It’s common knowledge that personalised invitations are the only way to make guests sit up and take notice. Addressing your guest by name and taking their dietary preferences and other pertinent information into account will define whether your invite gets sent straight to their trash folder, or opened, read and replied to. Communication that acknowledges a guest as an individual instead of a random recipient is essential for companies wanting to encourage brand loyalty and advocacy. For example, if you’re holding an event in Johannesburg, and some of your guests are from Cape Town, remember to include logistical details and information. Providing details about available flights, accommodation and car hire automatically positions your brand as one that’s got the best interest of their clients at heart.
While you may have a vague idea of what personalised invitations entail, you may not be aware of the following ten crucial considerations:
Thou shalt get gender correct.
If you’re addressing guests using titles like: ‘Ms’ or ‘Mr’, you can’t afford to get them wrong. Nothing screams ‘couldn’t care less’ as much as correspondence that begins with an incorrect title. This only serves to alienate your guests from the get go. (There’s one, but only one exception to this rule, which is if Tannie Evita is on your guest list).
Thou shalt make changes immediately based on feedback.
There’s no room for error where this vital information is concerned. If you’ve received feedback from a guest about incorrect personal information such as the spelling of their name, make it your priority to add these changes to your list. The last thing you want is to send a follow up email to a guest that contains the spelling mistake they’ve already told you about. Using an RSVP tool like the one we use at The RSVP Agency means you only have to make the changes once and any future communication will automatically reflect them.
Thou shalt keep up to date with your guests’ changes.
If a customer of yours gets a new job, they’re highly likely to still require the services you provided them while they were in in their previous job. It’s therefore important to keep up to date with changing job titles and surnames (when a customer gets married, for example).
Thou shalt not be a slave to gremlins in the matrix.
If your event management company is using a RSVP system that automatically populates your personalised invitations, avoid the embarrassing mistake of addressing someone as ‘First Name’. Safe-guard against this by replacing your filler text with ‘there’ – so if you do happen to be missing the names of several guests, they’ll receive invitations that begin with ‘Hello there’ – a greeting that’s infinitely preferable to the glaring oversight of the alternative.
Thou shalt segment thy list for optimised RSVP rates.
Segmenting your guest list according to location, past purchases or interactions with your brand is an efficient way of further personalising your invitations. If you’re inviting foreign delegates, you may want to send them invites in their native language. Similarly, if you’re holding a series of launches for different products you’ll want to ensure that those interested in product A don’t get invited to test-drive product B.
Thou shalt keep meticulous records.
If your events company organises functions that often consist of repeat guests, ensure that you have a record of personal information like their dietary preferences, shirt size, their partner’s name or even their golf handicap. Being able to include details that are unique to each individual will go a long way in ensuring the event is well attended, and that the brand is showcased in the best possible light.
Thou shalt always follow up with your guests.
It’s imperative that event companies do all that they can to ensure that their events are well attended. Guests frequently have either forgotten to RSVP, are away at the time of receiving their invites or haven’t yet had a chance to reply. A follow up phone call is therefore crucial, as is being equipped with all of the particulars of the guest in question– their first name, the company they work for, and any other related information.
Thou shalt consider the PA.
A personal assistant acts like a gate-keeper of sorts. They’re tasked with the management of their boss’s inbox and diary, so event agencies will do well to familiarise themselves with the PA’s particulars if they want to make sure that their invitations are received and replied to. Instead of sending a generic mail, it’s preferable to personalise your communication with them. For example: “Dear Edna, we have sent John an invite…” etc.
Thou shalt ensure that thy guest list contains as much information as possible.
Endeavour to gather as much info about your guests relevant to your event. From their PA’s name, their dietary preferences and their relationship to the brand, to the name of the sales person that they’re dealing with. Sending an invite along the lines of: “Paul (the account manager in question) would like to invite you to Brand ABC’s golf day” – by making this communication personal, event managers will automatically up their RSVP rates.
Thou shalt never ever, ever send invitations that are not personalised.
The technology (like that offered by The RSVP Agency) is readily available to produce amazing and personalised invitations for large corporate events. This means that there’s simply no excuse to send generic invitations that’ll result in a low number of RSVPs to your company’s events.