Your invitation need not necessarily be a written invitation letter. It can come in any format you consider adequate. However, it may be useful to imagine yourself writing an invitation letter as you read through the following. This is how you should go about building the contents, keeping the reader in mind first and foremost as well as the goal of your invitation: making them visit your stand. Use the AIDA-model explained in chapter one. It serves the purpose of determining and structuring the contents of your invitation perfectly well.

Step 1: Attract attention

As emotions precede logic, recipients could be tempted to reject communication without even giving it thought. Your purpose, therefore, is to have the recipient connect emotionally to your invitation: instantly and positively.

One way to ensure emotional engagement is to make the ‘look and feel’ of your invitation stand out creatively from the other invitations the recipients receive. Think shape, colours, packaging, materials, visuals, surprise gift, catchy, impressive, illustrative and such. The other way is the contents. The recipient must immediately and decisively connect with what he or she reads. Your text should be about them and for them, not about you.  Avoid starting your text with the words ‘We’ or ‘Our’.

Needless to say, the first impression your invitation should generate, is to give the recipient the feeling that he or she is dealing with a professional organization. If your invitation looks lousy, they will create similar negative associations for your products, company and you in their minds.

Step 2: Raise interest

After having attracted the attention of the recipient, you must instantly raise their interest. Your goal is to make the recipients see potential opportunity in a business relationship with you. Answer their “What’s-in-it-for-me question”. Clearly provide them with some strong benefits. Limit yourself, do not provide too much or too detailed information. The triggering of their drivers is what you are after.

Step 3: Create desire

Once the recipient is interested, they should make the step to wanting to know more. About the opportunity, about your company, about you etcetera. For this to happen, you need to further strengthen their interest. Use simple words to explain what the opportunity can do for them: quantify the benefits, name results achieved with others, give statistics, refer to reputable customers that already work with you and that are known to the recipients.

Step 4: Evoke action

As the final step, invite the recipient to visit you at the fair. Simply ask them to come! Better yet, ask them to confirm their visit to you up front. You may consider offering an incentive for them to confirm their visit. In any case, be concise and clear on how they can confirm their visit to you. Moreover, always reconfirm, trying to make a specific appointment.

Let’s test your trade fair invitation. The table below gives five criteria to evaluate it on. Give each a score, choosing from:

  • 5 points: when you consider it fully met/achieved (read: very good)
  • 3 points: when you consider it partially met/achieved (read: average)
  • 1 point: when you consider it not met/achieved (read: poor).
1. Personal Are company address and the gender and name of the recipient complete and used correctly in your invitation? ………….
2. Connection Does your invitation instantly attract the attention of your recipient? Does its physics or contents stand out creatively and make the recipient instantly connect with it with positive emotions? ………….
3. Motivation Does your invitation trigger the business drivers of the recipient, enougjh and in such a way that you raise interest and create desire to visit you? ………….
4. Navigation Does your invitation clearly mention which trade fair you are participating in, when and where the trade fair is at and what your stand location is? ………….
5. Action Is there a strong call to action: do you ask the recipient to visit you, do you ask them to pre-confirm the visit with you? Do you use an incentive to stimulate the recipient’s pre-confirmation? ………….
The scores you have given the evaluation criteria of your invitation tell you whether and where improvement is needed.

In part 1 of this blog you can read what makes a convincing invitation and you’ll find a model to test how good your invitation is. Click here to read part 1 of why and how to invite visitors.



Published: 7 December 2021

Author: Ton Willemse, international business consultant

Intraservice BV, Nederland


Also read:



To all blogs