There's Tech for That: Event Invites
By Madison Howard
To print or not to print? While printed invitations are beautiful, they're also costly, easy to lose, and hard to track. Today, the pros of using online email marketing tools often outweigh the cost and challenges that come with mailing printed invitations. Technology has improved drastically. If you haven’t thought about sending email invitations or communicating with attendees online, we’ve outlined a few reasons why you should.
The List A contact list is one of the most frustrating aspects of event planning. Is the list up to date? Are there duplicates? Do you have the correct information? Cross-checking, updating, and organization can take forever. If you’re using a basic Excel sheet that isn’t integrated with sales systems, or you’re working from a printed list – it’s likely your contact list will be out of date quickly or take hours to update. If you’re mailing invites, the likelihood that addresses have changed, or there’s a small error in the street address, apartment number, or zip code is high.
Email marketing allows you to keep track of your list, segment, track open rates, and more. And when you send email invites – all you need is an email address.
Design Printed materials can be beautiful. But now, so can email invites. Technology can mimic the look and feel of a printed invite without costing an exorbitant amount. The design capabilities online have pretty much caught up to what can be done on paper. Emails no longer have to be plain, poorly formatted blocks of black and white text. Nowadays, you have the opportunity to add images, links, fonts, and incorporate your companies branding. Additionally, emails can be easily personalized. Adding a first name in the greeting is easy and takes no extra effort on your part.
Accessibility I don’t know about you, but I can’t keep track of a piece of paper to save my life. Once I take it out of the mailbox, it’s anyone’s guess as to where I placed the invite. If your attendees can’t keep track of an invite, it’s going to make it harder for them to remember that they have an event.
People are busy, and not everyone has a magnetic fridge they use as a showcase for upcoming events. You need to make the process easy and seamless. An email is easier to find – you can search for it in your inbox. Whether you're on a phone or computer, you'll have access.
Tracking RSVPs RSVPs and registration should be as simple and painless as possible. The registration process shouldn't be the cause of low event attendance. Keep it easy. Make it so that all your attendee needs to do is click on a link, then fill out a registration form. They don’t need to worry about mailing a card back, or calling a phone number to register. The best part? You can send reminders and follow-up emails so your attendees know exactly when the event is and what they’ll need to do, lowering their level of stress.
Cost Paper is expensive. Not only that, the man-hours needed to stuff envelopes and digitize the responses that come back adds unnecessary cost. An online system tracks registration with no additional time needed from your staff. And, the cost of sending emails is incredibly low. You can send an invitation, reminder, and even a second reminder, for much less than it would cost to print one set of invitations and postage.
Data You want to know who attended, who was a no-show, who couldn’t make it and more. Online systems track registrations, making it easy to know who’s coming. Let your email marketing tool track it for you – don’t spend extra time inputting data. As good as you might be at inputting information, human error is a thing. Having measurable, trackable data that’s tracked automatically cuts down on errors in reporting. Sometimes, you will want to send a printed invitation. But more often than not, it won't be a necessity. Cut down on costs and increase attendance by using email marketing. For tips and tricks, read: Event Management Technology for Dummies
Madison Howard A graduate of the College of William and Mary, my passion for writing began before I could read, with a nightly verbal diary dictation transcribed by my obliging parents. When I'm not writing, you can find me binge-watching TV shows, baking elaborate desserts, and memorizing pop culture facts.