How to Design Email Invitations that Will Drive Event Registration

Lauren Taylor on 4/18/17 10:05 AM



 From generating leads to driving revenue, the goal of your marketing event will depend on the type of event you’re hosting and your organization’s overall marketing strategy. No two events are the same, but all events share at least one goal: to get as many invitees as possible to attend.

While event marketers and planners understandably spend a lot of time thinking through the details of the in-event experience, it’s also important to carefully plan the details of the pre-event touchpoints—including the event’s email invitation.

Your event’s invitation is likely the first interaction potential attendees will have with your event, and it needs to be impactful. So, whether you’re an event marketer or planner, a sales rep who is setting up a revenue-generating event or a CMO inviting prospects to a VIP dinner, you’re also an email marketer—and part of your job is to get the best response and engagement rates from your event’s email invitation.

Part of how you drive that engagement is through your invitation copy, but the actual text of your email needs to be supported by good layout and design. In fact, the layout and design of your email might be more important for attracting the attention of your audience. Think about it: while you’re skimming through emails, which of the following options would grab your attention?

The design of your email invitation—or a design asset for any marketing campaign, for that matter—isn’t something that’s superfluous. When you’re doing something that’s difficult to quantitatively tie to improving ROI, it might be difficult to justify spending a lot of time on it. But design is important in three major ways:

  • It helps with brandability. Regardless of the type of event that you’re hosting, one of your event goals should be to raise more awareness of your brand and build trust with your contacts. Every piece of creative you release says something about your brand—and if your design is less than professional, it can leave a bad impression. Strong design, on the other hand, will speak to your professionalism and the quality of your work.
  • It supports and re-emphasizes your copy. If your design is smart, it will support the message you’re trying to convey, and it also has the power to evoke a response from your audience. Don’t just create a design that looks good; make sure the design itself is conveying a message. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and there’s a reason for that old idiom—it’s true.
  • It helps you stand out. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of digital marketing noise (which might be one reason you’re hosting an event in the first place). While your audience is sifting through emails, coming across one that is well-designed will likely encourage them to take a second look.

In a HubSpot study of email marketing, results indicated that design helps drive results. 64% of respondents said they prefer HTML emails to plain-text emails, indicating that emails with at least some design elements perform better than emails with none. The study also found that certain design elements help email performs better than others. Emails that include landscape images (versus portrait), for example, are correlated with a higher click-through rates, as are emails with fewer, highly-curated images, opposed to an email that is overloaded with photos.  

Design, in other words, makes a difference, and if you’re putting together an email invitation for your event, you need to pay attention to its design if you’re going to set yourself up for success.


Importantly, you should also ensure that your email invitation is responsive, meaning it will display properly on each type of device (desktop, tablet, and smartphone). According to a Litmus study, 54% of email is now opened on a mobile device, and the open rates on desktop computers is slowly but steadily declining.

Designing your email invitation to ensure that it displays properly across all of your audience’s devices will not only enhance their user experience, but it will also increase the performance of your email: responsive design results in a nearly 15% increase in unique clicks for mobile users, and even gets better engagement results on desktop applications. If you're able to use the design of your email invitation to get more click-throughs, it will ultimately result in more attendees and a higher awareness of your event. 

As an event marketer, you’d probably rather spend your time finding venues or planning your in-event content. And if you don’t have designers or web developers on-hand, drafting a well-designed email can be difficult. Depending on the event marketing software platform you use, however, you might have access to email templates, making your job much easier. At Event Farm, for example, we recently updated our platform to include mobile-responsive email templates, which help our clients streamline the process of creating well-designed, on-brand email invitations that ultimately drive registration results.

Regardless of the software platforms you do or do not use, however, putting the time and effort into your event email invitations will be the first crucial step you can take to ensure the success of your event. To learn more about how you can create successful event email invitations, check out our guide, The Art of Email Invitations



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