How a minor detail will increase your event invitation response rates to 40%

B2B sales and marketing nowadays has become mostly digital in nature. Activities like prospect identification, lead generation and lead qualification have never been easier. In fact, most of them can be done without ever leaving the office.

So with all the undisputed advantages of modern B2B sales and marketing, it’s somewhat surprising to see the impressive number of attendees at technology events around the globe.

Consider the following large scale events and the respective attendance numbers:

    • Web Summit: 60,000 attendees
    • Online Marketing Rockstars Festival: 40,000
    • SXSW 2017: 421,900
    • Salesforce Dreamforce: 170,000
    • Oracle OpenWorld: 60,000
    • SAPPHIRE NOW: 30,000

So with the trend towards transforming more and more B2B sales and marketing activities to the digital realm, why the popularity of such in-person events?

What happens when the evangelists, preachers and disciples of the digital revolution congregate physically in order to praise the digital revolution?

Why do the people who are supposed to interact via Slack, Skype, Trello, WebEx, Twitter, LinkedIn, Asana and WhatsApp still feel the need to invest precious time and money on physical events?

Considering that technology-wise there is little justification to leave the office to interact with prospects and customers, aren’t these people betraying the very digital tribes they come from?

Relevant business events are here to stay

The truth is, there’s nothing spectacular happening here. These digital pioneers are simply confirming something we always knew.

In-person human interactions are still critical in a digital world.

Why? Because they’re a great way to build relationships with decision makers, industry influencers and existing customers. People do business with people. And this is especially true when annual contract values are north of 50K ARR

When it comes to B2B events, there are three key opportunities for those in B2B sales and marketing: Lead generation, Lead nurturing and Customer success.

And if you look at the research, the statistics support the notion that events are great for business:

Memorable events are successful events

Obviously, successful business events don’t necessarily need to have upwards of 1,000 attendees. As is often the case, quality trumps quantity. You could benefit from running small scale exclusive breakfasts, lunches or dinners with relevant decision-makers, because 10 highly-engaged attendees are much more valuable than 100 people who pay more attention to the free food and drinks than what you have to say.

The question is not whether you should capitalize on events or not, but rather, how do you make your events memorable? i.e. how can you createevents that support your business objectives and stick in the mind of the key decision-makers?

That doesn’t mean a fireworks display or live performance from Lady Gaga, rather delivering an event with content that is memorable, relevant and impactful for the decision makers that attend.

But how do you get them to attend in the first place?

The biggest challenge of business events: getting response!

Let’s assume you’ve prepared a memorable business event, how do you actually get people to attend? Though it sounds easy, getting people to the event is more challenging than you’d think.

The biggest challenge of business events: getting response!

50% of event marketers say that getting attendees to respond to their event invites is the biggest challenge they face.

But why is it so difficult to be heard and get a response? With the increasing volume of marketing messages out there, standing out from the crowd is becoming increasingly challenging. And with B2B decision-makers becoming increasingly savvy at filtering out unwanted advertising messages, it’s becoming even more important to find ways to get their attention.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to achieve a 40%+ RSVP rate

The good news is, there are ways to achieve much higher RSVP rates than you’d expect. It should come as no shock that people respond differently to different communication methods, and finding the method that works for you could dramatically increase your RSVP rates.

When it comes to sending invites to cold prospects, the reality is that email is woefully ineffective — and in Europe, simply illegal. And although printed direct mail fairs slightly better, the best results tend to come from handwritten direct mail.

Consider the following stats outlining response rates for event invitations:

So why is that?

Success comes from standing out, from the beginning

There is a lot of power in forming a positive first impression. This is especially true for cold invites to prospects. A prospect who receives a handwritten invite is likely appreciate the creativity, personal touch and perceived additional cost invested in this message. These are some the biggest reasons why handwritten invitations outperform email or printed invitations.

When it comes to the behavioural science behind handwritten invitations, the rationale is clear. Applying the personal touch to a cold invitation is a key driver in warming up that relationship and increasing response rates.

Why taking a step back is a great way to move forward

There are many ways to leverage the power of handwritten notes for your event invitations, each with several levels of personalisation.

Firstly, you could simply send a hand addressed envelope, which is almost certain to be opened (especially compared to printed mail). But to witness a dramatic increase in actual response rates, it’s best to include a personalised handwritten note directed to the recipient.

Fortunately, you don’t need to hand write all the event invitations yourself, because thanks to you can easily mail 10,000 authentic handwritten invitations delivered in handwritten envelopes. This makes it easy to make the personal touch scalable.

And with businesses investing on average 20% of their marketing budget on business events, it makes sense to maximise your RSVP rates by sending invitations that get results.

As you send bespoke invitations to your prospects, not only are you likely to increase your RSVP rates, you will also increase your response rates, as even those who can’t attend will feel more obliged to respond given the increased effort put into the invitation. And considering most invitations generate no response at all, spending the little extra on the finer details of an invitation becomes a great beginning for an ongoing relationship. Because even a ‘no’ today can become a ‘yes’ tomorrow.

Last but not least, sending handwritten thank-you notes as a follow-up after the event can be precisely the fuel needed to build new relationships with prospects, customers and partners. Given the fact that 62% of companies do not follow-up leads after an event, handwritten direct mail can set your business apart and help leverage the true power of business events.