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Professional Invitation Management Part 2: How to Design Invitations that Nobody Can Deny

Wednesday, 4. September 2019 | by: Julia Fischer | Exhibit Marketing

Every day we receive invitations in so many different ways that are meant to encourage us to participate in an event or buy a ticket for it. But in order for an invitation to be convincing it has to appeal to the recipient in different ways and win them over. That requires know-how and creativity. In this blog post, you’ll read about how you can optimize your printed or digital invitation to receive a higher response rate.

What Belongs in Every Invitation?

Every kind of invitation has the same basic contents that anyone who is putting together an invitation should consider. These are the classic questions an invitation has to answer: Where and when is what happening?Who is the organizer, (and) who is invited? Also, how much does it cost to participate? To go further, it’s also important to answer why those who are invited should confirm your invitation. In other words, what would the participants get out of attending your event? Additionally, the address plays an especially important role. Here, the more personal it is, the better.

In the truest sense of the word, make your invitation inviting and friendly. Make the recipient curious and include a concrete “call to action” like “Expand your horizons and learn about the newest developments in our industry!” Different kinds of templates can serve as helpful inspiration, but don’t be tempted to use entire texts. In the end, you want to stand out from the crowd and have a style that’s completely your own. You can also stand out and be memorable with a creative salutation.

But there are two conditions that have to be met for the recipient to even open and read the invitation: First, it has to reach the recipient via a suitable method, and second, the “package” has to address the recipient. There are two reasons for this: Number one, because it shows that you know who your target group is. And number two, because it shows that you know what their needs and preferences are.

Printed Invitations that Stand Out

Nowadays, anyone who wants to stand out in the flood of promotional letters has to come up with something special. Let’s assume that you would like to attract relevant decision-makers (CEOs, managers, department heads, etc.) The first obstacles you have to overcome in this case are the secretaries or assistants. If your invitation gets thrown into the heap of usual boring things, it’ll quickly end up in the trash can.

In the B2B realm, the list of target clients and customers is often manageable. There’s a lot of potential in it: If you know your target group and their needs, it’s worth investing in a unique and imaginative invitation. Be creative or hire a professional agency with experience doing this kind of work. Don’t limit yourself at the beginning to a specific format or price range. Instead, think outside the box. Talking directly with representatives of your target group can be very helpful. Here, we’ll give you two examples of invitations that would be likely to get a lot of attention:

Example 1: Imagine yourself opening a box and coming up out of it is a helium-filled balloon. Attached to the
balloon is an invitation with a map and directions personalized to your location.

Example 2: Maybe a video message in the invitation? Thanks to flat, power-saving displays this is now possible.

Getting Noticed with a Standard Invitation

If you have to fall back on a standard format because it’s more highly circulated, it’s worth using special paper materials, embossing or perforation, brilliant ink colors or appropriately scented paper. Another way to stand out is to use a hand-lettered envelope with a stamp on it because it comes across as more personal and invites the recipient to open it. Our subconscious immediately connects colorful envelopes with advertisements. Watch yourself the next time you go to the mailbox: All the blank letters get more attention than the blatant sales envelopes and prospects.

You should always keep in mind that your recipients will scan your invitation and decide within a few seconds whether it’s relevant to them or not. That’s the first, and maybe only, chance you’ll have to convince the recipient to keep reading.

Thanks to numerous tools, sending out a large number of invitations via e-mail is technically no longer a big deal (even when they’re partially personalized). But it’s not so easy to get your potential guests to open, let alone really read, the newsletter. The success of this form of invitation depends on multiple factors. When an e-mail is sent to a person’s mailbox, they see three important things right off the bat:

The sender’s name: Even before the recipient reads the subject line, they’ll read the sender’s name. It should be trustworthy and appropriate for the occasion. If, for example, you’re inviting important trade partners to a meeting, you shouldn’t use an “info@-address.”
The subject line: The subject line has to be brief and make the reader curious. You often have only 80 characters with which to do this, and some e-mail programs only show 30 to 40 characters. Mention advantages, usefulness, or added value in the subject line, ask a challenging question, or use emoticons so that your e-mail will stand out in the mailbox.
The preheader: In many e-mail clients, the preheader offers a look at the first lines of the e-mail. Instead of using a usual greeting, you can also use this teaser text to make the reader curious and encourage them to open the letter.

Getting Them to Click Is Half the Battle

If you’ve convinced your recipient to open the e-mail, the design was the first thing that influenced them. It’s advisable to always create your e-mails with the design of your company’s brand included in them. The recognition value of an established brand can be worth its weight in gold. But in exceptional cases you can take advantage of this habit and surprise your recipients with a message written in plain text that they would normally see in a private message. That’s almost the e-mail equivalent of a hand-lettered envelope.

Another important point: If possible, never send an e-mail without a personal address. It’s how you show interest in your recipient and create a personal connection. For example, in the introduction you could start with a question or short story. No one likes it when someone just blurts something out. If you’ve put a good amount of work into the creation of the personae, it’ll be much easier for you to find the right words.

Relevant and useful content is just as important in an e-mail invitation as it is in a printed invitation. Stop boring your readers with complex technical terms and expertise. Keep your invitation short and write in a way that’s easy to understand. Bringing graphics, pictures, and/or links into it can strengthen your content and, if needed, evoke an emotional response.

Bottom line: Remember that your invitation is only one among many. In order to convince recipients that your event is worthwhile, it has to stand out, speak to the reader, and offer them something of value. Keep the following points in mind:

1. Stand out: Whether you send your invitation through the standard mail or via e-mail, it has to stand out among countless others. Be mindful of your target group and be creative!
2. That special something: A large number of invitations can also be improved at a relatively low cost. Use special paper or formatting to surprise the recipient.
3. Get personal: Write to the recipients by name, build a personal connection, and make them feel like you’re talking to them.
4. Convincing content: Initially, the recipient will just scan your invitation. For this reason, you need to make it clear at first glance what the guest can expect.
5. Key Information: Make sure that your invitation contains the most important basic information, and that it clearly states what the guest will get out of attending your event.

More articles from Julia Fischer at:

Marketing Exhibition marketing Eyecatcher Invitations
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About Julia Fischer

Julia Fischer was born in 1990 in Chemnitz, Germany. She studied Sociology with an emphasis on Urban Sociology (Urban and Regional Development) as well as Occupational Sociology (Labor, Development, and Learning Processes). Since 2014 she’s been a member of the team at C3 Chemnitzer Veranstaltungszentren GmbH (C3 Chemnitz Event Centers GmbH). She is also the representative sales manager specializing in the areas of conventions, meetings, and company events.

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