Whether your small business is fresh off the launch pad or is in a more mature place in its lifecycle, hosting a business open house is a valuable way to showcase your products and services, build awareness among your target market and open the door to new clients, networking partners and influencers.
To effectively plan and execute a business open house or grand opening event, keep the following in mind:
Think beyond the hard sell.
Provide a taste of what you offer, and leave them wanting more. Use this opportunity to build trust and credibility so that sales and loyalty will follow. With the soft sell approach in mind, invite business and community influencers and others who can help you connect with your customer base.
Set a budget (and stick to it).
When planning an open house or grand opening event, budget enough for promotion and marketing. Small Business Trends advises small business owners to have a written budget plan for their event that include realistic cost estimates, including a breakdown of advertising costs which can absorb more than half of the budget.
Set your metrics.
Ahead of the event, it’s important to determine the ways you’ll measure your event’s ROI. According to data released by the Event Marketing Institute, the top three factors considered when measuring an event’s ROI are attendance, social media activity and number of leads.
Other measurements might include earned press placements, website traffic and direct sales.
Invest in the right marketing materials.
When considering what marketing materials to use, small business owners fare best by adopting a multi-channel approach, blending print and digital promotion to maximize reach and exposure, including:
- Invitations – Physical invitations sent in the mail get noticed and are appreciated. Along with event logistics, include social media pages where guests can connect with you prior to the event, such as hashtags, accounts and pages to follow. This will help boost engagement during and after the event.
- Banners and signage – Keep your attendees informed and your branding consistent with banners, signs and posters that highlight your event theme, direct the traffic flow or identify information “stations.”
- Branded apparel and products – Create brand ambassadors and grow your brand recognition through visual advertising. Guests tend to hold on to t-shirts, hats, pens and bags, according to a recent study by Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI).
- Easy registration – Online event registration makes it simple for guests to commit to attending. Not to mention, it also captures contact information you can use for follow up.
- Social media – Use channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to cost-effectively disseminate event information.
Keep the momentum going.
Send a branded “thank you” card to all who attend your event. Personalized follow-up is a great way to further engage with your new prospects and existing customers.
Are you interested in planning a special event for your business? Contact Allegra today to help you develop a strong event marketing strategy and support materials.