In the sales world, we know that it takes 5-7 repeats (or “touches”) for a sale to be made to a new prospect. When hosting an event, it is imperative that the host understands he/she is in essence “selling” the guest on the idea of spending their otherwise free time with the host. Invitations are just a method of Marketing for an event. They are a “touch.”
I5 (Invitations to the 5th Power) is a marketing method for event attendance success. The I5 system assumes the host has at least one or two touches with the attendee, meaning the attendee will at least know the name of the host when the invitation comes in the mail. Note: for those events geared to gaining face time with “suspects” or business prospects who are not yet familiar with the company or host, more than five touches will need to be made.
For the purposes of counting to five, we will start at Touch 1. However, remember, this is not truly the first touch the host has had with the attendee.
Touch 1: Save the Date Card. These need to be mailed (email is ok, not preferred) no later than eight weeks prior to the event. This allows the attendee to put the date in his/her calendar and/or change his calendar to accommodate the event.
Touch 2: THE INVITATION! These should ALWAYS be mailed. Hand addressed. With a stamp. Your invitee will appreciate getting something so personal in the mail. This allows the host to set the tone for the event (formal/casual/byob/etc) and to establish rsvp expectations. These should be mailed during week 6 prior to the event.
Touch 3: Follow up email. This should go to all attendees. If they’ve already rsvp’d, that’s great. This is just one more reminder of the party. Those who haven’t rsvp’d, this is a good reminder to do so. These should go out during week 3 prior to the event.
Touch 4: Thank you notes or emails to early RSVP’ers and phone calls to those who haven’t. It’s important to recognize the behaviors we want to see repeated. RSVP’ing in this day and age is definitely a behavior we want to see repeated! Phone calls to those who have not rsvp’d. It is absolutely appropriate for you as the host to call those who haven’t been polite enough to tell you if they plan to eat the food you’re providing. You don’t want to run out of food do you? Or worse yet, you don’t want to over-spend to accommodate those who might show up. These should happen 7-10 days prior to the event.
Touch 5: Send Thank You Cards to the attendees. Some hostesses look at me and say, “They came to my house and ate my food; why should I send them a thank you card?” Because it’s good manners and those attendees will remember you and come to your party next year! These should go out the week after the party.