How to Plan Your Business Mixer!

How to Plan Your Business Mixer!

 

  1. Date, Time, Location

    This first step is simple, but critical – pick the date, time, and location of your mixer!

    • Date:  Consider selecting a date that coincides with a business milestone (1-year anniversary, new product launch, renovation unveiling, etc.) and try to select a day of the week that doesn’t overlap with other important community activities. Most mixers take place on Thursdays (Note: The Chamber is unable to schedule weekend mixers).
       
    • Time:  Mixers typically last for two hours and take place in the evening directly after regular working hours. This gives the audience a chance to swing by on their way home and stay a while if they choose. We recommend 4pm to 6pm or 5pm to 7pm (Note: The Chamber is unable to schedule mixers that continue later than 8pm or on weekends).
       
    • Location: Most mixers take place at the business that is hosting. This gives the attendees a chance to browse your merchandise, see your facility, and better get to know your business. It also ensures that the community knows where you are located and can give directions to others. In some cases, it makes more sense to host a mixer at a different location, such as when a business is run from one’s home or is in an undesirable location (too small, difficult to find, etc.).
       
  2. Promote Your Event

    Once you have your date, time, and location set, promote the heck out of your event! There are quite a few free and low-cost ways to do this:
     
    • What the Chamber does to help:
       
      • We will create a set of cohesive event marketing pieces including the event page and FB/Instagram images, posters, etc.
      • We will create and publish an event page on Facebook and share the information several times on social media platforms.
      • We will post the event in our weekly e-newsletter.
      • We will send out a custom e-mail blast to our contact list (over 1,000 recipients).
      • We will post the event on our Mixer website page and our website Event Calendar.
      • We will send out an official Press Release to media contacts.
         
    • What you can do to help:
       
      • Submit the event details to online event listings (such as KOTA, KEVN, etc).
      • Share the event details or event page on social media groups (such as Black Hills Things To Do, SturgisBuzz, etc).
      • Purchase a set of mailing labels from the Chamber office to send out custom postcard invitations (we can help design and print these at no cost). Labels cost $40 per set for members.
      • Consider purchasing radio or newspaper ads to publicize the event details. If you would like to purchase an ad with an image included, we will help create the imagery at no cost to you – just provide the specs and we will assist!
      • Spread the word amongst your family and friends! Consider also inviting your Facebook contacts to the event on Facebook.
         
  3. Ambiance: Décor & Music

    One of the most frequently overlooked components of a mixer that makes the biggest impact is the ambiance. Ambiance is the feeling of being welcome, comfortable, and having a good time. We recommend achieving a pleasant ambiance by putting some effort into the décor and providing music at the event:
     
    • Décor:  Think about purchasing some balloons and signage to spruce up the entry to your business and help guests find you. You can also spice up your interior with some low-cost table cloths, arrange some seating, create a nice product display, grab a bouquet or two of flowers, etc. Your décor is up to you!
    • Music:  Mixers are primarily networking activities, so a little music can go a long way towards filling in the gaps and helping conversation flow! The Chamber offers to arrange and cover costs of a live, acoustic musician at your mixer if you choose.
       
  4. Refreshments

    Along with music and décor, offering some refreshments helps the crowd feel welcome. Everyone feels a little better networking with a drink or snack in-hand; consider providing finger foods that aren’t too messy and include some thoughtful effort. Home-made snacks are great, and including a healthy option is a good idea. Don’t forget – your business can legally serve alcohol at mixers as long as you don’t plan to sell any!
     
  5. Interactive Components

    It’s a good idea to incorporate some kind of interactive component in your mixer. We recommend a door prize, giving away free product samples, organizing a scavenger hunt activity, and/or offering a tour of the facility. Interactive components also help the less-social attendees have good time and take the pressure off of the small talk. The more activities you can include, the longer the crowd will stick around and the more they will take away from the event!
     
  6. Business Plug

    Don’t forget that the reason you’re hosting a business mixer is to attract new customers and make connections in the community! This being the case, plan on giving a short speech or presentation to welcome the crowd and tell them a little about your business. Not everyone at the mixer is familiar with your business already, even if it is an established one – try to provide a thorough overview for attendees:
     
    1. Thank the attendees for coming!
    2. Introduce yourself: Who are you and what is your role in the business?
    3. What is the business’s history and why did it start?
    4. What are the business’s primary products or services?
    5. What goals does your business have for the future?
    6. Any other information you’d like to convey.
       
  7. Collect Information

    Mixers are a perfect opportunity to cultivate new customers and make lasting connections. That’s why it’s critical to collect attendee information for later follow-up! Make sure you pass around a contact sign-up sheet or a box to place business cards in. Consider taking attendee information in a more creative way by collecting business cards for a prize drawing at the end of the event or handing out coupons in exchange for contact info!
     
  8. Bring Them Back!

    Last but not least, think of a couple ways to bring the mixer attendees back into your store. For example, you could hand out coupons or discount cards as they leave, product samples, or invitations to your next event!

 

Mixers are great events because they benefit the business host as well as the attendees. Follow these eight guidelines to ensure that your attendees have the chance to network together and get to know your business. These tips will also help ensure that you finish the evening with a list of potential customer contacts and new connections! We hope that you take full advantage of the opportunity to host a mixer this year. View our upcoming schedule of mixers here, and contact the Sturgis Chamber office to get started!

Sincerely,

Veronica Grosek
Executive Director
Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau