Electronic invitations save time, money, and allow a great amount of flexibility. These traits make an electronic invitation an indispensable tool in today’s corporate event management toolbox. With stimulus excess in today’s busy world we only take a very short time to scan each Email we receive. This makes it vital to strategically design an electronic invitation – you do not want to overcrowd, and you want to focus on making a statement.
With hundreds of online design templates for everything from birthday party to baby shower invitations you might be left wondering where the electronic corporate event invite stands. Practices to draft the ideal electronic corporate event invitation certainly differ from those for private events. The key is to be short and precise, while still providing enough information for your potential guests to make an informed decision on whether or not to attend your corporate event.
Assure that you duplicate only the main information – who – where – when – why – what – in the invitation and the accompanying Email text. Any additional information has its place in either document.
Since ideally you will start drafting the official invitation before the accompanying Email text, let me focus on the content of the invite first:
- Type of event: Help your attendants see what type of event to expect, e.g. a conference, public lecture, round table discussion, networking reception, etc.
- Event title: The catchier, snappier, and shorter the title, the better! Often, you can integrate the title seamlessly with announcing the type of event, e.g. … invite you to a public lecture on ‘A Global Meltdown? – Battling the Financial Crisis’.
- Speaker information: Don’t weigh down the invite with lots of background information on your ‘stars,’ rather focus on the speakers’ position and experience that is relevant for the event at hand. Place a link from the speakers’ names to their online bio, so those hungry for more details can get the information they require. This flexibility is what I love about an electronic invitation!
- Date, time, and location: Save your guests some time by linking the location’s Web site, and a mapping application such as Google Maps that allow for quick access to driving directions.
- Host(s): Incorporate logos on the invitation with a link to the organizations’ Web sites. Avoid the long list of sponsors and partners that are typical for conferences, but rather place those on the event or conference Web site.
- Cost/attendance fees, as well as mode of payment: Again, if there is too much information to convey, make a brief mention in the invitation, and link to further instructions on the event Web site.
- RSVP/registration procedure and deadline: Do specify requirements, also if no RSVP is needed. This small addition will save you lots of time answering inquiries on registration procedures!
- Dress code: Be aware of geographical differences in regards to dress code for business events. ‘Business casual’ attire might, for example, exhibit various levels of formality in different parts of the world. And for Friday events in the US, consider the popular showcasing of ‘casual Friday’ attire, which is only slowly spreading throughout Europe. Research, decide on your perfect fit, and communicate your choice to your guests appropriately!
Keep the design and visuals for the electronic invitation simple, and stick to common file formats such as .pdf or .jpg. Try to use only 2-3 basic colors for background and font (assure text is still legible if placed on a visual!), and go for a large font size, so the invite can also be easily read on the go via a handheld device. Include images that convey the gist of the invite – the old saying holds true: an image says more than a thousand words! And images also help your potential audience to quickly grasp your event’s topic.
Once you have outlined your main invitation, move on to drafting the accompanying Email announcement. This is the part that makes or breaks the deal, and affects whether your invite will get a second look, or will be punished by the ‘delete’ button.
Don’t give in to the temptation to place any information that didn’t seem appropriate for the main invite here. Rather, provide just enough information to tease the reader into moving from the Email announcement to the main invitation.
Stick to the following for your Email text …
- Personal salutation: Address the recipient with their name, if available. This simple gesture creates a more personal bond, and raises your invite’s chances of being seen.
- Host, event format and title, date, time, and location: These are the only duplicates recommended! Keep this information short and snappy.
- Link to the formal invitation: Indicate that further information is available via the formal invitation. Use a hyperlink to lead to the invite, and avoid sending attachments. – Spam filters will nip the good thought in the bud!
- Call for distribution:Encourage distribution of the invitation, or invite the recipients to bring a guest for a public function. This will help you spread the word on your upcoming event.
- Contact point: Clearly spell out who can be contacted in which manner with questions or concerns.
… and voila, mission accomplished!
Or almost … You have resisted the urge to pack your invitation with information. You have set up an event Web site for additional details that need to be communicated, e.g. for a multiple day event or conference. Looking good! But as much thought and time as you have invested in the ideal invitation, your task is not yet complete.
Now come the challenging parts of marketing your event (find tips in the contribution “Getting ‘the word out’ … about your business event”), and assuring that you remind those registered to attend of their commitment!
Sending a reminder with directions to the event location, or details on parking options is a good way to follow-up with those who registered to attend shortly before the event. I typically include a request for an update on the attendance status. Having a close estimate of the number of attendants is golden when working on logistics, and catering preparations.
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This post was also published at Social Tables