The majority of event planners think of email invitations as a digital version of a paper and ink invite. While that may be the case for some email invitations out there, it’s shouldn’t be.
The right kind of online invitations are essentially multifaceted marketing machines that ensure your event is positioned in the right light, and consequently, filled with guests who’re excited to be there.
I’m continuously met with gasps of disbelief when I explain the various functionalities of The RSVP Agency’s email invitations. In fact, the majority of corporate event managers aren’t even aware that a sophisticated tool like this exists.
1. Multi-layered communication facilitator.
Essentially a communication and data-gathering tool, email invitations today are a far cry from an image you’ve nabbed off Google and a couple of lines of text. (And if you’re using a template that you’ve downloaded for free, you should hang your head in shame.) For example, our email invitations consist of an email, which contains a link to a web page. This page can be viewed across all platforms – so if one of your guests is using an iPhone, and another is using their desktop computer- both recipients are able to view the complete invitation, without any layout or design formatting faults. In essence, the online invitations that grab your guests’ attention are multi-dimensional experiences.
2. Grow your guest list for you.
Making sure that your event is well attended, hinges (for the most part) on your email invitations. I’ve spoken before about the elements of invitations that facilitate an optimal attendance rate – such as convincing copy and images that aren’t embedded. As well as the creative execution, email invitations have a ‘forward on’ feature. This can bolster your guest list – and the impact of your event – in two ways. Firstly, guests have the option of sending on a personal invitation to an associate or colleague from their own email address. In industries where personal relationships go hand-in-hand with business deals, an invitation that comes from someone you know personally has far more chance of being accepted.
3. Build hype around your event, and your brand as a whole.
Depending on the nature of the event you’re organising, you’ll want to build as much hype around it as possible. If it’s an external event – that is, one that’s open to the public like a conference or expo – making use of social media to galvanise this exposure is crucial.
Professional invitations should incorporate social media icons in the footer of the invite – making it easy for a recipient to connect with your brand on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Importantly, these icons drive traffic back to your website too. People are far more likely to pay attention to a brand that’s been advocated by a peer. Word of mouth marketing is powerful – make sure you’re making use of it.
4. Allow guests to buy and pay for event tickets in a way that’s fast, convenient, and secure.
For large-scale events that are open to the public, having a function built-in to your email invitations that allows guests to buy and then pay for a ticket further facilitates a great attendance rate. ‘Shopping cart abandonment’ – the online shopping phenomenon whereby customers desert their purchase at the last minute – is often due to the fact that the payment process is too laborious. Our ever-shortening attention spans (and as a result, patience), mean that instant gratification – or as near to this as possible – is essential. If your guest can click, buy and pay for a ticket – all from one email – they’re far more likely attend your event.
5. Gather vital information about your guests.
An online invitation can be used as a type of questionnaire. Depending on what you need to know about your guests, you can include fields for information ranging from age and the name of their partner, to detailed data such as flight and accommodation information, dietary preferences, shirt sizes, their preferred drink, car registration and so on. This info is not only pertinent for planning an event that resonates, but for your entire brand offering too.
Furthermore, if you’re inviting someone who’s attended a past event, you’ll be able to pre-populated these form fields and avoid looking unprofessional (and irritating the recipient) by asking for information that they’ve already given to you. ERM™ or Event Relationship Management is the practice of collecting and collating this data in order to create an event and marketing campaign that’s relevant to your guests. (Read more about how our software enables you to do this, here.)
6. Generate reports.
All corporate events need to be measured by a set of metrics. In order to gauge whether an event resulted in ROI, you’ll need to have the relevant data at your disposal. Our email invitations track every single action a guest takes – from whether they’ve received your invitation, opened it, clicked on the link, and RSVP’d. This data is then compiled in the form of a daily report that’s automatically sent. In addition, clients can pull their own reports as and when they wish – making sure that they stay up to date with the RSVP process.
It goes without saying that if your email invitations aren’t able to do all, or even some of the above, it’s high time that you started using a solution that can. Find out more about our email invitations here, give us a call, or drop us a mail.