A member of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook asked:
What are you doing that has increased Business After Hours attendance?
Here are a couple of quick fixes for your business after hour events suggested by the chamber community:
Limit the Number
There’s exclusivity in fewer events of its kind. If you have one every month, members promise themselves they’ll make the next one and crowds will be thinner. If you reduce the amount to every couple of months, it becomes a much bigger deal on your members’ calendars.
Increase Selling Opportunities
Sell some business booths for more revenue for the chamber and more opportunities for your businesses to stand out in the crowd.
Introduce a Learning Component
Using the first half an hour for a quick learning session may draw a larger crowd because then it becomes about more than just networking. One chamber used a “crafting the elevator speech topic,” which is both valuable and fitting for the occasion. The session was put on by one of the chamber members so it didn’t cost the chamber and gave additional exposure to a chamber member.
Create a Spotlight
Send out a “Looking forward to seeing you tonight” email to all who are planning on attending. Create a list of attendees including names and business names and share it with others. Not only will members want to be on that list, it allows people to see ahead of time who they want to network with, making the networking time more targeted and effective.
Appeal to the Non-planners
Flash events are a great way to get on busy social calendars. The last minute invitation can be exciting and fun. If you feel you must, you can send out a save the date or have a standing event and wait until the last minute to reveal where it will be. While this is an extremely exciting way to host an event and provides great opportunity for social media teasing, you can also expect that your RSVPs may drop off since attendees may wait to see where it’s held before committing to attending..
Finding the secret sauce to rev up your after hours event takes some experimentation. If at the end nothing seems to work, it may just be time to phase it out in your community or hand it over to your young professionals group.
What’s your favorite After Hours suggestion? Leave it here in the conversation.
Bonus Idea: Give it a fresh name. Here’s 43 ideas for catchy event names.
Guest post by Christina Green
Image credit: Norma Davey