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5 Ideas for an End-of-the-Year Event

Regular Advisor

Labor Day may be this weekend, and the temperatures outside may make you want to spend a day at the beach, but if you’re not planning for the end-of-the-year holidays yet, then there's no time like the present to change that.


The end of the year is a busy one for everyone, whether you're selling, fundraising, or buying. And despite everyone's best efforts, January comes much sooner than we ever want it to. That’s why, if you have any intentions of hosting an event that will get your customers and supporters together, now is the time to start planning.


An event gives 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.


Here are some 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.


What end-of-the-year events are you planning? Share your thoughts here or on our Facebook Page.


Martin Lieberman is Constant Contact's managing editor. He develops blog posts, articles, guides, and more about email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, and online survey best practices, as well as small business and engagement marketing trends. Martin has more than 15 years of experience writing and editing content for a variety of audiences. Martin's tips, ideas, and solutions help small businesses and organizations build successful customer and member relationships. Follow Martin on Twitter at @martinlieberman.

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