The “How To” Guide for Planning a Successful Open House
Planning an open house? It’s not easy; take it from us! We just wrapped up a two-night open house that took months of strategy and planning along with dozens of team members to pull off. We’re happy to say that the event was a complete success with over 400 friends, family, clients and guests touring our facility. Everyone went home happy and impressed!
Why hold an open house? There are many reasons, but most importantly you want to show off your facility along with your products and services to your community, business associates, clients and prospects.
In our case, we wanted to showcase our state-of-the-art headquarters to our team member’s families and friends (night 1) as well as current and prospective clients (night 2). We wanted our guests to truly experience everything we were capable of and be inspired by our creative services. The first night was a bit more laid-back, but the preparation was intense. We used what we learned from the first night’s event to further enhance our guest’s experience on the second night. We really wanted to live up to our mottos: “Can Do, Will Do, Happy To!” and show the world we were more than ready and able to “Create Their Masterpiece.”
We wanted to demonstrate all of our capabilities to our guests, and raise brand awareness. For those who still viewed us as “just” a quick printer – we needed to demonstrate to them that Strategic Factory encompassed ALL aspects of marketing and business communications.
We highlighted multiple products before and during the event to demonstrate our offerings to our clients:
Print – Ink About It is our printing agency. We produced flyers, inserts in our client newsletters, personal invites and individual name badges for both team members and guests. We wanted to show a variety of items that could be used to reach your target audience. We printed the name badges on soft touch laminate to give our guests a “feel” of what we can do for them.
Signage – Master Signs was utilized heavily for this event. If it could be done, it was. We produced banners, posters, table runners, mesh privacy screens, acrylic table centerpieces, A-frame signage for parking, simple H-frame yard signage pointing drivers in the right direction, self-guided tour signs made of coroplast, floor graphics guiding guests to their next destination, even magnets that guests could take home with them.
Promo Products – Guests got a taste of what BRANDED4U offers with branded goody bags containing cozies, bottle openers, drumstick pens, guitar picks, Strategic Factory pads of paper and our Menu of Services booklet. We also had a T-shirt booth where we handed out branded #TogetherWeRock Strategic Factory shirts!
Marketing – Graphic Tango, our creative services agency, spearheaded the event from day one. From planning and ordering to setup and cleanup, this team was there every step of the way. Our Rock Star theme was utilized, and we kept our branding consistent with Rock Star photos, VIP name badges, tickets to use for food and alcohol, even a live band playing throughout the night. We also set up an event registration landing page and sent out email blasts, social media reminders and invites.
Here are a few quick tips to ensure your open house is an epic event that will keep your employees and clients talking for months and months:
- Set a date, and stick to it. This seems easy enough, but you need a hard deadline to really motivate you and keep you on course. Don’t make it unrealistic; depending on the size and scope of your event, planning could take a few weeks or a couple of months (possibly a year!). You’ll be sending out email blasts, flyers, postcards, and various other items promoting the date. Don’t set yourself up to fail.
- Set a budget. Open house expenses add up QUICKLY. Make sure the budget is realistic, and expect some overages. Make a list of EVERYTHING you anticipate needing, from ice to extension cords.
- Decide what you want to show off. In our case, we wanted to feature products from each of our agencies. All printed pieces represented Ink About It, all signage represented Master Signs, all promo products including goody bags and T-shirts represented BRANDED4U, and the consistent branding, email blasts, theme, and designs represented Graphic Tango, the marketing agency that planned the event.
- Hire help. You’ll need food and beverage vendors and entertainment to keep your guests happy. You may even need bartenders, parking attendants, etc. to make everything run smoothly.
- Spread the word! You’ll want to send out email blasts, postcards, flyers, save the dates and reminders via social media. It’s not a bad idea to schedule the event on Facebook and invite friends and followers as well.
There is indeed a method to the madness, and although it may seem like a struggle, when the day comes and everything goes according to plans you’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment like no other. Your team will feel united, and, if all goes well, new clients will soon start using your services!
If this seems like a lot of work, IT IS! If you’d like help planning your open house, call our team of experts and we can help you plan the event of your dreams!