Paper Vs Electronic/Digital Invitations
Traditional Paper Invitations
Paper invites are more formal, cost money and require time and effort to set up which although can be a con in itself, it means they are taken more seriously by guests and as a result means your RSVP rate is naturally higher than with digital invitations. It is also a constant reminder to those invited, unlike emails which are easily buried and forgotten.
Traditional invitations are tangible, which can mean they are more memorable and create a sense of exclusivity. It isn’t something that is received “every day” and is therefore quite a novelty.
As they are addressed to someone specifically, it is clear who is invited and sets better boundaries surrounding the event rather than an email that could be forwarded on or extended to a wider circle of people.
It is guaranteed to get there, especially if you pay for tracked postage so there is no mistake about people not getting the invite.
In this world of social media, ironically sending traditional invitations probably means many guests will share the invitation with their social networks to ‘brag’.
With design, printing and postage this is the most expensive option. Bespoke designs using special paper, embossing, unusual sizes and paper cut outs can all increase the cost greatly.
Unlike with emails, an attendee cannot simply recall the invite if they lose it which means they lose all the information and details as well and means they have no back-up option other than to call the organizers and get a new copy or details sent out.
Emails and digital invites are usually free to send if you send via email or one of the free email marketing platforms. A lot of event registration sites enable you to send evites directly from the system to keep everything consistent.
Some tools allow you to create a professional design in line with your event branding, without any design experience. Alternatively you can still pay a designer to create something impactful which will be uploaded and sent out electronically.
Digital invitations are great for public events where there are no limits to the attendees and you are trying to encourage sign up from a large amount of people. It makes it easy for people to forward details to their networks if it is an open invitation to a public event.
Unnecessary printing is frowned upon and evites are definitely the most eco-friendly option for sustainability conscious guests.
You can include a lot more information in an evite than an actual invitation, as well as adding more sponsorship and advertising spots, which can be tracked.
You can create interesting effects and have moving graphics on screen that aren’t possible with paper invitations (yet).
Some guests may not have or check their email regularly and depending on your demographics you may find not everyone is email accessible. Spam filters can often block emails, particularly with graphics or if sent out to a mass email list, and this can cause a lot of perceived non-attendance, when they actually just didn’t get the invite.
If you need guests to take their invitation along to the event or to pre-print their badge, make it clear whether it is fine to show the invitation on mobile. Printing can be difficult and requires attendees to remember to do it and bring it along and some may not have the facilities.
May not be suitable for formal, high profile or significant events, unless they are just serving as a reminder, because it can come across as cheap. At high class fundraisers in particular, you can’t expect people to raise a lot of money if you send out cheap invites.
Evites can easily be missed in the swarm of emails that people get on a day to day basis and are easily pushed down the inbox and forgotten, especially when sending to business email addresses.
An attendee may see the email and then go to respond to it at a later date and ‘lose it’ in their inbox meaning they can’t actually respond if they don’t know what to search for.
As they are perceived as less formal and in some cases carry less of an impact you get a much lower RSVP rate, even if that is the action you are requesting.