By Brecken Branstrator
Employing influencers, the importance of email marketing and more are explored in this how-to article, the third in a series of pre-holiday stories National Jeweler is rolling out ahead of the season.
New York—Soon many retailers will be hosting in-store events to celebrate the holiday season and say thank you to their best clients.

While a lot of focus often is on the décor, menu and other aspects of the night, garnering enough attention for the event to drive attendance is important too.

National Jeweler reached out to jewelers and retail experts for advice on the best strategies to get people walking through the door come event time.

For additional pre-holiday coverage, see our stories on current jewelry trends and how to create eye-catching window displays.

1. Focus on what the event is about other than sales and product.

Debbie Fox, of Fox Fine Jewelry in Ventura, California, said the best-attended events traffic drivers are events that aren’t promotional but, rather, community-driven.

“For example, we’re hosting a block party benefit commemorating the anniversaries of the [wild]fires and expect a huge crowd,” she said. “Will they buy jewelry? Most will not, but they’ll come in our store for their wine and beer!”

Along the same lines, Raj Shroff, founder and principal of strategy and design consultancy Pine, said that retailers should look to offer education or entertainment.

“Ultimately, both are trying to add value to prospects; the value could complement special deals but can stand alone. Shoppers should feel that they can trust a retailer and not be baited into something. Therefore, offering real value with no strings attached is a must.”

This could include partnering with a local blogger and having her or him come in for advice on gifting this season or styling ideas. The blogger also would help promote the event—and, thus, the business—on their social media accounts ahead of time.

Other ideas include a gallery night with local artists displaying their works, or a charity night to help people get started with their holiday donations.

2. Start promoting holiday events now.

Think October is too early? Think again.

Starting early will be pivotal for gaining momentum and building awareness for the holiday season and any related events, said David Blacker, managing principal at Venerate Media Group.

3. Use social media, of course, but make it targeted.

Jeff Moriarty, of Moriarty’s Gem Art in Crown Point, Indiana, said the store has a Ladies’ Night and a Men’s Night each holiday season.

While store staff uses various methods to market it, the most successful is social media.

They use it to not only target their customer list but to advertise to the best demographic for each event, and to reach all social media users within a 20-mile radius of the store.

Moriarty said both are easy to do on Facebook.

“These events are all about creating new relationships and strengthening existing ones,” he said. “We have food, beer, wine and giveaways.

“Our goal is that they return during the holidays to make the purchase. It has worked year after year, and we plan on doing this again in November.”

4. Or, if needed, target by ZIP code.

For many retailers, one of the most successful methods of driving traffic to the events is email marketing, but for retailers with more than one location, targeting these emails by zip code so that clients are receiving information about pertinent events can make all the difference. When they receive information targeted to them in their areas, they’re more engaged and more likely to attend. 

This is another way to build on the targeted social media ads. 

5. Don’t be anxious about responses on social media.

If you are concerned about the number of attendees you might receive after sharing on social media or creating a Facebook “event”—meaning you’re worried you might get too many guests—don’t be.

Fifty to 70 percent of people who show interest on social media won’t show up to the event, said Zarar Ameen, CEO of Canz Marketing.

On the positive side, the store will need all that buzz online to “create the wave and keep it heated.”

“That’s the impression that would keep sending you prospects a long time down the road,” he said.

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.