Are You Announcing, Commanding or Inviting?

Are you announcing, commanding, or inviting in your marketing messages?
There is a place for each of these in your art marketing, but I encourage you to be aware of which you’re using and when.
An announcement is a presentation of the facts. “I’m having an exhibition. The opening is at this time and this place. Here’s how you see my art.” Tamara McElhannon’s lovely announcement is pictured here.

Tamara McElhannon’s announcement

Announcements can be used earlier in your marketing along with a typical commandment: “Save the Date.”
A commandment takes the form of something like “Come to . . . “ or “Drop by . . . “ or “Do this.”
Calling something a commandment sounds worse than it usually is. We’ve become used to them and understand the intent. However, they can get ugly in the wrong hands.
An invitation is a request for someone’s attendance. It has a gentler tone and is more from the heart than the marketing mind.
– I hope you can come . . .
– It would be lovely to see you at . . .
– Please drop by if you can . . .
When I write invitations, I like to think of the person at the other end. I try to think of real names and faces and talk to those individuals in my message.
As artist Sari Grove shared in a blog comment:

The command implies a solo action. ”Come to” says to me, “by myself.” The invitation, “I hope you will come,” implies that when I get there, you will be waiting for me, that I will be welcomed & not alone.

While there is plenty of room to invite in an email or on a larger mailing piece, there isn’t always room to be so warm on a postcard.
Rani Garner’s experience might make you find a way to add a few extra words.
On the same blog post where Sari left her comment, Rani talks about handing out what she thought were invitations:

I handed a postcard invitation for an art show to my hairdresser, and she looked at it and said, “Is this a business card?” I realized that she, like many people, weren’t used to art show invitations and didn’t know what it was. Ever since then I have made it clear with the wording, “You are invited . . . ”

All three versions contain the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How that recipients need to act.
So when you’re writing the draft of your printed postcard or email message, consider this: What does the situation call for?

To expand more on that Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How, I am happy to share a checklist for your invitations – my gift to subscribers. Click here to access it.


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7 thoughts on “Are You Announcing, Commanding or Inviting?”

  1. Great insight. I probably tend to be a little too “professional” in my announcements. Next time I’ll try the friendly approach.

  2. Hi Alyson, I used postcards this time along with one of my greeting cards, put them in the same envelope. The postcard then became a proper invitation with all the info about the show. I personally wrote on each of my greeting cards what is happening in my life and shared personal info to the person I invited. Like…”Lovely to see you last week”… “I cant believe your grandkids are getting so big”… “take care of those wonderful dogs”… “I hope you had a great holiday in Spain”…. And so on.
    Then I wrote, “I hope you can make it to my art show, Paul, the owner of the cafe, makes a great cappuccino and they serve wonderful lunch, make sure you try the steak and stilton!” 🙂
    You know what? I would say I have had a 50% attendance rate (so far) and the month isnt half over! The show is still going at the moment so not sure how many people are still going to attend, but this show is in another town. And I am an amateur. Just saying, kindness and SHARING… WORKS 🙂 Thank you Alyson, if not for your SHARING, and giving ideas, I would not have done this. I also took my art coffee table book and Paul gives it to ppl to look at, he was impressed to have extra tools to show off my artwork. I have to say, DONT just use email to invite, SEND THOSE POSTCARDS and use a personal touch. Thank you.Cindy Williams

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