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Event experience | 1 July 2016

Email Segmentation: Why Every Event Planner Should Be Doing It

David Epstein

If you’ve been planning events for a while, most likely you have hundreds if not tens of thousands of contacts stored somewhere. Hopefully those contacts live on a CRM platform, rather than in a spreadsheet, but that’s for another day.

As you know, not all of your contacts are alike. Some are past event sponsors, others are die-hard event evangelists, and others have never attended an event you’ve organized. So why would you send all of these groups the same email?

If you don’t already, you should be segmenting your marketing emails because it will result in far better engagement among recipients than if you don’t.


What Happens When Emails Are Segments?

The email marketing company, Mailchimp released a study on the impact of segmenting emails. They found that emails that were segmented were opened 14% more often and that once opened people clicked on links in the email 65% more often. – Click to tweet

To put those numbers in perspective, if you’re emailing 1,000 people, and 400 people of that group usually open your emails, that’s 56 more opens than normal.

Let’s assume that usually of the people who open the email, 20 click on a link in the email, a 65% increase would mean 13 more clicks.

It might sound small, but for some organizers even one more person who clicks a link in an email and registers to an event can mean thousands of dollars more in revenue.

Segmenting emails can have a big impact on your event ROI.

Ways Event Planners Can Segment Marketing Emails

Event organizers have a number of email segmentation options at their disposal, and should note that all of the options listed below could be combined for even more specific segmentation.

Ticket Type:

You may want to convey different information to different ticket holders. Perhaps logistical information is different for VIP registrants compared to Early Bird registrants for example.

The out-dated way of communicating with different ticket holders is sending one email divided into sections – this doesn’t work.

People have limited attention spans and will quickly disengage with emails that have irrelavent information in them. Instead, segment your emails and convey only what is necessary to each ticket holder.

Location:

When promoting an event, it may make sense to focus on reaching out to contacts located near the venue first. Or to promote virtual passes with attendees only located far away from the venue. Emails segmented by location can help with this.

Industry:

Perhaps the event you’re organizing will have multiple tracks, by industry. Or perhaps certain exhibitors attending want to speak with specific verticals. Exhibitors can be promoted most effectively when emails are sent to contacts segmented by industry.

Job Level or Job Function:

This should be an obvious one. Perhaps certain sessions will appeal only to CMOs, or different people holding different job functions in the same industry will want to know about specific sessions at the event you’re planning.

Contact Role:

Depending on the event CRM platform you are using, you may be able to assign a specific role to a contact. Bizzabo’s platform for example allows users to assign roles like “attendee,” “speaker,” “sponsor,” and many others including customer roles. This makes sharing event updates with the right group a snap.

Age:

As we’ve discussed in other blog posts, different demographics want to be communicated with in different ways. Segmenting emails by age can help you communicate with contacts in their prefered style.

Lead Status / Hot Lead:

For those using a sophisticated event registration software, it may be possible to identify contacts who began the registration process but abandoned it. If it is possible to identify these contacts, sending them a follow up email reminding them to register is a great way to increase registration rates and recover otherwise lost revenue.

How to Write Emails That Maximize Segmentation

Once your emails have been segmented, your work as an marketer is not done. Now it’s time to capitalize on your segmented mailing lists by tailoring the copy of each email to the specific audience that is being reached.

We discussed this briefly in the previous section, but there are a few other tactics you can implement to increase the success of an email marketing campaign.

Personalize:

Emails that use personalized subject lines regularly see a significantly increased open rate compared to emails that do not have a personalized subject line. Most email services should be able to support personalization in the subject line and in the body of the email.

Include A Call To Action (CTA):

Whether the email you send is about registering for your event, or has to do with logistical info, every email you send should have some form of a call to action. A Call to Action or CTA is the next step you want the email recipient to take.

Usually, you’ll want the recipient to go to a page on your event website, download an event app, or something like this. To encourage the email recipients to act, make the CTA a well-designed button that when clicked will lead them to the right place.

Test:

Eric Reis, author of The Lean Startup wrote, “The only way to win is to learn faster than everyone else.” This is true in any kind of business, including in event planning. To learn faster, event organizers should be using A/B testing to see what email copy and design combinations are most effective at engaging recipients.

In Conclusion

When emailing your contacts remember that segmenting emails is a great way to improve results. There are many different ways you can go about creating segmented marketing email lists, from demographic information, to ticket type, remember that combining different variables can often be the most effective way to divide contacts.

Once you’ve segmented your email lists, remember to personalize the email, include a call to action and test different versions to see what works.

Email segmentation is just one small part of what it takes to market an event well, to learn about marketing personas, social media, SEO and more download The Smart Event Marketing Playbook by clicking our CTA below 🙂

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