Planning an event is an exhaustive (and exhausting) process. Between setting a date, finding a venue, and fine-tuning your guest list, a lot goes into hosting an event. From idea, to planning, to execution, there’s one thing no event can go without – guests.
Which is why creating the perfect event invitation email is essential.
What makes an effective invitation email?
Whether you’re using an email invitation template or coding from scratch, there are a few things that make any invitation email more effective. So, before we get into the specifics, here are a few structure and branding ideas to boost the performance of any email invite.
For most people, deciding whether or not to attend an event depends on who else is going. If recipients can’t tell whose event invitation they just received, it’s unlikely they’re going to be interested in attending. So, make sure to set the send name to your company name on your invitations. Alternatively, if you want invitations to come from an individual, include the company name somewhere in the subject line.
The inbox is a busy place, with more than 300 billion emails sent and received every day. If you want your invitation to stand a chance of being seen, your subject line needs to inspire the open. Now’s not the time to play coy about what your event has in store.
Your event invitation email’s subject line should feature the most exciting, interesting, intriguing aspects of your event. Save the less interesting details for inside the email itself.
Of course, not everyone is interested in the same selling points, which is where your preview text comes in. This so-called “second subject line” gives you a second chance to get the open. While there’s no magic subject line+preview text formula that will guarantee your audience’s attention, focus on being both exciting and informative. That way, readers know why they’re clicking and what to expect once they do.
If invitees manage to miss your send name, your header logo can serve to remind them whose invitation they just opened. Your logo design is the heart of your brand, so make sure to feature it prominently in your invitation emails.
For marketing events especially, consistent use of your logo (from invitations to cocktail napkins) will build brand awareness. Over time, this ensures your events deliver a return on investment, rather than just a fun night.
But your company’s logo isn’t the only element of your brand identity to feature in your invitation emails. You also need to consider your company’s colors, fonts, and image style. These will help your event invitation emails to build on the brand awareness generated by your other marketing efforts. After all, events can be an expensive investment, so having them work with your other marketing efforts will help you to get your money’s worth.
As much as the body copy of your event invitation emails needs to be functional, it also needs to be exciting. Why people should attend your event— not just how or when—should be front and center in your email content. Even if you think you’ve gotten your point across, take a step back to ask yourself:
- What is your audience looking for in an event?
- Are you motivating people to attend this event?
- Does it sound interesting?
- Are its biggest selling points being pushed?
- Would you want to attend this event if you weren’t running it?
If you have a world-famous speaker or an open bar, you better mention those in your invitation email.
Some aspects of an event look better than they sound. For highlighting things like location, venue, and swag—show, don’t tell. Rich media like photos of your venue or videos of your speakers will motivate attendees to RSVP more than anything you can write. Since you’ll want to keep your content snappy, an image, video, or gif can cut the number of words you need to use to get your point across.
Space is at a premium in your event invitations, so be sure to choose an event email invitation template that keeps things short. If you can’t convince people to attend your event in the first few paragraphs, adding five extra paragraphs won’t help.
You started your event invitation with your name and logo and you should aim to finish it the same way. Including your brand name, colors, logo, and links to your social in the footer let unconvinced readers check you out online—and potentially change their minds.
Types of Events and Event Invitation Emails
Now that we’ve gotten through the basics of what makes a good event invitation email, let’s get into the details.
Different events have different selling points and different needs—and so do the emails you send out for them. To help make things a little easier for your events team, we’ve put together a few event-specific tips. With these tips, you can be sure you’re sending the best event invitation possible—for any event.
These online, interactive seminars offer a quick way for office workers to brush up on industry-relevant information. When you’re inviting your audience to the webinar, you need to make sure they know why it’s worth their while.
Focus your email invitation on explaining what attendees will learn from your webinar. Get to the core of your webinar’s takeaways, emphasizing exactly what attendees will get in return for an hour or two with your team. You can use this email invitation template as a way to remind your audience about an upcoming webinar:
Whether they’re taking place online or offline, exclusive sales let you treat your best customers to a VIP experience. But invitation emails for sales need to look like more than just a cash grab. Focus on the exclusivity of the event, along with benefits and discounts.
If you’re offering a free gift with purchase or 50% off, emphasizing those points in your event invitation will guarantee increased attendance. But don’t skimp on the fine print—it’s better for customers to know details and exclusions before they shop. Here’s what an exclusive sale email might look like in action:
Announcing a new product to the world can be exciting (and terrifying) for any company. When you bring an audience into the mix, a product launch can be a daunting task. Whether you’re inviting people to join you in person or via a live webcast, you’ll want to generate hype in your invitation emails. But don’t spoil the surprise entirely.
While webinars and exclusive sales require you to be upfront with why attendees should show up, product launches need a little mystery. Remember: the whole point of the launch is to make a big, splashy announcement. This becomes almost impossible if your event invitations spoil the news. Here is a product launch announcement email invitation template to inspire your own:
Caption: Hubspot’s INBOUND
Whether you’re focusing on education with a seminar, or spotlighting products with a tradeshow, hosting conferences can boost your profile as an industry authority.
On the educational side, email invitations for seminars should highlight key takeaways attendees can look to receive. If you have high profile speakers presenting or on your panels, dropping those names in your invitation emails can help push people towards purchasing their tickets.
If you’re throwing an industry-specific trade show, feature the companies in attendance as sponsors, along with any relevant educational sessions they’ll be hosting. You can be a little more niche here, since attendees will normally be limited to a particular industry.
For all conference events, don’t be afraid to go beyond business. If you’ve got afterparties or after-hours events, emphasize these as networking opportunities. This will show attendees additional value in your conferences—beyond just what’s said in booths or onstage. To get you started, take a look at this conference invitation template email:
Caption: New London Chamber of Commerce
Looking to celebrate the stars of your industry, customers, or company? An award presentation is a powerful way to show appreciation—and win a little loyalty in the process.
For award events, attendees should know the categories of awards, nominees, and any entertainment accompanying the awards. That said, if someone is nominated for an award, they shouldn’t find out from your event invitation email. A separate email informing nominees should also go out—so they’re not the last to know. This is what an award invitation email might look like:
Customer Appreciation Event
Caption: Mercedes Benz of Smithtown
Awards aren’t the only way to show customers a little love. Customer appreciation events bring your best and biggest customers together in one room. While these can have an educational element, the focus here is human connection—which your invitations should emphasize accordingly.
Tell customers you’re excited to see them in person, explain who they can look forward to meeting, and show what else their event will include. Customers are the stars here, so your invitation emails should put their experience in the spotlight. Here is an example of a customer appreciation email invitation template you might send out:
Executive Retreats and Incentive Programs
These exclusive events give your organization’s biggest players a chance to talk strategy, while also giving them time to unwind. A mix of business and leisure makes these events unique. It also makes the way you structure your invitations important. While you’ll want to highlight the location and leisure time, providing a schedule for the business components of the event ensures attendees know their obligations before clicking “Attend”. Take a look at this sample option:
Charity events can offer an opportunity for networking and relationship management. Whether you keep your charity internal or invite external parties to join your cause, that cause should be clearly stated in your event invitation email. A vague charity golf event with no clearly stated cause might make for a good time, but it doesn’t make for a good look. This is especially true if your business is trying to grow its philanthropic efforts. Here’s an example of a charity event email invitation template, to inspire your own:
Team Building Events
Executives aren’t the only ones who benefit from mixing work and play. Large-scale team building events bring different departments together and create new connections within your company.
Beyond offering internal networking opportunities, team building events can also re-enforce your company’s culture and brand. And it all starts with the event invitation emails you send out.
You can begin by leveraging your brand logo, colors, fonts, images, messages, and values in your team building invitation emails. This step adds a sense of authenticity to your brand, while also priming employees for any culture-related team building activities. Here’s a team building invitation template to inspire your own:
Caption: The Toronto International Film Festival
All work and no play can leave both your employees and customers feeling a little down. So when you’re celebrating a holiday, anniversary, or milestone, make sure your invitation emails are appropriately fun. Feel free to get a little more creative on these invitations (while still staying appropriate for the context). A simple example of a party email invitation template might look like this:
The Perfect Event Invitation Email
Whatever kind of event invitation you’re sending out, focus on the people you’re inviting. Your invitation emails should inspire excitement in your audience. Still, you need to be informative enough that attendees know all the necessary details. Here are a few guiding takeaways to help your email invitations stay human:
- For webinars, explain upfront what people have to learn—before they spend an afternoon attending
- With select sales, a sense of exclusivity can be just as important as a discount
- When it comes to product launches, people are more excited by anticipation than the news itself
- With conferences, give a list of learnings upfront, while also highlighting networking opportunities
- For most attendees, awards are just as much about the entertainment as they are about the winners
- If you’re looking to throw a customer appreciation event, keep your focus strictly on customer experience
- Charity events can be a lot of fun, but people will be skeptical if the cause gets lost in your invitation email content
- While executive retreats are about giving top players a getaway, you still need to set expectations for productivity
- When you want to get some team building in, bring your brand front and center to make your efforts more authentic
- As for parties, the rule above all else is to remember to have fun
If you wouldn’t want to receive your event emails, chances are your invitees won’t either. So, stay human and watch your event attendance numbers soar.
Author bio: Christine Glossop works as a writer for Looka—an AI-powered logo maker and graphic design platform—where she focuses on branding-related content.