-30%. In other words, for each email sent, roughly a quarter of recipients actually open it. If your open rate tends to fall in that range, you’re not alone. If you want to exceed the average, these best practices will help you get there:

  • Look at your subject line. Is it interesting and engaging enough to motivate readers to open the email?
  • Consider your email sender name. Test to see whether sending emails from a named person — you as an organizer, promoter, or artist – or from the name of your venue, event, or festival work better.
  • A/B test anything you can: subject lines, sender name, day and time, email copy, images, and beyond to discover what works and what doesn’t.

2. Click-through rate (CTR)

CTR measures how many readers click on links in your email. CTR tends to be lower than the open rate. On average, the events industry sees anywhere between a 3.1 and 5% CTR or around 11% on the higher end. Some people might read your email but not click through to investigate details or buy tickets right away. That’s okay — email helps to drive awareness for your events alongside driving ticket sales. A reader might not purchase now, but if they opened your email, you’re on their radar. Here are a few techniques to help entice customers to click through:

  • Align email content with the subject line If customers open an email and don’t find what they expected, they’ll quickly get turned off. Make sure you deliver on the promise of your subject lines and do it as quickly as possible.
  • Pictures speak louder than words. Using emojis in your subject line can result in higher open rates.
  • Offer obvious calls to action. Whether they are buttons or links, ensure that CTAs are easy to find. Users on mobile aren’t likely to scroll through a lengthy email in order to find a button to click, so ensure that buttons are placed appropriately.
  • Test your links: If they don’t work, you’ll lose out on potential purchases.

3. Conversion rate

Simply opening an email and clicking through to your ticketing page does not make someone a customer. This means conversion rates can be difficult to measure. To pinpoint conversion rate, you must bridge the gap between the metrics your email service provider collates and those of your ticketing platform.

4. Unsubscribe rate

The average event email has an unsubscribe rate of 0.8%, which means just under 1% of your recipients will unsubscribe from your database. If your unsubscribe rate is above 1%, take the time to segment your lists and target your campaigns more precisely. Be sure to include other communication options on your unsubscribe page. Just because someone doesn’t want to receive your emails doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear from you through other channels.

Put the plan into action
Feeling inspired and ready to host your next event? We’d love to help. Contact our events team or call us at (877) 620-9578.