The 3 Design Ingredients for Perfect Event Invitation Emails

Let’s take a closer look at the art of event invitation emails. Because, let’s be honest, getting people to RSVP for an event—whether it’s in person or online—is never as easy as it seems. Sending an event invitation email that will stop readers in their tracks is the first step to turning your event into a success. You need great messaging, clear details, and stand-out design. Invitation emails roll into our inboxes regularly, but we’ve selected a few that actually made us pause and smile—and want to attend the event!

Ingredient #1: Simple, memorable messaging

We think the messaging in a flawless invitation email hits on 5 components. They are:

  1. WHAT: What is the event? Great invitation emails usually include an event title, a tagline, and a BRIEF description.
  2. WHEN: Effective invitations clearly state the date and time (and time zone, for virtual events).
  3. WHERE: Want people to be in the right place? Provide the address or digital join-in details plainly.
  4. THE BEST PERK: This is an important one. Aside from stating the logistics, a great invitation email seals the deal by telling readers the special thing(s) they can expect if they show up. If you’re giving away free food or goody-bags, say it! Featuring a special guest? Name drop! Make sure readers know what makes your event one of a kind.
  5. HOW TO JOIN: It needs to be easy to sign up, buy tickets, or register! Hint: think an optimized CTA button.

This email from BARK checks all the boxes of simple, memorable messaging. In fact, it checks those boxes and nothing else. There’s no clutter copy; it’s elegantly succinct.

From: BARK (AKA Bark Box)

Subject: You’re invited to Open Bark Night! 🐶 🎤

Event Invitation Emails

To really see how simple the messaging is, we extracted the copy:

***

Open Bark Night: Stand-up Comedy for Dog Lovers

BARK is hosting hilarious dog loving stand-up comedians for a series of pee-your-pants funny stuff.

Featuring performances by the funniest dog ruvin’ humans we can dig up. This is a laid back night for belly scratches & belly laughs.

When: November 2, 2017 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Where: BARK Headquarters 221 Canal St 4th Floor NY, NY 10013

Things sure to happen:

  • A s@#t ton of laughs
  • Endless fart jokes
  • Bottomless wine
  • Bottomless ‘za

FETCH TICKETS

***

If you’re wondering, that’s 84 words. That’s it! It’s useful to see how direct, simple, and clear the messaging is before any design elements are added. With your next event invitation email, challenge yourself to tell readers everything they need to know in under 100 words.

But—can you identify any information that’s missing? We thought of one: Price. BARK made the intentional and strategic decision not to include pricing information in the email. Why? We think it’s because of an important law of email design: your email is not a website. The purpose of the email is to create enough intrigue and interest to get the click. After that, your landing page can provide more details and information!


Ingredient #2: Unexpected art/design

Events are special occasions, so your email invitation should reflect that. In most cases, this means you’re going to need a little more than a go-to template or a stock image you grabbed on a whim. Creating interest in your event means making sure readers know how special it is! That’s why you’ve got to go for an unexpected design.

Even at a quick glance, this email from Who What Wear (in a partnership with LOFT) doesn’t look like its usual sends. The design is totally unique to the occasion. Check it out.

From: Who What Wear 

Subject: Come party with us, NYC

Event Invitation Emails

The paper illusion is fitting for an invitation email: it pops on the screen, and it might just be what makes readers click, pause, or even be more receptive to the event reminder email.


Ingredient #3: A dash of intrigue or urgency

A great invitation email doesn’t include every last detail. As ingredient #1 suggests, you only need the bare necessities! Most emails work best this way, and invitations are no exception. This email from ClassPass—an invitation of sorts, to register for free workouts—uses a dynamic countdown timer to create a sense of urgency.

From: ClassPass

Subject: Complimentary workouts in your neighborhood? You heard right.

Event Invitation Emails

Here’s the timer in action:

Event Invitation Emails

Adding a dynamic countdown timer (that actually counts down to a date you choose) is easy! Check out our countdown timer tutorial on how to do it in your own email.

When it comes to creating a sense of intrigue, you can have fun! This email from Dessert Goals is an invitation to a dessert unveiling event where the attendees don’t know exactly what they’ll find when they get there. Dessert Goals got playful with their design and copy to create intrigue around the delicious day.

From: Dessert Goals

Subject: Come accomplish your Dessert Goals, literally.

Event Invitation Emails

And what originally caught our eye about this email was the animation along the top (an example of ingredient #2 at work!)

Event Invitation Emails

But you don’t need to have a timer or mystery event in order to create a little intrigue, curiosity, or urgency. If you add ingredient #1, the intrigue will be there. And be sure to plan the rest of your campaign—with event reminder emails—to follow through on the sense of urgency as seats fill up or the event date approaches.


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