Autoresponders are an extremely effective marketing tool. For the event industry in particular, they can completely change the way that you manage your business. Whether you are hoping to pique interest leading up to an event, disseminate information or FAQs about your event planning or management services, or follow up with attendees, setting up an autoresponder series is a great way to manage the various stages of the event planning process.

Let’s start with the basics

An autoresponder series is a series of emails sent out to subscribers that opt to receive the messages. Often, all the copy for an autoresponder series is written at once, then broken into a series of emails, and scheduled for specific intervals after the recipient signs up. Most email marketing service providers offer an autoresponder tool.

If you already have an email list of clients in place for your business, then you are on the right track! A robust client email list is a crucial part of all your email marketing endeavors. An autoresponder series can be a general marketing piece geared toward all potential clients, such as a wedding planner introducing a 12 part series on the key things a bride must think about, or specifically geared toward a single event – e.g. a 5 part lead up to a business conference for accountants.

Let’s take a closer look at a number of different ways that autoresponders can be used in specific event-related scenarios:

To grab their attention:

You’ve got your email list, and you are planning an amazing event which will likely be a big draw for previous event attendees. How can you use an autoresponder to help drum up interest? Well, you should start by sending out an introductory email about your event. Instead of taking the typical approach and providing strictly mundane event details such as date, time, location, how to purchase tickets, etc. consider creating an email that will leave people saying, I MUST attend this event.

Find an unusual or exciting hook about your event

Is there an interesting story about the genesis of the event? Do you have great stories about the results people got from attending your business event last year? Maybe you’ve got some incredible performances lined up for the event, a special guest speaker, or an exciting menu of local cuisines. These are all things that people will get excited about. This isn’t to say you should leave out the basic info about your event, just be sure to include compelling information along with it for your initial promotion.

Highlight how your event solves their problems

Another approach to take on autoresponders is to think about the “pain” experienced by your target audience. Then get clear about how your event “solves” that pain.

Is your event geared toward brides who need to quickly and easily find vendors for budget weddings? Then your event with 3000 vendors from dressmakers to DJs to cake experts under one roof will be a big draw. Does your event teach internet marketers everything they need to know about copywriting their various materials, and they’ll leave the 3 day event with the knowledge, templates, and connections to do so?

Being clear on the value your event provides to your specific group (even if that’s as simple as an affordable solution to what to do with the kids on a Saturday afternoon) and communicate that directly throughout your autoresponder series.

Offer an exclusive bonus:

You may also want to consider offering an exclusive first look at your event to your email list before announcing it publicly. Conveying a sense of exclusivity will make your existing clients feel special and valued, and will increase the likelihood that they’ll purchase tickets to your next event. This could be augmented with a discount or an additional event, such as a welcome cocktail, dinner with a special guest, or networking session geared just toward your list.

Pay attention to timing:

After your initial promotional message, schedule follow up messages but be sure to time things appropriately so you aren’t emailing your clients every day. If you are too aggressive with your email promotion, people are more likely to mark your messages as spam rather than read them or to simply unsubscribe. Setting up a weekly autoresponder is a good way to start. Some suggestions for subsequent compelling promotional messages include interviews with guests or videos or pictures from previous performances (shared with permission, of course), a detailed event schedule, or a delicious menu.

Your regular content could also be high-value articles that answer common concerns to your target attendees and close with a reminder that the event is coming up or accepting registrations. Vary your content, but make sure that it’s completely relevant to your audience and focuses on showcasing your best material.

Create a sense of urgency:

In your initial email promotions, you may also want to consider applying the scarcity principle to get people to buy tickets if applicable. If people know that there are only a limited number of tickets available, they will be more likely to purchase tickets early. In addition to conveying scarcity, perhaps you could offer an early bird incentive such as 10% off ticket prices or a VIP experience for people who buy tickets before a certain date. This will greatly increase the likelihood that your event will sell out early, and make the planning experience much easier on your business.

Allow email to help manage logistics concerns:

As the event date draws closer, think about scheduling a Frequently Asked Questions email to help ease the burden of answering logistics questions. Include directions, information about the area, parking, nearby hotels, registration, and emergency contact information etc. Being proactive about this will save you significant time and hours of responding to the same questions over and over again.

Using an autoresponder series is a great way to get customers interested in your event. Remember to make your messages interesting and exciting, and think about offering a sneak peek to your existing email list before you announce your event to the public. It’s also good practice to convey scarcity and offer some sort of early bird special. Taking these steps will ensure that your event is well attended and successful.

Elizabeth

Liz Alton's experience in event planning runs from renting out entire South
American towns to planning intimate gatherings for heads of state.She's
particularly interested in the intersection of new technology and event
planning to make events successful, efficient, and fun. Liz is now a blogger, copywriter, and social media strategist based in Boston.

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