Though social media holds big benefits for small businesses, it does not eliminate the need for face-to-face interaction. Customers still require a personal touch to build trust and there is no better way to provide it than by holding an event. The most value is derived when the event is properly planned, promoted, and executed.
Before outlining the structure of the event, determine its goal. Do you want to get new customers or increase business during a slow season? Or, is it time to thank existing customers for their patronage? Think about the goal and the target audience and base the structure on these. Consider whether customers will find value in guest speakers, demonstration sessions, or new item previews.
Formalize the event by designing and printing invitations that include tickets. If appropriate, allow recipients to bring a guest because this could land some new customers. Create gift bags that include product samples, coupons, and branded promotional items like t-shirts. Ask partners to donate items for raffles and solicit sponsors to help finance the event.
Having an RSVP allows you to create enough gift baskets and order a sufficient amount of food. Send email reminders regarding the event and response deadline date. To make this process easier, use content from the invitations as the body of the email. Include an agenda so people know what they will be treated to if they to attend.
Decorate the venue with a welcome banner, balloons, and table centerpieces. Assign someone to take tickets at the door and a few other people to direct guests to the proper area. After the event, send personalized thank you notes to those who attended and post pictures on the company website and Facebook page. Get additional publicity by submitting an event recap and some photos to the local media outlets.