By Amanda Wegner
While electronic invitations, or e-vites, will never replace the special care, attention and appreciation of a physical invitation, they can help streamline the event planning and invitation process. If you’re not already using an e-vite platform to send event invitations, we’ve rounded up some of the perks of using and investing in such a tool. We also offer suggestions on a few tools to investigate for your own meeting and event invitation needs.
WHY E-VITES MAKE SENSE
While they are less personal than a physical invitation, e-vites, also called digital invites, are becoming the go-to option for many planners as they offer some distinct benefits.
- Time, money and effort savings: Digital invitations are more environmentally conscious as they eliminate the need for paper, printing and shipping. In addition, because they require just a few clicks to create and send to a vast audience, e-vite platforms save planners considerable time and resources, allowing them to focus on other critical aspects of event planning.
- Beautiful, custom invitations: While raised lettering and gold foil aren’t options with a digital invite, e-vite platforms offer a range of design templates and customization options. This allows planners to tailor invitations to match the theme and style of the event, creating a cohesive and professional impression. These templates can carry over into transactional messages for the event to continue the visual thread.
- Real-time RSVP tracking and automation: With an e-vite platform, planners can instantly see who has accepted, declined or hasn’t responded, enabling better management of guest lists, event registration and seating arrangements.Couple this real-time tracking with automation capabilities to create efficiencies in the invitation process. Some e-vite platforms can automatically send reminders to guests who haven’t responded or confirmed their attendance, ensuring a higher turnout rate. Some can also be programmed to automate responses, such as a thank-you email, value-added content, link to the event app and more.This built-in tracking capability provides meeting and event planners valuable insights through platform analytics and reporting features. This data can help assess the success of an event and inform future planning decisions, such as marketing spend, event offerings and more.
- Multi-channel communication: E-vite platforms support various communication channels, including email, text and social media. This enables planners to reach their audience where they are most active and makes social sharing easier; when someone registers for an event, these tools make it quick and convenient to share with a friend or colleague, which can help drive additional registrations.
OPTIONS TO CONSIDER
Most event marketing platforms, such as Cvent, Aventri, Splash and others, include an e-vite option within their platform or as an add-on. If you don’t already have a full-fledged event management tool, here are four options to consider.
- Evite, evite.com
Evite is well-known as one of the first e-vite platforms. The company’s Evite Pro, a premium subscription, includes ad-free invitations, RSVP tracking, larger list size (up to 2,500) and more customizations. Evite is best for events where you only need to know whether or not someone is attending.
Cost: $0 to $250
- Eventbrite, eventbrite.com
Eventbrite is a comprehensive platform that handles invitations, ticketing, registration and event promotion. With a suite of plans (Flex, Pro and Premium) and customization options, it’s a good platform for larger events and conferences.
Cost: Varies. Monthly cost based on plan level and number of tickets. Premium is the suggested option for large or complex events.
- Paperless Post, paperlesspost.com
Paperless Post’s focus is creating beautifully designed digital invitations and cards. The company’s Paperless Post Plus option unlocks customization and guest management tools.
Cost: This tool utilizes “coins;” users load their account with coins, and various features cost a certain number of coins. The cost for 1,000 coins is $115, and it costs 200 coins to enable the Paperless Post Plus option.
- Ticketleap, ticketleap.com
Ticketleap was designed to accommodate smaller events and planners needing a flexible e-vite solution without long-term contracts.
Cost: Free to use, but fees are tied to paid events; planners can choose to absorb the fee or pass it on to the buyer.
These are just a few of the many options available for digital invitations. Remember to evaluate these platforms based on your specific event needs, such as cost, tracking capability and level of customization available, before choosing the one that best suits your planning needs.
SEVEN TIPS FOR E-VITE SUCCESS
- Craft a clear and engaging message with essential event details like date, time, location and purpose. Make it compelling to generate excitement.
- Personalize e-vites as much as possible. Use the recipient’s name. If the tool offers the ability to include variable data, find ways to incorporate other data points into the email as this increases connection to the invitee.
- Ensure the RSVP process is straightforward, with a clear call-to-action button or link for RSVPs.
- Ensure that your e-vites are mobile-friendly. Test your e-vite, especially forms, on mobile devices.
- Send timely reminders (use automation if available) to those who haven’t responded. A gentle nudge can increase the response rate, but don’t go overboard.
- Include social sharing options to generate word-of- mouth promotion.
- Send a thank-you to those who have RSVP’d and set up a campaign to push out updates and relevant content before the event to help maintain interest and commitment to attendance.
Amanda Wegner is a freelance writer based in Madison, Wis.