You’re Cordially Invited: The 411 on Personalized Invitations

Three strategies to personalize event invites and spark attendee registration

Events might have moved away from snail mail, but personalized invitations—physical or digital—can make attendees feel like VIPs. 

That’s because when you make the extra effort to tailor your invites, they become more relevant to guests, ultimately upping the likelihood that attendees will not only be interested in the event but also register to attend.

In fact, research shows that personalized email invites are the No. 1 way planners are leveraging personalization, with nearly 90 percent differentiating their invites based on attendees. 

Not sure where to get started on your personalized invitation journey? Here are three strategies to lead the way:

1. Use attendee names.

You wouldn’t respond if someone yelled, “Hey, you!” in the street, would you? Sure, it might get your attention—but the lack of proper acknowledgement might come off as ill-mannered or rude. 

The same goes with event invitations, particularly for meetings with a small guest list. So, include guest names in your invitation messaging. Even if no other wording in the invitation is different, directly addressing an attendee can give an otherwise impersonal note a personal touch. 

If you don’t have time for individual invites, consider newsletter and other communication software with features that will input individual names automatically, no manual entry required. 

2. Segment invitations for different types of guests.

For large events with hundreds of attendees, it can be hard to get personal on an individual level. Different guests have different meeting needs, after all—and with a lot of attendees comes a lot of preferences to juggle. 

Instead of individualized invites, consider segmenting your audience and developing several invitations based on those groups. An academic conference, for instance, should have separate invites for students and educators. Messaging for the first might advertise the opportunity to mingle with professors and other esteemed scholars, while the latter might tout the ability to promote their work and research. 

3. Leverage existing attendee data.

Inviting the same group of people year after year? Unlike one-off events, annual meetings have the advantage of returning guests—which means planners already have some insight into who attendees are and what interests them from previous event data. So, dig through the archives for relevant information to leverage. 

For example, let’s say you discover from last year’s post-meeting survey that the keynote speakers were the highlight of guests’ event experiences. In this year’s meeting invitation, make sure to highlight the current speaker lineup—who they are, the topics and their social handles—to get attendees excited for this year and encourage pre-meeting registration.

It might take a little extra time, but personalizing invitations shows guests that you’ve gone the extra mile for your event—and if the invites are that good, how can the meeting itself not be?