How do you plan the perfect event to help your customers plan the perfect day?

That was the question that Joe Dusewicz of Green Gates Gifts, Furniture & Accessories, a gift boutique in Gloucester Point, Virginia, had to answer when he was planning the business’s annual Wedding Showcase.

“This Wedding Showcase is our biggest event of the year,” Joe explains “A lot goes into it and we have a lot of local vendors who come to showcase their services.”

He knew that the best place to start driving attendance for the event was with the people who knew Green Gates the best – their customer email list.

Now that he knew where he would be sending the invitations, Joe had to think about the hardest part: designing them.

Here are three things that Green Gates Gifts did to make sure their guests saved the date.

1. Ran a promotion to drive registration

To help drive registration to the event, Joe decided to offer a special discount for anyone who registered online before the event.

“We don’t charge for our events so people don’t need to have tickets to get into the store,” Joe explained. “But we thought it would be a good way to get people to register beforehand and to take advantage of the promotion.”

Getting people to register early helped Green Gates better prepare and to tell their sponsors what to expect.

“Before we had online registration, it was really tough to see how successful our events were going to be,” Joe recalled. “When we have events like this, knowing attendance beforehand helps us – and our local vendors – stay prepared.”

Green Gates Gifts uses promotions to drive attendance to their free events.

2. Promoted local sponsors

For this year’s event, Green Gates Gifts partnered with Premier Bride Magazine and gave a number of small businesses the opportunity to showcase their products and services.

“It’s meant to be an event where vendors can come and promote themselves,” Joe explained. “But we wanted to make sure that everyone knew how many great businesses were going to be there and how each vendor could help them.”

Joe used the invitation to promote each of his vendors. He explained what each vendor was going to be featuring at the showcase and used their logos to linked to their websites.

After he sent his invitations, Joe could then track his reports and see how many people were clicking each link. That way, he could tell each vendor how much interest they had gotten from customers.

Green Gates Gifts linked their invitations to each of the sponsors websites to help promote their businesses before the event.

3. Included photos from previous year’s event

The Wedding Showcase is just one of the events that Green Gates Garden hosts annually at their store. To help generate buzz for this year’s event, Joe decided to include pictures from the “Girl’s Night Out Wedding Showcase” from the previous year.

Green Gates Gifts always has a good turnout for their annual Wedding Showcase events.

The Take Away

Whether you’re planning a wedding or marketing your business’ next big event, it’s important to have an invitation that fits your needs.

Joe didn’t just make it easy for guests to register, he offered a unique opportunity to some of his business partners. People who opened a Green Gates invitation didn’t just find an invitation, they found a resource that would help them prepare for the event and get excited about their wedding planning.

What are you doing with your event invitations to help drive attendance? Tell us in the comments below!