How to write event email invitations that get results

Tuesday 13th October 2015

With inboxes full to bursting, how do you make sure your email invitation gets read, and more challengingly, gets a response? Sophie Welch gives us some hints on how to create captivating content that will result in a full guest list.

 

Email invitations are a great way to generate awareness of your hospitality event, whether that’s a new restaurant launch, a VIP evening, the unveiling of new refurbishments, or even a seasonal menu. Although email remains a very effective way to drive attendance at events, you need to make sure you follow a few simple rules including good data, good copy, and clear calls to action. If you follow these simple email marketing tips, you should be able to boost your event’s impact and improve attendance.

Be clear who you’re inviting

Before you start, make sure your guest list is made up of the people who will get the most out of your event. There’s no point inviting married women to a wedding fair, or under 18s to a wine tasting. Think about the profile of person you want to attend, and make sure they are your primary targets. It should go without saying that you also need to ensure your data is kept cleansed, and is regularly enhanced with targeted new prospects. Make sure names and email addresses are correct, and personalise the invitations by addressing your guests by name. There’s nothing less enticing than an invite from someone who’s misspelt your name, or referred to you generically as, “Dear guest”.

Draw your reader in, quickly

Your first priority is to create an eye-catching subject line that will entice and engage. Making sure your readers click through to read your primary message is critical. You’ve got just seconds to capture interest so make sure your message is clear. People don’t have the attention span to wade through lots of preamble and fluff. “You are invited to” or “We’d love you to attend our…”, for example, make it clear that it’s an invitation. It’s then critical that the key information is readily available. Make sure you include date, time and place and remember to check your facts. Is 17th March a Monday? Double check. If it’s a large venue, be specific about the function room the event will take place in. Think about logistics for guests arriving and include information on parking options if required.

Create allure

Always assume that your guests are asking, “What’s in it for me?” and you won’t go far wrong. Spell out the benefits and be really specific with the reasons why they should attend. Avoid phrases like “Attend our presentation on …” and instead turn it around to make it clear what’s on offer. “Be among the first to experience…” and “From this launch event you will learn….” are both good examples.

Make sure there are no typos and that your copy is grammatically correct. If this isn’t your forte, then ask someone to sense check on your behalf. There’s nothing more disappointing than a beautifully designed email populated with poor copy.

Sophie Welch, Marketing Director, Journey

Think about what will entice your audience to join you. What do they want and what will appeal to them? Are they driven by new offers and be wildly excited by your newly refurbished rooms or seasonal menu? Is it exclusivity they crave? In which case an event that’s by invitation only or has limited places will appeal more.

Check, double check, then triple check

Make sure there are no typos and that your copy is grammatically correct. If this isn’t your forte, then ask someone to sense check on your behalf. There’s nothing more disappointing than a beautifully designed email populated with poor copy. Ensure any graphics and images load properly and speedily, and check that all links work. Make sure you also test outside your domain and view your content on different mail clients. Your invitation may look great on Gmail, but that doesn’t mean Outlook will behave in the same way. Consider testing your email for ‘spam’ characteristics. Certain key words might mean your mail is automatically spammed so find out if your content is likely to irk the spam filters.

Make it easy to respond

Your primary aim is to make people respond so keep RSVP information clear and include a contact name, email and telephone number. It will help your conversion rates if there’s a reason to act so create a sense of urgency with an early bird discount, priority booking period or suggesting there are limited places available.

Have a follow up plan

Make sure there’s a follow up plan in place to ensure that those wavering can be tipped to commit to your event as some will need a prompt before they accept. And don’t leave it too late to follow up. The day before the event you’re unlikely to pick up extra guests. Last but not least, monitor for bounces and fails and resend where possible. You should also analyse the opens and overall response rates so you have a clear picture of the success of your invitation. As a final test, read through your invitation before you press send and ask yourself honestly, would you want to respond? If the answer is yes, then you’ve cracked it.