Time to Think Outside the Inbox

Email is a tried-and-true tactic for marketing events, but you may be missing opportunities to reach your audience if you’re relying too heavily on email to secure registrations.

Author: Cait Brown       

illustration of laptop with email popping out, but symbols for other types of marketing around it

By not looking beyond email marketing to options such as creating a blog, a podcast, or other content, marketers could be missing a chance to attract more attendees to their events.


Cait Brown
‘What people say about you online is more important, powerful, and credible than what you say about yourself.’

Email marketing remains one of the most-reached-for tools in a marketer’s belt — and for good reason. It’s low-cost, nearly universal, and often our default method of communication. However, oversaturation is a growing concern, with the number of worldwide daily emails sent expected to exceed 347 billion by the end of this year, according to a report by technology market research firm The Radicati Group. And with Millennials and Gen Z your next wave of attendees, it’s time to think outside the inbox and leverage more relevant digital options.

To recapture your audience’s attention and get them through your event doors, the planning team and marketing team should work together to meet the audience where they are with these three alternatives to email.

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of top-of-funnel content — it doesn’t try to sell your audience on your event, but instead educates, helps, and addresses their pain points. Offering such content is key to growing your audience, garnering event awareness and interest, and ultimately securing attendance. Don’t know where to start? Use what you have. Planners, share the session stats with the marketing team, then turn your highest-rated session into an on-demand webinar — PCMA’s Project Spark (sparkit.ai) can help with this. This will generate leads and tell you what interests your audience. Already secured stellar speakers? Ask them to guest blog (see the third point below about the power of influence). The key here is to create content that is meaningful and valuable to your target audience.
  2. Podcasting has taken the world by storm — there’s a podcast for every hobby, interest, and niche you can imagine. The number of global podcast listeners surpassed 464 million in 2023, reports marketing tech company Demand Sage, and shows no signs of slowing down. Not only does podcast marketing position you to reach your U.S. audience, but with podcasts available in more than 150 languages, there is the potential for you to expand into untapped global markets. With audio content in such high demand, don’t miss this chance to get your event into the earbuds of your audience. Watch which speakers the audience lines up to see at the end of the session — they could be your next podcast guests.
  3. What people say about you online is more important, powerful, and credible than what you say about yourself. This is called social proof and people want to see it. Herein lies the power of influencer marketing: When experts in your field are recommending and endorsing you, their own audiences listen and take action. So, who are the big players in your field? Who has reach and influence in your community? These are the people you need to build relationships and collaborate with as part of your event marketing strategy. And don’t overlook the obvious: Leverage your satisfied customers. Sharing a testimonial or piece of user-generated content from an event attendee will mean more to your audiences than your own promotion. It can be simple to capture audience testimonials during your event by using a mobile device. Remember, it’s not always what you know, but who you know.

While email has long been a reliable tool for event marketers, depending on sends to secure registrations could be limiting your reach in today’s overcrowded digital landscape. With a new digital channel going viral seemingly every week, it’s essential for event marketers to explore alternative avenues for engaging their audience.

Cait Brown is associate director, digital marketing project management for marketing, strategy, and experience agency 360 Live Media.

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