How To Increase Attendance for Your Virtual Event With Emails

How To Increase Attendance for Your Virtual Event With Emails
23 June, 2023 • ... • 298 views
Anna Sarayna
by Anna Sarayna

If you want to increase attendance for your virtual event, emails can help.

Planning and hosting a virtual event takes a lot of work. And if you’re doing it right, most of that work happens before the date of your actual event. That includes planning, finding speakers, marketing the event, and getting people to register. 

In this post, we’re going to talk about how to increase attendance for your virtual event with emails. I’ll be sharing ideas for specific emails to send, based on my work with clients, plus I also share a free PDF resource with email ideas at the end. Let’s dive in!

Attendance matters when you’re hosting a virtual event

One of the key performance indicators (KPIs) for virtual events is the number of registrants that show up. 

Since one of the main driving factors for hosting virtual events is lead generation, meeting your attendance KPI is critical for a successful event. You want as many people to show up as your virtual event capacity will allow. 

The average no-show percentage for virtual events is 35%. This is slightly higher than in-person events.

The average no-show percentage for virtual events is 35%

But how do you get people to show up after you go through the trouble of planning a virtual event?

Thats The Big Question GIF from Cruella
Source: Tenor

One of the easiest ways to do this is to increase attendance for your virtual event with emails.

Sure, promotion is a big part of the process, but sending the right emails at the right time can have an even bigger impact on your attendance numbers. In fact, 76% of marketers say email is the single most effective way to drive event registration. 

76% of marketers say email is the single most effective way to drive event registration.

With the right emails sent at the right time, you can improve your virtual event show-up rate.

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Use these 6 emails to increase attendance for your virtual event

Now that we’ve established that emails are an effective tool for boosting virtual event attendance, let’s look at some emails you can send to your list.

1. The invite email

An invite email is one of the first emails that should be sent once your event details are finalized. If you already have an email list, these subscribers should be among the first to learn about your event.

Send invite emails to your list, and encourage them to invite their colleagues, friends, and family who may be interested in the event.

It’s a good idea to send several emails instead of just one. If you have a weekly newsletter, consider mentioning the event each week leading up to the date. (A PS section at the end of your email works well in this case).

SparkToro sent out the first invite email to their list more than 6 weeks ahead of their SparkTogether virtual marketing event. The email included the event date and a link to purchase tickets at early bird prices, as well as the speaker lineup.

SparkToro Email 1

The follow-up email below for the SparkToro event is sent by the founder Rand Fishkin. It doesn’t use a marketing template like the one above. Instead, it has a much more personal feel.

The email mentions the end of early bird pricing and specifies how much extra tickets will cost after the deadline. That’s a great way to drive conversion and get people to take action.

SparkToro Email 2

2. The confirmation email

A confirmation email is perhaps the most critical of all the emails on this list. The confirmation email is your opportunity to share conference details and reaffirm registrants’ decision to register for your event.

It should include the event date and time and the ‘join’ link for the event. If that link will be shared in a separate email, you should be sure to mention it in the confirmation email.

In this example, Dyspatch does a good job with its confirmation email:

Dyspatch email
Source: Really Good Emails

The email is short and simple, but it includes:

  • The title of the event
  • The speakers
  • The date and time of the event
  • A join link
  • A link for participants to add the event to their calendar

Here’s another example from DemandCurve for the 2022 Growth Summit:

DemandCurve email

The email includes a bit more information:

  • The title of the event
  • The value people will gain from attending
  • The speakers
  • The date of the event
  • A join link
  • A link for participants to add the event to their calendar

The only thing I’d do differently if I was sending this email is to add the time for the event. While the Growth Summit was a 2-day event, it would still be helpful if the organizers included the start time in the confirmation email.

3. The follow-up email

This email is not always necessary, but if you’re hosting a larger multi-day event, you may want to send emails leading up to the day to share additional information and continue engaging registrants.

These emails are also great for when you add speakers to your lineup or add perks or incentives for registering.

Segment sent out a separate email with the addition of an extra fireside chat in their event. They used this email to make the announcement and push ticket sales.

Segment email
Source: Really Good Emails

4. The reminder email

The countdown (aka reminder) email is an excellent opportunity to engage registrants before the event and remind them to attend. It’s also an opportunity to build momentum.

Consider sharing information about the topic the speakers will be presenting on. This is also a great opportunity to share information about each speaker’s background and highlight why they’re suited to speak on their topic.

Litmus sent an email the day before their multi-day Litmus Live event with the agenda for that day:

Litmus email
Source: Really Good Emails

The one-hour reminder email is also a great email that can have a significant impact on attendance.

Kajabi sent out a reminder 1 hour before their Newport Live Recap event with a button link to join the event:

Kajabi email
Source: Really Good Emails

5. The starting now email

This email is another important one. It’s a good idea to send an email at the start of your event and include the join link. This makes it easy for attendees to show up.

This can have a big impact on how many people actually show up live to your event.

Thinkific sent a longer version of this email for their Think in Color 2020 event. Itl included details on speaker segments with individual links to join each session:

Thinkific email
Source: Really Good Emails

6. The event recap email

After the event, be sure to send out your recap email — the last email on this list.

Your recap email will serve two purposes. To share the details of the event with registrants who did not get to attend, and to share the recording — if available — with those who attended but may need more information.

Apple’s recap emails usually do a very good job of covering everything they talk about at their launch events.

Apple email
Source: Really Good Emails

Bonus: What to send to attendees after your event ends

One of the main reasons for hosting virtual events is list building (aka lead generation), so it’s important to continue engaging your attendees after your event passes.

This is why it’s a good idea to craft an additional email sequence that can be sent out after your event. This email sequence may include information about your brand, additional resources that may (or may not) have been mentioned in the live event, your services, or how you can help them.

Here are 10 Newsletter ideas that you can use to keep your subscribers engaged long after your event.

TL;DR: Use these 6 emails to increase attendance for your virtual event

  1. The invite email. Share the event with your list and encourage them to register.
  2. The confirmation email. Share the event date, time, speakers, and the link to join the event.
  3. The follow-up email. This is a great opportunity to share additional event details like when you add speakers to your lineup or add perks or incentives for registering.
  4. The reminder email. Send a day or several hours before the event and use it to share information on the speaker topics to get registrants excited.
  5. The starting now email. Sending this email at the start of your event and including the join link makes it easy for people to show up.
  6. The event recap email. Use this email to share details of the event with registrants who did not get to attend, and to share the recording — if available — with everyone.

Bonus: Download these 10 email ideas to keep your subscribers engaged after your event.

23 June, 2023
Article by
Anna Sarayna
Anna Sarayna is a conversion copywriter and email marketing strategist helping SaaS brands, ecommerce store owners, and online service providers drive more sales with email strategy and copywriting. When she’s not doing client work, you can find her geeking out about email marketing, painting with watercolors, and being a devoted plant mom.
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