The mere thought of planning an event can be daunting: All that time and effort, all the logistics to coordinate, and all the costs that can add up quickly, plus a whole different set of concerns for virtual events, like choosing the best livestreaming platform or figuring out online ticketing.
But creating a new event doesn’t have to be an epic undertaking. In fact, you’re probably already doing things that you can easily turn into events your customers will love. All it takes is a little creativity.
Why bother making an ordinary occasion into a bonafide event? For starters, events help boost sales. They’re also a powerful marketing tool that help you stand out from competition and increase customer loyalty.
Read on for a few ideas for how to take what you’re already doing and turn it into events that attract customers and build your business.
Celebrate holidays—even “social media holidays”
Did you know February 18 is National Drink Wine Day? Or how about National Cheese Curd Day on October 15? Regardless of whether these “holidays” are legitimate, one thing is certain: People love any excuse to celebrate.
To take advantage of the occasion, you could offer a complimentary wine tasting next time February 18 rolls around, or a cheese tasting in honor of National Cheese Curd Day in October. Food (or alcohol) is a powerful incentive for getting people through the door.
Social media holidays also offer a timely hook for hosting low-key virtual events that don’t require a lot of money and effort. Instead of an in-store gathering, your boutique pet shop could offer a discount for online orders on National Rescue Dog Day, for example.
Plan an open house in-person or virtually
Sometimes, all it takes to attract new customers is an invitation to come on in.
If you’re opening a new business, if your store has irregular hours, or if you work by appointment only, consider hosting an open house. This gives people a no-pressure way to learn about your business and see your space.
If you run a gym, people can stop by and get to know you before committing to their first class. If you own a spa, an open house could inspire visitors to book a massage. All you need for a successful open house is a few snacks, something to sip on, and an invitation. No party planner or red carpet required.
If you’re planning a virtual open house, bring in a special guest or attraction to make your event more enticing. One idea: You could host a Zoom happy hour and bring in a guest bartender to teach attendees how to make a specialty cocktail at home.
Team up with another small business
You run a bakery next to a dog salon. Maybe your neighboring business would let you set up a stand in the salon to sell pet-friendly artisan treats. Then, maybe you can choose a day when all orders from your bakery come with a coupon for grooming.
Chat with your fellow business owners to find opportunities to team up and host low-effort, high-impact events. You never know when your interests might intersect, even if you work in totally different fields.
Joining forces on virtual events is easier than ever with tools like IG Live and Live WIth on Facebook, which let you co-host online events with other people.
Host events related to your business
Book stores host authors for book readings. Wine stores host sommeliers for tastings. If you own a pet store, why not bring in an obedience expert for a class or webinar on positive reinforcement? If you run a jewelry shop, why not host a jewelry-making class (or rent out kits with instructions so people can make jewelry at home)? If you own a home décor store, how about a workshop, online or in-person, where attendees can tackle a DIY project?
Host events that draw on your expertise and existing resources. These tend to be budget-friendly and can make your business into a social hub for people in your community. Ultimately, this can be a great way to increase sales and gain customers.
Use tools of the trade to make event planning easier than ever
You’ve got your great idea, and now you’re ready to turn your existing efforts into an event. Nice! All you need now are a few simple tools to help you manage your events. If you use WordPress to power your business website, check out our full suite of plugins that can power your events calendar, ticketing, registration, email marketing, and more.