Using Email Marketing to Drive Virtual Event Planning Success
When social distancing due to COVID-19 led St. Mary Catholic Schools in Neenah, Wisconsin, to switch from an in-person fundraiser, they turned to Writing by Design for assistance with their virtual event marketing.
Zephyrfest, the Catholic schools’ largest annual fundraiser, had been planned for May 2, 2020. Normally a large 750-attendee gala raises nearly half a million dollars each year, making the event a big deal for the school. Then the coronavirus shuffled into town in late March, and the school sent an email announcing the fundraiser would have to be moved to sometime in fall. But by mid-April, school supporters were having second thoughts on the postponement and pushed to see if there was a way to host a virtual event on the originally planned date. With less than two weeks left before the proposed event, they approached Writing by Design for assistance and a tall ask: Could we, would we, assist them with creating an email marketing campaign that would lead to measurable successes they could build on for future events?
… a strategy-focused approach to email marketing
While Writing by Design has loads of experience in email marketing, we had never done it in support of a virtual event, nor on a 14-day game clock. But we were up for the challenge—one of the many that COVID-19 tossed our way.
Absolutely miraculous! Using a Constant Contact newsletter issued just about every other day in tandem with coordinated Facebook posts, we engaged nearly 500 attendees who contributed almost $500,000 when all was said and done. Comments poured in during the online event from 14 states representing alumni and school supporters across the U.S. who had seen the email marketing campaign and joined the free online event on May 2.
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