What kinds of events pay off?
A simple open house at your office is one choice, of course. You could also co-host a picnic in your business’s neighborhood, sponsor a lunch to network with other professionals, or host an evening of spa services at your business. Whatever you choose to do, here’s how to get your ducks in a row.
- Determine the purpose of your event. Then choose an event that will help you accomplish that purpose. Do you want to meet and greet prospective clients? Showcase your services? Sell products? Make contacts and exchange ideas?
- Pick a date. How much advance preparation will you need? When do you think you could get a good turn out? (If there are people you are counting on being there, make sure you invite them far enough in advance.)
- Determine a budget. How many people would you like to attend? Will you need to rent a space? Will you provide food or drink? What other supplies do you need to buy?
- Settle on a location. Do you have to reserve the space ahead of time? Will your event be indoor or outdoor? If outdoor, what is your plan for rain?
- Decide if you will provide music or a microphone for speaking. What kind of system can you arrange that will be easy to set up and operate?
- Make a list of supplies you need. Are you going to provide chair massage or a similar service? Are you going to sell products? Do you need utensils and other supplies for food or beverages? Do you need indoor or outdoor furniture? Do you want decorations?
- Find event staff. How many others, if any, do you need to help you pull this off? Will you pay them? Trade for services?
- Create publicity materials. Do you want to make a flyer to mail or email? Put together a message to leave in other practitioners’ offices, fitness centers, and salons? Create a newsletter to send ahead of time that includes an invitation to the event? Advertise on your website or on Facebook? Create your publicity and order any materials with time to spare.
- Make sure you have business cards or other marketing materials for participants to take with them. Maybe you should have an information table with brochures and newsletters. Or give participants business cards with a special message that rewards them for scheduling or referring others to you. You may also want to have gift certificates for sale.
- Be prepared to follow up. Have a way to collect the names of prospective clients, such as a free raffle or newsletter sign-up. Afterward, send them, and anyone who helped out, a thank you note and an optional special offer.
Now write up your plan, including a realistic calendar for accomplishing all the tasks involved. Follow through for a great event!
[Adapted from a Natural Touch Marketing post, originally published in May of 2012.]