Despite big budgets and access to expert designers and copywriters, many brands fail to elicit the desired response from their email invitations. The reason? Email invitations that fall short of the mark. In order to ensure your attendance rates are optimal, you need to woo your guests with an engaging email invitation that piques their interest and results in an affirmative RSVP. To ensure your next event is well-attended, bear these crucial considerations in mind:

Use the power of emotional appeal

If you want people to attend your event, you have to give them a good reason for doing so. This may sound obvious, yet far too many corporate email invitations focus on the facts: date, time, venue and so on. What they’re missing is the crucial emotional resonance factor, which determines the difference between a ‘Yes’, and a ‘No’. Include engaging, intriguing copy that piques interest and sets expectations long before the event in question.

Dot your i’s and cross your t’s

Your email invitation is often the very first interaction a guest has with your brand. As such, you need to create the right impression off the bat. Unfortunately, poor spelling and grammar will do the opposite. It’ll also get your email invitation sent straight to the recipient’s’ spam folder. Free proofreading tools like Grammarly mean there’s no excuse for typos.

Start off with a clean slate

And by this, we mean a clean database. When it comes to guest attendance, quality trumps quantity every single time. Why send out invitations to 900 people, when only 300 of them fit the criteria of your target market? Remember that a few, quality leads are always preferable to a whole bunch of recipients who have absolutely zero interest in your brand.

Make friends with mobile

Thanks to an ever-growing dependence on our mobile phones, there’s a large chance that your guests will view their email invitations on the device they use to do everything else with: their phone. In fact, marketing technology firm Radicati predicts that “by 2018…80% of email users will be accessing their accounts via their mobile.” Mobile-optimised content is a must, and applies to email invitations too. Make sure that you test them out on several devices and operating systems internally, before you hit “send”.

Find and eliminate every single glitch in the matrix

It’s all too easy to let mistakes slip through the cracks when you’re planning an event. But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. Test, test and test your email invitations again to make sure that all copy reads well, all links work and that it’s as easy as possible for guests to RSVP.

Use data to personalise your invitations

Successful Customer Relationship Management relies on creating, and sustaining, a relationship with your guests, which means that a generic, one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it. To woo your guests, you need to address them personally. Use information you already have on hand about them to acknowledge them as an individual, as opposed to just another name. (Make sure that all guest data is regularly updated to avoid any damaging faux pas). If you’re inviting repeat guests, you’ll already (or should!) have plenty of information about each name on your guestlist: from their vocation and gender, to past brand interactions and purchase history. Don’t let this precious data go to waste: put it to use to create highly-relevant invitations that are specifically tailored, and as a result, will garner a far higher response rate than if you were to send a standard, run-of-the-mill invitation.

Segment your lists

The role that the right data has in professional email invitation etiquette is a substantial one. As outlined above, guest information is the key to creating relevant and engaging brand touchpoints. If you’re running a product launch, for example. your guest list probably consists of brand advocates, EXCO members, high-profile influencers and potential customers. Each of these groups have their own agenda, reasons for attending your event and importantly, relationship with your brand. To further increase your attendance rate, segment your guest list accordingly, and then create bespoke invitations that contain information relevant to each sector.

Make sure your email invitations culminate in a well-attended event, by finding out more about our email invitation services.

corporate event software in use Along with an armful of opportunities to impress your current clients – and wow your new ones – comes with the challenge of finding the right corporate ideas for each. As the events industry continues to evolve – influenced largely by emerging event technology and the way we relate to it – event planners are pressed to better their current corporate event ideas. If you’re on a mission to provide your clients with innovative, timely and downright awe-inspiring experiences, read on to see which trends to embrace in 2016.

1. Amplify your event exposure – and add an element of personalisation – by incorporating crowd-streamed content

Similar to live-streaming – which has been around for a while – crowd-streaming entails the use of technology whereby your participants can broadcast their experience to audiences who’re accessing the event remotely. Making sure your content is relevant and engaging can be somewhat of a challenge; by making use of video or audio that’s generated by your participants, creating bespoke content is that much easier. Crowd-streaming can be incorporated in a number of scenarios and ways – if you’re holding an EXCO meeting, for example – this content can be used to unite attendees who aren’t necessarily in the same location. Attendee-generated images, tweets and video are all effective types of content that can instantly transform a stale corporate event idea into one that’s future-forward. As well as facilitating interaction with your brand and among attendees, content that’s crowd-streamed automatically increases the reach of your event. Crowd-streaming video apps to try: PeriscopeMeerkatFacebook Live.

2. Make use of cashless payment facilities for increased attendee convenience

If you’re looking for a simple corporate event idea that will make the lives of your guests easier, this is just the ticket. Large-scale events like conferences often see attendees having to hand over cash for parking, registration or a well-earned Jameson on the rocks. Apps like SnapScan or FlickPay are easy to use, secure and far more convenient that having to rummage for a wallet. What’s more, they make your life easier by eliminating the need for a float or a till. Identifying the common payment pain points particular to your event, and then implement a cashless alternative.

3. Digitalise as many of your event touchpoints as possible

Online invitations aside, many events still rely on printed out agendas, maps, info packs and corporate gifts. One of the corporate event ideas that’s cropping up with increased frequency is digitalising all event content. These events eschew physical incarnations of the above, choosing to provide their attendees with a far more eco-friendly, user-friendly and (possibly best of all) budget-friendly alternative. An easy way to ensure your guests have all the information they need (their ticket, agenda, seating plan, etc.) is by generating QR codes that are sent to their mobile devices. All of the information they need can be accessed by the swipe of a finger. Some brands are taking this trend further by opting to gift their guests with digital gift bags – in the form of online gift codes or discounts, exclusive content such as an eBook or video, product demos, or free tools. Besides being something that people actually want to receive (read our blog on why corporate gifting as we know it is dead), opting for the digital equivalent of a gift bag, you’re able to leverage off your guests’ interaction with it in the form of data, via a follow-up email campaign or a landing page that serves as the ‘gate keeper’ for their gift.

4. Add an element of philanthropy to your team building activities

When it comes to corporate event ideas that facilitate team building, finding one that truly motivates participants can be trying. The good news is, convincing attendees to embrace a group challenge is that much easier when their effort benefits a worthy cause. Whether incorporated into a charity auction, treasure hunt or golf day, more and more events are adding an element of philanthropy to their agendas. The benefits are two-fold: one, guests are more willing to participate, and two, brands can use these exercises as part of their social responsibility program.

However you choose to rejuvenate your corporate event ideas, make sure that you’re setting them up for success by making use of email invitation software. One of the easiest ways to streamline your event from the get-go, email invitation software is a necessity. Learn more about ours, here.

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Email has evolved since the first electronic-mail was sent in 1971. The invention of the World Wide Web 20 years later saw email take off as widespread form of communication and the emergence of the first email invitations. Today, over 100 billion emails are sent worldwide every day, according to data from the tech market research firm Radicati. Email invitations have changed the whole RSVP process. Event planners no longer need to send out paper invitations, hope that they reach their intended recipients and then wait for an RSVP to be sent back. In this blog we’ll explore the evolution of email invitations and how they’re used today.

The email invitations of the twentieth century were simple affairs

The very first email invitation probably took the form of monochrome text in the body of an email back in the 1980s, when email was used by the government, the military and universities, and could only be sent between computers physically connected to the same network. In the 1990s, email invitations may have progressed to slightly more elaborate emails attached to the email in a .jpg format, containing coloured text, WordArt, a few images and an “RSVP by replying to this email” call to action.

The twentieth century brought with it a new wave of email invites and a streamlined RSVP process

During the mid 2000s, landing page use became more universal and the RSVP process took a leap forward. Nowadays, beautifully designed email invitations appear in the body of an email – as attractive as any weighty paper invitation – embedded with hyperlinks that whisk invitees off to an equally impressive landing page, where they’re able to RSVP “yes” or “no”. On the RSVP page, guests can submit anything from dietary requirements, golf t-shirt size and details of travel and accommodation.

Invitation software is crucial for making sure email invitations reach their recipients

Email invitations might have made event planning more efficient, but they can easily get lost in the chaos of inboxes and junk email folders. This is why email invitation best practice is so important. It guarantees that your guests are receiving, opening and responding to invites: ensuring your event is well attended. Email invitations often bounce because guest contact information is not checked for typos or updated regularly. Excel is a fantastic tool, but specialised invitation software is far more effective for managing guest lists – 25% of which becomes redundant every year, we’ve discovered after collecting data from over200 events. Using reputable email invitation software will also prevent your email invitations from ending up in spam folders.

Content is king when it comes to creating a first impression

Getting guests to open your email is the next challenge. The subject line is the main factor that incites invitees to open email invitations. The quality of the text within the invite is the next factor that can make the difference between a recipient RSVP-ing and simply deleting the email. Using a professional copywriter to help create your invitations is crucial to ensuring as many people as possible come to your event.

What time you send the invitations and whether they’re mobile-friendly will influence whether they’re opened

What time you send invitations out will have a big impact on whether they’re opened and read. Invitation software can help you optimise the time you schedule email invitations, so you know that your invites aren’t being sent out in vain. Another vital part of designing email invitations is making sure that they can be opened and viewed on a mobile device. Almost half of all invitations are opened on a smartphone – fail to optimise your invites for mobile and you risk losing half of your guest list.

Using invitation software can make the difference between a full event and a half-full event. Download our Benchmarks report to find out more about email invitations best practice and how invitation software can help you plan a successful event.

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You might think that it’s only the most impeccably designed email invitations that get opened and that the number of guests at your event is directly proportional to how stunning your invitations are. But this isn’t the case. While layout and design contribute to how well invitees can see and garner information on your email invitation – the better your message is conveyed, the more likely your potential guests will RSVP “yes”.  There’s a lot more to creating successful online invitations – here’s what you need to know:

The secret to brilliant email invitations is personalisation and attention to detail

Before making a stunning email invitation, follow our ten commandments of personalised invitations. Being meticulous with how you address people, keep up to date with guest info and following up on invitees are just some of the rules you should never break. In addition, ensure that when designing your email invitation you make sure it doesn’t take too long to download and there are no spelling or grammar mistakes. Personalising each invite is key – making sure all the information about your guests is correct – and you’re targeting the right people with the relevant information. No-one will respond to, let alone open, an email invitation that’s completely irrelevant to them.

Use the power of emotions to get a positive reaction from your invitees

Your approach to making your email invitations as alluring as possible is just as important as their content. Emotions are extremely powerful and persuasive – use this to your advantage. When crafting your invites, think about how your guest will feel after opening it. By using data gathered by RSVP software, it’s a lot easier to do this as you already know a lot about each of your guests. If your guest dreams about being a serial entrepreneur, highlighting the fact that Warren Buffet is going to be keynote speaker at your event is sure to get a positive reaction.

Use personal information about your guests to create targeted USPs

While there are few companies who would be able to fly Warren Buffet out to South Africa, your event will have its own USP or unique selling point that can bring significant value to anyone attending. It’s essential that your email invitations convey this USP clearly and that this message seamlessly intertwines with your brand’s message, too. Make it as simple as possible for your guests to RSVP. Here lies also your opportunity to find out more about them by including a couple of questions about their food and drink preferences, for example. After several events you’ll have a reservoir of information about the hundreds of attendees from all your past functions.

With RSVP’s Guest Concierge Management Software, you can collect data, create email invitations and manage the whole RSVP process to create personalised events: the only events that can be truly successful. Contact us today to find out how we can help you make sure all your email invitations are responded to.

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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.

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Most event managers are all too aware of the challenges faced when sending out an e-invite. Not only do you have to dodge spam folders, you have to make sure your invitation is as enticing as possible. Well, help is at hand. We’ve rounded up four e-invite statistics that will aid you in creating and sending out invitations that garner the best response rate possible.

1. If marketers optimised their emails for image blocking, ROI would increase 9+%

(Source: Convince and Convert) Used in the context of an event manager, your replies would increase by 9%.  Event managers are often under the impression that an e-invite needs to be an image-dependant work of art. While we’re all for great design and pleasing aesthetics, using an image- heavy invitation frequently results in a message either being marked as spam, or as an email full of “broken” images.  While you may think it’s a good idea to use your company font and logo and all of the corporate identity bells and whistles that go with it, sending an image-heavy invitation means that a large portion of your intended recipients will be unable to view it. Don’t forgot that if they’re checking their email from a work address, the majority of people don’t have a choice about how their mail is received, as companies have to be vigilant about spam, viruses, phishing and the like. Ensure that any e-invite of yours isn’t reliant on images – that is, that your event is clearly explained via text only. Any images you do include should merely support the copy.

2. 35% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone
(Source: Convince and Convert)

Our frenetic lifestyles, coupled with the huge quantity of emails received every day, mean that we’ve become adept at skimming our inboxes for the most pertinent content. The majority of emails received are superfluous, whether they’re spam, “chain mail” or a never-ending stream of company mails you’ve automatically been cc’d in on. Your recipients take a split second to decide whether an email adds value to their lives or not. Event managers need to be able to use compelling copy in their subject lines if they want their guests to open an e-invite. It’s crucial that you employ a skilled copywriter who’s able to engage people with just one line of copy.

3. Click-through rate (CTR) is higher when using the recipient’s first name in the subject line, compared to subject lines that don’t

(Source: HubSpot) This statistic follows on from the one above, reiterating the importance of your subject line. Addressing your guests by their first name personalises your communication with them. By creating a one-on-one interaction, your guests are much more likely to feel that they’re valued by your brand. Instead of using a generic line like: “Vespa is proud to invite you to the launch of our new two-seater”, opt to use something along the lines of: “Garth! You’re invited to take a cruise on our brand-new two-seater Vespa.” Addressing a guest by name also adds an air of exclusivity to an e-invite – an aspect that goes a long way in upping the appeal of your event.

4. 6 AM has the highest CTR of any hour

(Source: HubSpot)Our dependence on our mobile phones has become so pronounced that rolling over and checking your mail is now commonplace. After a good night’s rest, your guests are bound to be less impatient or pressed for time than if they were to check their mail during the day. This is good news for event managers, as it means that the likelihood of your invitation being read instead of ignored, is high. Manually sending out an email invitation isn’t an option for most event planners though, which is why scheduling them beforehand is advisable. Using a service like The RSVP Agency to manage this process for you will ensure that your invite isn’t lost amongst their other mail, and that it’s the first thing someone sees when they wake up. Making use of specially-designed software to create and send your invitations plays a crucial part in making sure that your e-invites are received at the right time, increasing click-throughs and subsequently, RSVPs.

Using these helpful hints will go a long way in making sure that the next time you’ve got a guest list to fill, your e-invites do the job.

Our RSVP service is constantly evolving and improving in order to provide our clients with the best service possible. We’ve added several new functions to our RSVP event management software to ensure that your events are better and easier to manage than ever.

  •  In order to facilitate a seamless guest-check in process, we’ve developed an iPad registration application that’s now fully integrated into our invitation management system.
  • Our event management software now features a “self-registration” feature – allowing guests to register to attend an event, even if they haven’t received an email invitation.
  • We’ve also simplified our referral process, which means that invited guests can now easily invite their valued clients and contacts to an event.
  • Our event management software also now includes a new memo function, which allows communication during the RSVP process.
  • In addition to the key enhancements above, we’ve also added the ability to decline from a “save the date”, so that guests who are unavailable on a particular date can decline before they receive an invitation.

We’ve also added a number of other minor enhancements in order to make your event planning and management process as simple as possible.

Image Credit: Crown Events and Conferences