Hosting events is a smart, effective and fun way to build customer loyalty for your business and to attract new customers. There are countless types of events to choose from but not all will be the best fit for a every business type. To make things easy on you, we’ve compiled a short list of some of our favorite event ideas specifically well suited for small businesses.
Customers absolutely love learning new skills and how to use products properly. One simple way to add value to your services and bring people through your front door is to host a demonstration featuring your products. This works even for businesses that are more service oriented. For instance, if you owned a juice shop you may want to host an event demonstrating how to create one of your more popular drinks.
Workshops can also fall under the ‘How To’ umbrella. Teaching people practical skills is a big value add. For example, large home improvement chains began implementing workshops teaching their customers to take on their own home improvement projects. Not only do they sell everything one would need to complete their project but they also show them how to tackle it like a pro.
People want to support companies that hold similar values to their own. Throwing an event to bring awareness to not only your business but also a worthy cause will bode well for your brand and tap into an existing pool of supporters, those who are already involved with your chosen charity. If you decide to go the charity route, try to choose a charity that is closely related to your type of business. Own a pet store? Look to support a local shelter. Restaurateur? Support your local soup kitchen!
Check with the charity if they’d be willing to announce your event in their newsletter or on their website or social media platforms. They’ll likely be more than happy to promote on your behalf if a percentage of proceeds will benefit their organization and bonus for you, you’ll be exposed to an entire pool of individuals likely interested in supporting your event.
If you’re a newer company and don’t have a robust pool of customers to invite to your event, search for a complimentary business in your city that would be willing to cohost with you. An example of a complimentary business would be like a children’s swim instructor teaming up with a daycare facility. This is a terrific way to tap into an audience that is likely interested in what you’re selling. Also, partnering with a well-established business lends a certain level of credibility to your own.
Having a special guest at your event can be a huge draw. Think experts in your field or local celebrities. Often times, local athletes are willing to attend events for a fee (and will likely do it for free if tied to a charity). Restaurants could invite a celebrity chef or wine maker to hold a tasting event or a hair salon could invite a top stylist to teach participants the latest hairstyle trends! Whatever your business, the key is to provide your guests with an experience that they wouldn’t be able to get on their own.
Short on cash? No problem! Hosting an online event, like a webinar, is an inexpensive way to connect with your customers for pennies on the dollar. Topics for webinars can be wide ranging, such as:
Once you’ve decided on the type of event you’ll be hosting you’ll need to decide how to promote it. The best method is to use multiple platforms to get the word out.
If you’ve got a solid email list, put together an email blast or a simple series of emails to send leading up to the big day. Tapping into your distribution list should absolutely be the first place you start. Customers who have shared their contact information are open to receiving correspondence for you and will be more likely to attend your event. Make sure to include pertinent information which includes date, time and location and any other details attendees would need to make it a seamless evening (like parking information, street closures, maps, etc). Just as important as these logistical items is a contact information should people have questions and a clear call to action like a registration button or link to your websites event landing page.
Though not as popular as electronic invites, mailers can be a very effective offline marketing strategy if done properly. If you’d like to use the pony express, use postcards instead of cards in envelopes. People will be more likely to read something that’s already open with interesting graphics.
Promote your event using your social media pages by regularly posting about the event or creating an event on Facebook to formally invite followers. Work in the main details to each post or choose portions of the event to highlight on a weekly basis. Don’t forget to link registration pages here too.
Now that you’ve got some starter ideas you can start planning your next event with confidence!