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Having Trouble Getting RSVPs? Try This Pain-Free Approach

Meetings, conventions, and trade shows consistently rank as effective undertakings to engage with customers, prospects, and other employees.

Even so, increased competition, the higher number of no-shows, lackluster speakers, and not delivering to sponsors or stakeholders' expectations are the challenges planners face today in getting people to their events. Many of these problems stem from an outdated invitation and RSVP process.

If you feel like getting individuals to RSVP is a significant pain point, it's time to swizzle your procedures. Here are a few proven techniques that work well.


It Starts with the Invitation

First, focus on quality versus quantity.

  • Drill down on your target attendee. For example, if you have one extensive database, work on segmenting it into silos such as:
    • Location
    • Seniority
    • Past Attendance
    • Industry
    • Current Customer
    • Past Customer or
    • Prospect
  • If you haven't cleaned out your online database in more than six months, now is the time to do so.
  • Eliminate hard bounces.
  • Study past email clickthrough rates to determine who consistently acted on your event invitations. Are these individuals in your target audience? If so, great! If not, you need a better strategy to hook them.

Second, determine how many individuals you want at your event.
The general rule of thumb is to expect 50-75% of those invited to attend your meeting. However, many things can affect this, including the date, time, travel, whether the event is virtual, hybrid, or live, content and costs. So factor in at least a 25% rejection rate and check attendance numbers often.

Third, hook attendees with a story.
Tell them why they should come and what they will experience. Today's invitations can include video, music, photographs, and a solid call to action. Use these tools to make your invitation stand out.

Fourth, give them all the specifics.
Provide as much information as possible, including when sign-ups close and details on how they should register. 


The Modern RSVP Process


Digital Most of the Way

Research shows the following three methods are most successful in bringing in attendees:

  • 73% use social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to push their event.
  • 65% said email campaigns were effective and used them at least three times to promote their meeting
  • 60% rely on their website, while 25% use an event registration site. Whichever process you use, it's essential that it can capture attendee details and payment processing in one fell swoop.


Get the Timing Down

According to research by Zkipster, your email campaigns must be timed appropriately. Too far in advance, your invitation won't be opened. Too close to the event, there can be a scheduling conflict.

RSVP Agency states the following is the best schedule:

  • Eight weeks out: Send a "save the date" email and post the event on social media – the focus should be on who should attend and why they need to be there.
  • Six weeks: Send an email invitation, complete with the registration link
  • Four weeks: Send another email to those that didn't register
  • Two weeks: Follow up with phone calls to your target list, starting with your A-listers
  • One week: Confirm final numbers with the venue
  • Two days: Send a text message to attendees confirming they are coming – give them an opt-out notice if they can't make it


Return to the Telephone

Calling potential attendees, especially those on your A list, has increased attendance and minimized no-shows.

If they don't show up, call to find out why. This will allow you to do one of three things: 1) Take them off your invite list for future events, 2) Keep them on but place them in a lower category, or 3) Accept their reason and keep them where they are on the list. You won't necessarily know why they were a no-show if you don't call.



This process will ensure you will reach the people who matter and obtain the necessary action. It may take a few more steps and return to some old-school methods, but it will set you apart from the competition and ensure a better RSVP strategy.


Brought to You by Mulligan Management Group

We are an established and trusted digital marketing agency in Stow, Ohio. Call us at 330-472-7673 or fill out our contact form for more information.

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