Proven Promotions: Throw a Chocolate Party
As construction for our Lexington, Ky., store came to a close, I started thinking of ways to get the community to visit our newly expanded facility. However, most of the events we’d held in that store were poorly attended, and I was hesitant to spend a lot of money on a reopening celebration. I needed an attractive PR “hook” to get the local media’s attention, and I needed something enticing that would fill my store with people for $500 or less.
Then an idea hit me while I was finishing lunch and chowing down on a chocolate chip cookie. Who doesn’t love chocolate? I needed to throw a chocolate party.
I contacted a local chocolatier and began discussing ways in which our two businesses could link arms for mutual benefit. They agreed to charge me a mere $300 for an entire chocolate buffet as long as we promoted the event as a joint venture. I agreed to bring in a local band, playing on my equipment, and to provide some bottled water. The entire two-hour event would cost $500 in total.
I bought a small package of individually wrapped chocolates and hand-delivered a couple of chocolates with each press release I sent out. I found delicious-looking photos and made up Chocolate Party fliers that my team posted at every coffee shop, grocery store, library, school and music studio in town. We also posted a “What is your favorite chocolate goodie?” poll on our Facebook page in support of the event.
Three hundred people showed up. That’s right—300 people flooded our store during that two-hour window, eating chocolate, dancing to the music and getting to know us. We even enjoyed an interview with one of the local, chocolate-loving TV crews. It was an unforgettable evening.
We’re still seeing benefits from that event, but I can attribute two piano sales (one of them a grand) to that experience. I'm also happy to say that we already have nearly 50 students in our fledgling lessons studio. Our Lexington store now outpaces our Louisville store in print music sales, and we did about 60 recitals in Lexington this year. Kentucky chocolate never tasted sweeter!