You could say that the growth of digital technology homogenized invitation etiquette across countries and cultures. Indeed, the use of conventional online channels, such as email and Facebook events, makes the process of inviting people to events pretty standard. With that in mind, does the setting even matter?
Invitation etiquette in Asia
If you’ve ever done any business with Japanese clients, you’ve probably already learned how to bow properly at the initial meetings. Similarly, if you’ve ever worked in a company somewhere in Malaysia or India, networking and connection-building was likely what you spent most of your working time doing. Asia is an explosive mix of traditions, but most importantly, business etiquette is still based on hierarchical traditions in most countries across the Asia-Pacific region. This definitely impacts the ways and tools you should choose to build the right communication bridge with event invitees in Asia.
The working channels for inviting people to an event
Where should the interaction happen? That’s the first question you must deal with. We’ve compiled a few simple tips for choosing the channels that work best in Asia:
- According to a report by Zadro and Biz Events Asia, 89% of Asian organisations use email to communicate with their clients, which is why it’s perfectly reasonable to choose email as a channel for sending event invitations. Before you jump right into writing, however, explore some common rules for email communication that are typical for the country. For instance, there’s a consensus that Chinese and Japanese people are used to loading emails with large and thorough sets of information. This means you might want to present a comprehensive overview of your event in an invitation email.
- In 2018, the desktop vs. mobile vs. tablet market share in Asia equals 66%, 32%, and 2%, respectively. Clearly, your invitation emails should cater for mobile devices.
- In countries like Thailand and Singapore, it’s very common for customers to communicate with a business via Facebook messenger. If you have a solid fan base on Facebook and your event is focused on active users of social media, Facebook Events is a nice tool to start with.
A short guide to inviting people to an event
So, down to brass tacks… How should you invite someone to your event in Asia? Where should you start and what aspects should you consider? Since a well-designed email invitation will be your central focus here, we will walk you through the process of building a working message with an Asian touch.
Pick an “Asian subject line”
Whether you are writing a message for a German or Singaporean, pulling a reader in is nearly impossible if you don’t pick the right subject line. According to statistics, the open rates for emails with personalised subjects reach 65% in Asia versus 31% in the U.S. Thus, the hack here is pretty simple: use the name of an invitee in a subject line to maximise conversions.
Apart from including a personal touch, a strong subject line should intrigue the recipient, clearly identify why this email has been sent, and create a sense of urgency – all of that in a maximum of 70 characters, since it’s critical to ensure that the message isn’t cut off in the recipient’s inbox.
Incorporate many, many details
Without comprehensive details about an event, your invitations will help you reach only one goal – zero attendance. Since that’s probably not what you’re striving for, we recommend answering the key why, where, what, and when questions in your email invitation.
As we’ve mentioned before, Asians love details. Although it’s common sense to not write invitations with over 300 words, your goal should be sharing as much information as possible in this concise piece of content.
Limiting the message to the topic and date isn’t going to work in most M&A settings of the Asia-Pacific region. Ensure you add the full address of the venue, along with the parking information and transportation suggestions. In case you’re catering to different time zones, use online tools that align each email address with the right zone, as well as provide relevant links and log-in details in the case of an online event.
Add an RSVP button that catches the eye
Inviting a person to an event means that you expect him/her to show up. To have an accurate headcount and prevent uninvited attendees at your event, don’t forget about requesting an RSVP through your email invitation. A clearly identified, stand-out RSVP button that appears at the end of an invitation should be one of the key attention-grabbing elements of the content. In this context, coloring your RSVP button a bright color and surrounding it with a white space is a foolproof strategy.
The best examples of event invitations
Focusing on three different M&E segments that are particularly significant in the Asia-Pacific, we’ve picked some examples of event invitations that resonate with each industry, in particular:
- Corporate and government
Success formula: The “white space” rule is maintained + the key details go first + the CTA is clear and isolated.
Success formula: Detail-heavy message + on-brand design + emphasis on international experience
Success formula: Personal touch (speaker) + vivid RSVP + value offer
The channels for inviting people to events are basically the same across the world, with email taking the lead and social media producing a bit of complementary buzz. It’s the way you interact with invitees that matters most. Discover how invitation etiquette in Asia differs from the unwritten rules for inviting people in the rest of the world.