For starters, it is important to note that client appreciation events are about creating an experience for your clients that give them a lasting impression of you.
Why have a client appreciation event?
- Establish loyalty
- Build significant relationships
- Showcase your identity and purpose
- Acknowledge your gratitude
- Get to know who your clients are
- Give them the opportunity to meet new people
Like most things, planning is key to a successful event. An aspect to pay special attention to while planning is your marketing strategy. It is important to place yourself in an objective position, where you need to be critical towards how your event, and ultimately you business, will be perceived.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Where will you position yourself throughout the event?
- How important would setting aside time for your clients to network be?
- How do you want them to view the purpose of your event?
Types of Events
There are four categories that events can be identified by:
- Charitable: where your intentions are to donate the proceeds towards a charity or to compensate for the costs of an event for your clients.
- Sporting and Recreational: where your primary focus is on entertainment and ensuring your clients are enjoying themselves. A common example utilized by many companies are hosting golf tournaments.
- Cultural and Arts: where you host events more geared towards the fine arts. Examples include concerts and art shows.
- Educational: where your intentions are to give your clients the opportunity to acquire new information that may be of interest to them. Events can range from cooking classes to seminars.
Choosing the Type of Event to Host
- Think about who you are going to invite and ensure that the event you are hosting suits their personality.
- Invite clients who have the ability to get along well with another.
- Ensure that your event is a good reflection of you and your business.
- Will the cost of your event align with your budget?
- Will the amount of time invested in planning the event be worth the benefits received?
- What impact do you want the event to have on your clients?
- What do you want from hosting this event?
- How will you successfully market your event to guests?
Simplified, successful event planning primarily comprises of a unique and interesting location and activity. Examples include:
- Go-karting at a local track
- Raising funds for a charity through a casino night
- Family oriented barbeque at a local park
- Invite clients to a cooking class
- Host a bowling tournament
- Host a dinner cruise
- Food tasting at a local restaurant
- Invite a guest speaker that interests your clients
How to get started:
- Setting a date.
- Invitations should be sent 30 days before the event and they should indicate that guests must RSVP 10 days before the event. In general, ⅓ of your invited guests will attend.
- Start sending follow-up calls to those you have already invited or invite new people if not very many clients RSVP.
Things to keep in mind:
- Welcome your guests as they arrive.
- Provide name tags.
Tips for success:
- Provide food and refreshments.
- Have a photographer take photos.
- Give your staff the chance to mingle with the guests and enjoy the event.
- Consider having raffles or door prizes.
- Keep in mind that having a poor turnout does not mean that all your events will have similar outcomes.
- Make sure that you express your gratitude to your guests.
- Limit the amount of business conversation during your event.
Finding a Sponsor
A common concern for those hosting events is the cost. There are multiple ways to host a more cost-effective event such as working with partners to share costs or perhaps even finding a sponsor who is interested in your target demographic.
The key takeaway that you need prior to event planning is to remember that you want your clients to appreciate the relationship they have with you and your business.
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