Jacinta Griffiths runs The Lotus Hut, an online women’s clothing store. For the company’s one year anniversary, she put on a fashion and runway show featuring the store’s current stock, “to celebrate our first birthday, and give our local customers a chance to view the items up close.” The show was held on 6 July, 2012.
Having a real life event for your online business gives you a chance to connect with your customers using more than email and Facebook. You can say hello and match faces with email addresses and order forms. For a business like Griffiths’, it offers also the opportunity to showcase products in an ideal way—right where your customers can see them.
Still, planning a real life event isn’t always simple. Griffiths shared what she learned from her event in a recent interview, and offered some lessons on making your event a success.
- Start Planning Early“Take time to organise every detail,“said Griffiths. “I only gave myself three months and figured I will need maybe six months for my next one.” Planning ahead gives you time to solve problems and sufficiently advertise your event, without driving yourself crazy. As Griffiths learned, sometimes you have to actually organise an event before you realise how long it takes. When in doubt, start earlier.
- Get the Word Out in Multiple Ways
Before she could have an event, she needed to let her customers know it was happening. “We used Facebook, word of mouth, brochures, and ads in the local paper,” said Griffiths. “I found word of mouth and Facebook for be the best method.” By using multiple marketing methods, Griffiths could connect with customers both online and local, as well as those who are not yet customers of The Lotus Hut, but could be soon. She connected with the local business community as well: “ I also had other businesses sponsoring my event, so they helped out with selling tickets and also getting the word out,” she said.
- Don’t Do It AloneGriffiths encouraged her friends and family to attend the show themselves, “I asked a lot of my friends and family to come support me along with the girls modeling the clothes,” said Griffiths. She also relied on them for emotional support, adding, “Make sure you have people who support you as it can get stressful at times and you will need those people to help pump you up.”
- Give Your Guests SomethingGriffiths used her Eventgroove tickets in two ways: as admission tickets and raffle tickets. “We kept the ticket stubs from each attendee and used those for a lucky door prize,“ she said. “It also gave guests something to hold on to and present, instead of just paying at the door or marking their name off a list.”
Griffiths’ event was a success. “Everything seemed to run smoothly, if something wasn’t right it didn’t seem to disrupt the event,” she said. “It was a great night and I am very proud of myself and those who helped make it an amazing night.”