How to Write an Invitation Email to Draw Hundreds of Attendees to Your Event

When coordinating and planning an event, there are many tasks to do and challenges to overcome.

Whether you're hosting an in-person event, virtual gathering, or hybrid event, you have to make sure that you get as many attendees as possible. While the operational logistics can change from one event to the next, one component can make or break your attendance level - the event invitation. 

The easiest and most effective way to send an event invitation is via email. On its own, email marketing is a valuable promotional tool. Over half (64 percent) of businesses use email to reach out to customers, and 78 percent of email marketers have seen increased user engagement since 2021.[1] 

Why is email so appealing to users and event coordinators?

    • Tracking and Statistics - It's easy to see how many recipients opened your email and clicked on a link. This data can help you craft better emails for future events. 
    • User Engagement - 99 percent of people check their email messages daily, and the top brands experience an open rate of over 30 percent. 
    • Customizable - As we'll discuss, personalization is a huge advantage when sending an email event invitation. Email marketing empowers you to speak to guests directly. 

While these benefits illustrate the potential power of an email invite, you still have to put in the work. Let's dive into how to craft the best event invitation to attract attendees.

 

Anatomy of an Email Message

Before you write anything, it helps to know what to include in your event email invitation. Once you master the basics, you can get creative with your messaging. Here's a quick breakdown of the various components that make a compelling invite.

anatomy of an email

 

Email Address

This piece may seem relatively minor, but it can make a substantial difference in the eyes of your recipients. Think of it this way - would you open an email from a sketchy-looking sender? Or, would you pay attention to the content of an email if it came from a bot or automation program? So, you have to ensure that your email address looks professional and authentic. In fact, 64 percent of users open an email based on who it's from more than any other factor.[2] Depending on the marketing software you use, you should be able to customize your address for specific campaigns without having to set up a new inbox. 

For example, instead of sending your event invitation from johnsmith@gmail.com, you could send it from [youreventname][eventyear]@[youreventwebsite.com].

 

Compelling Subject Line

Did you know that 47 percent of email recipients open a message based solely on the subject line?[3] So, if this component doesn't grab attention, you're less likely to get anyone to open your email. Also, remember that you're competing against all the other messages in your recipient's inbox. The average user receives over 120 emails per day, so that's a lot of competition. When crafting a subject line, keep these elements in mind: 

    • Keep It Short - Your recipients may be getting emails on a mobile device or computer. Either way, a long subject line will get cut off. So, aim for shorter lines that will get noticed immediately. 
    • Use Compelling Words - Whenever possible, find words that excite your user. For example, instead of "come to our party," you could say, "Have a blast with us!"
    • Keep It Casual - Events are supposed to be fun, so your subject line should be too. Typically, you don't need to send a formal invitation email for an event. However, if it's a glitzy and glamorous occasion, feel free to dress it up accordingly.

 

Personalized Greeting

These days, users don't want generic sales messages. Instead, they want personalized attention. Fortunately, top-tier email marketing services allow you to customize your messages to each person. You can use their first name or preferred nickname if they provide one. Also, you can organize your email lists to ensure that you're sending the correct greeting to the right person. For example, some guests may prefer a more formal introduction, while others are friendlier.

 

Curated Content

Again, sending mass emails to hundreds of recipients is no longer in vogue. Instead, you should organize your lists based on user data, such as open history and click-through rates. When it comes to event invitations, you want to make sure that you target the right guest list. For example, if you're hosting an industry insider event, you should invite people who have opened links to blog posts about the industry. Overall, the more you can curate your emails to fit your user's preferences, the more likely they'll open and engage.

 

Valuable Information

Emails should not be rambling blocks of text that go on for several paragraphs. Instead, you want to deliver concise, valuable details about your event and why the person should attend. After a quick greeting, dive straight into the core elements. These include the who, the what, the where, and the when. As far as the why, that's what the second paragraph should address.

 

Visual Aids

People are visual learners, so they respond better to graphics and images than walls of text. While you shouldn't add too many photos or icons to your email, they can be helpful to break up the information. You can also use graphics to provide those details, such as an event banner or colorized invitation. 

When picking images and graphics, see how they look on a mobile screen. Since many of your attendees will likely open the message on a smartphone or tablet, you have to ensure that nothing gets lost in translation.

 

Email Signature

If you haven't set up an email signature, now's the time. This piece acts as the boilerplate text that allows respondents to contact you for more information if necessary. Ideally, you can customize your signature to fit each event. For example, if you create an event landing page, you can link to it at the bottom, along with an event email address and/or phone number. You should also include any highlights, such as "10th Annual" or "Award-Winning," if applicable.

 

Event Email Invitation Essentials

Now that we've dissected the fundamental components of a marketing email, let's discuss how to make your event email invitation pop. We'll also provide some event email examples for in-person, hybrid, and virtual gatherings. 

 

Focus on the Benefits

Why should someone attend your event? Is it to have fun? Is it to win big prizes? Is it to learn valuable information or connect with high-value individuals? Whatever the case may be, put those benefits front and center. If possible, try to incorporate them into your subject line. 

For example, let's say you're hosting an industry event where guests can gather valuable insight from insiders and experts. In this case, the educational aspect is the primary benefit, so that should be the opening line. If a high-value speaker is attending, you can include their name (i.e., meet John Smith at Our Exclusive Panel Discussion). 

Also, consider that there may be unique benefits for different people. Some guests may see value in gaining new knowledge. Others may see the event as a networking opportunity. Here is where curating your lists can come in handy. Be sure to craft different emails for each group so that they're more likely to attend.

 

Create a Captivating Call-to-Action (CTA)

Once a recipient reads your email, what should they do? Reply with an RVSP? Buy a ticket? Make sure to have your call-to-action visible immediately. You can use colored buttons, graphics, or extra-large fonts to get the job done. Also, focus on one specific task, not several. For example, if a reader has to buy a ticket, the link should take them to a shopping cart. If they go to a landing page and have to click another button, you'll lose quite a few people in the process. 

 

Use Stylish Graphics and Banners

Your event email invitation has to capture your reader's attention immediately. Otherwise, they're likely to close and delete your email without getting to your CTA. One way to do this is by inserting high-quality, event-specific banners and images. If you've hosted the event before, you can include highlights from previous outings. If it's a brand-new event, you can create a captivating logo for it. 

In some cases, a banner or graphic can lead a reader to a landing page to find out more information. Since you don't want to overload your email with too much text, this option works well to deliver value without being too dull.

 

Keep Your Content Clear and Concise

There's a reason we suggest using a handful of images or graphics. If too much is going on in your email, users will get turned off and delete it immediately. Again, remember that your recipients may see their invitation on a mobile device. So, confusing or convoluted designs make reading and engaging with your email much harder. Overall, simplicity is your friend. 

 

Adjust Your Email Based On Your Event Type

If you're using a virtual event platform, your invitation will look much different than if you're hosting an in-person event. Virtual events can be just as fun and engaging as traditional parties, but they require more onboarding and technical savvy. Also, it's harder for guests to visualize what the experience will be like, especially if they've never attended a virtual event before. 

In this case, additional content like promo videos or links to the platform website can make it easier for attendees to RSVP.

 

Tips for Writing a Cold Event Email Invitation

Ideally, your guest list will consist of people who have attended other similar events. At the very least, they should be somewhat familiar with your brand and what you have to offer. That said, you'll likely send quite a few "cold" emails to new subscribers. Here are some tips and tricks to get them to open your message and attend your event.

cold email checklist

 

Use the Right Email Marketing Platform

The best email platforms have loads of tools to make your job easier. Some examples include A/B testing (more on that next), personalization, and automation tools. For instance, if a user clicks on a link to buy a ticket, that can trigger a follow-up email explaining more about the event and what they can expect. You should also have access to analytical tools to refine your message until it's perfect.

 

Conduct A/B Testing

One of the primary issues with any kind of marketing is that it's hard to know what users want before you send them something. A/B testing allows you to send different messages to two groups. From there, you can see which one got the most opens and clicks and then use it to send to the rest of your email list. Although A/B testing can take time to do correctly, it's worth the investment. Plus, over time, you can figure out which elements work the most and start to incorporate them into all your messages. 

 

Make Sure Your Messages Don't Go to Spam

Spam filters are much savvier today than in years past. So, you have to ensure that your email won't get dropped in your recipient's spam folder. Fortunately, your software should be able to do a spam check for you. However, as a rule, try to avoid too many exclamation points, misspellings, and sales words (e.g., offer, act now, buy now, etc.). 

Another way to test your email is to send it to people you know and ask if they had any trouble receiving it. It's best to do this before sending your bulk emails, not after.

 

Target Your Audience Directly

As you build your email lists, you should have a good idea of the types of people populating them. If possible, create user avatars to develop specific outlines of your demographics. From there, it's easy to craft a compelling email that will entice a reader to click and engage. Focus on their wants, needs, and any problems they may be having. Then, show how your event can fulfill those elements.

 

Personalize Your Content

Overall, personalization is crucial for a successful email campaign. If you want your event invitations to draw huge crowds, you have to speak to your audience directly. Again, by appealing to each group's wants and needs, you can build buzz and drive ticket sales and/or RSVPs.

 

The Bottom Line

When creating a promotion invitation email, the time and energy you spend on the message matters. If you take a few seconds to draft something, the less likely anyone will read it or pay attention. Overall, the more you put into your invitation, the more you'll get out. That said, there is a limit to how much content can go in a single email, so you have to learn how to condense lots of information into a couple of paragraphs. Over time, this process will only get easier, and you'll be able to draw massive crowds without breaking a sweat.



 E-Book: The Playbook to Planning Your Virtual Event

 

Related Resources:

18 Important Survey Questions to Ask Your Event Attendees

Quick and Reliable Event Promotion Ideas for Short Deadlines

 

Sources:

1. HubSpot - The Ultimate List of Email Marketing Stats for 2022
2. Terminus - How People ACTUALLY Read Your Emails (A Scientifically-Backed Guide)
3. Business2Community - Understanding the Importance of E-mail Subject Lines

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