Finishing Touches, Operations, Sales & Marketing, V5I5

Tips for Hosting a Successful Open House

(Photo courtesy of YDOP Internet Marketing)

Want an easy way to get people to your location and walking through your sheds? Throw a party!

Here in Lancaster County, it seems like every weekend a local business is having an open house, customer appreciation, or other public event. These family-friendly events always consist of a few key components: food, discounts, and a lot of people. 

As a shed builder, hosting a community event is a great way to interact with potential customers. It gives them an opportunity to see your facility, walk through your displays, and ask questions of your sales staff. 

You can use the event as a way to sell display lot inventory or hold an end-of-the-year clearance event. Plus, even if they don’t make a purchase on the day of the event, you can send regular emails and marketing to them, so when they are ready to buy a shed, your business will be top of mind.


Here is some advice for hosting a successful customer event for your shed company.  

Spread the Word—The first thing you need to think about is how you will announce the event. Ideally, you will want a mix of existing customers, people who are familiar with your brand, and those who have never heard of you before. 

How you market your event will depend on the size of your marketing budget. Traditional marketing channels that work well for promoting events include local newspaper ads, direct mail, and yard signs. 

If you have a larger budget, consider renting a billboard near your location or on a high-traffic road. And be sure to place banners and signs at your location announcing the event. 

As for digital marketing channels, your best option is social media advertising. A small campaign showing ads to potential customers within a few miles of your location can have a great impact. 

If you have an email list, you can send an email blast to your audience and ask them to share it with their friends and family. Find local community calendars and ask to have your event listed; these can be run by local media outlets or the chamber of commerce. 

Host a Giveaway—Simply announcing an open house is not enough. People need a reason to come to your event. Holding a giveaway is one of the easiest ways to create buzz. Smaller door prizes and a more substantial grand prize will grab people’s attention and get them interested in your event.

What should you give away at an open house? If you can, consider giving away a shed. It doesn’t have to be big and it can be a lot model, but as a big-ticket item, it will create buzz for your event. Other ideas for larger prizes: playset, outdoor furniture, or a backyard structure. For smaller prizes, gift cards or gift certificates to local stores are always popular. 

Free Food—Offering free food or a prepared meal is a gift to any busy family. You will see an increase in the number of attendees to your event if you provide free food. Consider offering family-friendly options such as donuts, ice cream, hot dogs, or barbecue chicken. Select in-season items or local specialties to attract more people. 

You’ll need to decide on whether your team will make the food or have a local establishment or food truck cater the event. If you are making the food yourself, choose something that’s easy to prepare, cook, and serve. While purchasing catered food can be expensive, it adds value to the event and can attract more attention. 

Offer a Discount or Special Pricing—If your ultimate goal for an open house is to sell more sheds, offer something compelling enough to encourage customers to pull the trigger on a new shed purchase. 

Discounts work well, either as a percentage or a dollar amount off. Another option is to go with a free or discounted upgrade. You could also provide special pricing for in-stock sheds, which works especially well if you pose the event as a clearance sale for display lot inventory.

Encourage Free Registration—While any open house should be free and attract people driving by the day of the event, we strongly encourage you to have some sort of event registration. 

A registration system will give you a better headcount estimate before the event. Plus, with online registration, you can get names and contact information, which you can use to build your email list. Eventbrite is a free online registration platform that’s easy to use. Another option is to use Facebook’s built-in event tool.

Partner with Another Organization—One way to get the word out about your event is to hold the event with another business. Would the businesses around your location want to join you in an event? You can also look at other businesses within the outdoor living industry, including landscapers, pool installers, patio furniture dealers, or solar companies. 

Another option is to partner with a local charity for your event. You can host the event at your facility, highlight the work of the non-profit, and encourage donations. This arrangement can be beneficial for both parties: the charity gets a platform to spread their message, while you get more people to walk through your sheds. Plus, partnering with a nonprofit means the event will get more coverage in local newspapers and media outlets. 


Congratulations, you held a successful open house! What should you do next? 

Follow Up—Follow up is crucial to turning a single event into an important part of your sales and marketing funnel. 

Within a week of your open house, send a follow-up email to attendees who provided their email address. You can use this to announce giveaway winners, show photos or videos of the event, and celebrate funds raised for a charity. 

A follow-up email also gets your prospective customers used to opening your email newsletters. This makes it much more likely they will open your next email when you add them to your regular monthly email marketing campaign. 

Host Another Event—If the event is a success, consider running it on a regular basis. Take what you learned from this event to make your next event even better. You may want to do it seasonally, annually, or a few times a year. Be sure to invite people who came to the first event, and this time, ask them to bring a friend or family member. 

Grow Your Reputation Locally—As a shed builder, your marketing efforts should be targeted to your specific geographic area. Even if your sales territory covers several states and multiple locations or display lots, it is important to build your brand locally. 

Local events are a great way to fuel this location-specific marketing by connecting with locals and growing your reputation within the community.

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