Some people are morning people
I’m not one of them. When I get up, I stagger around with a foggy brain at first. Until my head clears, I can’t do anything that requires me to think. So, I put my morning routine on automatic. I can make coffee and get my day started, when I’m barely awake.
I can do this without thinking because I have a system.
A system can put your events on automatic too
Events have the potential to be your best marketing tool. Events can bring in new customers, and keep shoppers coming back. But, events can be a lot of work.
To reduce the workload, events need to be on ‘automatic’ setting.
What stops you from holding store events?
What stops most people is the planning. It seems like too much work to hold an event. It’s overwhelming. There’s too much to think about. It’s hard to even come up with a good idea for an event.
Once you’ve done one event, you have to come up with another idea. And another plan. Just thinking about all the planning discourages people from getting started. How can you get past that barrier?
The secret is to have a system
That system is an annual calendar of store events. You sit down with a calendar, and plan all your events for the year. The best way to do this is to get out of the store. Go to a cafe, order your favourite beverage, and start thinking.
By doing your thinking now, you don’t have to think as much about each event later. You can get all your thinking out of the way in a couple of hours. For the rest of the year, you can just follow the plan.
The system puts your events on automatic, so you can focus on other things.
What does your automatic calendar system need?
To create an annual calendar of events, your plan needs three factors:
The events that go in your calendar need to be simple, or they won’t get done. To be automatic, the events need to be easy to produce.
Don’t get carried away with elaborate catering, a DJ, a huge guest list, door prizes, gift bags and expensive marketing. One big event per year might be okay, but only if it builds relationships with new customers, or results in big sales. Otherwise, it’s just a big effort and big expense.
Instead of going big, think small. Small and simple. Fill the calendar with education events that solve problems for customers. Then you don’t need lots of entertainment and free giveaways. The value is the information.
A simple event recipe:
- Valuable information
- A small and personal guest list.
- Add a few light snacks, and sparkling water. Or tea and coffee.
Voila! A simple event that will build your customer base.
Especially when it’s paired with the next factor.
Once you’ve had a successful event, repeat it. Most people try to come up with something new. If something works, keep doing it until it stops working.
To encourage customers to return regularly to your store, events need to be held frequently. Holding only a couple of events per year will not build your customer base as effectively as holding events more often.
There are three methods you can use to repeat your events:
Schedule the same event, on the same topic, multiple times. Perhaps on an annual, quarterly or monthly basis. If the event is only scheduled annually, you need to fill the calendar schedule other events as well.
If you had an education event on one topic that was successful, use that format for other related topics. Present a series of topics on a weekly or monthly basis.
Make the events into classes or workshops. Get participants to sign up for a class that runs for several weeks. Or a workshop that is completed in a day, or over a weekend.
Repetition is important, but it can be too much of a good thing. Repetition needs to be combined with our last factor.
An effective events calendar will have a variety of different types of events. There are three main types of events to choose from:
Sales and promotional events
Sales and promotional events are easy to overdo. Keep these events to once or twice a year. Put some effort into making this a special event. Put it on your annual calendar, and promote it well in advance. Build it up, so your customers look forward to it each year.
Neighbourhood events that usually happen on an annual basis. Choose one or two that are the best fit for your store. Use these events to meet new people and promote your education events.
The education events are your bread and butter. Fill the calendar with these events.
Consider choosing topics that relate to the seasons or annual activities. For example, if you sell computers or office supplies, host tax seminars during tax season. Or for a dress shop, offer a talk in the spring on How To Save Money In Wedding Season: 5 Great Ways To Wear One Dress.
An annual calendar is the secret to creating an automatic system of events.
It’s like having a system in place for making coffee in the morning. Setting out the coffee and pot the night before makes it easy to brew that java with your eyes closed.
Once you have the calendar in place for events, you can run them without getting bogged down in the planning. To put your events on automatic, your calendar needs:
With those three factors, events will become so effortless, you could do it in your sleep!