How do you create a successful invitation to an event using email marketing?

Organizing a business convention? A designers’ fair? The launch of your new product? Your restaurant? A wedding?

Besides closing the date with the venue of your dreams, bringing in excellent speakers, sponsors, designers who will present their clothes, celebs who will wear your jewelry, or waiters who will serve your food (according to the context, of course, otherwise the event will be a little peculiar), the most challenging element of the event is bringing people!

So how did you plan on letting your invited guests know about it?  We wouldn’t rely on the post office for that…


To market your event to the appropriate invited guests and to make sure they show up, set up an invitation email for the event.

How do you create a successful event invitation email?

1. The guest list

Think about who you want at your event.  Don’t send out an invitation to the whole world, unless it’s a huge crowd event, in which case you’ll most likely do most of your advertising on billboards and blimps.  Think about who your target audience is, who you want to be present at your event, and how to glean from your entire data base the most precise and relevant mailing list for this event.  The more precise you are with your mailing list, the less unsubscribe requests you’ll get, and besides that, your campaign reports will be more correct and informative.

2. The details in the email – time, place, content

Don’t leave out any relevant detail.  Make sure these details – venue, time, and the purpose of the event, which are the most important to your recipients, are prominent and clear.  Write the place, date, and time clearly, so the recipients don’t have to search for these details in the post, and don’t scrimp on content details, either.

Give your guests a good reason to come to the event, explain exactly what will be there and what they’ll miss if they don’t come.  Through these details, make your invited guests understand that it’s worthwhile for them to be there, wherever it is.

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3. A clear subject line

Write an enticing subject line and mention in it that this email is an invitation to an event.  The event isn’t a regular product that you’re marketing, it’s not just an ad, not a blog, and not a weekly review. Make it clear to your recipients that it’s an invitation to an event, and include the important info we mentioned before in your subject line.

4. A Call-to-Action button – RSVP or ticket purchase

For purchasing tickets or advance registration, don’t forget to create a prominent and inviting call-to-action button.  The registration won’t only give you a good idea of the number of participants to expect, but will also give your guests more of a commitment to attend, once they’ve indicated that they are indeed intending to come.  In the link your Call-to-Action button leads to, request that your guests notify you in the event that they won’t be able to attend, which will strengthen their personal commitment even more.

E-marketer’s call to action was also its email subject line:

emarketer email invite

5.  A discount for the event

If there’s an admission fee for your event, offer a discount in your email invitation.  That way, you’ll be giving your recipients an added value in the email.  Through a discount that’s limited to early registration, or to a specific time limit, you can motivate your recipients to sign up in advance, which also gives you a way of knowing the minimum number of guests who will attend.

6. A series of automated emails and reminders about the event

Create a chain of autoresponders for the event email.  Use the same design for the invitation and send it out two weeks before the event and again two days before the event.  Alternatively, if it’s an event that requires registration, send it two days before the end of registration.  Using advanced filters for smart sending, you can determine that additional emails about the event will be sent only to those who registered, thus sending your guests a reminder and creating a buzz of excitement leading up to the big day.

In any case, don’t hesitate to send reminders – invited guests who want to come to your event don’t always write it on their calendars as soon as they see the first invitation email and they’ll be glad to receive a reminder so they won’t miss out.  For those who are hesitating, a reminder email about the event a day or two before could be what seals the deal.

The Raw Art Gallery sends emails to its mailing list a week before the opening of an exhibition, a day before the opening, and a week before it closes.

An example of an email invitation to the opening of an exhibition at the Raw Art Gallery a day before the opening:

The subject line: Signal to Noise – Opening tomorrow

רו ארט


Six elements to consider when creating an email invitation to an event:

  • An appropriate mailing list
  • The event details: venue, date and time, and content
  • A clear subject line
  • A discount (if there’s an admission fee)
  • A Call-to-Action for registration

Now you’re ready for the perfect event,

See you there!

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Did you include a Call-to-Action in your mail? Here’s how to create a clear and inviting CTA

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