The problem is getting people to actually come.
The trick is evaluating what you have to offer and matching that with what people expect to get if they take the time to come to your business open house.
Here are a few tips to help you plan an open house that will be more successful than all your previous attempts. Consider what you want from an open house, and then consider what your client/customer wants from an open house.
As A Business: You want people to come to your open house to spend money. Perhaps you have new merchandise that you want to share with your customers. It could be that the holiday season is coming up and you want to get people to consider spending money with you, so you want them to come to your store and get a preview of upcoming attractions. Don’t forget, you must advertise this event.
As A Customer/Client: An open house is a time for you to visit a business and find out what they have to offer that you might be interested in, without a whole lot of pressure to buy. If they can show you how their new product is going to help you, you’ll be interested in making a purchase, otherwise, you just want to have a little fun, enjoy some free food and beverage, and maybe talk to other people who are there for the same reason. A client can’t come if they don’t know about the event.
Ideally, an open house will satisfy the primary concern for both the customer and the business. As a business, you have something to sell, as a customer, you might want to buy it. This is the good part.
How do you let your customer know that you have something new for them to evaluate? Do you call them up? Do you send them an email? Do you send them an announcement through the mail?
How do you communicate with your customers?
The very best way to communicate with your customers is determined by testing. One business I know always sends out postcards for their open house events. They never have more than four a year, so the customers know that when that card comes in the mail, it is special, it is for a limited time, and most of them want to come, otherwise they would not be on the mailing list. They also make sure their postcards always have a “branded” look to them. That way when they arrive in the mail, they don’t look like the rest of the “junk” mail that your customers usually get in their mailbox.
I am assuming you have a mailing list and that it is current. Your list is your business. Never forget that!
Did you see the next part under the customer? They want little to no pressure to buy. They want to be courted. They want to have something to look forward to. Having food and beverage at an open house is a really good idea. A lot of people will just eat and leave, but those who really want to be there will respond to the food in a very positive way. It doesn’t have to be fancy. They just need to be made to feel special.
Finally, deliver on your promise. You promised that your open house was going to be something special. Some businesses give away gifts at an open house. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but customers/clients like to be made to feel special. You hand it to them personally. You thank them for coming in. You meet their eye. Don’t look at your customers merely as dollar signs. When you do, they’ll sense it and move on to someone who values them as something more.
Getting people to come to your business open house often takes a few tries. You’ll soon figure out what works and what doesn’t. Test, test, test. Keep what works. Discard what doesn’t work. A business open house can be a really good marriage between customer and business.