Nothing says “we appreciate you” like a big party. Be sure your special event has all the elements to become a big splash and not a bust…
It’s that time of year in Louisville, Kentucky: fedora fanfare is at a premium, a hint of mint will hit multitudes of julep glasses and the sound of the call to post fosters thrill and excitement for thousands of expectant Kentucky Derby patrons.
Although this event is an annual milestone for the Bluegrass state, dripping with tradition and international allure for locals and visitors alike, the occasion also presents a gold mine of opportunities for marketers around the nation looking to garner new business or expand current business for new stores.
Maybe considering hosting a Derby event is the right fit for your new store, but Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day are just around the corner. If you hope to drive engagement at your new store, here are six ways to turn an average gathering into an unforgettable event that brings a measurable and memorable ROI along with multiplying your customer base
1. Let Your Customers Plan It
Who better to tell you what they would like to see at a major event than the people who you would potentially invite? Organize a committee to help plan your event and include several of your valued customers. Feedback and insight from customers will boost collaboration and provide a fresh perspective. Besides, when organizers have “a dog in the fight,” they are more concerned with success as the ultimate outcome.
2. Create a Welcoming Customer Experience
Pulling off a successful customer experience at your event depends mostly on one thing: appreciation. How long customers stick around is directly related to how welcomed and engaged they feel. Be sure you welcome guests, by name, to your event right away, have your staff readily available to answer questions and demonstrate superb, attentive care. Connect with event guests personally and garner any personal information you can to continue nurturing them.
3. Align Event Time and Place with Target Audience
If you plan to host an event to honor moms around Mother’s Day, you wouldn’t consider hosting a Mother’s Day event on a weekday evening. This is when school activities abound and energy is lower. Most elements of event planning flow from knowledge of your target audience, their habits and schedules. Planning an event for a time that simply fits into your new store’s calendar will work against you. Start by coordinating dates with what works for your customer and find out what your competitors are up to around the same time so your customers don’t have to choose.
4. Make It a Family Event
Bored children, who attend an event because their parents dragged them along, could be detrimental to your new store’s event. Distracted parents won’t focus for long, and you may lose parents’ attention simply because their children weren’t considered in the planning process. Create stations dedicated to children and plan events, such as balloon animals or carnival games, to engage children and make your event a family friendly occasion.
5. Create Buzz
Good food, great company and cheerful music are a given for most any special event. To create a stir over your event and keep people talking long after the confetti has been swept away, add a special feature to your event that draws customers in and creates buzz. Try a mini concert, bring in a special guest relating to the event’s origin (or just announce a special appearance from a “surprise guest”), or incorporate prizes or giveaways. Customers are more eager to attend when there is a special focus.
6. Be Generous
Even though you will spend a considerable amount on any customer appreciation event for your new store, it is important to go above and beyond to show generosity to your customers who actually attend. Pass out small gifts with imprinted logos, like calendars, chip clips or other useful items, that continue to promote your brand. Valet park cars and take coats at the door for no additional charge. Whatever you do, plan an event day that’s fully dedicated to your customers – one that offers deep discounts and perks designed for them. Small, generous gestures will send customers back in your direction long after the last piece of fried chicken has disappeared.
With some thoughtful planning and careful attention to your customers’ needs, you can turn your next new store event into a huge hit for your target audience, curious prospects and – ultimately – your profits.