No matter how much planning and preparation goes into your corporate event, it will be all be for naught unless you can get invitees to attend. That’s why it’s so important to create event invitations that help you promote your event in the right way.
Here are several important keys to creating effective invitations that will make your event a success:
It’s All in the Timing
Before you start planning your invitations, you’ll need to get your event planning calendar in order. Give yourself enough time to add or delete guests from the list, and allow invitees time to organize their own schedules. Three to four weeks is the absolute minimum lead time that you’ll need for invitations – and this should only be used for internal events, like a company-wide awards ceremony.
If you’re inviting others in your field or are creating a large scale corporate event, you should shoot for six to eight months. This will give out-of-town attendees enough time to make travel arrangements. Four to six months should be enough time for a smaller event – like an important dinner.
Proper Invitation Formatting
Business invitations normally have the same basic elements so invitees can tell, at a glance, who is throwing the event and the purpose of the event. On typical business invitations you should include:
* Your company logo or symbol – This doesn’t have to overwhelm the design but it should be somewhere on the page.
* Names of the hosts – If there are specific members of the staff that are acting as hosts for the event, you’ll want to include their names on the invitation.
* The type of event – Noting the type of event – from a cocktail party to a formal awards ceremony – is important for guests. They’ll be able to plan the right attire.
* Purpose of the event – The invitation should make it clear whether this is a formal training event or a celebration for staff.
* The date and time – Of course this is a given! In order to make it easy for guests, write out the date completely without abbreviations. For example, “Thursday, the 23rd of October at six o’clock pm” is the proper format.
* The place of the event – If you’re inviting out of town executives, be sure to include a map if the location is difficult to find. Even in the age of GPS, it’s important to give specific instructions. Don’t assume guests will be able to find it on their own.
* How to RSVP – RSVPs make your life as an event coordinator easier. Typically, the RSVP information is at the bottom left-hand corner of the invitation. You can also consider adding a QR code to help with online RSVPs. You may get quicker responses if the information is sent digitally.
* Special instructions – This is particularly important if you have lots of out-of-town guests. Making suggestions for hotel locations, local restaurants and other important locations in your area can help make their stay easier. Even if you’re expecting local guest only, you should include attire, parking instructions and any other essential information.
Pay Attention to Style
Since your invitations are the first exposure that your audience will have to your event, it’s important to make your mark.
Although formal business invitations are normally printed in black on white or off-white paper, you can definitely break the rules if you’re hosting an informal or more celebratory party. As long as your invitations reflect the nature of your event and don’t conflict with your company’s image, you’ll be safe.
Using your event planning timeline, leave yourself enough time to have the invitations printed and sent out with your four week to eight month lead time (depending on your event). While you’re ordering your invitations you can also order themed reminder cards to send out a few weeks before the event to refresh people’s memories. Ordering them at the same time may get you a deeper discount and ensure that they match your regular invitations.
In addition to traditional mailings, or in lieu of you can use services like constant contact to get the word out to email list’s and social networks. You can read more about integrating social to your corporate event marketing plan here. Some of the key benefits of social, are the actual link you create between the invitee and the event, that is dynamic and update-able opposed to the static connection created by a traditional mailer.
With these event invitation tips, you can spread the word about your corporate event in style.