Content, social media, video—the list goes on. As an event planner, you likely use various channels to spread the word about your upcoming event. That said, there’s one class of event promotion that stands out among the rest: pre-event email marketing.

Simply put, email matters. With over half the world’s population using email on a daily basis, there’s virtually no better way to reach your target audience, especially when promoting future events.

Why, exactly, is email marketing effective? What does a pre-event email even look like? And, how do you begin to write one?

In this guide, we’ll take a look at pre-event email examples to see what makes them work. For each one, we’ll give you a free pre-event email template to get you started. With these templates as your foundation, you’ll have no trouble starting your next email campaign with a bang.

What is pre-event email marketing?

Businesswoman typing e-mail on laptop at office desk

In an ideal world, event marketers wouldn’t need to worry about promoting an event. Their target audience would naturally get excited, purchase a ticket, and show up on the big day all on their own.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. In reality, it takes time and effort to nurture your target audience and convert them from prospects into registrants, and then into event attendees. That’s where pre-event email marketing comes into play.

Pre-event email marketing refers specifically to the email campaign you run leading up to the event itself. Whether it’s a trade show, conference, or virtual event, it doesn’t matter—all of them need to be promoted to drive event registration. 

Okay—but does it really work? According to Litmus, email produces an ROI of $36 for every dollar spent, higher than any other marketing channel. That’s a whopping 3,600% return on investment. All in all, an effective email campaign should help an event planner:

  • Increase event sales.
  • Connect with the target audience.
  • Generate brand awareness and exposure.

The only problem? Anybody can send an email. It takes a bit more effort to craft an entire email marketing campaign that actually gets the job done right. 

How to create a pre-event email template

Business person reading emails on smartphone and laptop computer screen online, communication and marketing concept

Writing event emails can be a tricky business. It’s easy to overwhelm your prospects with too much information, too many emails, and not enough value. When you do that, chances are they’ll get annoyed and decide not to register at all. Even worse, they may unsubscribe from your email list entirely.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help prevent that. Here are some bonafide tricks of the trade event marketers swear by when crafting a pre-event email template:

Make email copy clean and easy to read

Today’s email clients are chock-full of powerful design tools and UX capabilities—but don’t get carried away. You want to engage your target audience with a look and feel that’s captivating and on-brand, but not in a way that feels rambling or messy. Simply put, it shouldn’t be a chore for your potential attendee to read the email in the first place.

Email copy needs to be crisp, clean, and conversational. Imagine you’re talking to a friend, but also establishing your authority on a subject. As for the design, keep it simple enough so the reader can focus on what matters most: your upcoming event!

Encourage prospects to take action

The point of an email campaign is to inspire your target audience to register and (hopefully) show up to your event. Why make that process any more difficult than it needs to be?

If you want them to put your event on their calendar, give them a clickable link that makes it simple. No matter what, always link back to your event in every email so readers can easily navigate there, find more information, or register if they haven’t already. Use actionable language to keep readers engaged and encourage them to take the next step.

Pro tip: Always include a specific CTA button (call to action) at the end of every email. You can create a consistent train of thought throughout the email by including the action word in the subject line and then repeating it in clickable CTAs in the email copy.

Make it relevant

The average person receives hundreds of emails every day. Each and every one of them is vying for your target audience’s attention. So, how do you stand out from the crowd?

First and foremost, provide value. What’s in it for your prospects? How can they benefit from the event? And what does this email bring to the table? Answering these questions in the copy can help incentivize engagement and drive event registration. Remember: Don’t overload readers with information, just mention a few key highlights that are likely to intrigue the audience.

Secondly, recognize their pain points. In other words, think about the obstacles your prospects might be facing and how your event can help to overcome them. This mode of thinking will help personalize the message and demonstrate the value of attending your event.

Segment your email list

Not everyone on your email list will be at the same stage in their buyer’s journey. They may not even be too familiar with you or your brand just yet. Segmenting your target audience is what allows you to engage the right person with the right information relevant to their specific interests.

For instance, try to segment your email list by prospects and past event attendees. Whereas the former group may not know your company very well, the latter have attended at least one of your events and may be inclined to make a return appearance. But, if you send the wrong type of email to the wrong recipient, you risk alienating them and losing their business.

Give people a destination

This tip goes back to encouraging action. You want to provide an easy, frictionless experience for prospects who are interested in learning more. That’s why you should always ensure your emails are directing readers to a place where they can do exactly that.

Want people to check out your sponsors? Send them to a sponsorship landing page. Aiming for those event sales? Add a link to the registration page so they can easily buy a ticket. No matter the goal, always give people a way to take the next step in their journey.

Personalize the subject line

The rule of thumb when it comes to writing a subject line is simple: less is more. Keeping subjects short, sweet, and to the point is your best bet if you want people to click through and read what’s inside.

Some email clients allow you to personalize subject lines for every recipient. For example, you can include someone’s name, occupation, or any other personal detail you have on file. This is a great way to encourage action and get people interested in your email. According to Campaign Monitor, personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened than those without.

6 pre-event email templates you should use

So, now you have the tips and tricks necessary for solving the email marketing puzzle. But what do those pieces actually look like when they’re put together?

To help you out, we’ve assembled six types of emails you should send before an event. And the best part? Each example includes a pre-event email template to get you started.

1. The invitation email

Let’s say you’ve cooked up an incredible event. The next step is to start promoting it. And the very first thing you should do? An invitation email.

The event invitation is essentially the big reveal. It’s meant to attract as many registrants during the early phases of the campaign as possible, which means it might include early-bird pricing or a limited-time offer. But, no matter what, the invitation email should always include all essential event details, including the event name, date, and location. 

If it’s an annual event, you might want to include language that builds excitement, such as “welcome back,” or “get ready.” 

Email template:

Subject line: Hot off the press: [Event name] is back!

Hey [potential attendee], 

Guess what? [Event name] is returning for its 25th anniversary on [event date] in [location], and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome you back!

This year’s event is poised to be bigger and better than ever, so keep on the lookout for more information. In the meantime, we want you to be among the first to get your tickets today. For a limited time only, registrants receive a 20% discount on the price of General Admission—so you better act fast!

Click the button below and use code [EARLYBIRD]. 

Looking forward to seeing you on [event date],

[Sender name]

2. The guest introduction

After your event invitation email, you’ll want to start nurturing the lead. When it comes to event planning, that means building excitement. One of the best ways to drive interest in your event is by showcasing the guest speakers, panelists, and entertainers you’ve booked to make an appearance. 

Remember, keep it short and to the point. Highlight your guests and their bios, but don’t overwhelm the audience with too much information. Let’s look at an email example.

Email template:

Subject line: Guess who’s coming to [Event name]?

Hey [potential attendee],

Have you heard the news? [Guest speaker] will be joining us at [event name and date]. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome [guest name] to the stage, where they’ll be [discussing/performing … topic of content/performance]. 

But that’s not all! This year, we’re also featuring presentations from:

  • [Speaker 1]
  • [Speaker 2]

Plus, after-hours events sponsored by:

  • [Sponsor 1]
  • [Sponsor 2]

We promised you bigger and better, and we meant it. Click the button below to claim your tickets today!

[Insert CTA button]

3. The schedule announcement

As you start to pin down the event details, you’ll want to share them with your target audience. This means communicating what registrants can expect to see during the event. That includes your agenda, sessions, activities, entertainment, networking opportunities, and more. This is important because it keeps people engaged and sets the tone for the upcoming event.

Email template:

Subject line: Here’s what you’ll do at [event name and date]

Dear [potential attendee],

Can you believe it? [Event name] is right around the corner! 

We want you to have the best experience possible when you join us on [event date]. Luckily, we have an agenda chock-full of content you won’t want to miss. Check out the details below, and click on a session link for more information.

[Agenda details, speaker timeslots, etc.]

This year’s [event name] is going to be one for the books, and we hope we see you there!

Haven’t bought a ticket yet? No worries! There’s still time left. Click the button below to get yours today.

[CTA button]

4. The follow-up email

Once prospects have converted into registrants, send a follow-up email to thank them for their purchase. This confirmation email is a good way to let your attendees know they’ve successfully registered and their purchase has gone through. It also doubles as a chance to include event details and other important instructions or entrance requirements.

Email template:

Subject line: Thanks for registering for [event name]!

Hey [registrant],

Thank you for your interest in [event name]! We’ve received your registration, and your payment has been processed, which means you’re good to go on [event date].

There are a few things you should know before the big day. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • [Event date]
  • [Event location]
  • [Event time]

Parking will be available at [insert location]. The venue is also accessible via public transportation. For more information, check out our “getting there” guide. 

Please bring a valid form of identification, as it’s required for entrance to the event.

Can’t wait to see you there!

[Sender name]

5. The event app email

Today’s events are increasingly leaning on digital technology to complement the attendee experience. Mobile event apps, for instance, are a great asset for any event planner. Not only are they a great lead generation tool, but they also keep attendees engaged during the event.

Email is a great way to promote this valuable resource and get people to download the app before the big day.

Email template:

Subject line: Stay connected at [event name] with our official app

Hey [registrant],

Did you know that [event name] has its very own mobile event app? We know you’re looking forward to an immersive experience on [event date], which is why we think you should check it out.

Not to brag, but we’re confident you’ll find plenty of helpful features and information once you’ve downloaded it. We’re talking about:

  • Event schedules and session details.
  • Speaker profiles.
  • Live streaming and video on demand.
  • Networking opportunities.
  • Games, activities, and more!

Simply put, it’s the best way to round out your [event name] experience. Ready to give it a go? Click the button below to download the official [event name] mobile app.

[CTA button]

6. The reminder email

You want as many registrants to show up to your event as possible. Unfortunately, the reality is that some people may lose track of their schedules and end up missing the event. Sending a reminder email is a good idea if you want to make sure this doesn’t happen. 

Email template:

Subject line: It’s almost time for [event name]!

Hi friends! 

[Event name] is just one week away! We’re excited to see you there on [event date/time] at [location]. 

We hope you’ve had time to mark your calendars because we’d hate to see you miss this upcoming event. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here are some final reminders:

  • [Insert event details here]

For more information, check out our FAQ page here. 

See you soon!

[Sender name]

Take the next step with Webex Events

In this guide, you’ve learned the ins and outs of pre-event email marketing. Hopefully, these best practices will help you meet your event goals and engage your target audience.

What’s next? Good question. No event is truly complete until it has a comprehensive event management platform leading the show. And, with attendees expecting immersive, unforgettable experiences at your event, it’s safe to say that technology is a must-have in 2023. Fortunately, Webex Events is the platform with all the capabilities you need to wow your audience from start to finish.

For more information, request a personalized demo of Webex Events today.