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Many businesses and organisations are now preferring to send invitations via email instead of via post. Email invitations can save time, money and can be easily measured to determine responses.

While email invitations have definite benefits they are several factors that need to be considered to ensure that you are able to maximize your response rate.

The following is some advice to consider when sending email based invitations.

Respect privacy

Always consider the privacy of your recipients when sending emails. This means you should ensure that the email addresses of other recipients are not visible when sending a bulk e-mail message. This means you should not use the To or CC fields as this clearly shows the email addresses of other recipients.

One alternative is to use the BCC field. This is used to send a blind carbon copy, meaning that the email addresses of other recipients will not be visible. This method however is not ideal, as spam filters can block genuine emails that are sent via BCC. Fortunately email merging provides a way to personalize your message while also sending individual emails.

Personalise your message

People are more likely to respond to a personalized message than something sent in bulk. This is true for email as well, where a bulk message can be disregarded over something more personalized.

Obviously it may be difficult to send a personalized message to every recipient when you have an extensive invitation list but email merging can help provide some personalization while also sending emails quickly.

Use email merging

Email merging operates just like envelope or letter merging but obviously is used for email. Message. While a traditional mail merge may require an address field, email merges require an email address field and a subject line.

Email merging saves time, just like a traditional mail merge and also provides a degree of personalization. For example, depending on your database or the source of your data, you could provide different responses for different types of businesses , or to people that you have contacted recently or have attended previous events.

Emails sent via email merging are sent as individual messages, meaning each message is sent individually to one recipient. This obviously avoids needing to send messages via BCC while also sending messages quickly and efficiently.

Most Word Processor programs, such as Microsoft Word or LibreOffice support Email Merging via Databases, Spreadsheets or Email Address Books.

Are attachments really required?

Now that you’ve received some advice on how to send email invitations, its now worth discussing the content of these messages and in particular the question of attachments.

Many invitations are sent with an attachment and while this can be useful in providing a formal invitation research indicates that many recipients will tend to ignore attachments. If attachments are being sent then make sure that you include the relevant event details in the body of the email so that someone glancing at the message will see the relevant content. This approach gives someone the option of reading an attachment without it being essential to understanding the message.

Messages that only include attachments can also be affected by spam filters further eroding the ability to reach recipients.

I personally do not like invitations sent via attachments and much prefer seeing the content in the body of the email.

If so, send them in a suitable format

If you do wish to send an attachment then consider the format that is being used. It is generally best to send attachments in PDF format. This prevents modification of the document and is generally viewable across email programs, computers and mobile devices. The PDF format is designed to maintain a consistent appearance across computer systems and helps improve readability. In addition there are many free PDF converters available if required.

Sending files in a Document format like Microsoft Word files can lead to unpredictable results. This is particularly true if someone doesn’t have the same version of the program or the same fonts as your system.

Do not send attachments from Microsoft Publisher, while Publisher is sometimes used to design invitations it is not a commonly used program. In particular, mobile devices cannot view Publisher files and many computers do not include the Microsoft Publisher program. If you are using Publisher for your designs then export the invitation as a PDF.

Sometimes images, like JPEGs or Bitmaps are used to include a formal invitation. While these formats tend to be widely supported on the Internet, not all email programs or mobile devices will display images correctly.

Final words

Email can be an effective and cost efficient method of sending invitations but do be mindful of some of these considerations to boost the readership of your invitations.

Alex Makin

Author Alex Makin

In a career spanning over fifteen years, Alex has been instrumental in transforming, reinvigorating and growing the capacity of businesses and not-for-profit organisations. He is a visionary who understands the big picture. Alex's expertise is a Certified Practising Marketer and as Chair of the Victorian State Council of the Australian Marketing Institute. Alex is also an accomplished speaker, author and mentor and former Mayor and Councillor for the City of Maroondah.

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