5 Ideas for Hosting a Knockout Customer Event this Holiday Season

Wednesday, November 11 at 08:15 AM
Category: Business Banking

Article written by Caron Beesley* courtesy of the U.S. Small Business Administration.*

There are so many things your small business can do to boost holiday sales – decorations, promotions, savvy email marketing, and much more. But have you made events a part of your holiday marketing calendar?
 
Events are a great multi-purpose marketing opportunity. You can use them to give your loyal customers the warm and fuzzy treatment, attract attention among new customers, spotlight your product line, and so much more.

Here are some ideas for organizing a knock-out customer event this holiday season, whatever your budget:

Host Mini Events
You don’t actually have to host a specific event to give your customers an event experience. Instead, think of ways to incorporate special activities and experiences across everything that you do this holiday season. If you operate a storefront, provide a chill out area for your shoppers’ partners. Or you could host a mini event each week – product tastings, door buster sales around Thanksgiving, or countdown to the holidays with a different themed promotion or in-store activity each day.

Host a Small Business Saturday Event
November 28 is Small Business Saturday.* This is a great opportunity to rally your neighborhood around “shopping small.” You can explore event ideas that will make your celebration special (and get free event guides and tools) on the American Express Open Small Business Saturday website.* 

Host an Open House or Holiday Party
Any business can host an open house. If you can pull one off in November, this is a great way to showcase key product lines and show your customers that you appreciate them – for a relatively low cost. Throw open your doors outside normal business hours and invite your customers, prospects, as well as members of the community. Partner with non-competing business to drive additional traffic.

Be creative, make it a compelling enough event that people want to attend (provide entertainment, food, drinks, offer door prizes, invite a special guest, and have a clear agenda). Create a Facebook event page to generate buzz online and gauge numbers. Send emails to your customers and prospects and reach out to the media for attention.

Give Back - Host a Fundraiser
Tis’ the season of giving after all. Raising money for a charity that’s near to your heart or closely aligned with your brand is a great way to get good publicity and generate good feelings about your business. Fundraisers could be a simple affair where you tag on a raffle or charity draw to a customer appreciation event. Or you could get a little more sophisticated and host a private fundraising lunch or dinner at a local restaurant and donate a portion of the ticket sales (the rest will cover the expenses) to charity. You could also look for ways to participate in #GivingTuesday* (a popular national day of giving, this year it falls on December 1). Don’t forget charitable giving is a tax deduction, learn what you can claim here.*

Pulling it All Off
Now you’ve got some ideas to ponder, check out Rieva Lesonsky’s blog on how to organize and market a successful event.*

About the Author
Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Arvest Biz, Business Banking
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