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The Ultimate Guide to SMS for Event Management 

  BONUS MATERIAL: The Psychology of SMS Marketing

Two metrics that event managers use to determine the success of an event is the number of registrations or tickets sold, and the number of attendees that actually show up on the day. Getting high numbers boils down to good marketing – and that can be a challenge for physical events where people need to travel to and from a location to attend. However, an SMS event marketing and organisation strategy can help.

Why use SMS for event marketing and organisation

SMS does the job that other communication channels sometimes fail to do effectively. It has an impact; texts are direct and personal, and short enough to be read and responded to quickly.

Emails relating to events or entertainment have an open rate of 20.51%, according to Mailchimp. Yet texts are widely acknowledged to have a 98% open rate, and better still, a 45% average response rate.

SMS can be used to promote your event and boost ticket sales. It can help with communicating important logistical information like sending out reminders, directions and joining instructions. It can also help you keep staff running the event on the ground informed, and it can be even be used after the event to follow up with attendees.

Use cases for SMS event marketing

Let’s look at how SMS event marketing can be used to boost registrations/ticket sales, get attendees to show up, keep them engaged on the day, and cross-promote other events and opportunities.

Before the event

  • Start with your existing database – as long as you already have permission to use your contact’s phone numbers for SMS marketing, you can send out a quick text blast to create a buzz around your event. The text can include a link to an online portal or ticket office to collect registrations.

  • Use a shortcode to attract opt-ins – by reserving a particular shortcode with your SMS provider, you can encourage interested participants to opt-in to receive more information about your event (a bit like a text club). Once opted-in, follow up with an event registration text.

  • Offer incentives – incentives are a great way to encourage ticket sales – early bird discounts work particularly well to encourage people to book as soon as tickets become available. You could also segment your subscribers and reserve incentives for particular groups, like VIPs. Messente’s platform lets you create groups of contacts easily for targeted SMS event marketing.

  • Encourage engagement – to increase the chances of ticket holders turning up on the day, keep them engaged before the event date. For example, send out teasers for the event with details of guest speakers or artists, along with a link to more information on your website.


Event SMS marketing example text

During the event

  • Prize draws or competitions – for entertainment events, keep ticketholders excited and engaged by promoting text-to-win prize draws. Offer official merchandise, backstage passes or free tickets to a future event.

After the event

  • Future event promotion – a great way to get early sign-ups for future events is to target people who have attended similar events in the past. At this point, you will hopefully have grown your subscriber list, and you can get registrations off to a great start. Again, an early-bird incentive or loyalty discount can help.


Use cases for SMS event organisation

For an event to run smoothly (and to time), attendees and staff must have the necessary logistical information they need to hand. SMS can help in the following ways:

Before the event

  • Event reminders – attendees need a reminder and directions to help them turn up at the right place, on time. SMS, being highly visible and accessible, ensures this type of communication gets seen.

  • Staff briefings – let all staff know that they need to attend an on-site briefing before the event’s start time to do a run-through.

  • Communicate the event programme – build interest by sending out a link to the event programme in advance.


During the event

  • Personalised session reminders – if your event offers a tailored programme where attendees can choose which workshop or session they want to attend, they’ll find a personalised text reminding them where they need to be very useful.

  • Last-minute changes – communicate a programme alteration, update attendees on the best places to park, or keep them informed about external factors, like the weather causing rail delays. Texts are ideal for time-sensitive messages because they are delivered virtually instantly.


After the event

  • Request feedback – evaluation is an essential event management process, and it’s best done as soon as possible afterwards while the event is fresh in attendees’ minds. Sending a text with a link to an online survey an hour after the event closes, followed by a reminder the following day, can boost the responses and help inform future event planning.

Event follow-up SMS example

Using Messente’s SMS API for events

Whether you want to use SMS for event marketing, event organisation, or both, Messente’s API can be used for all the scenarios mentioned above. It’s easy to get started, with just a few steps to follow:

1. Create a free account with Messente.

2. Create a Sender ID or request a brand name ID.

3. Compose your first message in the Messente Dashboard – send it straight away or schedule it for later.

For greater flexibility around your SMS campaigns, consider integrating Messente into your event management or CRM system. Integration makes it easy to text event participants from within your existing business systems, so you can make better use of data insights and use features like SMS automation.

Read our Quickstart Guide, which explains how to add Messente to your application. You can also use Zapier to connect your system with Messente (this is a super easy option).

Use SMS for event communications

SMS can help you generate highly effective event marketing campaigns to help you boost ticket sales or registrations and keep attendees engaged. It’s also an ideal way to keep everyone up-to-date on logistics and programme alterations.

Get started with Messente today – sign up here and send out a few test messages (we’ll give you some complimentary credits) to see we can help streamline these important event management processes.

Taavi Rebane
2021-08-23 00:00:00 UTC
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