In our February issue, we spoke with marketing and showroom experts about the benefits of seminars and events in showrooms. Just to recap, events and seminars bring customers in and provide free information (and possibly free food) that may be beneficial to them. They give showrooms the opportunity to get to know their customers’ likes, dislikes, needs and wants a bit better.
Thinking about hosting an event of your own? Here are four quick tips for planning a showroom event.
1. Tap talent in your community.
Your town or city probably has a lot of great lighting and interior design talent. Reach out to local interior designers, writers and bloggers and put together events at your showroom that highlight their knowledge. You might ask an interior designer to speak to your audience about upcoming trends, or have a local author do a book signing.
This is a great way to build your customer base by tapping into your speaker’s audience. Your speaker will promote the event through his or her own website and social media channels, bringing listeners who might not be customers of your showroom yet. You may be able to build up your email subscriber list and get more followers on social media.
2. Schedule the event well in advance.
If you don’t give your audience enough time to make space on their calendars, then you probably won’t have many guests. Start marketing about six weeks in advance.
When you schedule events, make sure you’re keeping your topics timely. For example, if you’re having a lighting consultant speak about patio lighting designs, the event shouldn’t take place in July when most people have already purchased patio lights.
If you’re looking for an event that’s good at any time of the year, Devin Kirk at Jayson Home says book signings work best.
3. Keep events short.
Few people can make room for a whole afternoon event, but most can spare an hour to hear a speaker or learn more about design trends.
Most events should last between two and three hours, depending on the event. For seminars, one to two hours is best, depending on how long the speaker wants to talk. If the seminar is set to last 30 to 45 minutes, then one hour will suffice. For longer seminars, two hours is best. Any extra time will give event goers the opportunity to talk with the speaker, ask questions and browse the showroom.
4. Provide food – even if it’s finger food.
If you feed them, they will come. Provide your guests with food and beverages. This doesn’t mean you have to offer a three-course meal, but having a veggie tray, cheese plate and a few desserts will add extra incentive.
You can even build events around food. Kirk and his team built an event centered on beer and brownies, which brought about 100 people to his store. The beer, he said, was inexpensive, and it was a fun combination for visitors that encouraged them to hang around the showroom.