In-Depth Tutorial: “Registration Now Open” Spotlight Framework

Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School

What if you held an event and no one came? Disaster! How do you make sure your prospects sign on before they lose the opportunity — and you lose the sale?

Creating a sense of urgency is the first step toward encouraging prospects to sign up for your event. That’s where “Registration Now Open” comes in — it’s just what your prospects have been waiting for! In addition, “Now” also indicates newness, which elicits interest and curiosity.

With this Template Tutorial, we’ll dig into the “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework that uses a special technique to grab prospects’ attention and lead them to a purchase. “Spotlight” is a term we use for types of email sends that are fully marketing-focused—shining a “spotlight” on a particular product or service for sale. And we have a broad array of frameworks that have proven successful in selling all sorts of products and services.

Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework

Here, we’re featuring the Program on Negotiation’s version of the “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework—an email marketing effort that invites prospects to register for limited spots in a Mediation at PON – Online program.

Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School is a consortium program of Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tufts University. It serves as an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to developing the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution. PON offers specialized courses in negotiation and mediation, drawing participants from a variety of industries worldwide. Some courses are offered live; others are offered online.

We’re going to take a look at PON’s version of the “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework, and we’ll rank it based on our checklist of core components that can help you connect with prospects and make the sale!

Email “From” Address

PON Email From Address

Let’s face it: we all get a lot of email. Probably too much email. So an email worth your time better stand out.

Recipients of this PON email have already opted in to one or more of PON’s newsletters or events updates — in this case, the event update about the mediation programs. So this email will not come as a surprise, nor should it wind up in the recipient’s junk folder. Clients working with Mequoda follow our best practices for audience development and marketing, and only use highly qualified, opted-in email names for their Spotlight marketing efforts. So these emails aren’t cold calls — they’re emails your prospect pool has already opted in to receive; they’re expecting you.

PON meets expectations with this component of the “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework by identifying their brand in the display name and including the full email address with the PON name.

Testing Ideas

Want to make your email feel even more personal? Put a real name to the “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework. Make this part of your testing efforts. Including a real person in the “from” section of your email gives the email an added personal dimension; your prospect will feel like this is a one-to-one communication—and that can help enhance engagement and get that email opened. Example: “Gail Odeneal, PON.”

Email Subject Line

Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Subject Line

The Email Subject Line really has just one job: get that email opened. You might think it’s easy to develop a compelling subject line; but if you take a quick scan of your inbox, you might find a lot of lackluster subject lines. How many of those emails have you opened? Writing a subject line that gets the reader’s attention long enough and strong enough to get them to open the email is as much art as science. Of course, the Email Subject Line does have a secondary job: don’t get the email deleted unopened—or worse, pegged as SPAM and sent straight to oblivion in the recipient’s junk folder. Or the real kiss of death for an email—getting blocked by an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

So how do you assess the potential of your subject line? Do you just send out the email and hope for the best? Or write two subject lines and do an arbitrary (and blind) A/B test? That could be taking confidence to a new level. You should gather some industry-standard information before you hit send. And you can get that information for free. Try out www.subjectline.com to help you rate your subject line before you send out your email. SubjectLine.com rates your subject lines on several criteria, including urgency, length, personalization, and potential SPAM terms—helping your subject lines meet basic industry standards.

Enter your planned subject line and you’ll get not only a score, but an explanation of where the subject line meets industry standards and how it could do better. You can keep tweaking your subject line until you reach a score of 100. And while it’s not a perfect tool, it does put you in the mindset of choosing your subject line with strategic intent.

This PON email subject line earned a score of 100 out of 100—earning extra points for using the word Open. Now Open implies newness (wasn’t available before), urgency (a time limitation) and possibly scarcity (a limited supply).

The subject line in this PON email conveys the newness/urgency/timeliness of the email, compelling the recipient to open it before time runs out. And if they do, the Subject Line has done its job.

✓ PON’s Email Subject Line—right on topic!

Testing Ideas

If you’re not testing, you’re selling your product short. Try different approaches to enhance the personal-feeling nature of this “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework. Examples (all score 100 out of 100 with the free online rating tool):

  • “Now Open: Registration for Mediation Program”
  • “[FIRST-NAME PERSONALIZATION], Registration Now Open for 5-Day Mediation Program”
  • “Register Now: 5-Day Mediation Program”

Email Pre-Header Text

“Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Preheader

So, what’s Email Pre-Header Text and why should you care? Email Pre-Header Text is that short copy that shows up in your email box after the subject line. Many marketers overlook or ignore this essential component of marketing emails. Email Pre-Header Text gives your recipient a sneak peek at what’s inside the email—another enticement to open the email, on top of your compelling subject line.

Just like the Email Subject Line, the Email Preheader Text has one job: get readers to open that email. That means the copy has to connect to the subject line, continuing to encourage the recipient to open the email.

For the Email Pre-Header Text in PON’s version of this “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework, the appeal of this offer is effectively presented. The Subject Line tells the recipient what; the Pre-Header Text offers the So what? — the reason the recipient should open the email.

Remember when Twitter limited you to 140 characters? They had a good idea going there: keep it short and sweet. We like to keep our Email Pre-Header Text to less than 140 characters—that’s including spaces. That’s because email clients may cut off longer copy, and your message along with it. Stick to 140 characters or less, and you’ll be laser-focused in your Email Pre-Header Text copy. PON’s Email Pre-Header Text in this effort is 77 total characters—well under the limit!

The subject line in this PON email conveys the newness/urgency/timeliness of the email, compelling the recipient to open it before time runs out. And if they do, the Subject Line has done its job.

✓ PON comes out on top with their Email Pre-header Text!

Testing Ideas

You have a little more space for copy with the Email Pre-Header Text than you do with the subject line, so there are more testing opportunities. Examples (all are fewer than 140 characters, with spaces):

  • “Hone your mediating skills with highly effective techniques.”
  • “[FIRST-NAME PERSONALIZATION], strengthen your mediating skills.”
  • “Learn best practices for mediating disputes online”
  • “Get expert guidance at enhancing your mediating skills.”

Spotlight Nameplate

 “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework nameplate

Another important component of an effective marketing email is the Spotlight Nameplate that appears at the top of your email. Like a masthead, it reinforces your brand and gives the recipient a visual cue of the importance of the message in the email.

We recommend you identify the segment or type of email in the nameplate; this makes it easier for users to manage their email preferences back at the website with a corresponding segment that is clearly named. The Spotlight banner immediately identifies the category of the email, saving you the pain of global opt-outs. Users like choices.

Tailor your Spotlight banner to your product; make it readily identifiable and keep it consistent. This is not really a time for subtle artwork: make your statement so the recipient knows what they’re getting—just like PON has done. Recipients can see immediately exactly what this email is all about.

Make sure your Spotlight graphic speaks clearly and to the point. And don’t bother testing this element. In this case, consistency is the best policy.

✓ PON passes the test on the Spotlight Nameplate!

Spotlight Headline and Sub-Headline

“Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework headline subheadline

For PON’s version of this “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework, the Spotlight Headline and Sub-Headline follow best practices:

  • The headline tells readers it’s time to Register Now. This puts the Call-To-Action front and center.
  • The second part of the headline features the title of the workshop. Notice that it’s bold and in red, calling out this essential information. It’s also underlined, indicating that it’s a link. For prospects already looking forward to this program, this makes it easy for them to jump right to registration.
  • The sub-headline provides the date, since the what is useless without the when.

All in all, these components work well for this “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework.

✓ PON’s Spotlight Headline and Sub-Headline—clear and to the point!

Testing Ideas

Testing headlines and sub-headlines can be important parts of a continuous-improvement email marketing program. Best ideas here involve dramatically different copy that follows the same formatting rules—bold and blue (or red for a more dramatic effect) with the headline as a hyperlink to the order page. Examples:

  • Headline: “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Headline
  • Headline: “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Headline
  • Headline: “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Headline
  • Sub-Headline: Join us October 18-22, 2021

Spotlight Salutation

“Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Salutation

This is kind of the equivalent of the B2C, “Dear Friend…” Since the email addresses are all from an opt-in list, this salutation acknowledges the peer-to-peer communication. If the recipient is just on the free newsletter/event notification list, PON will only have captured their email at signup, which is why there’s no personalization.

This type of generic salutation is acceptable, since it makes an effort to create a professional connection with the recipient. Because the pool of recipients can come from many industries, and because PON offers courses on both mediation and negotiation, it’s a little tricky to come up with one generic salutation that will cover all possible bases. This is probably the best choice.

✓ PON’s professional salutation in this “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework makes an appropriate connection and sets the professional tone for the email.

Testing Ideas

Testing ideas for Spotlight salutations include personalization when possible. Testing ideas for Spotlight salutations if you don’t have the prospect’s name could include acknowledging their aspirations and their connection to your organization. Examples:

  • Dear Negotiator,
  • Dear Business Leader,
  • Dear Savvy Deal-Maker,

Focused Introduction

“Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Introduction

Professionals are busy people. If you’ve gotten them to open the email, you owe it to them to get to the point quickly, clearly, and succinctly. That’s what this Focused Introduction does. It tells the recipient who’s offering the program, how long it runs, the focus of the program, and what the recipient gains by attending.

✓ Kudos to PON for getting right to the point!

Scarcity CTA

“Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Register

You don’t always see a big Call-To-Action at the top of a business email, but in the context of an Event Spotlight Framework, it’s an essential component to help lift response.

This Scarcity CTA creates a sense of urgency. There’s limited seating, so that’s certainly incentive to sign up now. And, as a matter of marketing best practice, there’s a big, bold Call-To-Action button right there.

We’ve only just gotten past the introductory paragraph promoting this event, and already the recipient has had three opportunities to click through and register. This is an excellent opportunity for decisive prospects who are clear on what they need.

✓ PON scores points for underscoring scarcity and highlighting urgency in this Spotlight!

Testing Ideas

Testing ideas for a Scarcity CTA:

  • Reword the scarcity feature: “This class fills quickly—only 48 seats available!”
  • Test the CTA button: add an exclamation mark; change the text color to yellow

Spotlight Body Copy

Now, the real “meat” of email marketing efforts is the copy and images throughout the body of the message. Here’s a review of each section:

Introduction

“Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Introduction

Now, we mentioned the Introduction earlier in this Tutorial because of the way the signup options connect from the headline through the Scarcity CTA. Is it essential for you to include a link to your event registration in the introduction? Well, no. But it’s a good idea. You’re giving those prospects already familiar with/curious about your events the option to get right to the registration and skip the rest of all that marketing copy. It’s possible that they’ll be sold right from the get-go, so give them that opportunity.

Benefits

What’s in it for the prospect? Well…

“Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Body copy

The copy lays out in clear terms what the prospect can expect to experience, and what they will gain by attending this event.

Specific Incentive

“Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Incentive

If the prospect hasn’t been motivated yet to register, maybe the scarcity principle will incite them to action. This copy stands out boldly, right after the benefits, to underscore the value of attending this event.

Credibility

“Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Faculty

So far, this Event Spotlight Framework has done a great job of presenting the benefits of the event and underscoring the urgency and scarcity aspects to entice prospects to sign up. Now it’s time to back up those benefit claims with some credible sources. The Faculty section profiles the professors and professionals leading this 5-day event so potential attendees know who will be doing the teaching.

Expectations

“Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Format

People have become accustomed to online learning formats, but it’s always a good idea to provide an overview of the event format. No one wants to be glued to their seat for the entire day, and this section provides just enough information for planning.

Back to Benefits

“Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Benefits

Like the second half of a well-made set of bookends, this closing paragraph reinforces the benefits of the event, underscores, the scarcity —just 48 seats! — and caps it off with a bold Call-To-Action button.

✓ The Spotlight Body Copy covers all the essential points in a clear and clean professional manner.

Spotlight Closing

“Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Benefits Signature

There’s no real need for a long signoff. This Event Spotlight Framework has provided all the necessary information and incentive necessary, and done it in a clean, straightforward, concise way. There’s really no need to add anything more here —but it is definitely a good idea to have a signatory at the end, rather than just stop with the Call-To-Action button.

✓ PON closes the email with a short, professional signoff.

Footer

“Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Footer

Now, you know that a well-done email includes a footer: it provides essential information for the recipient, reinforces the identity of the sender (see the logo?), and it gives the recipient the option to unsubscribe easily. These are all good, basic things to have in the footer.

What we really like here, and we see in most —but not all — Event emails, is the Forward to a Friend link. This link is fairly low-key, incorporated into the footer. They could have made that part of a P.S. — “Forward this invitation to a colleague who might enjoy this course!” — but they didn’t overdo it. In this case, we think that works. Could you test using the link as a P.S.? Sure. But it’s not a test element that should be at the top of your list.

✓ This footer is subtle, clear, and well-done.

Privacy

“Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework Privacy

PON follows best practices here by including their privacy statement, a link to unsubscribe or update user preferences, along with email, phone, and fax info.

✓ A professional job from start to finish!

Summary

This is a successful event in the making! PON has performed well with their version of the “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework, enticing prospects to become participants by emphasizing the quality content and professional benefits, and highlighting the urgency to respond by underscoring the scarcity of access. Everything comes together well to entice the prospect to Register Now!

Here’s a performance checklist for you to use when you try the “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework:

Mequoda’s “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Checklist

Element Criteria Done?
Email From: Address Make it clear who the email is from.
Email Subject Line Imbue message with urgency & newness by using "Now."
Email Pre-Header Text State the benefit of the event.
Spotlight Nameplate Good brand reinforcement.
Spotlight Headline and Sub-Headline Clearly identify event.
Include a link to registration page.
Include a Call-To-Action.
Include date(s) of event.
Spotlight Salutation Make a connection! If possible, personalize.
Focused Introduction People are busy; get right to the point.
Spotlight Body Copy Craft a compelling message imbued with urgency.
Underscore scarcity, if applicable.
Encourage registration with a bold CTA.
Highlight benefits.
Provide specific incentive, if applicable.
Show credibility of speakers.
Set expectations (format of event).
Reinforce benefits and include CTA.
Spotlight Closing & P.S. Finish off with a simple, professional closing. P.S. is optional. If you use it, include a CTA.
Footer Include Event Organizer logo. Include "Forward to a Friend" for potential pass-along value.
Privacy Statement Include unsubscribe link. Bonus: contact info.
Test, test, test! One element at a time!

Print Checklist

Bottom Line: f you want to incite prospects to action—just like PON—follow their recipe for success and test your own version of this “Registration Now Open” Event Spotlight Framework today!

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