7 Steps to Rocking Your Next Event
by Amber Phillips
"We like to party. We like, we like to party." Vengaboys knew what they were talking about when they produced that song back in 1999. You know who enjoys a good party? Your customers.
The great thing about hosting events in the spa is they can be endless opportunities to create unforgettable experiences. The best way to win new clients and continue to build your brand is by establishing actual relationships with your customers. The perfect way to do just that is through events and parties.
Establishing relationships and face-to-face connections has become vital for any business to truly be successful. We are blessed with the luxury of social media and other various online avenues to make connections a breeze. Thanks to this new digital reality, your clients are looking for companies that bring valuable content, services and relationships to their world. “Events have played a key role in developing brand awareness as we use the event to leverage far past the attendees who got to be there in person,” says Paul Heslop, owner and CEO of Salt of the Earth, a natural skincare company based in Utah. “A major reason we run events is to promote to the rest of the world that we held the event and what we were trying to promote.” This kind of engagement with your customers allows promotion of your brand in a more innovative way than traditional advertising and marketing tactics. Customers want you to engage them with information, education, and fun.
“Events are a fun way to get to know your regular clients better, reconnect with clients who have fallen off the radar, and be introduced to people who would be a good fit with your business, either because they are friends with your current clients or have interests in line with what your spa does or the organizations your event supports,” says Cassie Sampson, owner of East Village Spa in Des Moines, Iowa. East Village Spa’s signature annual event, “Spalloween” is a fundraiser for animal rescue groups. At the event, spa employees provide mini services including brow shaping, chair massage, hand massage, polish change manicures with “spooky” accent nail art, and demonstrations of Ashiatsu barefoot massage. Guests can sign up for mini services and each service has a suggested donation that goes directly to the charity. The event also features a silent auction raffle, and Halloween-themed snacks and cocktails. Sampson adds that the event has become a fun way to engage their regular clients, and introduce the spa to prospective clients in a fun and inviting way.
Well planned events like Sampson’s not only blend marketing, branding and fun, but also create an atmosphere that puts everyone in a receptive mood, eager to learn more about your spas brands and services.
“Events are a true way to expose new products and services that the spa is offering to their local clientele, as well as people visiting from other areas,” says Gina Jacoby-Clements, chief inspiration officer at ROI Revenue of Inspiration, a spa consulting firm that specializes in improving spa retail spaces. “When a client is exposed to something for the first time in a positive manner, that creates a positive memory which will be on the forefront of their mind the next time they need a product or service.”
These positive experiences can be a simple product launch, a holiday themed promotion or a black-tie annual charity dinner. While the event theme may vary, the purpose and goals of the event should remain the same: strengthen relationships with current clients, increase brand awareness, educate the public and have fun.
“Innovative events add to the bottom line and create a buzz in the community,” agrees Jennifer Di Francesco, spa and sports director at The Spa at Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells, California. For some companies planning events and creating that buzz can be a daunting task. So here are several tips to help ensure a successful event, every single time.
1. Build a spa database
Before you begin the planning process and compiling the event details, ensure you have a database of clients and potential clients that is in prime working order. All marketing initiatives and events should require an email check in where attendees provide an email address. Capturing this information and keeping it organized will be helpful in building a viable database.
2. Create an event calendar early to allow for planning and execution.
Plan the spa event calendar in the first quarter of the year. Have marketing collateral created that highlights events to pass out to clients. Try coordinating themed events with holidays that lend themselves to the spa atmosphere, like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. Heslop hosted a successful “Date Night” event the weekend before Valentine’s Day, where guests were encouraged to bring a date. “Rather than getting our regular female attendees, we were able to double up by having their husbands attend as well,” recalls Heslop. This instantly doubled the brand’s reach in a fun and inventive setting.
3. Decide on event goals.
Create a pre-event worksheet to organize your event. Your event goals should be clear and communicated to all employees and other businesses you partner with. Heslop adds, “Having clear cut goals helps us stay focused on the purpose of why we are running the event.”
4. Finalize a budget.
The bottom line will be used to measure the success of an event. During the preplanning phase, be sure to include all expenses in your budget. Cross-promotion with another brand or spa is a great way to share the event expenses. “Cross-promotion has worked for us quite well for events,” says Heslop. “Spas and vendors partnering assists in leveraging each other’s audiences, customers and offerings for a greater cause or promotion. When our spa partners have asked for samples or event raffle prizes, we’ve never declined an opportunity to be involved on some level. Spas have assets, vendors have assets. When these are combined, it creates a better event.”
5. Promote your event across all platforms.
Overspending is easy to do when it comes to events, so use marketing that is low-cost. Create a Facebook event, add your event to local calendars, and get your staff involved by encouraging them to promote the event. Jacoby-Clements goes the extra mile and sends hand written personal invites to their local top VIP clients. “No-one receives a hand-written note these days! This is such an elegant and thoughtful touch.”
6. Be creative and think outside the box.
A special experience will be one that your clients remember. Events that have a charity tie-in tend to be very successful. Clients want to support a business that supports something they care about. “We’ve found that people who are passionate about a charity we love have values in line with our spa values, so they are a natural fit to become our clients,” says Sampson.
7. Post-Event Evaluation.
When the event is complete be sure to evaluate the success of the event. Were your goals met? Did you strengthen your relationship with current clients? Were you introduced to new clients? Heslop recommends having a videographer at the event who has quick editing turn-around. “The rest of the world, the other customers who can’t make it, need to see what they missed out on.” This FOMO (fear of missing out) can be almost as powerful as the event itself in driving your brand awareness, online following, and in-house sales.
“If the event is done right you will create an ‘unforgettable experience’ with fond memories of your customer’s time at the event,” adds Jacoby-Clements. “This will add excitement to what you offer and the customer will want to partake in future events.” Make it your goal to execute well-designed events that create moments for your current clients, potential clients and team to smile and engage together. Events create the kind of loyalty, trust and personal connections that will allow your spa to stand out.