A great way to show your customers how much they mean to your business is to throw a customer appreciation party. A client event, when done right, can be an impactful way to celebrate your customers, recognize milestones, and say “thank-you” for all the business that has kept your company afloat and growing. But, it’s essential to ensure you’re “doing it right” when you are throwing a client appreciation party.
The stakes here are high, and you can’t afford to miss the mark.
Think of it this way: the returns can be great, yet the last thing you want to do is invest in an event, pouring time and money into it, only to realize that it isn’t creating the ROI you want. Or worse, cutting corners or missing essential details, making mistakes that can be very damaging to your brand or your customer relationships.
Here’s what you need to know to create a customer appreciation party that drives results.
How to Host an Event That Knocks Everyone’s Socks Off
Never been a party planner? That’s okay. You don’t have to be, and it’s still possible to throw an event that keeps everyone wanting to come back for more.
The catch, though, is simply that throwing a “wow” event requires planning and organization, as well as careful attention to detail. Depending on the size of the event, you’ll want to start planning about 3-6 months in advance.
This gives you enough time to iron out details without sacrificing anything, and not enough time that your customers have forgotten you’re even having a party by the time it comes around.
If you have a team that’s going to help you plan the event, it’s a great idea to meet a few times a month to discuss details and ensure everyone is on the same page.
5 Things to Consider for Your Event
The most overwhelming part of planning a customer appreciation party is that the process involves dozens of easy-to-miss details. Luckily, this list will help ensure you’re not overlooking anything you should be paying careful attention to:
1. The Purpose of the Event
Sure, a customer appreciation party is meant to show your customers you appreciate them, but what else are you looking to create at this event. For example, if you want to lightly drive attention to a new product, good, or service, now is a great time to do it. If you’ve laid the right foundation, your customers will be primed, shop-ready, and more than willing to hear about what you have to offer, regarding new products. Bonus points if they feel encouraged go out into the world and tell their friends.
This is also a great time to announce a shift of direction in your company or to release any exciting new news regarding management, location, ownership, etc. that you may have.
2. Who Does What
Defining responsibilities is an essential part of ensuring the party goes off without a hook. It’s also critical for making sure nothing gets overlooked or neglected as you take your customers down to party town. To this end, be sure to lay out key details, such as who does what, the theme of the party, the event’s budget, date, and initial guest list. From here, team leaders can assign more specific tasks and work together to ensure every base is covered, from start to finish.
How will you invite your customers? This is a major consideration and one that comes down to how you typically interact with your customers. If you send a great deal of direct mail, for example, you may choose to mail out paper invitations. You can also invite on social media or send out digital invitations, via your email newsletter or a service like Paperless Post. If you send out emailed invitations, be sure to follow up about 6-8 weeks before the party date.
Entertainment is essential to any great party. What you choose to hire depends, in large part, on the type of company you’re running. If you’re in touch with local bands you know and trust, consider hiring one of them to play the party for you. You can also look into creating an office band or bringing in some outside entertainment that you’ve heard good things about.
No matter what, entertainment should be exciting, appropriate, and something that your customer base will enjoy.
5. Your Venue
Depending on the size of your event, you may choose to have it at your office, or offsite, somewhere else.
The type of venue you choose depends, in large part, on the size of the party, the theme, and the budget. If you’re on a budget, consider looking into non-traditional venue options, such as parks, local community buildings, and restaurants. These are all great places to hold a unique event without going over-budget.
If you need help finding a good venue, you can always look to local party planners, your local chamber of commerce, and party rental companies who may have some great recommendations.
What About ROI?
Now that you’ve planned a killer customer appreciation party, you’ll want to come up with a plan to gauge the ROI for the event. After all, why put all this money into a party if you’re not getting something back? This is especially true if you’re offering things like coupons, vouchers, discounts, or other “appreciation” prizes to your customers, or if you’re giving them free items or materials as a “thank you.”
To gauge your ROI, you’ll want to refer back to the goal you initially set. For example, if the goal of your party was simply to encourage engagement with your customers, you’ll want to find a way to tie new business back to the people who attended your party. You can do this by adding an option to your “how you heard about us” form or by simply tracking coupons, discounts, and vouchers.
This is a great way to keep an eye on how far the effects of your party truly go, and whether your ROI is positive or negative. It’ll also provide a basis for planning future parties, and learning what to do and what not to do.
Making Sure Customers Appreciate Your Appreciation Party
The point of your customer appreciation party is to thank the people who keep you in business and allow you to keep growing, changing, and reaching for your goals. Because of this, it’s a significant event and not one you want to take lightly. Fortunately, these five tips can help you cover your bases and create an event you know you’ll be proud of. They’re also an excellent way to make the most of your existing customer base and ensure they remember your brand as one that cares deeply about them. So, what are you waiting for? Get planning!
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