Are your efforts missing the mark when it comes to event attendance?

The frenetic nature of modern day life means that it’s harder to capture someone’s attention than ever before. Remember that industry events are more often than not targeted at the same group of people, which means that some of your potential guests may be receiving as many as three invitations per day. Ensuring that your event is well attended by the people who matter is a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Sending out your invitations is the first step of several – and if you’re relying on your initial effort to result in RSVPs, there’s a considerable chance that you’ll be left with lacklustre attendance rates. If you want to ensure that your invites stand out, read on for some commonly made mistakes that frequently result in dismal turnouts.

Not following up with guests is a cardinal sin where RSVPs are concerned.

Event etiquette dictates that invitations should be sent out 6 weeks (at the minimum) prior to an event. The way you navigate this considerable time-frame is crucial. On the one hand, you can’t mail your guests every second day, nor can you rely on merely sending out your invitations once. Event managers should ideally follow up with their guests in the form of a phone call, and then depending on response rates, initiate additional contact as the day of the event draws near.

That said, the attendance rates of your events will be hampered if you’re only using one method with which to follow up.

Communication preferences among your guests will differ, which means that in some cases, you may need to conduct your follow ups via a variety of methods. Some people may respond best to emails, while others prefer a phone call. Hectic corporate schedules often mean that it’ll take a while to make contact with someone – which means you’ll need to attempt to contact them several times before you’re able to obtain a response.

It’s imperative that you’ve taken SPAM detectors into account when sending out your invites.

Invitees are more likely to open an invitation if they know the person sending it.  There is sensitivity around bulk email and most servers will automatically block anything over 20 emails that are sent through to one company at one time. This is why it is imperative to use professional invitation management software which will allow you to know exactly which of your emails have bounced and why, and who of your guests have not responded.

Moreover, make sure that any images you have included are not unreasonably large – the majority of your information should be conveyed in the copy, with images merely enhancing the aesthetic. When it comes to online invitations, simple layout is far superior to a flashy, image-laden invite.

Don’t let your event attendance rate hinge solely on one guest list.

If you don’t have a “B” list in place, you’ll be left with a conundrum when someone from your “A” list declines. It’s imperative that you compile your “B” list from the beginning, as you’ll need to give guests adequate notice beforehand in order to maximise your attendance rates. This practice safe-guards against poor event attendance.

Attempting to manually manage your guest list results in wasted time and delayed response rates.

This is way too much of a time consuming task – your effort needs to be focused on the event and not on the RSVP process. If you’re trying to manually handle this process, your response time will be significantly longer. An online solution will speed this up, as well as ensuring that no oversights are made.

Make sure you’re not making it too difficult for your guests to accept or decline your invitations.

Your invitations should make it crystal clear as to how guests can go about replying. The easiest way to do this? With “yes” and “no” buttons. Never make someone reply manually in order to decline attending – rather receive a straight out “no” from the get-go, than spend time chasing after someone only to have them decline.

An event manager should be focused on the event, and not the RSVP service.

Your attention needs to be focused on aspects such as the catering, entertainment and décor. Avoid conflicting deadlines between event managers and RSVP managers. If you’ve set a deadline for RSVPs, it’s imperative you follow up as soon as possible. Attempting to manage last-minute cancellations, or late responses without an online RSVP solution is a guaranteed way to ensure that your event is poorly managed.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your RSVP rates, avoiding these mistakes will guarantee that you’re never faced with a poorly attended event again.

Image Credit: East Texas Area Aglow