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Article first published June 2015, updated April 2019

Do you run events for your business?

Regardless of whether it’s a launch event, conference, or a networking event, the effectiveness of your event is directly related to the number of attendees you get through the door.

How to Market for Your Upcoming Event: 6 Tips to Running an Effective Event Invitation Email Campaign

There’s no better way to reach an audience and increase attendees than through email marketing.

Read on to learn the 6 key elements of creating an effective event invitation email, as well as see some examples from our customer email gallery of event invitation campaigns that got it right. Then we’ll talk about what to do after you’ve hit “send.”

What is an event invitation email?

An event invitation email is a campaign designed to increase awareness of your event and encourage people to attend.

Invitations have been used in society since before Roman History time periods. Event invitation emails are simply the digital-modern version of traditional handwritten scribe invites.

In fact, according to Eventbrite and Emma, 40% of event creators say that event invitation emails are the most effective event marketing materials.

Following are a few examples of event invitation emails:

Following are a few examples of event invitation emails:

Source: Campaign Monitor

Following are a few examples of event invitation emails:

Source: Campaign Monitor

Following are a few examples of event invitation emails:

Source: Campaign Monitor

How do I create an email event?

The first step to sending out your email invitations is to plan the event that you need to invite people to.

Once you have all the details figured out, then comes the fun part: creating the event invitation emails.

To create your email event, you will customize a personalized event invitation email template to send to subscribers.

Are event invitation email templates important?

Yes. Event invitation email templates are important because they cut down time, provide consistency, and allow you to connect branding with your emails. Templates allow your emails to have quality design features that do not need to be hand coded, so event invitation email creators need to do less work but receive more return.

Also, customized event invitation email templates allow you to choose a combination of text and images to convey event details (again, without any hand coding).

Here are a few examples of our event invitation email templates:

Here are a few examples of our event invitation email templates:

Source: Campaign Monitor

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 your campaign.

1. A targeted list

Depending on how you built your email list, it might 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 big event worth traveling for.)

So, 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.

image

Source: Campaign Monitor

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 an event invitation campaign, try segmenting your lists using features like geolocation segments and only send the campaign to subscribers who are able to attend. This way, 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 Fairline Boats:

Fairline event email

Source: Campaign Monitor

The email contains a prominent value proposition that reads “Fairline’s new 48 range.”

This value proposition succeeds because it doesn’t just inform people that there’s an event, but instead focuses on conveying the benefits of attending: a hull design so clever, it has turned itself into three remarkable boats.

This lets readers know what’s in it for them and increases their motivation to attend the event.

So, when creating your company 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

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 company event invitation email campaign from Hudson Ranch and Vineyards:

Hudson event email

Source: Campaign Monitor

This email contains a detailed event description that outlines what attendees will enjoy during 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 does this well in their event invite email for their popup store.

Fred Perry event email

Source: Campaign Monitor

This 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 the relevant URLs, 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 about 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 is by including social proof elements, such as testimonials or expert reviews of your event, in your campaigns.

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.

SXSW understand this and used it to their advantage in their event emails:

SXSW event email

Source: Campaign Monitor

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.

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 that people will show up at your event.

What to send after the original invite

After you’ve created your event invitation emails, then you’re all ready to send it out to your potential attendees.

To optimize your event invitation email campaign, keep track of how many days you have until your event. From the time you hit send to the time you will be going to your event, how many days of preparing do you have in between?

According to the Event Industry’s 2019 Email Benchmarking Report, 53% of companies begin promoting their events one to three months in advance, but it all depends on what works best for your audience.

The number of follow-up emails you should send to your potential attendees will depend on how much time you have until your event. You want to take advantage of follow-up event emails, especially the week of your event because, usually, half the amount of your ticket sales will happen in the final week before your event.

Keep in mind also that 54% of recipients unsubscribe to emails if they are receiving them too frequently, so it’s important to simply remind and not bombard.

Here are a few examples of follow-up event invitation emails:

Here are a few examples of follow-up event invitation emails:

Source: Campaign Monitor

Here are a few examples of follow-up event invitation emails:

Source: AppSumo

Here are a few examples of follow-up event invitation emails:

Source: BuzzFeed

Wrap up

The event invitation email is one of 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:

  1. A targeted list to send to
  2. A benefit-focused value proposition
  3. Compelling event information that outlines what attendees can expect at the event
  4. Event details such as time, location, dress code, etc.
  5. Elements of social proof to reduce anxiety around the value of your event
  6. A prominent call to action to get the 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.

After you’re positive your event invitation email campaign utilizes these six elements and has been sent to subscribers, follow it up with a reminder email, but not too many.

Did you use these elements in your recent event invitation email campaign? If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out these creative event email examples.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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