Ideas for an End-of-the-Year Events

Labor Day is well behind us and whether you want to believe it or not, 2013 is fast approaching. The end of the year is typically the busiest time for many businesses, but it can also be the perfect time to host an event.

An event can give your business or organization an opportunity to create intimacy and make a more personal connection with those you come in contact with. When you invite customers and members to a special event, you’re building relationships the old-fashioned way — with personal, face-to-face contact.

Now is the perfect time to start planning for your end-of-year events. Here are some ideas for events that businesses and organizations can put together to bring in customers, clients, members, donors, prospects, and others:

1. Customer/Client Appreciation Night. Put a fresh spin on year-end sales or promotions by hosting a “Special VIP Night.” Your event could be a private preview of holiday gifts or a new product line, an invitation to consult with a personal shopper, or a gift giveaway to “the first 100 people who walk through our door.”

2. Special Guest/Entertainment/Demonstration. Between work parties, holiday travel, and family get-togethers, holiday calendars are as tight as Santa’s red suit. Entice people to put your event on their calendars by bringing in a special guest, entertainer, or expert. It could be an author, a political candidate, musical entertainer, professional shopper or gift-wrapper, or someone who has benefitted from your organization’s work. Whatever complements your business and engages people will be a fun break from the holiday shopping grind.

3. Joint Event with Other Local Businesses. Invite all the merchants on your street to host an event with you. If you’re an entrepreneur who works out of a home office or small office, invite other related businesses to host a get-together for all your customers. Chambers of Commerce are especially good at these types of events, which bring businesses and community together.

4. Fundraising Event.
The holiday time puts people in a giving spirit, so bring the community together one last time this year to raise some more funds for a good cause. Whether you’re a nonprofit organization or a business that supports one, your event can brings a charity’s mission home. Invite donors, members, volunteers, and other interested supporters to meet people engaged in the charity’s work and to hear its success stories first-hand.

5. House Party. If your business is based on home and Internet sales, a holiday house party is a great idea. Give shoppers an alternative to the hassle of the mall and invite them to come over, relax, and shop from the comfort of your living room.

A special event adds a personal touch to your holiday marketing efforts. It doesn’t have to cost a lot (particularly if you team up with your business neighbors). With some thought, planning, and promotion, you can end the year on a high note. Start the planning process now.

Gina Watkins is a leading expert on e-marketing for small business – and has a real passion for helping businesses to succeed. Her ongoing series of dynamic lectures are filled with real-world examples, humor and results-driven wisdom garnered from more than two decades of sales, business development and marketing experience. In addition to owning her own business, she is an award-winning direct marketer, has been featured on WUSA Channel 9’s Mind Over Money show, Dr. Gayle Carson’s Women In Business radio show, Morgan State’s Briefcase Radio program, and in numerous other media. In her role as Constant Contact Regional Development Director, she’s presented to more than ten thousand seminar attendees about the keys to success with easy, affordable, highly effective technology tools that grow trusted business relationships.