Today, with the digital age boost, it’s a common misconception that invitations and RSVP cards are becoming outmoded. These days, people turn to social media and group texts to let people know of an event, and while this might seem effortless, it eliminates the personal touch that invitations suggest.
The invitation sets the tone of your event
Event invitations set the stage for any occasion, and unless you plan to organize an average event, you shouldn’t plan on sending mediocre invitations. A well-designed invitation creates a certain excitement and thrill and can often be a deciding factor if someone confirms attendance.
At the very beginning, your first step is to identify who is your target audience, or better, how you want your “perfect guest” to look like. My advice, start from basics. Determine demographic structure, their age, education level, occupation. Once you have those will be much easier to set the tone or written content and design itself. I always repeat – an essential thing in every aspect of the event management industry is to be ultimately 100% aware of to whom you are talking.
Who are your guests?
This is the part where most of the conflicts happen. Should we follow the brand guideline colors, or can we come up with something new & exciting? From my experience, most of the people I’m working with are very cautious when it comes to design, and even after their endorsement for creative and innovative ones, they almost always proceed with the “safe option.” Is it because of the industry or region or personal tendency, sometimes it is hard to tell, but I learn so far not to argue?
It’s crucial to mention all the information in event invitation!
You are invited!
Written content, message, or body of the invitation is entirely another thing if you ask me. When we talk about corporate event invitations, I believe some rules we should respect. Who? What? Where? When? Why?- Somehow as a newspaper article. Many times, I received information without a proper venue address, and that is driving me crazy. I end up googling the place and not once without success, especially if it’s new, and their team still didn’t set up google map pin. Or an invitation that is not explicit about the nature of the event.
This part is crucial for B2B events. People want to know the main subject and, if needed, to prepare themselves for the conversation. In this case, I will recommend the agenda be included, too, together with a short event brief. Spending a significant amount of your marketing budget and then end up with attendees who have pure knowledge about the topic you want to discuss is just a waste of money and time.
There is no dress code.
I found it very unprofessional to send any invitation after works hours that do not include a dress code. Ok, if your event is between 9 am and 6 pm, I know the drill, but after work hours, please inform me. I feel very uncomfortable when I end up on casual occasions in my office outfit or even worst – on gala dinner in my boho dress I broth from my last festival.
No, dress code? Really? Ok, don’t be surprised then when I show up in my beachwear!
In this situation, I leave. Why? I don’t know who is there, whom I can meet, and as an event professional, this kind of gaffe can be lethal. Imagine you end us in from your long chasing prospective dress utterly appropriate to the situation – I’m sure that even if you have the best communication skills, that will not stay unnoticed. Mention dress code, always! In this way, you will avoid hippies at your dinner, and you will not have a situation that your guests feel uncomfortable because they are not appropriately dressed.
When & how?
It depends on the event itself. I would say a minimum of 3 weeks if traveling is not included; however, if you are inviting someone to the event that is on the destination that requires a plane ticket, overnight staying, or even a couple of days, sending “save the date” a minimum of two months before the event is needed. For any event related to business, HTML will be my first choice. It shows professionalism gives you more maneuver to through design, sharing some additional information, and if you do not have full contacts of your attendees, allow you to enrich your database.
Trust me; your sales team will be grateful. Email, in this case, can be used as a follow-up tool. Two weeks before the event, follow up with attendees who still didn’t register for your events and remind them why they should attend. It means that the email should have that additional piece of information not revealed in the initial invitation. A “secret weapon” that you kept just in case they need extra encouragement to show up.
A day before…
Yes, phone in your hands and start calling. If you can, don’t delegate this to your assistant or secretary. People you are inviting usually are on your or professional level above you, so a call from your side will be considered extra effort. If you have any doubt, will that person show up or not, your chance after that call will be higher. Everyone appreciates the extra effort, so as much as you will be busy, a day before the event, try to find there 2-3 hours for phone calls. Even you end up with 1+, it’s better than nothing…
A day after…
Don’t forget to send a “Thank you” note. Most people think that once the event starts, their job is done. No! Keep track of people that show up, those who didn’t, and pay special attention to those who show up uninvited.
“Thank you” note is a must!
After the event, sends a thank you note to everyone who attended with a feedback form. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why. Those who didn’t shop up, “we missed you” with short event reviews will make them think twice not to show up next time.
End of the line
Plenty of things are competing for our attention these days, and many obstacles will stop people from attending your event. Your job is to create a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out). A stimulating event program that grants professional and personal reasons to attend is always the best way to seduce them. Invitees are just like you and me. Awareness and networking are repeatedly highlighted as a fundamental motive. However, the entire experience must be amusing and relevant to be considered beneficial.