Hosting an event, whether it’s a trade show, a party or a wedding, involves a lot of attention to detail and organization. From choosing the venue and theme and creating a guest list, to setting up the food and beverages – it’s a careful balance of skills and patience.
But even the best prepared events can be a disaster if no one shows up.
Emails can help ensure the success of your event by:
- Generating interest
- Driving registration
- Providing a quick and easy way to send last minute reminders
Here are a few tips for working with your guest list and drumming up those RSVP’s:
Organize your guest list
Make a list of the people you want at your event. Starting from your master opt-in list, you can add fields where you’ll be noting details, such as when they RSVP and additional information relative to the event.
As you go along, you can create two groups:
- Group 1 consisting of those on your list who RSVP: making it easy for you to send details about accommodations or meal requests, and after the event, a “Thank you for attending” email.
- Group 2 consisting of anyone who has yet to RSVP: using a service like CakeMail, you can create groups based on links that were clicked or specific criteria. You can then send additional details and a “We missed you” email after the event.
Use the custom fields you’ve created to add personal information about the reservations in the emails and reminders you send.
Make the date super clear
Once the date has been set you can send a “Save the Date” email to the people on your list.
Ideally, the Save the Date should be sent out a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks before the event.
Tip: Create an event on http://addthisevent.com/, which gives you a link to provide Google, Yahoo!, Outlook, Hotmail and iCal formats that your contacts can download.
Tell recipients what they can expect
On the weeks leading up to the event, generate a buzz around your event by sharing the details.
- If it’s a trade show, don’t be afraid to name drop by sharing some of the exhibitors, as well as names and short bios of the keynote speaker.
- Share the agenda or schedule.
- As soon as possible, tell people about the venue and inform them of any off-site events planned during the time of your event. While some people may not be able to justify going to one event, complementary events occurring at the same time can help drive attendance.
Out of town event?
Make the recommended accommodations clear and easy to reserve:
- Have a landing page ready (some hotels will provide them to you, or you can use an online form or an app like Unbounce to create one) OR have a dedicated email address that will handle all reservations
- Create a button with a simple process for booking the room.
Make registration easy
It should be the main call to action of every email you send. Keep it easy to find; ideally on the top right corner of your email.
Create a link to either a landing page where people can sign up or to an email address where people can RSVP.
Last minute reminders
- Provide the best routes to get to the venue – are there any roadblocks due to construction?
- Pinpoint the venue on a map in your campaign
- Tell them about parking and wifi (Is it free? Will there be an extra charge?)
- Remind attendees of the schedule
- Inform them of any last minute changes
- Tell them about the event’s Hashtag to make sharing on social media even easier