[IMGCAP(1)]With the advent of the holiday season, now may be just the time to market yourself and your staff to potential clients, according to Chuck McCabe, president and chief executive of Peoples Income Tax and The Income Tax School.

If you are already planning the company Christmas party for your staff, McCabe recommends that you consider making it an open house. “Holiday open houses are a great way to celebrate with staff, thank your clients for their business, and invite new contacts and potential clients to see what you’re all about,” he said.

Hosting a holiday party can be beneficial for future business this coming season. Here are some ideas to help you plan.

If you are wondering whom to invite, McCabe says that since it’s an open house, the more the merrier.

These should include the following, he suggested:

•    Staff and their families
•    Current clients
•    Prospects
•    New contacts
•    Social media fans and followers
•    People you’ve been meaning to reach out to—this is a great way to reach out with a personal invitation
•    Any business partners you may have in the community
•    Contractors who do work for you
•    Referral partners or members of networking groups you are involved with

A way to show community involvement and to give back for the holiday season is to give your party a charity tie-in, McCabe noted. “You could do this by hosting a Toy Drive, a canned food drive, or doing a silent auction with proceeds going to a local charity,” he said.

Another idea is to have a themed office tour, McCabe suggested. “Our sister company, Peoples Tax, hosted a light tour in the office one year for the holiday party. Employees decorated their cubicles or offices, and guests voted for the best ones. The top three won prizes. In addition to being enjoyable, it was a way to get people to check out the office and meet all of our employees.”

Don’t let them leave empty handed, McCabe emphasized. “You got them in the door, so don’t let them leave without something to remember you by or a reason to contact you. That could be a pamphlet about your refer-a-friend program, a discount card for first time appointments or a brochure with helpful tips and your contact information. Bundle in a gift bag with treats and marketing swag so that guests will want to take it home to see what’s inside.”

There are numerous ways to promote your holiday open house—it all depends on your time and resources. Here are some of his suggestions:

•    Send out personal emails to clients
•    Create an e-vite for free online and send invites to your contacts that way
•    Include a blurb about it in your newsletter or e-newsletter
•    Post about it on your social media channels
•    If you have a Facebook page, be sure to create a Facebook Event so that people can RSVP that way.
•    If you are a member of any networking groups, see if your event can get a mention in their newsletters or on their social media sites.
•    Do you have a list of leads you’ve been meaning to catch up with? Sending a personal email to invite them to your open house is a great way to reach out.

“However you do it,” McCabe said, “make it fun, do it in the spirit of saying thanks to your employees and clients, and open it up to potential clients or partners to ensure more business in the upcoming season.”

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