As a small business owner, you can build brand awareness and boost sales by inviting customers to a special event. With free online templates and computer software you probably already own, you can easily create eye-catching custom invitations for a fraction of what you'd pay a professional graphic designer.
Create an Event
Reward customer loyalty and attract new business with an event that highlights your company and its offerings. Not every idea is suitable for every business, but consider the types of events shown below and which could work for you:
- How-To events: Product demonstrations and hands-on workshops
- Charity events: Related to your business, such as a pet store supporting a local animal shelter
- Partner events: With a local business complementary to your own, such as a wedding planner working with a florist
- Special guest events: With subject-matter experts or local celebrities, such as an athlete at a sporting goods store, a botany professor at a greenhouse or a winemaker at a wine tasting
- Webinars: Online events to introduce a company, host a demonstration, provide information or create a forum for questions and answers
Design Your Mailers
People are more likely to respond to a postcard mailer with eye-catching graphics than an envelope they have to open, although there are occasions when you might want to use a more formal invitation. Postcards are an affordable way to attract a lot of customers. An invitation that arrives in an envelope suggests a more upscale event with a limited number of invitees.
Invitation Card Template on Your Desktop Computer
Microsoft Word and Apple Pages are word processing programs. Depending on the type of computer and operating system you use, you probably have one or the other already installed on your desktop or laptop. Both programs have eye-catching invitation designs that you can customize with your own photos and text.
Free Online Invitation Card Design
A number of web-based companies offer free invitation card templates you can use to create a design. The companies make their money with various printing and design services, as well as by selling additional templates that you have to pay for.
Free online design sources include:
- Adobe Spark
- Brother Creative Center
- Greetings Island
- Paperless Post
- Simply To Impress
Invitation-maker apps let you design an invitation easily on your tablet or phone. Some apps offer print services at a cost, but some let you design and send a free electronic invitation (e-vite). Some apps include text as well as email messages and can manage the RSVPs for you.
Top apps for e-vites include:
- Invitation Card Maker
- Invitation Maker from Essential Apps
- Invitation Maker Card App from Clear Coast Designs
- Rose Gold Invitation Maker
Postage Costs for Mailers
It costs 55 cents to mail a 1-ounce, first-class letter in the U.S. Each additional ounce or fraction of an ounce is 15 cents, up to 3.5 ounces. Envelopes must be rectangular, with a minimum size of 3.5 inches by 5 inches and a maximum size of 6.125 inches by 11.5 inches. Thickness may not exceed a quarter inch. Size limitations are in place because most mail is processed by a machine. Hand-processing, such as required for a square or outsized envelope, costs extra.
Postcards cost 35 cents each to mail. They must be between 3.5 inches by 5 inches and 4.25 by 6 inches. Larger postcards are subject to letter-size pricing.
- Choose a nice grade and color of paper on which to print your invitation.
Denise Dayton, M.S., M.Ed. is a freelance writer specializing in careers, education and technology. In addition to writing for corporate clients, she has published articles in Library Journal and The Searcher.