How tech can streamline the event invitations process

Once you’ve booked a venue for your event, the most time-consuming part of the planning process can begin.

Checking the contact list and making sure everyone receives their invitation can be something that event professionals dread. It takes up a large chunk of the working day, the momentum can be lost when you get bogged down with admin tasks, and the initial buzz can fade before your event actually begins.

While printed invitations can look professional and add a personal touch, they are also expensive, hard to track and easy to lose. Today’s online marketing tools can outweigh the challenges and costs attached to mailing printed invitations. Thanks to dramatic improvements in technology, if you haven’t considered communicating with delegates online and emailing invitations, you’re missing out.

© georgejmclittle / Adobe Stock

Contact list
Your contact list is one of the most time-consuming aspects of event planning. Keeping it up to date, cross-checking, updating and organising your list can take up much of your time, especially if you’re using an Excel sheet that is not integrated with other systems.

Email marketing enables you to keep track of your list of delegates, check who has responded and chase those who haven’t. It also cuts out the need to check street addresses and postcodes: all you need is an email address.

Printed invitations had the edge over emails at one time, because they could be made to look more professional and aesthetically pleasing. Online design capabilities have now caught up and today’s tech can mimic the look of a printed invitation at a fraction of the cost.

The days when emails were plain, with a basic format of mostly text, have long gone. Today, you can add images, use different fonts, add links and incorporate your company’s branding. It has also become easy to personalise emails, such as adding a first name in the greeting, with no extra effort whatsoever.

Organising invitations
It’s very hard to keep track of printed invitations. If you’ve asked people to “RSVP”, it’s too easy to lose the piece of paper once you’ve opened the envelope. It’s the same for delegates and event planners, who all find it much more difficult to keep track of a printed invite.

People lead busy lives and it’s up to you to make the process as seamless and fast as possible. It’s much easier for people to find an email with a quick search of their inbox from a computer or mobile device.

Tracking replies
Replies and registration can be simple and painless for everyone. Keep it easy by enabling all of the interactions to be carried out online. Let your attendees click on a link and then fill out a brief registration form to confirm their attendance.

You can then send reminders and follow-up emails, so the delegates can be kept up to speed. This also lets you build up some excitement about the event.

Sending reminders
Don’t go overboard when it comes to sending reminders, as overkill can start to irritate people and make them feel like you’re spamming them. Two event reminders are considered the norm. One can be sent a week before the event and should be used to spur people’s excitement. This is useful if it’s been a long time since you sent the initial invite.

The second reminder, a couple of days before your event, is a final chance to share any important information. Make sure delegates have registered, let them know any details that they might have forgotten and remind them what they have to look forward to.

Emailed invitations beat printed invites hands down every time in terms of costs. It also takes less time to send emails, rather than physically putting invites into envelopes.

An online system can track registration with no extra time needed from you or your staff. You can send the invitations, reminders and even second reminders at almost no cost to yourself.

Your email marketing tools can track attendance for you, so there’s no need for you to spend extra time inputting data. It also removes the risks of human error when you have trackable, measurable data.

Cut down on the costs by using modern tech to employ email marketing. This is one area where you can save yourself time, leaving you free to complete the other important tasks that are required to organise your event.

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