It’s almost that time of year again – the one day where, thanks to St Valentine, you can declare your amorous intentions to a potential love interest in the hope that they’ll share your feelings.

Just as you would like to increase the chance of your email invitation being received and responded to by your Valentine, brands share a similar goal when it comes to getting their guests to respond to email invitations on a daily basis.

In order to increase the chances of your guests responding favourably to your email invitations, here’s an infographic produced by Email Monks that lists the “best practice methods” that should be used in order to ensure optimum response rates:

Ensure your email invitations are immediately identifiable.

Your recipients should be able to instantly recognise two things: 1 – who their email invitation is from, and 2 – what kind of event they’ve been invited to. If you were emailing a potential Valentine about joining you on a date, you’d want them to know that the invitation came from you and that it (hopefully) elicited some sort of excitement on their part.

Never send from a “no-reply” address – it looks like spam, and makes the recipient wary of any communication they receive from you. Your address should clearly show that your invitation comes from your brand, for example: [email protected] Use enticing phrases in the subject line, like: “Come and drive the new BMW” instead of “BMW product launch”, or “Join us in toasting to the future of motoring” instead of “Launch drinks” – however you decide to word your subject line, think about whether it sounds like something you’d want to be part of or not. If it isn’t – you need to relook at your copy.

Once you’ve convinced people to open your email invitation, there are a few things that will go a long way in ensuring that your event is well-attended.

Make sure that your email invitations can be easily viewed online.

Most email companies have a standard practice of blocking emails that contain images, so if you don’t want to lose out on an affirmative RSVP, make sure that you include a way for your recipient to click through to an online version. Make the process as user-friendly and simple as possible – if someone is frustrated, they won’t view the email invitation, so include a link to an online version at the top of your email invitation.

Bear in mind that the object of your affection may receive more than one Valentine, and use this as impetus to make yours stand out by ensuring it’s easy to view.

Put your most important content in the top left corner.

When viewing content online, the first place that we direct our attention to is the top, left corner of the screen. This is something event planners should keep in mind when creating a brief for the design of your email invitations. Your most prudent information (who, what, when, where, why) should be placed here so that anyone viewing your email invite can instantly see what the invite is about.

The technical elements of your email invitations need to be correctly implemented.

Have a look at the elements referred to in the infographic under the sections entitled:  “email layout” and “visual impact” in order to get an idea of the minimal technical requirements that an email invitation should fulfil. Fear not though – if you’re outsourcing the design and building of your email invitations, your supplier should (hopefully) be up to speed on the necessary technical aspects involved.

The objective of most email invitations is to get someone to confirm if they will attend or not. With this in mind, your call to action should be bright, bold and easily understood. Lastly, it should be easy for guests to RSVP – a simple: “Yes I am attending” and “No I am not attending” will suffice.

Design your online invitations strategically.

Including a lengthy sonnet in your email invitation to a potential Valentine may seem like a nice touch, but most people don’t have the time to wade through superfluous text. Having to wade through a text-heavy invite will result in your email invitation being ignored.

Always use copy sparingly – you should aim to convey the essence of your event in a few, short sentences. Simplify the text by using headers and sub-headers. Don’t forget that not everyone will be able to see your images – so any pictures or graphics you use should play a supporting role to the copy – and won’t render the invitation redundant should your recipient not be able to view them.

It’s highly unlikely that you’d want other people to join in on your romantic Valentines’ date for two, but, each to their own, so if you’re holding an open event and you want other people other than those you invited to attend, don’t forget to include social sharing ability in your email.

You’re also required (by law), to include an “unsubscribe” option. Much like unrequited love, if someone isn’t interested in what you have to offer, the best thing to do is move on to the next prospect.

Make your online invitations mobile-friendly.

These days, most people read their email on their mobile phones, so make sure that your email is optimised for mobile viewing, or failing that, give people the option to view your invitation online (a link should be included right at the top of your email invite for ease of use).   The RSVP Agency has learnt these “best practices” from years and years of experience – you can check out some of our email invites here  Email Design Best Practices Infographic

Image Credit : Kidsburgh

If you’re an event planner, working with the marketing manager of a big corporate can be difficult. Trying to manage a corporate event in the most efficient way possible often requires some leeway from either party. I’ve fielded countless queries from marketing managers about the efficacy of online invitations, as well as the reasons as to why we’re ardent devotees.

In the same vein, if you’re a marketing manager and are wondering what all the hullaballoo about online invitations is, read on for answers to your most pressing questions.

1. Q:  Aren’t online invitations inferior to physical invitations?

A: Many people mistakenly believe that the practice of sending out printed invitations by post is perceived as more professional. While this may have been true a decade ago, today’s technology has enabled the tangible paper and ink invitation to move online. That said, not all online invitations are equal; if you’re not using a proper tool to design, send and manage the RSVP process, the results will do your brand a disfavour. When done the right way, online invitations relay the fact that your company is future-facing, as well as cognisant of their impact on the environment.

2. Q: Can’t we manage the process of sending out online invitations manually?

A: If you want your RSVP process to end up in shambles, go ahead.  Besides taking an inordinately longer amount of time, manually managing your RSVP process requires a dedicated team of staff, who could be better put to use organising the logistics of the actual event. In order to keep track of every single invitation and the information gathered therein, having a tool that’s updated in real-time is essential.

3. Q: Is online invitation software really that important?

A: The right kind of online invitations are much more than merely invites to your next event; they’re a means to gathering crucial information about your guests, your event and your brand as a whole. Invitation software that allows you to create unique form fields that are specific to your brand is a way to collect data that gives you better insight into your guests, and their perception of your brand. The more informed you are about your target market, having the competitive edge is made that much easier.

4. Q: Is it worth spending money on software for online invitations? Can’t we just download a free template?

A: Your portrayal of your brand is everything. If you’re willing to risk the success of an event – not to mention the hefty price tag that comes with it – on lacklustre invitations, you might as well throw in the towel. Investing in Event Management Software that enables you to create, send and track your online invitations – and then store all data collected for future use – is exactly that: an investment in your brand.

5. Q: Will my event management team be able to use this easily?

A: While we can’t speak for all online invitation tools out there, we can say that our Event Management Software enables anyone who’s moderately tech-savvy to manage the RSVP process with ease. After all, our software was created by event planners, for event planners, in order to streamline and elevate the entire event management process, and cut down on the time and stress associated with it.

Image credit:

By now, you’ll know that without sophisticated invitation software at your disposal, your events are at a disadvantage. Manually managing the RSVP process, as well as the inordinate amount of data generated pre, during and post your events is a recipe for disaster. Besides streamlining the entire RSVP process, invitation software that tracks and records information provides you with invaluable insight. There are several event metrics that you need to measure in order to piece an accurate picture of your event together. Before investing in invitation software, make sure that it can measure the following metrics:

 1. Delivery rate

This is one of the essential pieces of the event invitation puzzle. If you send out 100 invites and only five of them are delivered, something is amiss. You may have outdated email addresses or be using an image-heavy online invitation. Establishing your delivery rate is the best place to start when measuring the efficacy of your RSVP process.

2. Open rate

Knowing how many of your invites are actually read by their intended recipients gives you several clues about your email invitations. If your delivery rate is high, yet your open rate is inexplicably low, you need to relook at your subject line, or time of sending. We’re ambushed by emails on the daily, and read only a fraction of them. Make sure that your subject lines are as enticing as possible in order to increase the chances of them being read.

3. Time of opening

If most people open your invitation in the early morning, you’ll know to avoid sending them out later in the day. Pinpointing trends in opening times enables you to be strategic about when you send your invitations, and as a result, get the best response rate possible.

4. Acceptance and decline rates

This metric serves as the final piece of the puzzle. When combined with the above metrics, you’ll have more clarity about the reasons behind the success or failure of your RSVP process. While a high decline rate may boil down to plain bad luck, it could be a result of sending out your invitations at the wrong time, an uninspiring subject line, a poorly-designed invitation or a combination of these factors.

5. Personal details of guests

In order to gain proper insight into the way your guests respond to your invitations, you’ll need to be able to collect demographic data about them. Your invitation software should enable you to create unique form fields to gather information such as the name of a guest’s spouse, drink preference, travel details, preferred means of communicating – and a myriad of other details. By painting a detailed picture of your guests, you’re able to understand their behaviour, and then put this knowledge to work.

The more sophisticated your invitation software, the easier it is to plan and manage your events. Our Guest Concierge Management Software is an intelligent tool that collects and collates a whole host of essential data during the RSVP process. Drop us an email if you’d like to know more about how our invitation software can help you.

Image credit:

Large corporate events have a high volume of influential and important guests, which means that they require the utmost attention to detail. The stakes are high and dropping the ball on any aspect isn’t an option. Unlike smaller, intimate events, prominent corporate functions mean the reputation of the brand is at stake. It’s of pivotal importance that this process isn’t only streamlined, but professionally managed too.

Using a professional online invitations solution elevates your brand in the eyes of your clients.

Attempting to co-ordinate a large-scale corporate event that can either promote or detract from the all-important equity of your brand can be a risky endeavour. Guests attending an industry-leading brand’s event will demand professionalism from every single interaction they have with the company. By opting not to use a professional online invitations service, you’re putting the success of the event – and the reputation of your client, on the line. Ensure that your guests’ experience is a pleasant as possible – from the invitations and registration process to correspondence sent after the event.

While there are several other online invitations solutions on the market, they’re all limited in some way or another.

When tasked with planning an event for an influential client, you’ll need to ensure that every single aspect is given the attention it deserves. You’ll need a solution that enables you to streamline the process into one that will result in a function that makes the best impression possible – on your client as well as their guests. The RSVP Agency provides event companies with software that is continually updated in line with innovative technology and the changing requirements of event companies.

Ensuring ROI is your priority, but without the right guests, it’s unlikely that you’ll meet your targets.

The RSVP Agency’s Enterprise tool contains a “forward-on” invitation feature that can mean the difference between a function populated by potential clients, or individuals who’re only attending because of the open bar. Enticing the right people can be a difficult task, but by allowing your guests to invite their own networks, you’ll instantly up the chances of making an impression on the people who count. We’ve written a bespoke set of software that allows you to do just that. If you’re holding a conference for a group of brokers, for example, you’ll be able to send them their invite, and then give them the tools needed to invite clients of their own. Instead of merely forwarding on the invite, they’ll be able to create an invitation that’s specifically from them. A nifty feature if we do say so ourselves.

Establishing ROI relies on accurate reporting capabilities.

Without the use of a detailed reporting function that provides you with a clear picture of all aspects of an event, gauging the exact ROI of an event is reduced to a guessing game. If you want precise data about everything from the time invitations were opened, the time an RSVP was sent, as well as suggestions and comments from your guests, our Enterprise solution is an essential tool as we offer you access to the back end of our system so that you can view and extract all the crucial data you need.

Exclusive corporate events often require a highly-controlled setting.

Making sure that VIP guests are secure and assured of an event that’s safe from the prying eyes of the media or competitors can be a stressful job. It’s crucial that your company can convince brands that their guests will enjoy a discreet function without having to worry about interlopers.

We’re aware that this requirement is of absolute importance, which is why we’ve developed a QR code generator that guarantees everyone involved has peace of mind. The QR code is sent to your guests’ mobile devices and acts as their invitation.

Corporate functions often involve the sale and purchasing of tickets.

If you’re planning a charity gala dinner, for example, you’ll need to provide your guests with a secure and convenient way of buying their tickets. Ensure they’re not put off by a complicated process by making use of our “shop cart” online system. Like TicketWeb or Computicket, this feature provides companies with an online ticket portal that’s linked to your online invitations solution. If you’re after a streamlined, simplified payment method, our Enterprise solution has got you covered.

Besides the fact that The RSVP Agency’s online invitations software saves you time and guarantees the utmost in professionalism, our solution provides you with all the tools needed to plan and manage an event to the best of your ability – right down to every last detail.

Image Credit: brandingstrategyinsider

These days, sending out email or online invitations for any event is way more common than posting print invitations. However, event planners are still not using email invitations, or e-vites as they’re also known, to their full advantage.

To improve the response rate to your next event, try these top 10 tips to make the most of your e-invitations!

1. Have Your Invitation Professionally Designed

If you have neither the time nor the talent to create an email invitation that will wow, hire a professional to do it for you. A professionally designed email invitation will stand out from the rest of the drab correspondence filtering through everyone’s email inbox.

Ask your graphic designer to dovetail your invitation with your branding and tie it in with the concept of your event. Insist on clean design with plenty of white space and a clear, legible web safe font.

2. Hire a Professional to Write the Text

Think writing copy for an invitation is an easy job? Think again! It takes special skill to craft text which is stylish, strikes the right tone, draws readers in, convinces them of what you’re selling, and compels them to act – and all in a tight word count. Hiring a professional copywriter to do the job right is worth the investment.

3. Keep it Concise Yet Comprehensive

An invitation isn’t an essay, but it still needs to include everything an invitee needs to know. To avoid dealing with a plethora of confused phone calls and emails about your event (where is it, when is it, what is it about), do remember to include all the details – date, time, venue, and an abbreviated agenda (a short, snappy summary of what your event is about).

For the best results, send an email invitation with the essential details of date, time, venue and one sentence on event purpose. Once the guest has accepted, an online confirmation form with richer information will provide further detail.

4. Don’t Leave RSVPs Open-Ended

An RSVP is a call-to-action – you want your invitee to email you or call you and let you know if they’re attending your event so that you can plan accordingly. Make it pop! Clearly point out the action you wish them to take and always set a specific deadline for RSVPs to drive that action. And of course, follow up with telephonic call downs, especially for your VIP’s.

5. Email “From” label

More people open emails from real people as opposed to, generic “from labels”. An email invitation from “Mark Zuckerberg” will get more opens than an email invitation from Facebook (assuming Mark is attending). If your invited guest knows you and the invitation is from a real person, they will be more inclined to open the invitation.

6. Work the Email Subject Line

Often a missed opportunity, the email subject line is your chance to grab a person’s attention and get them to open your email. Take the time to pen something quirky or interesting, but do remember to avoid words which may trigger spam alerts and send your email straight to the spam folder.

7. Personalise Email Invitations

Using guest’s names on their invitations, instead of using the blanket ‘Dear All’ approach, will make invitees feel valued and more likely to respond. Please edit the image to make the RSVP either orange or green – looks a bit bland at the moment.

8. Ensure Fast Download

Time Graphic-rich emails may look lovely but can be slow to download. And emails which take ages to download are often skipped entirely. Make sure images are optimised and that you test the download speed before sending.

9. Ensure your email invitations make sense without images

Sometimes, especially in corporate settings, images in emails are blocked from displaying. Ensure your email invitations make sense even if the images are blocked by ensuring you have the correct balance between HTML text and images. The correct text/image balance will also reduce the risk of your email invitation getting caught in a spam filter!

10. Proofread!

Before hitting send, cast your eye over the invitation copy to check that all information is correct and that there are no typos or other glaring errors. If you were the writer, then get a fresh pair of eyes to proofread the text for you. Not only do copy errors project your brand in a bad light, but erroneous information can impact on the success of your event.

11. Send Invitations to Appropriate People

A ‘warm list’ of contacts (people you know) will be far more receptive than a cold list (people you don’t know). Even worse, sending to a cold list could be construed as spam and get your email address blocked. Bonus Tip: Use a professional RSVP service Use The RSVP Agency’s online software solution to create, send, and track your customised email invitations. What could be easier?

RSVP has the historical meaning of Répondez s’il vous plaît, or “please reply” (used at the end of invitations to request a response). The background to RSVP is colourful and interesting.

RSVP is not a new requirement, or an end in and of itself. The RSVP process, consisting of the invitation and confirmation process as the two most fundamental steps, is a key requirement to stage a successful event, function or gatherings of any size and description. Large and small events are fundamental to our social and professional lives making professional RSVP management an indispensable service.

In days of old, invitations to gatherings were to esteemed guests were delivered by breathless couriers on trusty steads. Handwritten invites sealed with royal wax on parchment, the RSVP process was personal and full of occasion. The entire process took days to complete.

The mechanism of creating invitations, having them delivered and tracking the responses has remained essentially the same. We still need to create the invitation design and copy, create our guest list, deliver the invitation to the guests, and then track the responses to finalise attendance and catering. The objective is to get the correct number of guests to a function that would be memorable and valuable to host and attendee alike. However, the mechanics of how the invitations are created, delivered and tracked has become more sophisticated.

In today’s electronic world, hand written papers delivered have gone the way of the Dodo. Paper is relevant in some rare circumstances and a hand delivered invitation is designed to make a statement. It is however, no longer convenient or practical for most of today’s functions.

Baseline your RSVP process

So, how can we create the best possible experience for the function or event coordinator and the invited guest? The first step is to base line where you currently are with your RSVP process. Are the current techniques you are using to manage RSVP as efficient and painless as they could be?

If you answer “yes” to any of the questions below when working on an event RSVP process, it is likely that there is opportunity to make things easier for yourself and your invited guests.

1. I send out email invitations using my email package (Microsoft Outlook)
2. I spend lots of time manually ticking off attendees on a spread sheet
3. I get multiple guest lists from my internal departments and it is difficult to coordinate the guests attending across the various lists
4. My guests have to recapture information that I should already know about them, for example their dietary preferences, every time I invite them to an event
5. When I need to capture guest information like dietary requirements, travel information and other preferences, it takes a long time to get the online registration forms set up
6. When someone asks “is Guest A or Guest B attending?” I don’t have the information on hand.
7. I spend more time running the RSVP part of the event than I should be
8. My event company takes on the RSVP because I ask them to, but they don’t seem equipped to manage the process
9. My IT department try to help, but the systems are not flexible enough to deliver what I need

If you answered “yes” to some of the questions above, you RSVP process is more painful than it needs to be and we can assist you! Opportunity to improve The simple checklist below highlights opportunity for a professional RSVP experience for you and your guests.

1. Do you send out personalised email invitations, a personal invitation for each guest?
2. Do you pre populate your invited guests preferences, ensuring they never have to provide you with the same information more than once?
3. Do your email invitations have a high delivery rate, using global mailing standards to avoid as many spam traps as possible?
4. Do you instantly know if your email invitations have been delivered?
5. Does your RSVP solution automatically improve the quality of your guest list by removing duplicates and checking for incomplete information?
6. Can you easily ask guest for any kind of information without having to program additional data fields?
7. Do you have a live record of online registrations including accepts, declines and no responses?
8. Can you easily handle multiple guest lists from internal teams?
9. Do you have an RSVP service team to back you up? 10. Do your team provide you with call down support for those invited guests that have not responded?

If the above checklist highlights area you would like to improve then you can take the first step to RSVP excellence. Improving the professionalism of your overall RSVP process will ensure better guest attendance and will create a great first impression for you and your brand. Ultimately, professional RSVP is the first step to event success! We look forward to hearing from you!