Updated Jul 11th, 2022 by Nicolas Zenker
No matter what your event is — a company retreat, a major conference, a strategy meeting, even a webinar — one thing’s for certain: you’ll need to find a way to invite people to it.
Nowadays, there are more ways than ever to send business event invitations, and it can sometimes be difficult to figure out which option is best for your business and event. Should you go offline or stay digital? Focus your efforts on an email campaign or rely on social media?
To take some of the stress out of the decision-making process, we’ve compiled this handy guide on the easiest ways to send business event invitations. You’re guaranteed to find an option that works for you.
The earliest decision you’ll have to make when it comes to sending out business event invitations is whether you’ll use digital or offline invitations. Both options have their benefits and drawbacks, so to make your decision easier, we’ve quickly broken down the pros and cons of each.
The main benefit of offline or paper invitations is that they’re impossible to ignore — an email can quickly disappear in your inbox, but a physical invitation is much harder to lose. With paper invitations you’ll also have access to an advanced degree of style and personalization that’s harder to come by with digital invitations. Naturally, you’ll also make your invitations more appealing to older generations, who are less fluent with digital technologies.
On the other hand, sending out paper invitations is usually a more time-intensive and costly method, and it doesn’t allow you to send follow-ups or reminders, unless you’re willing to send out another round of invites entirely. Similarly, there’s no immediate RSVP option, and while your paper invitation can refer guests to an RSVP site, this introduces a degree of user friction that can be devastating to your sign-ups.
The main benefit of online or digital invitations is their speed and efficiency. As soon as you press send, it’s only a matter of moments until your potential guests receive your invitation. They also offer a truly impressive degree of customization and personalization, which can make invitees more likely to RSVP. On top of this, digital invitations are typically cheaper and make it easy to send follow-ups and reminders — plus, they can easily provide a smooth and seamless RSVP option.
At the same time, digital invitations carry less weight than offline invitations — literally. It can be easy for digital invitations to “disappear” in a person’s inbox, which can be harmful to your sign-ups. And of course, if your event is targeting an older demographic, digital invitations can make it difficult for some to engage with your invites, lowering RSVPs and attendance.
If you’ve settled on digital invitations for your event, the next step is to consider how you’ll send them out. The great news is you’ll have plenty of channels at your disposal, and should feel free to combine as many as you want into an omnichannel campaign.
Social media is one of the most popular ways out there of sending business event invites, and for good reason. With plenty of platforms to choose from, most of which make it easy to create and publicize events, leveraging social media is a key part of any event’s marketing campaign.
The tone of a social media event invitation should always be slightly casual, closer to a conversation than a formal invitation. It can be a great idea to peg your event announcement to current events or conversations occurring on the social media platform as well.
Most social media platforms, such as Twitter, make it easy to share posts including event announcements and invitations. If you’re effectively spreading the word about an upcoming event, chances are other accounts will be tweeting about it — don’t be shy about retweeting these posts. Note that if your event landing page has all the relevant information, you should feel free to use fewer words in your social post — think of it as a teaser designed to pique a scrolling user’s attention.
Email event marketing campaigns are one of the most reliable methods of getting the news about your event out into the world. Whether it’s an upcoming conference, webinar, team-building event, party, or something else entirely, a properly managed email event invitation can get the job done.
Business invitations sent via email are ideal for conveying a wealth of information about your event, and with the right copy and images, can easily spark attendee interest and excitement levels. Emails also make it easy to link to a number of resources, like event landing pages and add-to-calendar buttons. By using AddEvent to include these helpful links, you can make your event invitations all the more successful.
Groups can be an excellent way to send business event invitations online, since they provide built-in access to a network of like minded individuals — in other words, groups can do your audience targeting for you. They also make it easy for group members to share the event invitation, helping to spread the word about your upcoming event.
Facebook offers a streamlined group experience that makes it easy to create a group event and then invite group members to it. Here’s what you’ll need to do to invite Facebook group members to an event:
Google Calendar also allows you to invite groups to calendar events. All you’ll need to do is navigate to Google Calendar and then enter the email address for the group you want to see the event, the same way you’d add an individual guest.
Slack, the popular workplace messaging service, makes it simple to send event invites and collect RSVPs. Just follow a few simple steps, and your event invites will be out in no time:
And that’s it! Your guests should receive your invite shortly, and will be able to respond and RSVP through Slack. If you enable the calendar invite option during the set-up phase, any guest who RSVPs will be added to the event on your preferred calendar service.
No matter how you’re sending out your event invitations, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to make sure you’re getting the most out of them. Below, we’ve brought together some best practices for online event invitations.
One of the best ways to ensure as many people as possible RSVP for your event is to make the sign-up process clear and simple. Ideally, your event invitation will contain a clickable RSVP, sign-up, or add-to-calendar option that takes only a few seconds to complete.
AddEvent makes it easy to add event RSVP to your event invitation — it’s as simple as checking the RSVP box on the event creation page. When your users navigate to your RSVP event landing page, they’ll be prompted to fill out your RSVP form, after which an Add to Calendar button will appear so they can add your event to their calendar.
To add an event RSVP form, start by creating an event in the Dashboard on AddEvent.com. Fill in the event details, including date and time, and then check the RSVP box. You’ll have the chance to customize your RSVP form. When you’re finished, click the blue “Create” button, and voila!
When finding the best timing for your event announcement, you’ll want to take into account the date of your event, its size and location, and the type of invitation you’ll be using. In-person events will usually require a longer lead time, while online events like meetings and webinars offer a little more wiggle room. For an in-person event, you might send out your first round of invitations 2-3 months before the event, while for online events a heads-up of 2-3 weeks, or even a month, is often ideal.
If you’re sending invites online, aim to schedule them for the middle of the week — potential guests are typically most responsive on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with Wednesday a close runner-up. Of course, it’s a good idea to take into account who your audience is, which time zone they’re likely to be living in, and when they’re most likely to respond to your invite.
Clearly, you’ll want to provide information about when and where your event is taking place in the event invitation. It’s also a good idea to provide a more detailed description of the event that covers what potential attendees can expect to do, see, and learn at the event. One way to think about this practice is try to answer any questions potential guests might have about the event in your invitation.
To make your event’s time and date a little more memorable, you can even include an add-to-calendar link in your event invitation, which will automatically add the event to the user’s preferred calendar service, including Outlook, Google Calendar, iCal, and more. This can help ease the pressure of making a decision to attend in the moment, while also providing a built-in reminder about your event on your guests’ calendars.
Your event invitation should also contain what’s called a value proposition, a quick statement that explains to your potential guests just why they should attend your event. You might discuss the specific benefits of attending the event, including what attendees will learn, and why that knowledge is valuable. Prominent speakers or panelists are often a big part of an event’s value proposition, so don’t be afraid to hype them up.
You can be very clear and direct with your value proposition, of course, but it’s often best to couch your event’s value in clean and engaging copy that allows potential attendees to intuit what they’ll gain from your event. Overall, if a potential attendee has a clear understanding of what they can get out of an event, they’ll be much more motivated to RSVP and attend.
So you’ve sent out emails, promoted your event through social media, and more, but are still looking for ways to reach a wider audience. One simple way to do that is to take advantage of your invitees’ networks by encouraging them to share your invitation with anyone they know who might be interested in attending.
To make that prospect a little more appealing, you can even offer referral mechanisms or incentives for individuals to share the event. If it’s a ticketed event, that might include early bird pricing, while for a webinar you might offer early access to a recording of the event, or special supplementary materials.