In a survey we conducted with marketing expert Hubspot in 2014, we found that event organisers believed email was the most effective way to reach attendees.

This was backed up by a more recent study of over 500 event organisers we conducted earlier this year, which saw 31% of all respondents indicate email as their most effective marketing channel, again making it their first choice.

However, email is only effective if you have a strong list of people to contact – people interested in your event who have opted in to receive updates from you.

So, how do you grow your email database with high-quality prospects? Here are 5 tried-and-tested ways:

  1. Be proactive

If you want people to do something, it’s not always enough to drop a hint – sometimes, to get your message across you need to grab them by the shoulders and shake them (figuratively, of course!).

The same can be said about asking people to sign up to your email list. You may well have a subtle subscription form on the ‘contact us’ page of your website, but you can’t expect visitors to go hunting around, looking for opportunities to handover their email addresses.

From pop-ups to scroll-triggered boxes, you have a lot of options for getting the attention of your visitors and asking for their emails, so don’t be shy!

  1. Test and optimise your landing pages

If you’re selling trampolines you want your customers to bounce, but if you’re trying to retain visitors to your event’s website you don’t!

In technical terms, ‘Bounce rate’ is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).

In essence it means someone’s landed on a page of your website, and left again without doing anything else.

There many reasons people leave so soon. Perhaps they landed on the wrong site or were having usability issues. Perhaps the page contained all the information they were looking for and didn’t need to go any further (so it’s not always a bad thing), or perhaps they just didn’t like what they found.

  1. Offer an incentive

Offering site visitors a benefit in return for email opt-in is the digital equivalent of dangling a carrot in front of a pony, with similarly predicable results.

There are many things you can give that will act as an appealing lure, without necessarily costing you anything, except a little time and effort, from special treatment at your event (such as joining the VIP queue) to exclusive discounts.

  1. Run a competition

When done well, competitions are kind of like incentives on steroids and you should see the positive effects on your email subscribers.

What makes a good giveaway? Ideally, you want a prize that is related to your event so that the entrants are more likely to be interested in hearing about and attending your event, rather than simply entering for the sake of the prize.

Depending on the nature of your event and the value of your tickets, it could be as easy as putting a pair of VIP tickets up for grabs. To really sweeten the deal you could throw in an overnight stay in a hotel or perhaps an exclusive opportunity, like dinner with your keynote speaker.

  1. Make your newsletters too good to miss

This is perhaps the most important thing you can do to make people want to join your email list – produce brilliant content!

If your newsletters are genuinely useful, entertaining and relevant people will not only enjoy receiving them, they’ll also want to share them.

Ok, so it sounds simple, but perhaps in practice it’s more difficult to work out what your readers will love.


Follow these 5 steps and you’ll see a huge surge in your email database size, which in turn should result in more ticket sales and higher event attendance.