By Julie Purcell
Hosting special events at your self-storage facility is one of the best ways to get local residents, current tenants and businesses to your door. Planning a successful event can be very rewarding, but there are some key things to consider.
First, special events need to be, well, special. They should be memorable, creative and create a sense of urgency that this is the one event people don’t want to miss. Having a run-of-the-mill “open house” doesn’t sound like much fun and probably won’t attract many people. However, naming your event something unique and creating some excitement around it increases the likelihood that folks will attend and participate.
Special events will help people remember you—not your competitors—when they need storage.
They also create networking opportunities. Every interaction is important because if you do an excellent job, people will go out of their way to bring you business.
It’s like getting a haircut―if your barber or stylist does a mediocre job, you probably won’t refer him to others. But if he does a fantastic job, you’ll mention it to other people without any prompting. The same applies to your event; the more effort you put in to it, the better. The more energized you are about it, the more excited others will be, too.
Three Cs of Special Events
There are three Cs to keep in mind when planning special events: commitment, creativity and community. Let’s look at each.
Be committed. Determine your budget (plus a little extra) and create a master to-do list with a timeline so you stay on target. The timeline should include sending out invitations, handing out postcards, talking to other local businesses, writing and sending press releases, ordering materials, etc. You should also include an emergency plan such as what to do in inclement weather.
Be creative in your theme. Make your event fun and memorable. This will entice people to come and will attract media attention. Let’s say your facility is surrounded by corn fields; ask a local farm to donate some corn and have a corn-shucking contest. Then donate the corn to a local food bank. Come up with a clever name for your event that incorporates your theme.
Another theme could be family movie night complete with popcorn. Host a costume contest or invite a local celebrity for a meet and greet with fans. Think of something that makes sense with your facility branding and the time of year in which your event takes place. You can capitalize on holidays, seasons or other community events.
Come up with some fun activities, such as a bounce house, particularly if you have great drive-by traffic. Kids playing in a jumping castle can be seen from several blocks away. You can also include games such as a dunk tank, cake walk or other game and give away inexpensive prizes. Having kid-friendly attractions will draw more people to your event. You can also attract attendees by offering free food. Again make use of local business donations to fulfill this need.
Partner with your community. Consider working with a local charity. Not only will this help promote a great cause, it will build goodwill toward your facility. An example of this would be supporting a local food bank. Have a raffle and give everyone a free raffle ticket per canned-food item donated. Ask a local retailer to donate small prizes or gift cards for winners.
Look for partnerships with like-minded businesses to reap the most rewards. Everyone is looking for inexpensive marketing opportunities right now. By getting other local businesses involved, you’ll get them to promote your event, reach more people with your marketing message, and possibly defray some of the event’s costs through donated goods or services such as food or party supplies.
One of the most important aspects in promoting your event to potential partners is having a sponsorship letter. It should include details about your event and incentives why a business might want to be a part of it. These incentives could include adding their logo or information on your marketing material or website and signage at the event.