Why Event Follow-Up Emails Are Important: 3 Design Tips

Hosting a great event is a powerful way to build your audience—especially if you can keep people interested after the event is over. Event follow-up emails are a critical step in keeping new and existing audience members engaged with your brand. Here are three tips for turning your event attendees into loyal followers.

Tip #1: Create an in-email survey

Asking attendees to complete a survey is a common way to follow up after an event. Surveying readers can benefit both parties: it allows you to get direct feedback to make improvements, and it allows readers to communicate with you. However, it’s still a big ask to get busy, on-the-go subscribers to stop what they’re doing to offer input. That’s why making your survey as easy and simple as possible is super important. One way is to ask just one question—directly in the body of the email. It’s the approach CourseHorse, the class offerings site, takes in this event follow-up email:

Course Horse event follow-up emails

By clicking on a star, the reader can provide feedback right in the email itself, and then the survey is over. There’s no need to click a CTA button or go to a landing page. Here’s another similar example from Delta:

Delta event follow-up emails

A well-labeled rating scale is a common and simple way to survey readers—one that’s easy to create simply with linked text or a series of CTA buttons.

By comparison, General Assembly invites attendees to share their thoughts in an external survey.

General Assembly Event Follow-up Emails

The email is well designed, and the call to action is clear, but email marketers have to ask themselves if subscribers will be more or less likely to answer a survey that takes them away from their inboxes. One way to get a clear answer is to create an A/B test, though our hunch is that the in-email survey might see better results.


Tip #2: Be clear about your call to action

It’s not enough to email event attendees just to say “thanks.” Often, event follow-up emails include one or more of the following calls to action:

  • Take a survey or leave a review
  • Browse and sign up for another event
  • Act on an offer to get a discount on another product or event

But whatever you’re asking attendees to do, it has to be clear in order to see results. In this Barclays Center email—an event space in Brooklyn—the CTA doesn’t pass the squint test. It takes a moment to understand the purpose of the message.

Barclays Center Event Follow-up Emails

Switching to a single-column design, cutting down on text, and making the survey either in-email or linked via a CTA button would all improve the clarity and readability of the email. By contrast, check out how easy it is to understand what Rover, the pet-sitting service, asks its readers in this follow-up email:

Rover event follow-up emails

The CTA is clear and simple, and it’s in the top third of the email. Plus, Rover gives readers three reasons why they should act, which might help get those clicks rolling in.

Again, by contrast, look at how it’s also confusing to understand the CTA in this email from BAM, another event space:
BAM Event Follow-up Emails

Since that chat bubble button/icon isn’t easily recognized (like how a traditional CTA button is, with the right color), it’s hard to tell what BAM expects readers to do. “Put it all in context” is also a bit unclear. What does that mean? Something like, “Tell us what you think” might get more engagement.

When in doubt, make sure your CTA is a recognizable, strategically-designed button with concise, clear text.


Tip #3: Make an offer based on personalized reader data

As we’ve noted before, email personalization can increase open and click-through rates, boost interaction, and generate revenue. It’s a strategy that presents readers with relevant content based on their behavior. And, subscribers who have just attended an event might be even more likely than the average reader to respond to a personalized email. So, it’s smart to take this opportunity to customize your event follow-up message.

Here’s a recent follow-up email from Course Horse that includes a relevant, customized selection of upcoming classes for the subscriber, based on a previously attended event.Course Horse Event Follow-up Emails

In another email, Course Horse uses the previous event location to offer a discount for upcoming events at the same place. Plus, a preview of upcoming classes is shown visually, too.

Course Horse event follow-up emails

TicketLeap, the online ticket sales company, asks recent event attendees to create their own event (instead of just buying tickets to existing events). It’s a smart upsell, but the email could use some design improvements to increase clarity. We’d recommend a strong header, less text, and moving the explainer video preview up to the top of the email.

TicketLeap event follow-up emails


Bonus tip: Follow up promptly!

Your follow-up emails should be ready to go before your event even happens, especially if your subscribers attended an event like a conference or trade show where there are multiple presenters. This can go a long way in being the first to follow up. In the graph below, the marketing agency Marketo shows how much more likely readers are to click through an email when you’re the first vendor to follow up.

Marketo graph event follow-up emails

Source: Marketo

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