Study: Most Event Marketers Will Increase Email Use In 2019

It’s not easy to generalize about event marketing, a field made up of everything from rock festivals to B2B events. But one thing is clear: Email is the preferred medium of event creators, judging by The Events Industry’s 2019 Email Benchmarking Report, a study by Eventbrite, a brand-marketing and ticketing website, and Emma.

Of 377 event creators surveyed, 40% say email is their most effective marketing channel, and 73% plan to increase their use of it in 2019. But 50% feel it will be more difficult to drive sales by email in 2019.

That may be due to lapses in best practices. For example, 19% don’t actively work to grow their email lists.

And while 9% send their first mail six months prior to an event, 14% don’t bother until two weeks before — hardly enough time to drive a high-ticket booking.   

Many email lists are small — 25% have one with less than 500 people. But 32% have 1,000 to 10,000 contacts, and 28% more than 10,000.

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To build their lists, 48% use inbound marketing and email capture forms. But some prospects require incentives — say, special content or a discount code. The study found that 18% use free giveaways.

Of course, it also pays to sign people up at the event, using “text to join” technology, the study notes. 

“Purposefully and organically growing your email lists is a top priority  when it comes to event promotion,” states Lane Harbin, a senior marketing manager at Emma. “Strategically attracting new, engaged prospects to put your event in front of is really important.” 

As for timing, 27% send their first announcement two to three months in advance of the event, while 26% wait until the month before. Overall, 53% send their first email promotion from one to three months prior. 

The most popular sending day is Tuesday for 53%. It is followed by Thursday (48%) and Wednesday (40%). And 48% schedule them in the hours between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

Not all emails focus on event sales — in fact, 41% say less than a fifth of their emails focus on selling. It often pays to start with a newsletter covering several topics, the study states. 

That said, 22% report that email drives less than 20% of their ticket sales, and 13% that it fuels 21% to 40%.

Of the marketers polled, 59% use personalization and 37% personalization.

The study also reveals these findings:

  • A/B testing is used by 36% of event creators
  • Automation is employed by 40%
  • Social media is used by 48%
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