Do you run events for your business?
Regardless of whether it’s a launch event, networking event or a conference, the effectiveness of your event is directly related to the number of attendees you get through the door.
And there’s no better way to reach an audience and increase attendees than email.
In this post, we’ll share with you the 6 key elements of an effective event invitation email and show you some examples from our customer email gallery of event invitation campaigns that got it right.
What is an event invitation email?
An event invite email is a campaign designed to increase awareness of your event and encourage people to attend.
Here’s a great example from Campaign Monitor customer Hidden Dinner.
As you can see, the event invitation email tells their subscribers about the upcoming event and provides a call to action to see the menu and reserve seats.
The 6 key elements of an effective event invitation email
In order to get the maximum amount of awareness and attendees from your event invitation email, try including these 6 different elements in the campaign.
1. A targeted list
Depending on how you built your email list, it could be made up of people from all over the world.
However, if your event is being held in downtown San Francisco then chances are people from Australia aren’t going to be able to attend (unless it’s a seriously big event worth travelling for).
So in order to keep your open, click-through and response rates high, it’s better to segment your list and send your campaign only to those nearby.
A great example of this is our campaign for our recent Future of Email Marketing event in London, UK.
Before we sent this campaign, we used the Geolocation Segments feature to create a segment of our newsletter list containing subscribers who lived within 50km of London, UK, and then sent the campaign only to those people.
By doing so, we ensured that only those who had the ability to attend the event received the campaign and those outside the area didn’t receive irrelevant information about an event they couldn’t attend.
So next time you’re creating a event invitation campaign, try segmenting your lists using features like geolocation segments and only send the campaign to those who are able to actually attend. You’ll receive fewer unsubscribes and higher open, click-through and response rates as a result.
2. Value Proposition
In an event invitation email, the value proposition should be a short statement that concisely explains why the recipient should attend the event.
As an example, take a look at the value proposition in this campaign from Disney.
As you can see, the email contains a prominent value proposition that reads ‘Whisk your family away to an enchanted world’.
This value proposition succeeds because it doesn’t just inform people the event is on, but instead focuses on conveying the benefits of attending: a magical night of entertainment with your family.
This lets readers know what’s in it for them and increases their motivation to attend the event.
So when creating your event invitation email, make sure to include a value proposition that clearly outlines what the event is and the benefits of attending, as this will increase people’s motivation and compel them to click-through and purchase tickets or RSVP.
3. Detailed description of the event
Now that you’ve caught your subscriber’s attention with the value proposition, it’s time to back it up with a detailed description of the event that outlines exactly what attendees can expect to see and do at the event and what they will get from attending.
An example of a great event description comes from this campaign by The Banff Centre.
As you can see, the email contains a detailed event description that outlines exactly what attendees will see during the event, including films on mountain bikers scaling knife-edge ridges and climbers conquering some of the hardest routes in the word.
This detailed description showcases to recipients the amazing films they’ll get to see on the night and builds their motivation to attend the event.
So when creating your next event invitation email, make sure to include a detailed description of the event. You should aim to answer questions potential attendees might have like what will happen at the event, what they will learn, who they will see or hear from, etc. By answering these questions in your description, you’ll increase people’s motivation to attend and compel them to click-through and purchase tickets or RSVP.
4. Time, location & other event details
Despite your best efforts to choose a central location and appropriate time, not everybody on your list is going to be able to make it.
By including the details of the event, such as time and location, in your invite email you help people quickly identify whether this event is something they are going to be able to attend and increase the chances of them clicking-through to your site to RSVP or purchase tickets.
British fashion label Fred Perry do this well in their event invite email for their popup store.
As you can see, the email very clearly shows the location of the event as well as the different times it will be open, making it easy for people to identify whether this is something they can attend and start making plans to be there.
So in your next event invitation email, make sure you include any relevant details about the event that people might need to know. If it’s a physical event, this could include time, location, dress code, parking details, transport information, etc. Alternatively, if it’s a virtual event like a demo or webinar then make sure to include URL’s, dial in numbers, access codes, login details, etc.
As an added extra, it can also help to include a link to a calendar event that automatically adds itself to your subscribers preferred calendar (Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook, etc) when clicked. This helps remind people when your event is taking place and increases the chances they’ll attend.
5. Social Proof
Even if your event is free, people are paying with their time and may have some natural hesitation and anxiety towards attending.
This can be caused by any number of things, including:
- Concern that your event isn’t worth their time and/or money,
- Worry that your event isn’t relevant to them,
- Doubt that your event will deliver the value you claim it will.
So in order to help get people to click-through from your email, purchase tickets and attend your event, you need to take steps to reduce that anxiety.
A great way to do this by including social proof elements, such as testimonials or expert reviews of your event, in your campaigns.
Franklin Road do a great job of this in their invitation email for upcoming shows.
By including a review of the band’s latest album in the email, they help ensure readers of the band’s quality and reduce any anxiety they might have about whether the event will be worth their time.
When you are creating your next event invitation email, try to include elements of social proof like testimonials from previous attendees, expert reviews or even attendee numbers from your last event to reduce anxiety and reassure readers it’ll be worth their time and money.
6. A prominent call to action button
Now that you’ve provided all the information recipients need about your event, it’s time to include a prominent call to action to get them to take the next step.
While you might be tempted to simply tell people about your event and hope they turn up, there’s actually a much higher chance they’ll attend if you get them to commit to it via a registration or ticketing process, even if registration or tickets are free and the process is largely arbitrary.
This is because, according to renowned psychologist Robert Cialdini, when human beings commit to doing something (like attending an event), they are much more likely to go through with it even when the consequences of not doing so are minor.
Campaign Monitor customer Steadfast Creative understand this and used it to their advantage in the campaign for their Open House event.
By including a prominent call to action button encouraging people to RSVP for the event, they are able to get people to commit to attending and increase the likelihood they’ll actually show up on the night.
So next time you’re creating an event invitation campaign, make sure to include a prominent call to action button that links to some sort of registration or ticketing process. Tools like Eventbrite make it easy to do this, and even if the registration and ticketing process is arbitrary it will help increase the chances people will show up at your event.
The event invitation email is one the most important email campaigns you can send to increase the effectiveness of your events.
So next time you are creating one, ensure it has the 6 key elements:
- A targeted list to send to
- A benefit-focused value proposition
- Compelling event information that outlines what attendees can expect at the event
- Event details such as time, location, dress code, etc.
- Elements of social proof to reduce anxiety around the value of your event
- A prominent call to action to get recipient to commit
By including these 6 elements, you ensure that you get the best results possible from your event invitation campaign and drive large numbers of attendees who will make your event a success.
Your turn: What other elements do you include in your event invitation emails to help increase attendance? Share your experience and best practices with our readers so we can all learn together.