How Event Marketers are Killing Email Marketing

Notice I did not say dead. I said it was no longer effective.

The main reason it is no longer effective is that the average person has tuned it out, much like television and radio commercials.

I have rules set for every piece that comes into my inbox that direct 98% of it to a folder that I periodically look at, most of the time delete. In effect, you don’t matter anymore. Why don’t you matter anymore? You don’t matter because I don’t care and you have made me this way. So, if you are not connecting with me on another platform, you are not reaching me.

Meetings and Events Industry events are the worst when it comes to email marketing.

Rather than really getting me tuned into the exhibitors, some simply sell my information to every person on the planet (yes, I opted in)….the result is 100% burn out. I have received over 1500 emails in the past few weeks and I have read zero. I went online, made appointments with the people that I needed or wanted to see and simply let the emails fall into the abyss. I love the show, I hate the marketing. Rather than opt out, I just let them go to their folder and “mark all as read”.

This can be worse than opting out because it still appears that the messages are coming through so there is no reason for them to change tactics.

Besides the overwhelming amount, here are some of the worse things that the exhibitors do.

  • Attach files that are 7-10MB
  • They mark emails as urgent
  • They send one every other day.

First, if you are writing me to visit your booth, it is not urgent. In fact, marking it as urgent pisses me off and ensures that I will not step one foot in your booth. You are an ass. Urgent should be reserved for “the speakers plane is delayed” or “it is raining, should we move the event inside”. Urgent is not for your “hot rate” for 2010.

To the idiots that attach the 7-10MB files, think about this. If you are sending this huge honking email, so are 10 other idiots, that means that my email inbox is getting hit with 100MB of crap every morning. Rather than trying to connect with me, you are taking the easy way out and sending me some pretty pictures that I will never look at. You are also jamming up my bandwidth.

The other group are the ones that send emails every other day. I did not read it on Monday, what makes you think that I am going to read it on Wednesday or Friday. Did I all of a sudden care?

I even received a fax from an exhibitor yesterday, at least I give them points for being original…. but again, as a 21st century company, all of our faxes come in as email attachments. Now I dread the incoming faxes, is old school the new school?

Here is the good news, there are still some email marketing pieces that come into my inbox and not only get read, they come to the top of the pile. Here are some of the things that these emails have in common.

  • They are targeted to my needs and wants based on what I signed up for
  • They encourage participation and communication and are from a real email address, not
  • They are sent maybe once a week, even better if it is every two
  • They are easy to read, well written and link back to a post or article
  • They have clear and concise subject lines
  • They do not have a hard sell, instead, they offer advice, communication and real information
  • They add to the conversation and want to be shared

Here are 10 tips regarding email marketing from Gerry Blackwell, common sense tips but still good reading.

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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