Editor’s note: I generally discourage unsolicited guest posts for this blog. Alas, these third-party submissions have been abused by SEO (search engine optimization) specialists and “content marketing experts” and Google frowns on their excessive deployment. However, I made an exception when Brian Jensen of New Life Painting in Santa Maria, California, because he followed one of the first rules of approaching a stranger — referencing a relationship with someone with a good reputation; in this case, the Blogging Painters site. So I agreed.
See the relevant post here. Below, see some Q and A observations that I posed to test writer Chris Winkle’s perspectives.
At New Life Bath & Kitchen we’re always excited to share knowledge about our services, trends and innovations in our industry. This typically manifests itself in the form of client meetings, blog posts, social media channels and events.
Like other components of your marketing strategy, planning and holding a successful event is a lot of work. Here are some tips and ideas for making your local event a success.
Why hold a local event?
For contractors that serve a specific service area, local events can be an effective tool to help you advertise your business, serve your local community by sharing information, and provide you with material you can continue to use for marketing your business.
Also, while many of our customers find us online, many come from referrals. We’ve found in-person networking to be a powerful marketing tool.
Choosing the right topic
Before deciding to host a local community event, you’ll need to choose a topic that’s likely to resonate with your target audience. Our events have included both open houses and also informational presentations that support our services. For events that support your services, consider using:
- Information about new products or techniques
- Industry Trends
Get the Word Out
Your event won’t be a success if nobody shows up (we’ve had it happen). Here are a few tips we’ve found to be effective to help raise awareness and increase attendance for the event:
- Create an events page on your website
- Create and promote the event on Facebook, and all of your other social media channels
- Sent out email blasts to promote the event
- Leverage your memberships, partnerships and networks. This can include but is certainly not limited to your local Chamber of Commerce
- For our ribbon cutting event for our new showroom, we leveraged a PR professional to help us get additional coverage from local news outlets
- Consider also offering the event as a live streaming video or podcast so that those who can’t attend in person can still have access to the content you’re sharing. Some popular free video live streaming services include Periscope or YouTube
- Ask attendees to RSVP – very important to gauge interest and potential attendance
- Submit the event to local online event calendars (in Google, type the city you serve + events to find local event calendars)
During the event
Now that you’ve solidified a topic and have worked hard to promote the event, here are a few tips on how to encourage participation and networking during your event.
- Offer complimentary food and drinks – we’ve paired a few of our events with wine tasting
- Offer a giveaway or a raffle during your event
- Have a sign in sheet that includes name and email address. If you’re presenting on your
- services, you can offer to email your presentation to attendees that sign in
- Encourage questions and engagement from your audience
- Provide a Q&A after your presentation
After the event
- Once the event is completed, there’s still plenty to do! Here are a few ideas to help you make the most of the material you’ve created:
- Share event images on your social media channels
Share information from your presentation on your blog
- If you’ve recorded your presentation on video, upload it to YouTube and Facebook
Consider asking attendees for feedback. Google Forms is a cost effective way to collect information
- Make sure to follow-up and thank everyone who contributed to making your event a success
We are always gathering new ideas for how to make our events bigger and better and would love to hear your thoughts on how to have a successful local event in the comments below.
Chuck Winkles is the president of New Life Bath & Kitchen and New Life Restoration. He was born in Southern California and currently resides in Santa Maria. He’s been married to his wife Shelley for thirty-one years and has two sons, Nathan and Noah.
I asked Brian Jensen a few questions before accepting this submission.
What do these events help us achieve:
- It allows us to raise awareness for our business locally by promoting the event on social media, local event calendars, local chamber of commerce, etc.
- Provides us with an opportunity to get involved with our local community.
- Grow our email list (from attendees) and social media followers (from social promotions)
- Provides us with marketing material to publish and promote online – we’ll take our presentations, photos and other event material and use it for blog posts, new photos for our social accounts, videos for YouTube, etc.
How many attend:
We’ve had between 0 and up to 40
How are they selected and scheduled:
We take FAQs from our customers and also industry trends to use as topics for the events. They are typically scheduled on weekends to increase attendance
How much business do they convert:
We are always getting referrals from existing customers. However, to the best of our knowledge, an event hasn’t directly led to new business, however, we hope if we stay the course it eventually will.
Your comments are welcome. If you have a “guest post” idea, read the note at the top of this post — I will not accept third-party guest post submissions from agencies or marketing services, but will consider them from people I know or who have credentials or references from people/organizations I respect. These observations trace to a Google-sponsored summit in Mountain View some years ago. Although the search engine giant may seem monolithic, it in fact builds its success largely on respect for relationships. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org.