How to Drive Traffic to Your Special Events

August 18, 2023

How to Drive Traffic to Your Special Events

As a senior living operator, you’re already familiar with the power of Grand Opening events to drive traffic through your doors. Prospective residents, families, neighbors, and maybe even competitors are all excited to see what’s new. Grand Opening events are a powerful lead generation tool that can bring in hundreds of prospects simultaneously. 

But what’s next? While it’s true that Grand Openings do not come around every week, you can create the same level of excitement, interest, and leads by offering more frequent events–from Open Houses to formal invitations to everyday activities–with just a little planning. Here’s how we drive event management as part of a lead generation strategy…

The first step is to identify activities that your prospects want to see. Events could include an invitation to your award-winning Chef’s table, scheduled Open Houses, seasonal parties, and even invitations to participate in an onsite performance or yoga class. 

Next, you want to make the event feel special. There are many ways to do that:

  • Food. Offer a tasty collection of appetizers and drinks to show off your culinary staff.
  • Music. Include live music or a DJ to add energy to your event. 
  • Attraction. Invite instructors from a local dance or yoga studio (note that they will often appear for free to promote their own businesses).
  • Theme. Create a theme and logo for the event to make it feel extraordinary.
  • Decorations. Flowers, balloons, and banners all make an event feel special. Bigger events may require signage and themed rooms too.
  • Raffle. Use a raffle to increase interest and give visitors opportunities to “earn” extra tickets by signing up for a tour, visiting multiple locations at the event, or completing a form to help inform and advance the buying cycle.

Promote the event frequently and through multiple channels. Your event size and audience will dictate your promotional strategy and your media options:

  • Email. Send an email sequence to your prospects and include an RSVP form. Use the email to re-engage with cold leads, ignite warm leads and expand your email list.  
  • Social posts. Your target audience is everywhere online, and you need to be too. Post information about your events on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Make the posts engaging so viewers want to share and comment on them. And make sure you include a way to RSVP via those postings to measure each medium’s ROI.
  • Advertise. Leverage paid social channels to retarget lists and create awareness around your geographic region. We find that Facebook posts work best when they run for about seven days. For bigger events, invite the media to participate.
  • Direct mail. For larger events, a direct mail campaign can be very effective. Use a combination of personal letters and promotional flyers to promote your event. Add a QR code for easy tracking.
  • Timing. Run your promotions consistently for 2-5 weeks; the larger the event, the longer your promotions should run. Vary your messaging and graphics for multi-week campaigns.
  • Message. Include information about your community to help your audience understand why they want to visit it and its unique charm.  

To get the most out of your event, be ready for your crowds:

  • Valet. Add extra valet staff to make getting to the front door quick and easy. For larger crowds, pick up and drop off attendees using your community van at a pre-advertised spot.
  • Registration table. Ask everyone to check in at an official registration table and confirm their contact information. Consider using different color name tags or wristbands to highlight buying interest or care level needs to staff. 
  • Staff. Place staff throughout your community to answer and ask questions. Arm your team with brochures, pen and paper, and ensure they are trained to ask questions that create common ground and encourage prospects to think first about your community. Give your team members an easy way to share that information with your sales staff.

If the three most important words in real estate are location, location, location, the critical words for event management are follow up, follow up, follow up:

  • Segment. Put the attendees into hot, warm, and nurture categories while conversations are still fresh in your team members’ minds.
  • Personalize. Customize your follow up based on information gathered during the event. It goes without saying that your team should call (not email) those with an immediate need or interest first. 
  • Nurture. Add warm and nurture prospects into an email nurture program that continues to lead them down the buyer’s journey. Offer engaging content that helps them think through their decisions and leads them back to you.

There are so many ways to feature your community. Create an event strategy that works for your target audience, residents, and staff, and fully commit to them. A poorly planned event will cast a negative impression that will be hard to overcome. A well-planned event will pay for itself in qualified leads and solid suspects to nurture.

Need help adding events to a larger marketing strategy? Markentum can help you integrate events into your lead generation programming. Request a review of your lead generation tools.

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