B2B Events Invitation: Flawless Execution

The E-Mail

“Have Lunch with Us at the Algonquin Hotel.”

A gracious subject line introduced an email we received recently. Although we didn’t recognize the name in the sender line, the Algonquin, that famous New York hotel, piqued our interest.

Within, an attractive black-and-white photo collage at the top bore the simple words, “You are cordially invited.” The email’s design was clean and classic, and much more invitational than anything we’ve seen in the email space in a while. The salutation was personalized by first name with a comma, denoting a personal note rather than a business letter.

OK, we’re hooked. What’s it all about, and who’s it from? With no logo or company name up top, we discover in the first paragraph it’s from Cvent, the online event registration and e-marketing company. Cool. We do that kind of work, so we’re interested.

Next, five bullet points promised to increase response rates, reduce costs as much as 90 percent, and save time registering attendees. As saving money is critical in the events field, we’re intrigued by the claims (“Can they really reduce costs by 90 percent?)

The next paragraph cites Cvent’s name-brand clients, suggesting legitimacy. A testimonial by a real client with a real title from a well-known company saying she reduced her marketing expenses from $240,000 to $20,000. (That’s not a typo; it’s followed by the fact that’s a 92 percent reduction.)

After that, instead of the ubiquitous “Tell a friend” link, we get a lovely line of copy: “Joanna, if you are not the best contact, please forward to the appropriate person.”

The usual time, date, and location info follows. But when you click on “View Event Summary,” you’re directed to an event summary that’s completely attendee-friendly. There are links to:

  • Add the date to your calendar

  • Get driving directions
  • View the actual event presentation
  • Watch an online demo

Plus, you can see how many people are already signed up for the lunch. You get the sense it’s a popular event and you’d better sign up now.

Some other cool things: In the email, you’re asked to respond by clicking yes or no.

  • If you say no, you’re asked:

    • If you’d be interested in more information about the product.

    • Why you can’t attend. If the date is bad, the company has the opportunity to suggest events on other days.
    • For referrals to colleagues, with the lure of a $250 gift certificate.

  • If you say yes, you land on a registration page, which is prepopulated with all your contact information. If the email was forwarded, you’re asked if you were the original recipient. If not, you can put in your own information. You are also asked for:

    • Names of guests you’re bringing

    • Names of colleagues to forward invitations to

At the bottom of the page is the company’s mailing address. You know Cvent, which may at some point issue email invitations on your behalf, is complying with the new spam laws.

The Breakdown

Did the email invitation work? Karen’s already signed up. Joanna would go but has other plans that day. According to Matthew Fisher, Cvent’s marketing VP, 50 people signed up in the first three hours.

Clearly, Cvent is doing for its own event what it promises to do for event planners: create well-crafted email and landing pages that not only sell the event, but keep selling by enhancing the registration experience.

You can use one of the company’s email templates or create your own. When using a Cvent template, the client event planner inputs the promotional copy on a form; Cvent does the rest.

For companies that don’t have large enough email lists, Cvent suggests offering its online registration option in print materials. That way, Cvent can capture attendees email addresses and send them an online registration confirmation. The company also offers response tracking as part of its solution.

This isn’t an endorsement of Cvent. We haven’t used its service. But it does illustrate the power of doing email right.

How do you do email right? Send your case studies and best-performing emails to Karen.

Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Strategies is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.

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