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“Welcome” Tips for Hosting a Successful Small Business Open House

Would you like more customers? Don’t worry — that was a rhetorical question. But it’s not like you can just fling open your doors and grab passers-by off the street.

Or can you?

An open house is a great way to introduce people to your business, make your sales pitch and get to know your neighbors. But it’s not quite as easy as putting on some coffee and waiting for people to show up.

Here are our best tips on for a successful open house:

Set a Date

An open house without guests is just business as usual. Before you go through the trouble, time and expense of planning it, you need to make sure the timing is right.

Plan your open house outside normal business hours, if possible. (If you’re working, chances are your customers are working, too). It’s also a good idea to check your community calendar and plan around more popular events. Very few people are going to skip out on concerts, festivals or other community-centric events to come visit a business.

Ideally, a weekday evening is best, since you won’t be competing with weekend getaways, date nights or other planned events.

Engrave the Invitations

OK, you don’t need to etch metal. But a personalized, mailed invitation is much fancier than a Facebook event or Twitter announcement. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t publicize it on social media, but make sure you put your energy into the individualized effort.

Send out your invitations early enough to allow people to put your event on their calendar, but not so early that they completely forget about it before the big day rolls around. Two weeks to a month typically will be sufficient.

Have a Purpose

As fun as an open house can be, it also must serve a purpose. You’re not inviting the town for a night out on your dime for nothing.

If you are a retail business, have samples of your wares on hand. Everyone loves a freebie. Plan a product demonstration, offer a deep discount on a select item or give people “mystery coupons” in varying amounts.

Do you sell a service instead? In this case, your goal is education. Have flyers, pamphlets or other literature detailing your options available for your customers to peruse, and staff plenty of workers to answer any questions potential clients might have.

Ultimately, an open house is all about networking — whether you sell a physical product or not. You might not break sales records, but you will put yourself ahead of the competition in your customers’ minds.

Make It Fun

It’s important for your open house to have a purpose, but it’s equally important that people be entertained. Don’t pull the time share presentation trick, luring them in with empty promises and holding them hostage until they buy out of sheer desperation. Instead, show off your goods and services while still making them glad they came!

Food and beverages are all but expected. Depending on your business (and your budget), this could be as extravagant as a glamourous, catered affair, or as simple as free hot dogs, hamburgers and soft drinks.

Entertainment also is a huge plus. Whether you hire a local band, rent a photo booth and props or have contests and giveaways, make sure there’s a reason for people to become customers — and not just eat your food before running away.

Capture Information

An open house is the perfect time to sign people up for your mailing list, get their email addresses or find out what services they need, both now and in the future.

Privacy is huge for people these days, so you may have to do some gentle prodding to get them to give up the goods. Be ready with company swag, discount coupons or other goodies to reward them for their information.

Done correctly, an open house is a win/win situation — you get new customers, and your new customers are happy. When you roll out the red carpet to welcome people to your business, you’ll stay top of mind the next time they need whatever it is you sell!

Want more ways to bring customers into the fold? Email Mischa Communications today and let us make you the small business everyone wants to visit!

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