It is one of the most important marketing questions event organizers have to answer: When should you send out emails about an event?
If you send them at the wrong time, they might get lost in a sea of other emails. If you send too many, they will get sent to spam, which is not a good thing.
You can’t just Google “when is the best time to send event emails?” and get a clear answer, because there isn’t one. Depending on the event and audience, the best time to send emails will be different.
But you have to begin somewhere.
Emma and Eventbrite talked to almost 400 people who put on events of all sizes and types to find out how they do it and when it works best for them. Compare yourself to these standards to figure out when your event emails will work best.
When to send your first event announcement is the big news.
The timing of your first email about the event is very important, but people who plan events do this in very different ways. About a quarter of people (27%) send their first announcement two to three months before the event, but almost as many (26%) wait until just one month before. And 14% don’t send anything until the event is less than two weeks away.
Here are some things to think about when setting the date for your first event email:
Your event size: Dates for big festivals and conferences are usually announced a long time in advance, especially if they happen every year. This makes sense if an event is likely to sell out or if people need to plan ahead to get there. But if you send the first email about a small event or if you host an event every week, people might forget about it if you send it too soon.
Your type of ticketing: If you plan to sell early-bird tickets or a limited number of high-demand tickets, you’ll need to space out your emails so you have time to also send an announcement about general admission.
Date of your event: If your event is happening during a busy time of year, like a holiday weekend, send it earlier than usual to beat out the competition.
Now that you have written down your first email… what about the other parts?
How often and when to send emails is the general rule.
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Most of the time, people don’t buy tickets to an event the first time they hear about it. Email is part of the “awareness” stage of their decision-making journey, along with social media, paid ads, and other marketing efforts. By sending them repeated messages at the right times, you can get them interested, keep them interested, and eventually turn their interest into actual ticket sales.
But there’s a thin line between keeping in touch with your audience and sending them too many emails. You can’t just say, “More is better,” and mean it.
So, what’s the average number of emails?
25% of people who make events send out three emails to promote them.
30% send between 4 and 5 emails.
22% send six or more emails
No matter how early you send your first email, the busiest time for your campaign will probably be closer to the event. Nearly half of event planners (43%) send an email every week in the month before an event.
When to send your emails: the right day and time
From rough ideas to talk at a conference
53% of the people who make events swear that Tuesday is the best day to send emails. Thursday (48%) and Wednesday (40%) are tied for second place. Almost half (48%) plan to send the email between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
This doesn’t mean that Tuesday at noon is the best time to send your email. When planning the send time, think about who you’re sending to and what the event is about. A sales rep with his head in the game might be more likely to open your email about an upcoming business workshop while he is at work. On the other hand, if you send the email on Friday afternoon, it might be more likely to reach the 56% of people who decide on social plans at the last minute.
You also need to think about the time zone, especially if you are sending to people all over the country or even the world. When you use an email platform like Emma, you can divide your email list into groups based on location to improve engagement in different time zones.
Test (A/B testing) all the time.
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A senior marketing manager for Emma, Lane Harbin, says this about the best way to send emails: “There is no “ideal send time” that works for every marketer, every time. You have to try things out to see what works best for your audience, your industry, and your brand.
Use the data above as a starting point, but what’s the most important thing you should know about event email marketing? Everything should be tested, from the time you send to the subject line. Email marketing is an art, and as you get better at it, you’ll figure out how to send emails that get the most engagement.