Client Appreciation Events – “Friend-Raising, not Fund-Raising”

Wine GlassesI can’t remember where I read the quote that client appreciation events are for “friend-raising, not fund-raising”, but it is great advice.

The secret to a successful client appreciation event is having an effective marketing strategy and planning. Now the planning part is obvious, but why is the marketing strategy important? You need to be aware of the perception the event is going to create and how the event will impact your business. By nature it is to show your appreciation for their business, but the choice of event and the venue will have a major impact on the results. Will you be mingling or sitting in an audience? Will there be an opportunity for your clients to network among themselves? Will they be feeling they are participating in a cause such as a charity event or simply enjoying themselves?

A successful event should be seen not only as an opportunity to make your clients feel appreciated, but it should demonstrate that you care about them too by ensuring they can meet new people and potentially help their businesses too. Keep in mind some of these events will be high touch and some will allow little contact with your clients.

Client appreciation events fall into four major categories:

  1. Charitable Events – Hosting an event where the proceeds got to charity or paying the fee for your clients to participate in an event like a golf tournament or gala evening for a cause.
  2. Sporting and Recreational – Hosting a golf tournament, family softball game, a night at the horse races, tickets to a hockey or baseball game etc
  3. Cultural and the Arts – Inviting clients to plays, concerts, art shows etc.
  4. Educational – Inviting clients to a seminar, to listen to a speaker, to learn something such as a cooking class or travel lecture.

When you choose an event think about the following:

  • Does this fit in with the image of me and or my business?
  • Is it high touch or low touch? Will I be able to meet clients one-on-one?
  • How much will the event cost?
  • How much of my time will be required prior to the event?
  • What will be the lasting impact of the event?
  • What do I hope to achieve from this event? Intrinsic value? Financial return?
  • Will my clients mingle well together or should I hold two events and segment my guests?
  • How will I invite guests and ensure they actually attend?
  • How will I thank my clients for attending?

If you want some more ideas give me a call at 800-568-8338.

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