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Published on August 23rd, 2007 | by Janine Popick

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Driving More Business – Host Your Own Event

Think you don’t have the right “type” of business to do an event? Think again! Anyone can drive more business by hosting an event. Defining your event could be easy depending on what business you’re in.

  • An anniversary party or “birthday of the business” party
  • Customer Appreciation Party
  • Seasonal Party – “Wine Harvest”, “Holiday Party”, “Sent the Kids off to School” Event…

Your Venue

If you’ve got retail space already, why not save costs by having it there? You can also start up the cash register and ring in some sales while yer at it. If you’re having an event at a restaurant, see if they’ll fork over some free appetizers if they think you’ll be driving them new business in the long run. Work with them to let them know you’ll be bringing xx amount of people by.

Your Marketing

Lists – You’ll want to take stock of your list. Make sure you’ve got the right people coming for the event you’re having. If you’ve got a “come one come all” event then get everyone coming and tell them to bring a guest. If it’s a customer appreciation party make sure they feel special and only invite the customers.

Prizes – You also might want to think about offering prizes. Either gift certificates for your goods or some other great deals would be a start. Make sure you get a fishbowl and collect cards. You might get some new customers out of the deal!

Email Campaigns – Make sure you prepare the invitations for your event ahead of time. We’ve seen a 50% no-show rate. Your email campaigns might look like this:

4 weeks prior: Send everyone on your list the invite.
2 weeks prior: Send all of your “non-responders” the same invite.
2 days prior: Send all of your RSVPs a reminder

During the Event

If you can, why not offer cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks? Also food appys work well. If you’re offering prizes, make sure that you get enough cards in the fishbowl, but don’t wait too long to enter them and do a follow-up email with them. Give them a discount for your services if you have one.

The Aftermath

Take pix of your customers and post them online. Then include the link to the pictures in the email thanking them for coming.

Examples

Restaurants – You’ve got it great, you’ve probably already got food and space! If you’ve got a private room, you can host your yearly “Bits and Bites” or “Tastes from around the World” event! Why not try out some new food items on your best customers before you make new menu decisions? Make sure you’re capturing your customers email addresses as you see them come into the restaurant.

Retailers – Have an off-hour customer appreciation sale. Send invitations either via email or postcard where your customers have to print it out and bring it in or remember a code.

Salon/Spas – Have an annual birthday party where you are the one giving your best customers the gift. Have some champagne and bites, but also introduce a new treatment. Have your customers bring a friend who has never been to the salon for a “special gift”. Then make up little sample gift bags with your information and a $10 first time certificate. Even have someone giving chair massage in the corner!

B2B – Why not host a party at a local restaurant or a hotel in zip codes where you’ve got lots of customers. Then invite those customers to bring someone they know who’d benefit from your services with free food and a mini “show” that they have to sit through (not long). Have your employees mingling with the guests in a “soft sales” approach.

Do you host your own events to drive business? Bring us some great ideas!

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About the Author

is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse.



5 Responses to Driving More Business – Host Your Own Event

  1. At Sports basement South Africa we also hosted our own event that contributed to a huge increase in sales for our business. This is one method that really works wonders.

  2. Party Venues says:

    Live B2B events are certainly an excellent form of marketing and raising profile etc. Always a good idea to do something that isn’t the norm such as a wine tasting event or boat trip. Had some good success with both recently.

  3. I am beggin’ you, VR development team, please create a professional RSVP system for businesses and non profits looking to keep track of responders to events. The service of EVITE is great, but not professional. We need our own branded RSVP response, just like EVITE, but doesn’t take you out of your system and into theirs. Or if it does, it still feels like your company.
    Here are the features that I wish I had:
    Create email list, ability to add to that list, ability to update, ability to send out automatic reminders, ability for RSVPs to be kept track of and for people to make comments (though, on second thought, not a good idea – to dangerous for business perhaps?), ability to link to a map for directions, ability to link to your business or non profit website for more information, ability to do a follow up thank you, ability to keep track, in the future, of responders, who attended and so on. Thanks. Janelle, StudioArtDirect

  4. Stuart says:

    Recent survey by Omniture (a Web 2.0) services company showed LIVE B2B events ranked no. 1 as a reputation, leadgen, awareness tool- closely followed by on-line/web based tools.
    “It maybe a web 2.0 world, but I’m not buying until I see the whites of that sales reps eyes…and he buys me a beer at THE EVENT”

  5. Chris says:

    A local sports store over at the Potrero does something similar. Customer drops their business card and when selected, they’ll invite you, your family and friends to drop by for snacks and drinks. And oh yeah, you get a 20% discount on purchases on that visit.
    Maybe you can do something similar for your business. It’s a great way to attract people to come over and shop.
    The place is Sports Basement and they have a few locations in the Bay Area.

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