Business Magazine

Want to Amp Up Acquisitions? Try Holding an Open House

Posted on the 27 March 2014 by Marketingtango @marketingtango
acquisition open house

There’s no shortage of customer acquisition tactics at the integrated marketer’s disposal; direct mail, print ads, PR and a host of others, each with its upside and ability to capture attention.

But the most popular acquisition method by far, says a Forrester study of 208 SMB marketing decision makers, is meeting with people face-to-face, one-on-one. In order of preference these face-time driven tactics include: personal networking (used by 95% of respondents); tradeshows and industry gatherings (89%); and a tack favored by 86% of those surveyed, in-person events–such as a company open house.

How an Open House Can Open Doors

For many small businesses, hosting an open-house is an attractive alternative to attending a big-buck tradeshow seven states away. If you’re a new business (or just new to the area), your open house could take the form of a grand opening, while an established company might consider celebrating an anniversary or other milestone, showcasing a new product or technology, or publicly recognizing a valued customer or partner.

5 Ways to Do It Right

We’ll assume it’s a given, budget permitting, to hire a professional caterer and videographer, and to ink good presenters to speak on event-appropriate topics. But here are some other ways to save time and money, and increase your chances of success, including a few relevant tips summarized from Marketo’s Event Marketing Success Center:

  1. Start with realistic, targeted goals: Think beyond big registration and attendance numbers; know whom you’re inviting and why; an event well-attended by the wrong people will decrease ROI and squander precious networking opportunities.
  2. Incorporate a strong theme and be creative. Hold a team brainstorm to concept fun and viable ideas; one Long Island chocolatier adapted Willie Wonka’s “golden ticket” idea for his grand opening and drew in more than 3,000 visitors.
  3. Include multiple touches. Start by segmenting, cleaning and organizing your in-house lists.  Request names from salespeople, managers and executives to avoid excluding any hot prospects or VIPs. Personal contact might be the marketer’s preference but email, social media and all the rest still play a vital role in promoting any event.
  4. Make sure you have plenty of signage. Directional and/or information parking lot signs help guests easily park and join the festivities faster. Inside the building, posters, tent cards and banners help guests feel welcome, and make check in more inviting and fun. Want more impact? Apply colorful window clings or play a company video on a big screen in the lobby.
  5. Hand out goodie bags at check in. People love getting gifts, even those of the tchotchke variety. As our previous post mentions, for memorability, interactivity and cost-savings, promotional items beat most other forms for advertising,  including TV, radio and print ads.

Marketers favor in-person events because they work. With some thoughtful preparation and support from a reliable creative services provider, it’s possible to plan and host an outing that attendees will remember (and talk about) for months or years to come.

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