Published on May 12th, 2015 | by Kim Stiglitz1
5 Event Ideas that Attract Customers
Customer events are outstanding ways to create excitement and attract new prospects and loyal customers to your business. But how do you come up with an event idea that people want to attend and then get the word out? Here are five ideas for customer-attracting events that any business can use:
1. Learning event – At this type of event you focus on teaching attendees “how-to” do something. Options are limitless and could include things like a winery having a food and wine pairing, a makeup artist could reveal the latest techniques in contouring and highlighting, an esthetician could address the benefits of proper skincare and the effects of aging, a plumber could advise about the benefits of pipe maintenance and how much money people can save with proper upkeep.
2. Interactive/Hands-On event – Similar to a learning event, a hands-on event takes that learning and literally puts it into the hands of an attendee. It allows attendees to roll up their sleeves to learn and do at the same time. Some interesting examples of a hands-on event could include a plant nursery showing how to pot succulents in mini terrariums, a printer demonstrating how to create letterpress cards or invitations, or a software company allowing customers to create an app using their technology.
If you’ve ever stepped foot in an Apple store, you know the power of putting your product or service into people’s hands. When they see it, touch it, experience the results of using it and how it can help them, it’s priceless.
3. Charitable event – Events that have a cause tied to them are brilliant at attracting customers because there’s a “feel good, do good” element. Shopping or spending for a cause is something people take pride in and it’s what helps make these type of events successful. You can do a charitable event any time of year, just make sure you connect your theme and cause to something that is relevant to your audience and something they care about. Examples could include a retail clothing store hosting a donate your old denim or coat drive, a toy store could have a buy a toy, donate a toy event. A local pet shelter could host a Friday Night Puppy Night like the San Francisco SPCA does where parents can drop off their kids for a night of movies and cuddling puppies. You can bet some of those kids end up taking a puppy home (my house is proof of this!)
4. Special Guest event – Inviting a special guest to host or MC your event can be an awesome draw to get people to attend. Many local sports athletes will lend their name and presence to causes they support. A restaurant or cafe could get a celebrity chef to cook a special meal and sign cookbooks, a wedding consultant could get a well-known makeup artist to provide “big day” makeovers, a winery could have a famous cheese monger present rare cheese and wine pairings. People love to have special out of the ordinary experiences and these events deliver on that.
5. VIP event – People love to be part of exclusive, special things and a VIP event can help attract them like crazy. You can create a members-only event or a VIP event for your most loyal customers and offer them special shopping hours, a nice discount and elevated customer service. These types of events have been wildly popular for years and spawned the now well-known concept of Friends & Family day events, etc. The key to doing VIP events well is to keep it small and manageable so you can offer only the best experience since these are your best customers. You can base “best” on a number of things including amount spent, number of purchases, number of referrals, etc.
Now that we’ve discussed five types of customer-attracting events, let’s look at how you can get the word out.
How to Get the Word Out
Once you have all your event details set, you need to get the word out to potential attendees through various channels:
Email – A great place to start is your own list of email subscribers. Because they’re already engaged and invested in your brand, they may have a higher likelihood to attend an event you have. Send an event invitation via email far enough in advance that your subscribers can plan it into their calendars. Make sure you include all the necessary information in your email. If you’re hosting a physical event, include the full address of the venue, parking information, etc. If you’re inviting people to a demo, webinar, or new service, include full log in or sign up details. Also include a link back to your website, and contact info such as a phone number or email address for your business so someone can call with questions if need be. Always include a call to action to register or sign up to attend the event.
Plan to send a few email invitations and reminders as you get closer to your event. You can offer early bird discount pricing, or offer different level of tickets and benefits to instill a sense of urgency. For more event invitation tips read the 6 Components of a Successful Event Email.
Direct Mail Postcards – In the digital age we live in, some may pooh-pooh the notion of sending a direct mail postcard, but postcards are very effective to get the word out. Postcards arrive already opened (there is no envelope to have to tear open or email to click) and if you use compelling imagery and messaging, your recipient has a good chance of reading it. Postcards also serve as easy reminders because they can be placed on a desk or refrigerator as a visual cue of the event.
Social – In addition to inviting potential attendees via email and postcards, you can also invite guests via Facebook by creating an event. It’s a great way to invite people that you don’t have email addresses for. Creating an event on Facebook is quite simple by following these instructions.
Make sure you cover your other social bases by sharing details and a link to register on your other social channels like Twitter and LinkedIn. Create a hashtag for your event and use it every time you share details about your event on any social network. Just be sure you research any hashtag prior to using it to ensure it isn’t being used for something else you might not want.
These five customer-attracting event ideas and tips about how to get the word out should help you make your next event a success. For more tips, read The Best Ways to Promote Your Small Business Event.
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© 2015, Kim Stiglitz. All rights reserved.