Email plays an important role in the success of any event. Whether it’s a casual happy hour or a hybrid seminar, event organizers can use their event invitation email to sell out their gathering. But how do you write an event invitation email that converts? Whether you’re working on your first campaign or your fiftieth, we’ve got some expert advice and ideas to spark your imagination.
In this post, we’ll break down our tried-and-true steps for writing an event invitation email that leads will respond to. We’ll also break down why email is the number one channel for RSVPs, share advice from the expert interviews we’ve curated, and outline the relevant email data. Let’s dive in!
Why email is crucial for event registration and planning success
Did you know that 76% of marketers agree email is “the single most effective way to drive registrations”? In a survey conducted by Markletics, 3851 respondents named email as their main marketing channel for events.
This makes sense. Without email, we’d be limited to sending event invitations over SMS, social media, and regular mail. While all of these channels combined can support a successful event campaign, email still remains the best hub for sending invitations.
Not only is email easier to send and receive, it’s also easy to capture user data. Marketers can use this information to better understand their audience, monitor and improve engagement, and create evidence-based sales funnels.
Having this analysis at your fingertips makes it simpler to identify what is or is not working with your event strategy. You can then update your marketing plans accordingly using this real-time feedback… all thanks to email.
How to write an event invitation email
You can follow these basic steps to writing your event invitation email. Whether it will stand alone or kick off a sequence, we recommend taking this approach.
Step 1: Gather samples
Start by grabbing a mix of other event invitations sent out by competitors or brands in your niche that have hosted similar events. Compare and contrast what you like or dislike about each one to further develop your taste and the style of the event. Make a list of elements that inspire you as you move on to the next phase.
Step 2: List key details
Answer each of the following questions:
- What is your goal for the event?
- Who is the event for?
- What are the benefits of attending your event?
- What information will audiences need to know before signing up?
Step 3: Choose the layout and design
Some marketers prefer to work on the copy first and design second, but we recommend starting with the design. It’s easier to see how much space you really have to work with, so you’ll know how much copy you can accommodate. Consider how your design will look on different sized screens. Make sure that whatever you write will fit into the design in a way that is easy to read and aesthetically pleasing.
Step 4: Draft the copy
Your email copy should serve one clear purpose: be persuasive. The purpose of the email will likely be to sign up or buy a ticket for the event. If that’s the case, make sure your event invitation email call to action reflects that.
To be persuasive, highlight one or two of the most exciting elements of your event within this first email. This can be your impressive guest speakers, beautiful location, or one-of-a-kind workshops. Whatever it is, boil your message down to these key points and focus on them while writing.
Step 5: Have a few options
You may find that your first three email drafts weren’t quite right. Make sure you keep each version though. You can easily Frankenstein all of the best parts of your other drafts into a single email you’re satisfied with.
Use these expert tips to write a killer event invitation email that actually gets engagement
Make your event invitation email stand out with these best practices, unique ideas, and real-life examples. We interviewed experts and dug deep into research to compile this list of actionable steps that will take your marketing to the next level. Use one or more of the following suggestions to increase your open rate, hook recipients, and ultimately sell more event tickets.
- Put important details above the fold
“Emails promoting events should generally be brief,” says Kavin Patel, the Founder and CEO of Convrrt. His platform offers businesses email marketing tools, among many others. In an email to Social Tables, Patel went on to say that “at the beginning of the email, list the most important details about your event, such as the date, the venue, and a link to purchase tickets.”
Keeping the viewer’s attention above the fold is crucial. “The fewer scrolls your reader needs to make to find the information they need are better,” advises Patel. Also, don’t forget to match your email subject lines with the content of the email itself so leads know what to expect when opening the message.
- Time it right
A joint survey of over 400 event marketers conducted by Eventbrite and email marketing software Emma found that the times and dates these professionals sent out their event invitations greatly varies. But there are some patterns.
Some, 27%, took the early bird gets the worm route by starting their event invitation email sequences two to three months in advance of the event. Another 26% waited until a month before. And still another 14% waited until about two weeks out.
Our takeaway? All things being equal, you really can send your first event invitation email anywhere from three months to two weeks out without negative consequences. Any more or less time than that might mean risking low attendance numbers.
This might be because sending your first invitation so far in advance makes it easier to forget about the event entirely. And if you wait to send it less than 14 days before the event, there’s a good chance some of your audience will already have plans for the time and date.
Another interesting takeaway from this survey: the majority of event marketers preferred to send their first event invitation email on Tuesday afternoons. While this may not mean this time and date combination is best for your audience, as Rachel Grate, a content strategist and editor at Eventbrite reminds us, it’s a good place to start.
Before scheduling the message for 2:00 pm on a Tuesday, consider the following:
- Whether or not they’ve interacted with your emails on this same time of day in the past (hint: look at your previous data)
- Your target audience’s personal and professional habits
- Any big events that may be happening in your target audience’s industry or country
- What time zone they are located in
- Segment audiences
Social Tables also spoke to Cicinia’s Chief Digital Officer Caitlyn Parish. Having worked in the bridal industry for many years as both an event planner and a marketer, Parish knows a thing or two about writing event invitation emails for her clients and her own business.
“Contrary to the general tip of sending mass emails to prospects instantly,” says Parish, “it is important to categorize audiences that will be reached to recognize their varying degree of inclination and expectations toward the forthcoming event.”
In other words, consider who will actually be reading your event invitation email. Are there goals different from other parts of your audience? Will they respond to the same language? What about the same CTAs? Consider these questions before you hit “send”.
And don’t forget to personalize your subject lines by directly addressing the recipient by name.
- Choose the right tone
Parish also said that it’s important to reconcile both the tone and purpose of your email. If the event is formal, use formal language. But as Parish points out, “email invitations need not be highly formal at all times, so make sure to include a casual tone if appropriate.”
For example, the language you use to write an event invitation email for a child’s birthday party will be different from the language you use for a corporate gala.
- Add some bells and whistles
Event invitation emails with one or more embedded images, video links, GIFs, and special offers are a winning combination in our books. Here are some creative ways to use multimedia features in your event invitation email to create better engagement:
- Create event speaker cards with their bios and headshots
- Record a personalized event invitation video directly addressing the recipient on a personal level
- Add some casual humor to your event invitation email with GIFs that reference pop culture
- Place a ticketing countdown clock in the email body to add a sense of urgency to your registration deadline
- Insert Tweetable event invitations guests can use to see who else in their network is going
- Include a clip of all the fun everyone had at last year’s event
As you can see, these additions are engaging, entertaining, and persuasive in any event invitation email. The sky’s the limit with this! However we do recommend keeping your design and messaging streamlined, so that the event invitation is as easy to read as possible.
- Follow etiquette rules
Event invitation etiquette was created for handwritten letters. But the lessons we learn from this widely accepted code of conduct applies to electronic mail, too. The biggest etiquette rule event marketers should pay attention to? Answering questions your audience is likely to have.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Dress codes
- Parking instructions, and a map if the venue is challenging to find
- Rules on plus ones
- A brief synopsis of food and beverage everyone can expect plus where to submit allergy or dietary restriction information
- Event-specific information they may not have thought to ask about (think bug spray, umbrellas rentals, etc.)
- Use a template
Kate Zhang is the founder of Kate Backdrop, a company that provides photo backdrops for events. Here is an event invitation email template she’s successfully sent to her VIP customers:
You are cordially invited to attend our upcoming event (insert event name here). This exciting gathering will be taking place on (insert date and time here), and we would love for you to join us.
The purpose of this event is to (insert event purpose here), and we think you will be a valuable addition to the conversation. This will be a great opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, and we hope you will take advantage of this chance to connect with others in your field.
If you are interested in attending, RSVP by (insert date here). We look forward to seeing you there!
As you can see, this type of event invitation email is short and sweet while also offering a few key components:
- Event details
- A short explanation of the event goal
- What guests can get out of it
- Why she has specifically invited this person
- How and when to follow up by
All though it’s quite simple, the straightforwardness of this message provides just the right mix of information without being overwhelming.
We recommend this template for emails sent directly to individuals rather than an entire list. You can even use this example as a jumping off point and add in other elements later on.
Ready to get event goers excited about your next gathering?
Use our helpful guide to increasing audience engagement to get the industry’s latest tips and tricks.