Email is like a digital Swiss Army knife. Sure, the actual tool has what you expect: knives that stay sharp for years. But the add-on tools, like a bottle opener, screwdriver and tweezers, help you survive everything from a battlefield to a picnic. (Thanks, corkscrew!) Email also does just what you expect: It sends important messages to your subscribers and customers. When you plug in an amazing collection of tools, you extend email’s utility and reach way beyond the inbox, creating cross-channel experiences and bringing scattered audiences together. 

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Below are six ways email can add power, connection, utility, discovery, information and value. These cross-channel experiences giving recipients more reasons to open (and reopen) your emails and buy from you instead of a competitor.

1. Add the people’s voice 

Bring in fresh content and outside voices from your social channels to give your emails added impact and inject the human touch that makes a standard campaign email more like a conversation than a sales pitch.

Besides boosting your email messages, your social channels get exposed to a new audience and the repurposed content gets a second life in email. Win-win for everybody.

2. Offer event reminders

Everybody needs a little nudge, whether it’s to show up at a major real-world game, concert or store opening or to head online to a virtual event. You can’t rely on your customers to keep opening your email to find out when and where they have to be.

An add-to-calendar function is perfect for cross-channel experiences. With just a tap or click, your customers can add your event to their calendar apps. Then, just before “go” time, they’ll get a calendar or email reminder about your event. Smooth!

3. Tap to text

People used to say that SMS and text would kill email. Turns out they link up beautifully on messages that are more effective delivered via text. A tap-to-text function lets customers reading your email on a mobile device tap a link, which automatically populates a text message with offers or other content.

Your desk-bound customers aren’t left out, either. A tap-to-text function should include device detection, which can deliver a message with instructions for joining the text program to readers on desktop or laptop browsers.

4. Create audio experiences

Email delivers more brand-building value when it can keep recipients in the message as long as possible while also giving them something to do while they’re there. Create a custom branded Spotify music playlist to promote an event and embed the live feed in your email. 

Bonus: Allow your subscribers to share your playlist with friends to gain viral exposure to untapped audiences.

5. Ask for opinions

Everybody has one (or many). Knowing what’s on your customers’ minds these days can help you tap into the zeitgeist and shape your content and message focus. You can do this two ways:

6. Show a video

It worked for your exhausted high-school teachers, and it works in today’s red-hot video climate. Adding video to email raises response and conversion rates, and new technology and email standards mean more subscribers will be able to see the video instead of a static image.

Retailers, see what you can do

Download our retail playbook for step-by-step suggestions on how you can deliver hyper-relevance, capitalize on the multichannel experience and then surprise and delight your subscribers and customers with cross-channel experiences that bring them back to your message again and again. 

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have and the decisions we waited too long to make.” 

Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, wrote that immortal line back in the 19th Century, but it’s a perfect description for the modern phenomena we call  “fear of missing out,” or FOMO. As it turns out, FOMO is a powerful tool marketers can use to generate excitement and participation for a big event

FOMO works for any kind of event, online and offline. Got a big sale coming up? A store opening? A festival, concert or conference? Persuade your customers that they’ll kick themselves if they miss out and show them all the other people who are already committed to attending! 

Allaying FOMO means everyone wins

Writing copy to induce FOMO is a start, but you’ll need a little more secret sauce to seal the deal. The solution? Ease their FOMO fear! Prompt participants to add your event to their calendars, and then send them a reminder to show up. 

The result: Your customers won’t miss out, and you’ll have fewer no-shows. No FOMO, no problem!

You could create and send that reminder email by hand every time you have an event, but why make extra work for yourself? An automated tool like Liveclicker’s LiveCalendar element does the job for you. It sends your customer an invitation right to their favorite calendar app, which can then generate a timely reminder as the time of the event draws close. 

Your customers will be less likely to forget about attending or to double-book themselves with another event when it’s right there in their calendars.

Here’s how Torrid used LiveCalendar to promote in-store appearances of its “Face of Torrid” content winner:

LiveCalendar generates buzz, revenue for Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay needed to find a better way to organize the information for its annual Food & Wine Festival, an event extravaganza covering multiple weeks and 18 concerts. The company added LiveCalendar to email promotions and urged attendees to add specific concerts to their personal calendars. 

Follow-up calendar notifications listed several concerts coming up soon along artist and festival information, links to buy tickets and seating upgrades and another LiveCalendar add-to-calendar element. 

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As a result, the click-through rate on the emails with LiveCalendar soared 150% over than the average CTR on Busch Gardens’ other emails. LiveCalendar helped create a better interactive user experience by communicating a long list of event details without overwhelming readers. 

The Food & Wine Festival email campaign using LiveCalendar was so successful it became the template other parks use to promote similar events.

Ratchet up the FOMO with an RSVP counter

Social proof is another psychology-based concept you can use to boost participation. Think of its as FOMU – “fear of messing up” – or the herd mentality It refers to the human tendency to look at other people to learn what to do in unknown situations and to find safety in numbers. 

If we get invited to a party, but we don’t know anybody else is going, we might be less inclined to go ourselves. If we miss out, nobody will know! But once we see people flocking to the event, FOMO starts ratcheting up. Especially if the event is one time only – we have to be there because we won’t get another chance.

Translate that to email by adding a live counter that shows how many people have signed up or registered for your event so far. That kind of real-time social proof provides valuable encouragement for subscribers to commit themselves, and could be just the persuasion needed to nudge someone who’d on the fence about going. An add-to-calendar feature and timely reminder will help them make sure they don’t miss out.

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Pro tip: Adding an add-to-calendar functionality and real-time RSVP counter is easy with the Liveclicker platform! Just click one extra button when you configure your calendar invite and determine a minimum RSVP threshold you want to collect before you start showing the numbers to your other participants. 

Encourage the Joy of Showing Up

As the event marketer, you have to do everything you can to make your activities as inviting and enticing as possible, so prospective attendees feel they’ll miss out if they don’t join in. 

An add-to-calendar function like Liveclicker’s LiveCalendar element allays those fears and gives you additional opportunities to market your event and build anticipation for the big day. Help them feel that JOSU instead of FOMO!