Remember those days in high school where you threw a party, invited a bunch of people and nobody even responded – let alone showed up? I don’t – in high school I was the perfect combination of a wallflower and a teachers pet. But things have changed a bit. I have hosted several wine & art events (with DJ!) for my fine art photography business, and organized online and offline events for various other things. Whether for personal or business events, filling up a room isn’t always easy. I wrote an article a while back about how the lack of response is one of my biggest struggles in building a business.
The first step in filling up a room, whether it’s at your house for a party, or at work for a business event, is to send invitations that reflect the theme and personality of event. I’ve tried a lot of different tools to send my invitations after I created the guest list, and have had various levels of success with each of them. With my own birthday party coming up, I wanted to share some of my event planning insights with you. Because no matter how you send your invitations, or what they are for, one of the most frustrating things for a host are guests who don’t RSVP.
Here’s some tips that can encourage people to respond to your invitation and make your event a success.
Create a sense or urgency
Don’t hesitate to create a sense of urgency with your invite. You can specify a deadline as to when you need their response or registration, or state there’s only limited spots available – which often is the case anyway to allow you to prepare and have enough food and drinks available. If your guests understand why you need their response by a certain date, most of them will respond right away.
Make it easy to respond
Make it easy for your guests to RSVP, and include some options how they can get back to you: online through a website, via email, phone or even a text message.
Be specific about the event
If people have all the information about the event upfront, they’re more likely to respond right away. Include as much detail as possible in the invitation, to avoid having to go back-and-forth with your guests to answer all their questions. Starting your invite with the Who, What, Where, When and Why of the event is usually a good place to start.
Have the right contact information
While Facebook might have an event invitation option, I have had hardly any luck with it. People are inundated with notifications on this social network, and your invite might get lost in the mix. This is why I’d much rather invite people directly, which means I need to have the right contact information for my guests. If you haven’t been in touch with someone in a while and want to invite them, make sure you have the right email address or phone number on file.
Send invites at the right time
Can’t sleep and decide at 2 in the morning to throw a party next weekend? Great – just don’t send your invites at that time. Hold off until a weekday evening when most people are home after work, and have time to check (and respond to) their personal emails. Also be courteous and give your guests some notice: last-minute invitations usually don’t work as people have filled up their calendars already. We’re all so “busy”, after all.