Throwing a customer appreciation event is a big undertaking. One of the things that is most important in making sure that all the effort was worth it is to design some marketing around the event to encourage people to come. A year ago, Element 502 underwent a brand refresh. We had all new logos, whitepapers, and even an increased focused on our targeted digital advertising model. So, to celebrate all that change we decided to throw a big party for clients, friends, and vendors. From a marketing perspective that meant that if we wanted this event to be successful, we had to put together some fun and creative materials and copy to make everyone want to come out and celebrate with us. If you are going to throw an event as a business, it is really important to ensure that you are hitting all of your bases when it comes to inviting current clients, prospective clients, vendors, and other local businesses. Getting a good pool of different kinds of people at different levels of management is important to ensure a quality experience for your guests.
Using your website, CRM, email client, and a digital RSVP ticketing system are some of the most important pieces to ensuring that you’re going to reach your desired prospects and clients and to help plan most efficiently.
Let’s Get a Landing Page
No matter what kind of event that you’re planning it is important to have landing page on your site for your guests to be able to access to get more information, RSVP, etc. The contact of your landing page should be really simple, “Where, When, Why, and RSVP Link”. That is really all that you need for an effective landing page. In many cases, we recommend removing the navigation for the rest of the site from the landing page entirely. The users are at that page for a specific purpose and your goal should be for them to sign up for that event and little else.
Let’s get a list
Your CRM system should have a list of clients, prospects, and vendors for you to be able to pull. I would recommend combing through your lists from time to time before your major event marketing should begin to remove outdated leads, old clients that you no longer do business with, and vendors whose products you no longer rep. It is a good practice to ensure that when you send out mail to your lists that you aren’t going to be sending out spam to dead email boxes. Many people aren’t aware that some dead emails get acquired and put on national database lists and can get your company blacklisted if you continue to blast those contacts. Cleaning your lead lists regularly is good. Maintain good hygiene!
Use an email client to manage your list blasts
Once you export your list from your CRM system, you should upload that list into a system like Mail Chimp to send out your emails. Those systems have unsubscribe lists and can help to shield your organization from many of the repercussions of “Email Jail” that can happen from sending too many repeated emails out from the same email address in a short period of time. It is a best practice to not send any bulk emailing from your Gmail or Outlook client. The repercussions are something that could effect your business for weeks or months. I have seen it happen. You don’t want that.
You should look into using an RSVP ticketing system
Websites like EventBrite are good to consider for building RSVP lists for your event. It will give your company a good idea of how many guests to anticipate, which can help planning for food, drink, etc. It can also limit the number of attendees that you might have if space is limited. Using limited ticketing can be good if you are trying to get all of your attendees to RSVP early and give information on their dietary restrictions. In most situations, you’re probably going to allow as many people to register as would like to. There are definitely situations like dinner parties and some fundraisers that attendance is a little more policed.
Combine, Mix, and Pour
Now that you have all the ingredients needed to have a great party all you need is some fliers for your salespeople to hand out at local networking events and plenty of time for your team to spread the word. For a big annual party like Element 502 throws, I would recommend starting your marketing blitz for it no later than 30 days before the event. We just recently held our annual Client Catalyst Event and we started a little earlier than 30 days out because it was in the month of November. You’ll notice that the closer that you get to major holidays and near the end of the year that people can get very busy. So, if you hope to get on their calendars, it is best to get that spot early.
We used these kinds of strategies and have a great event in 2018 with over 80 people attending and were able to nearly double that amount in 2019 thanks in no small part to great word of mouth from attendees last year and our growing presence in the area as a solid partner for digital marketing. One mistake that you can make when it comes to throwing a big party is thinking that people don’t need to RSVP and to try and make the event very casual with no structure. Having email blasts and RSVP systems in place ensure that your clients stay in the loop and get continually reminded about the event up until the day. We all live in an incredibly busy world and we can all benefit from some constant reminders about our upcoming events, even parties… Especially the parties.