There are four key steps that go into successful online email invitations: the platform you use to send an email, the guest list you’re sending it to, the email itself, and last but not least, the client (like Gmail) your guest uses to open and read your invitation.
Let’s take a closer look at each one and what matters most from an RSVP perspective.
Your email sending platform
There are numerous tools out there for sending email, from humble Outlook to highly advanced tools that offer a lot more. Advanced tools might sound like overkill for an invitation email, but there are features you should keep an eye out for that can have a major impact on the success of your invitation campaign.
Of the platforms that focus on event emails, zkipster is optimized for invitation-only events based around a guest list, and other platforms offer different strengths toward ticketing or building custom event websites.
What to look for
- An emphasis on events: Some tools are general purpose, and others are built for specialized audiences, like ecommerce businesses or non-profits. Picking a specialized tool for your specific purpose helps weed out suites of features that just aren’t relevant to your work.
- User-friendly design tools: We’ve moved beyond the point where powerful tools can get away with being inscrutable to use. Be sure to test a tool with your real-world needs, and make sure it’s something you can comfortably use and understand without needing to be a specialist.
- Active support options: There’s a world of technical systems that go into the creation and delivery of emails, especially in mass email campaigns. Even the best platforms will bump into strange situations with a particular email client or design need, but what separates the good from the great platforms is how responsive their teams are to helping you find solutions.
The guest list for your event
Who you invite, and how accurate your information for them is, can be just as impactful as what you send your guests. “I think the most important thing to running a successful invitation campaign is clean data,” says David Becker, CEO of zkipster – so make sure your database is up to date and regularly checked for errors and outdated info.
Email invitation design
The invitation itself is often your guest’s very first impression of your event, and clearly plays a significant role in your event’s success. In the next chapter, we’ll focus on the essentials that can make the biggest difference, whether you’re creating an invitation yourself or working with a designer to find the right approach.
Email clients used by your guests
After putting in all the work to create a great invitation and curate a perfect guest list, the last critical step is making sure your guests actually receive their invitation. Even though you can’t control what email client your guests use, you can and should take steps to make sure your invitations are optimized for many different ones. Every email client, from Gmail to Outlook, can bring up different considerations, but there are some universal guidelines, covered in the last chapter, that can help make sure your invitations get delivered anywhere.
What to keep in mind
- Emails can appear differently: Each client renders emails in a slightly different way. Sometimes that affects fonts, images, or spacing between different elements. In most cases these are subtle, but it’s worth testing your important emails on a variety of clients to make sure everything is looking (and working) as intended.
- Spam filters run on varying rules: Some spam filters, like for major corporate domains, are likely to be much more restrictive with emails they let through. A good habit to get into is checking your delivery success rates sorted by domain, and seeing if there are any guests you have particular trouble reaching.
- When in doubt, simplify: Complex layouts with multiple columns, super high-res images with big filesizes, or embedded animations and code are all common culprits that can lead to deliverability issues.
Next, let’s get into the email design itself.