As a family entertainer in the Myrtle Beach area I get lots of different calls for many different type customer appreciation events. I will tell you that I have seen the good and the bad. And the good has nothing to do with how big the company is or the budget that is spent! I’ve gotten calls for a magician entertainer from well known large corporate clients and they had no idea how to budget for their event. But I have also gotten calls from smaller local businesses that knew exactly how to have a great customer appreciation day for their clients and potential clients. What I am saying is you don’t have to be a huge corporation to put on a great event, you just need to do some effective planning. Here are ten tips for having a great client appreciation day:
- Budget, Budget, Budget! No matter the size of your budget, have one and stick to it. Make sure your event has uniformity. I’ve seen events with very expensive catering, terrible entertainment nowhere to sit, and no shade. Be careful not to overspend on one item (Like advertising) so that you can afford to hire me! (the entertainment) Seriously, I charge a fair rate for my magic shows, balloon artists, and face painters, but I had a very well know corporate client tell me they could not afford me and then I see they rented a huge digital billboard to advertise the same event! Another corporation that asked me to discount my services severely because they spent their whole budget on a promotional item to hand out and didn’t have enough left over for the entertainment!
I work hard to get new clients and all of our artists love to entertain. But we cannot do it for free or next to nothing. This is our business not our hobby.
- Consider adding a charity component to your event. This will show your clients and potential clients that you are including them into a community that cares more than just about business. One of my customers has a silent auction and they ask other local businesses to donate “baskets” for the attendees to bid on. This is an easy way to raise money for your favorite charity. Allow the charity to come and speak at the event to enlighten the community about their good work. You can ask your local golf courses for greens fees and carts, ask local spas and hair stylists for free productsin order to promote their businesses. This connects them to your event and also may get them some new clients too.
- Provide great food and entertainment. Some of the best events I have done included walk around magic, Elvis impersonators, a massage specialist for example. Consider a local catering company if it is in your budget. If not do something low key like bringing out your grill from home and making hot dogs and hamburgers.
- Do a thank you speech. Make sure to say something to thank the clients, welcome everyone, and introduce your employees and your family. Make sure everyone knows you appreciate them and that you cannot run your business without their help. And don’t forget to remind them that you really appreciate their referrals. This is the one thing you should be “bold” about.
- Promote, Promote, Promote! Make sure you market the event to everyone you are targeting as customers. Start early, make flyers, invitations, and if you don’t have an advertising budget, simply ask your clients to put the event in their calendar every time they come in.
- Do your event annually, make it bigger and better every year. If you’ve never done an appreciation event, start small and make it fun. Think outside the box. One of the best customer appreciation events involved me doing magic in the waiting room of a dentist office! The clients had a great time seeing magic before and after they went into to their appointments.
- Consider doing an employee appreciation event. One of my clients (a hair stylist) hired me to perform magic and our face painter to entertain her employees. They all spent the night in sleeping bags in her salon and they had a great time.
- Use professionals or don’t offer services like face painting or balloon animals. I cringe when I see a non professional using paints and pens to “face paint” children. Not only do the face paints look terrible they may be unsafe too. Our face painters use only the best allergy free face painting products available. They are designed to wash off very easily. There’s nothing worse than seeing bad face painting on your clients children at your event.
- Take breaks, and give your employees breaks too. Make sure your client appreciation event is not too strenuous on your employees or the may not want to help you with it.
- Have fun, connect. Don’t forget to take some time to have fun, enjoy getting to know your clients more. Above all be authentic and your client appreciation event will certainly be a success guaranteed!