Last week I spoke at an event entitled Successful Showroom Selling; my topic was Creating Traffic Using Events And Social Media. The event is held at Crossville Inc. in Crossville, Tennessee and is very well attended. The people attending are top notch designers and salespeople who have held events before. I spoke about how to use social media to kick up the excitement provide good followup.
Great events require planning and follow up. Mediocre events are another story; unfortunately most businesses produce mediocre events. The difference between the two isn’t much but does take more planning. I’ve downloaded a link on planning an event on a tight budget.
Here’s the scoop on getting your event from boring to great:
Get excited. If you want your guests to have a good time and show up, you’ve got to act as if it’s your first birthday party. Decide on a theme that everyone loves so you’ll have lots of buy-in. It’s just as much work to do something that isn’t much fun as something that in. Actually it’s more work to do something you don’t really like.
Be timely. This time of year there are lots of events you can get involved in; events that will have national appeal and provide great partners to support what you’re doing. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month (Pink) as well as Domestic Violence Awareness month (purple). It is also Sarcastic month and Adopt a Dog month. If you need good ideas go to October awareness month. Plan your events for a 12 month period.
Ask all of your customers about their social media preferences. I can’t stress this enough. To have a successful party you need lots of people. It’s up to you to build your party list! This list is more than a party list, it’s a potential customer list. Inviting potential customers to a party is a good way to get to know them. Create a good experience for your guests and they’re sure to be back when they need your products.
Find willing and resourceful partners. Join up with not-for-profits who have substantial mailing list and will help out during the event s well as follow up. Partners who don’t have a social media plan won’t be able to get you party guests or potential customers Other partners can include businesses who have interesting products or services that would be fun for your guests.
Assign everyone on your team a list of guest to invites. Not long ago I was at an event hosted by a 100 year old business. It was a fun, women’s night out but was poorly attended. None of the salespeople invited their customers and it was up to the owner to invite all of the guests. I couldn’t believe the salespeople were on commission and weren’t assigned the task to bring at least 20 of their best customers. (A 100 year old business should be able to scare up at least 20 customers per salesperson, right?)
Do your homework. Send out written invitations, follow up with phone calls and then call a day or so before the event. Also offer to pick up your best customers! This really works great and your guests will be thrilled.
During the event. Post photos and tag people on Facebook, get testimonials, and tweet during the event. Show your guests how special they are. Engage in on line conversations with your guests and talk up your next event. After the event blog about it and keep the buzz going on Facebook.
Provide a great experience for your guests so they feel welcome.Over the last several years the innovation discussion has shifted from a focus on a product to and business innovation to consumer experience, this is a good article on how to get it right. Having an interesting a fun event is one way to add to the customer’s experience.
Fabulous Floors Magazine has an event planning handbook that is available if you just send me a note. We can help you plan the event as well as well as give you ideas for creating a theme.
It’s not over when it’s over–it’s just beginning. This is the time to send thank you notes, ask for testimonials (video testimonials are good), put up more photos and plan for the next event. You may even want to ask some of your guests to help you with your next event.
Lisbeth Calandrino is the associate publisher of Fabulous Floors Magazine as well as social media marketing. She teaches businesses how to build loyal customer relationships through customer service and sales seminars.