A good invitation must be eye-catching, intriguing and exciting. Try to persuade your target group with a combination of rational and emotional arguments. Why should they come to your event? How can you persuade them to give up some of their precious free time?
Some guests will only take part if there are good networking possibilities; others are partial to expert presentations by leading professionals in their field. You should also try to play on their emotions, but this will only work if you do it in the right manner. It has been mentioned before, but it bears repeating: you must know how your target group thinks and feels! Invitations differ according to the function of the people you are trying to attract. An invitation for an executive will not be the same as an invitation for a sales rep. Remember to adjust the form, style, tone, language and colour to suit your target group. tip A A short and clear message always works best. Avoid too much text. Emphasise the date and venue as eye catchers.
While you obviously need to stress the importance of the event itself, also explain why the presence of the invitee is so crucial to its success. Your guests need to feel important. But don’t be too blatant with your flattery. Subtle hints are better and make your event more exclusive. Your creativity and originality should already start with the envelope. An elegant invitation does not belong in a boring impersonal envelope. Are you trying to attract people who you know have a busy professional life? Send a warm-up letter or a ‘teaser’. If their curiosity is aroused, this allows them to keep the date free in their diary. Or you may prefer to send a ‘save-the-date’ message by e-mail. Always use the same style and layout. It is important that all your communications can be directly and visually linked to your event.
The amount of information contained in your invitation will vary from event to event. However, some information is so essential that it always needs to be included:
- Who? Who is organising the event? Who is receiving an invitation? What kind of public will be present (trade, press, etc.)?
- What? What can your guests expect? What is on the programme? Unless, of course, this needs to be kept as a surprise. Even so, always try to arouse the invitee’s curiosity.
- Where? Where is the event taking place? How do you get there and where can you park? Include a map and a route plan, which takes account of people approaching from different directions.
- When? What is the date of your event? At what time are the guests expected to arrive? Is there an official closing time?
- Why? What is the purpose of the event?
- Response How can you register your attendance? By what date do you have to do this? To whom should the invitees address any questions they might have (telephone number, e-mail address, contact person)?
Is there something out of the ordinary about your event? Do you expect something extra from your guests? Remember to mention it on the invitation.
- Are partners and/or children invited (or not)?
- Is a particular type of clothing desired? What is the dress code?
- Is the invitation a personal one, or can it be passed on to a colleague or (business) partner?
- Admission charges, conditions, etc.
Is it necessary for your invitees to let you know whether they are coming or not? If so, make this clear on the invitation. Even though it is essentially a matter of politeness to reply to an invitation, not everyone will do it. You can encourage the type of response you want by using one of a standard series of abbreviations. You may need to bear in mind that not everyone will be familiar with the meaning of these abbreviations, so sometimes you will have to spell it out more literally, depending on the target group concerned.
- RSVP (Répondez, s’il vous plaît). This requests a reply from the invitee, to confirm whether they are coming or not.
- Regrets only. This is used when only negative replies are necessary.
- RFSVP (Response favorable s’il vous plaît). This is used when only positive replies are necessary.