Learning the Art of RSVP to Convert Prospects into Attendees

May 24, 2018 Susan Serena


New York Event Planners find that the first invitation touchpoint people receive from an event they attended months ago is typically some bogus press announcement about partnerships no attendee cares about. It's also very common that an early bird call for registration is attached to the announcement.

These two messages, one for corporate, one for commercial ticket-selling events, are the most evident examples of practices from the Nineties that we still think are relevant.

Think about reconnecting with an old friend over dinner. The first topic you bring up is how much you are going to pay for the dinner or the new relationship you are in, talking about you, you, you, you. Very annoying if you are the other party. Yet, many New York Event Planners find that clients have no problem reconnecting with their beloved guests or with new prospects with some cheap money talk.

The focus of your RSVP strategy is the invitee. Not you.

The perfect event invitation that converts into highly positive RSVPs takes the reader on a journey. What will I get if I attend your event? What’s in it for me?

Clever New York Event Planners show invitees a clear path towards change that the event will help to deliver. They tell a story about how, by attending the event, there will be a clear outcome. They describe that vision and they make it valuable and tangible to the potential attendee.

Why do we attend events?

  • To learn.
  • To be entertained.
  • To connect in person with other attendees.
  • To filter through the noise of information overload.

These are universal objectives that every event can relate to. Now, it is the time to break it down and really identify the ‘what’s in it for me’ for your attendees. Your entire communication, and specifically your invitations, should reflect this thinking.

We don’t attend events based on price alone anymore. Especially in the corporate environment, experiential marketing, and high-profile meetings, price is just a detail. We want a full-blown learning, entertaining, connected experience that proves our boss was right to approve our attendance.


For New York Event Planners to choose the right tools for engagement is as crucial as getting the message right. You may have the perfect invitation out there; amazing graphics, great story, brilliant value proposition but the prospective attendees still simply do not see what you have in store for them.

A modern RSVP tool mix combines traditional and non-traditional tools for the best possible impact.

Traditional tools:

  • Email.
  • Direct Mail.
  • Phone.
  • Fax.

Non-traditional methods:

  • Social Media.
  • Social Media Advertising.
  • Search Engine Marketing.
  • Social and Search Re-marketing.
  • Video.
  • Website Live Chat.
  • Influencer Marketing.
  • Webinars.

New York Event Planners need to have a bulletproof RSVP strategy to rely on the perfect balance between traditional and nontraditional tools. To find this balance you need to profile your attendees.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do they respond to email?
  • Do they talk about our event topic on social networks?
  • Do they discuss attending our events, or competitors’ events, online?
  • If so, on which social networks?
  • Have they interacted with our competitors on social networks?
  • How did they find out about our event?
  • Have they mentioned on previous registration forms how they heard about past events?

Of course, there are many more questions you could ask. The above examples give New York Event Planners an indication of the items to consider identifying your audience’s’ behavior. You need to be able to establish a pattern of interaction to define where to invest your time and resources to get maximum attention.

Mixing a very traditional and a very nontraditional contact method has been proven to be extremely successful in grabbing attention. Whenever you break the pattern of ‘what is expected’ you can count on more consideration from your audience.

It shows you tried to reach out in a better, more valuable fashion.

An excellent example of creative RSVP tool selection for New York Event Planners could be a promotional item sent via direct mail combined with a re-marketing campaign on social networks that reminds them to RSVP to the event.


If you are telling a story with your invitation you can use different tools to present it differently and hit different trigger points. An email invitation with a clear list of the benefits of attending can be combined with video on Facebook or YouTube, with testimonials from previous years attendees confirming the value.

To stay up to date with the latest strategies in converting invitees to attendees, be sure to attend The Event Planner Expo and get the advice directly from our speakers.

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