The other day, I was reading an article about word of mouth marketing by Martin Russell, creator of Word of Mouth Magic, in which he talked about what he called “Rule Zero” of marketing: You can’t get ANY word of mouth, until people know you exist. In the article, he suggested a few ways that you can spread the word about your existence and one of them was to hold a ‘housewarming’ for your business.
And that got me to thinking, what if you have an online business? How would you make use of that technique to get the word out? And this is what I came up with.
First, what does a traditional housewarming party have?
- A location
- A guest list and invitations
- A host or hostess
- A time and date
- A party theme
- Food & drink
- A guest registry, and
- Tours of the new location
Next, how do you translate all these things into something you can do at your website?
Offline, this would be the new business. Online, it will be a specific page or set of pages within your website. You might want to decorate especially for this event, too.
A guest list and invitations
A brick and mortar business would invite past customers and everyone within a certain mile radius of the business location. With a website, you would invite everyone on your mailing list and that you’re connected with through social media. You would also encourage people to “bring a friend.” You can do this several ways.
- Having a “Tell A Friend” page that offers a gift for those who tell friends about your housewarming.
- Offer other business owners “sponsorship” of the housewarming if they let people on their list know of the housewarming.
- Offer incentives for your social networking contacts to spread the word.
Go on, be creative! This is a party after all.
A host or hostess
Many party planners suggest that you have a friend or relative host your housewarming party, even though it is being held at your new house. For a business housewarming, why not invite a “celebrity” or expert to act as “master of ceremonies.”
For a virtual housewarming you could do several things:
- Have the host introduce and interview you about your topic of expertise on a teleseminar, then offer the download as a gift on your website.
- Have the host provide some sort of endorsement for your products or services that can “open” your housewarming.
Be sure to provide some reciprocal love to your host. Feature their business prominently on your housewarming event page(s).
A time and date
This is pretty much the same for both offline and online events. However, your online event can be held 24 hours a day, something that would be prohibitive for an offline event. But this is a good thing, because that way you won’t lock out all those prospects and clients from around the world!
A party theme
Every party needs a theme, right? So your virtual housewarming should have a theme, too! Choose a theme that is relevant to your products and services. You can also take into account any current trends or events.
Make it fun! For example, if you are in the business of providing marketing services to underwater basket weavers, maybe you could choose a Mermaid or Poseidon theme? Or, if you offer dog training tips, you could use a “Day at the Dog Park” theme. Get the picture?
With a normal housewarming party, the guest bring the gifts. But with a business housewarming, the business gives the gifts. And, with an virtual housewarming there are many ways you can give gifts to your guests:
- Downloadable special reports and/or audios for everyone who shows up during the “party.”
- Special guest-only videos.
- Special drawings for more valuable gifts — digital and physical.
You can even give away gifts “donated” by your host and sponsors! This is a great way to offer a wide range of cool gifts, while promoting your sponsors in return for spreading the word to their lists.
Food & drink
Of course, this would be quite difficult to do online, unless you sell food and can give away coupons or even free samples. However, if you’re creative you can provide “recipes” that are related to your offerings. Let’s say you’re a business coach. You could offer a buffet of “recipes for success”. Going back to the dog trainer, you could offer recipes for home-made dog treats. Again, use your imagination and be creative.
This could get really fun. The more activities you provide, the longer people linger at your “party” and maybe even start telling people they’ve got to drop by, too. Here are some ideas for activities you could offer at your virtual housewarming party:
- A scavenger hunt
- A crossword puzzle
- A word find puzzle
- A Q&A session via telephone
- A live chat session
- A commenting feature on your page(s)
- A Tweet-a-thon
- Fun word games
I’m sure you can come up with more.
A guest registry
You can do this a couple of ways. You can have a list that is just for folks who show up for the “party.” Or this can be your standard ezine list. In fact, it could be both!
Tours of the new location
Create a little guided tour of your website. You can do this in print, audio or video. You can even get creative and create a map of the website. This is where you show off all the wonderful products and services you offer … without being pushy or salesy.
Goodness! This post was a lot longer than I thought t would be. I hope you found it useful. I know my mind is spinning with ideas for holding my first virtual housewarming party!