Pro tips for a client appreciation party

As we round out the year, a smart business tactic is to review your year. Check to see which marketing campaigns have worked, which products keep flying off the shelves and what services keep people coming back for more. Knowing the clients that keep coming back is another major review point. These clients are YOUR walking billboards. 84% of consumers say they trust recommendations from friends and family, which makes word of mouth still the most pertinent form of marketing. In addition to stellar customer service and amazing treatments, what are you doing for your strongest marketing tool around? Many places reward their loyal clients with events. A “ client appreciation party ” is one of the most efficient ways to not only thank your clients but gain new ones and build your business for the following year!

Client Appreciation Party: Who

There are varying ways you can carry out this endeavor. It can be a small, quaint event for only your most loyal VIPs, it can be an end of year gratitude event for all the clients old and new, or it can be a combination of the two.

If you are doing something VIP-esque and keeping it quaint, consider making it an educational event with a “bring a friend” drawing. You could hold a make-up clinic, or a skin mapping clinic highlighting products you carry in salon along the way. People LOVE being privy to new products, as well. Do you have a product line you are introducing in the upcoming months? Use your VIP event to launch it with your most loyal clientele getting the first sneak peak!

A year-end bash is a great community event! This type of festivity can really help to get your name out there and create a networking opportunity for you, your clients and other business’ in the area. Have micro services (shorter than your traditional ‘mini’ service) available, as well as bring a friend drawings that incorporate the other business’ you are highlighting.

A combo event really hits the nail on the head, though. D’Lazo Salon and Spa in Michigan put together a comprehensive event that included major discount potential for existing clients, discounts for new clients, complimentary services, food and beverages as well as education, all while staying completely booked throughout their day.

Client Appreciation Party: How

Make sure to start planning about 8 weeks out. Check your budget, and set a realistic goal as to not only what you can do, but what you hope to achieve with this event. Once you know your goal, you can then move forward and set a theme. With this theme in mind, start thinking about the services you want to offer, ‘classes’ or lectures by guest speakers that your clients might appreciate, and how you want to set up ‘mini’ sessions.

From there, advertise! Use social media as a free advertising tool. Create an online event in facebook far in advance and update regularly with snippets of what’s to come. Encourage people to RSVP with drawing tickets (or another reward), and make sure EVERYONE who works at your establishment is talking about the event with every client and potential client that walks thru the door for at least 6 weeks prior to the event.

Finally, organize prizes and send out mailers to invite your existing clients. If you are doing swag bags, assemble these as well. Ensure every staff member participating knows their role at the event. Also, contact catering and any other 3rd party contributors (IE: photographer) to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Client Appreciation Party: Results

The fun doesn’t end the night of the party. By this point, you should have a large pool of potential clients that need follow ups. Within a week, be sure to send a thank you e-mail/note to those that booked future services at the event. An e-mail or written note for those that didn’t book is also necessary. Simply thank them for attending and extend a booking discount. Make sure they know their business is valued, and encourage them to follow you on Social Media for the latest updates and specials you have to offer.

After reaching out, look at your numbers. How many invites were sent, how many people showed up? Did anybody bring a guest? How many bookings did the event result in, and how many of those were new client bookings. How many new potential new clients booked after the event during the courtesy email/call. All of these numbers will help you to decide whether the event was a smart marketing event or one that needs tweaking. Regardless of the outcome, what did you learn from this event that you could implement into your business the following year? And, of course, did everyone have FUN? If it was an enjoyable event, the word of mouth that is generated from it is immeasurable!

Do you have a favorite event idea for client appreciation? Tweet us with your thoughts @alexandriapros and use the hashtag #sweetsalonstories