Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Invitation Tips for better mailing and response

Welcome to Planners Pointers!  You are planning a wonderful special event.  You have a great speaker or are honoring community volunteers or this could be a special fund raiser.  Now it's
time to send the invitations.  When you are sending invitations for an event you have been doing for several years it's easy to recycle the same invitation.  Just slip in the new dates, new honorees and it's good to go.  But before you hit send to your printer's ftp site here are five idea you consider.

1. Review last year's invitation.  Does it still reflect the goal of the event?  Has your logo changed?  Location?  Board members? Website?  Mission statement?  Have at least 3 pairs of eyes.  Add something new like a QR code.  Design it so it will fit into a standard size envelope.

2. Mailing list  When was the last time it was updated?  Have you made the corrections that resulted the last mailing you sent?  Are the invitations going to those you support your events or you interact with on a regular basis?  Or are you doing a really broad mailing?  Do you even know who has supported you in the past?  The cost of printing and mailing has increased greatly over the last couple of years and it would be prudent if you could see who has not been attending and perhaps remove them from printed mailings.  Not talking about removing them from emails that you send, just printed materials.

3. Response cards  Do you know how your attendees RSVP?  Do they call?  Do they email?  Do they do it through on line registration?  If the response cards are being thrown out in the trash, it might be the time to save a few trees and do away with them.  Make sure though that phone numbers, emails and websites are clear on the invitation.  Or what about adding a QR code to the piece?  Invitees can scan the code with their smart phone and register.

4. Mailing date  Yes eight weeks is the traditional time so don't change that.  What you can do to make sure you hear from people is to make sure you also add emails to the mix.  These days you are competing with several organizations and 200 cable channels.  People are responding later and later.  More not less interaction is necessary to get the responses necessary to reach your attendance goals.

5. Save the date mailings.  They still have a very important place in your overall marketing plan.  Mailing are a good way to keep in touch with everyone on you lists of contacts. 

In this world of 200 email messages a day, mailed invitations still are an important part in getting the word out about events.  The trick is keeping your list manageable to keep the costs manageable.

That's the Planners Pointer for today