As a thriving small to medium-sized business, one of your best and most effective marketing tools at your disposal is the client appreciation event. These events can be monumental in driving new business, inspiring repeat customer purchases, and fostering incredible branding. But there are right and wrong ways to plan and execute a client appreciation event. As your trusted New York event planners, we at EMRG Media are here to help. Today, we’re sharing all the valuable insights, the best practices, and the brilliant client appreciation event ideas your company needs.
Great Client Appreciation Events Start with Great Timing
You can plan a fantastic event right down to the last detail and still not get the results you want. If you pick a date, for example, for your client appreciation event that doesn’t go over with your clients, it’s not going to work. So, you’ll want to make sure you get the timing right. Consider sending out surveys with a few dates in mind, asking for client availability. Double-check the community calendars and make sure you’re not competing with other festivals or events, either. And then, choose your event dates based on your intel for maximum attendance and engagement.
Know Your Clients’ Interests
Another event planning mistake we often see involves planning the wrong-fit type of client appreciation event. It’s imperative that you know who your clients are, more importantly, their preferences, interests, and demographics. You don’t want to plan a golf outing unless a majority of your clients actually like golf, for example. Alternatively, you don’t want to host a kid-friendly day at the waterpark if the bulk of your clients aren’t parents, either. So, be sure to do your homework about who your clients are so you can cater client appreciation events to be what they like.
Announce Your Client Appreciation Event, Don’t Sell It
No one will set foot anywhere near your client appreciation event if they think you’re going to try and sell them something. When you’re ready to invite your company’s most loyal customers, do so with an authentic invitation as a complimentary gift or experience with no strings attached. Follow up with an email and a phone call, reiterating that the event is exclusively for them to attend and enjoy themselves. Incentivize it with drawings and additional discounts. But never try to sell the event or make plans to sell anything during the event.
Let Them Bring Guests
Don’t make the mistake of only inviting loyal customers to your client appreciation event. Encourage them to bring guests, friends, colleagues, or even family members. Sure, it may cost a little more to accommodate a larger crowd. However, it’s going to work out in your favor. They’ll be more comfortable coming when they’re able to bring pals. And you’ll boost your chances of referral business and brand recognition with a broader audience as a result.
The Client Appreciation Event Ideas You Need for Inspiration
So, what kind of client appreciation events can you throw? Lots! Get inspired by these, which tend to be more popular among brands and companies. And use the insights above to help you narrow down which types of events are going to be great fits for your specific clients. Remember to know your clients’ preferences so you can curate great events that speak specifically to them. And don’t hesitate to group your clients into segments, either, hosting different types of client appreciation events for each.
1. The Business After Hours Cocktail Reception
These types of client appreciation events are great for ongoing celebrations. And they’re easy enough to facilitate at your company’s office or by meeting at a local establishment. Host these monthly or quarterly and send out client invitation reminders via email. Cheers to your best customers for a few fun hours every engagement and build “regulars” who continue coming to these recurring casual celebrations.
2. Informative Demonstrations or Webinars
Offer your clients something valuable, like informative sessions, how-to seminars, or demonstrations. These can be online, in-person, or both and should always be something specific you know your clients really want to know more about. Maybe it’s something that improves their skills or boosts their general knowledge. Or it can be a specific topic that your brand is the most qualified to discuss. Whatever info session you’re offering, make sure it’s loaded with value for your clients.
3. Group Tastings or Pairing Events
Satisfy your foodie clients by hosting a client appreciation event that includes group tastings or pairings. These are fun experiences that people love. And because they’re truly rewarding, they’re easy to facilitate as a client appreciation event. Maybe book a new local restaurant or book the chef’s talents to bring the cooking to you and your clients. Wineries often host special events and can be great resources for companies looking to host private client appreciation engagements.
4. Fine Arts Types of Client Appreciation
Maybe your best customers are fans of the arts. Get artsy! Consider hosting a client appreciation event that involves a local museum tour or a new art exhibit. Treat customers to a concert or something more subdued, like a book signing event. Use surveys to learn more about what your clients like to do in their free time. And if they’re into performances and the arts, get creative about hosting arts-related get-togethers.
5. Charity or Community Support Event
Consider hosting a client appreciation event that ties into a local charity or community cause you know is important to your customers. Raise awareness or donations for a local animal shelter or homeless organization. On behalf of your loyal customers, your company can agree to match donations, for example. These go over well with clients because it’s one part for them, one part for you, and one part for goodwill.
6. Client Appreciation Dinners
Don’t discount the value of hosting a traditional client appreciation dinner. Tie it in with a new local restaurant or book a hotspot venue. Wow them with a great meal and some dance floor fun. And send them home with company-branded swag they’ll use and love. Make it count, too, with traditional event planning details, from sending the invitations and place settings to photo booths and door prizes.
7. Wellness Events or Conferences
Everyone can get behind health and wellness events these days. So get creative about hosting some wellness conferences, healthy living events, or even goat yoga if it’s a good fit. Celebrate your best clients with interactive wellness events that demonstrate your priority on health.
8. Golf Outings and Scrambles
If your clients are recreational or avid golfers, treat them to a fun outing at a high-profile or local course. Make it a fun and competitive get-together with a scramble and equally exciting prizes. Tie in a post-event cocktail hour with your golf outing, and be sure to bring all the branded golf swag. Clients who golf love receiving golf goodie bags.
9. Sneak Peek Previews and Product Launches
One of the best client appreciation events is the exclusive sneak peek or product launch event. Give your most loyal customers first dibs on your latest offering, or better yet, a free trial. They’ll love the VIP treatment, and they’ll be great at providing valuable feedback, too. It’s a serious win-win situation.
10. Night at the Movies
Consider renting out a local movie theater and treating your loyal clients to a movie night event. Whether it’s a seasonal flick or timeless family-friendly classic, invite your customers to enjoy buttered popcorn on you and a night at the movies. And these are great client appreciation events that aren’t dependent on the seasons and are easy to book as evening events or matinee movies – making them super flexible.
11. Customer of the Day, Month, or Year
Client appreciation events don’t have to be upscale, over-the-top events to be effective. In fact, you can create your own schedule of client holidays, celebrating daily customer appreciation, monthly customer appreciation, or annual customer appreciation. Host drawings and generate publicity online demonstrating your gratitude. And a simple gift certificate to a local retailer or restaurant is always a great appreciation gift.
12. Customer or Company Anniversary Parties
Consider hosting a brilliant anniversary celebration every year, commemorating your valued customers or your company’s anniversary of being in business. Bring in live entertainment and make it memorable with a great anniversary party theme they’ll love! Pull out all the stops as you would with a traditional event, accounting for every guest experience. And feel free to make these costume parties or formal galas, complete with red carpet treatments and elevated event amenities.
Client appreciation events are incredible tools in your business arsenal. Get inspired by these insights and event ideas to start hosting more client appreciation activities in 2024. And remember, you never have to go it alone. EMRG Media is the premier event planning partner for countless companies and brands in New York City. We can handle every memorable detail and will execute your event flawlessly, so you can expect big ROI every time. Contact us today, and let’s start planning!