As an independent consultant, do you find that representing your company at in-home parties defeats the purpose of being a WAHM? Do you want to offer your products or services to a wider clientele? Are you shy or have a hard time getting out of the house on a regular basis? If so, you may want to consider an online party.
An online party is much like a traditional in-home party. However, instead of a group of people meeting in one place at one time, they can be anywhere in the world and in any time zone and gather in a place of your choosing on the Internet.
In addition, throwing an online party follows much of the same pattern as that of an in-home party. However, how you go about doing some of the same steps change to account for the nature of the Internet.
Here are ten tips to help guide you through throwing an online party:
- Find a hostess.
Even online parties need one. If you can’t find someone who wants to take advantage of all the hostess benefits, host the party yourself. That way you get the income from the party sales AND the hostess benefits. Check with your company, though, to see if this option is available to you.
- Email your hostess a hostess packet or something similar.
A hostess packet may include a catalog in PDF format, special order forms, a list of specials, shipping rates, hostess rewards, etc. Make sure that all are printable. This is in addition to the information found on your company website.
Remember, she may be taking this with her to friends’ houses or to work and will need a way to show off your products to friends, relatives, and co-workers.
- If you’re hosting the party on your website, set up the party page and include the chat room code.
A party page should include the hosts name, time (include all time zones), date, and chat room entry instructions. You may also want to include party specials and how customers can order/pay for your merchandise.
- If you don’t want the hassle of creating a party page or chat room, contact a party room service.
Most of these services will have a calendar with days and times open. The best times to hold any kind of online party is during the week in the evening. If you know that people from around the country will be attending, make sure that the time is convenient for everyone not just you or your host.
- Write out a script.
There is nothing worse than “dead air” during an online party. Think of it as that awkward pause during an in-home party where you’re looking at your potential customers with a clueless look on your face. By typing out what you want to say beforehand, you can avoid “dead air” and be ready to answer any questions that the partygoers toss at you.
When writing your script, type it out in a text editor. Word and other programs like it include a lot of formatting which won’t transfer to the chat room. It may even make the chat room crash.
Make sure to include party games in your script. For every page of script you type, make sure to have one party game (this assumes, of course, that each page you have is equivalent to 5 minutes of screen time). It can be as simple as a “Search and Find” or as complicated as “Product Bingo”.
Keep the information in chunks, never more than 2 to 3 sentences at a time.
Focus on one product at a time. If you’re discussing candles, don’t switch over to skin care in the middle of the presentation. If someone asks a question about another line of products, give them a quick detail and then say something to the effect, “I’m glad you’re interested in those products! We’ll be going over those soon.” Then go right back to what you were discussing in the first place.
Your script should be no more than 6 pages in length. This assumes that your party is about a half hour long. It may be longer or shorter depending on the partygoers. Most people won’t sit for longer than that though.
- Advertise as much as possible!
You can post your party ad on networking groups, other people’s newsletters, paid ads, and in your newsletter.The point is not to only get the word out about your party but to do it repeatedly so people remember it. Be consistent with your ad and make sure it is well written.
- Keep in contact with your host by email or phone.
Don’t over do it but make sure that you are still on the same page with dates, times, and specials.
- Send out invitations by email about 10 to 12 days before the big event.
I always send mine out so that people receive them at around 11 am on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Send an RSVP email out to the same people at the same time 3 to 5 days before the party.
Then send a reminder notice on the day of the party. You can use a service like www.evite.com to send out party invitations, RSVPs, and reminder notices.
- Be on time!
In fact, be early and stay late. Some people show up ten to twenty minutes early because they have to leave before the party ends and others forget about the party until the last minute. Either way, you need to be available to talk with them about your products.
- Follow up, follow up, follow up! Get the partygoers contact information!
The best way to do this is to have them sign up for your newsletter or weekly emails. That way they are on your mailing list and are potential customers (or recruits) down the road.