Throwing a successful first-time homebuyer event can be tricky. In addition to deciding the method of registration, location, ambiance and speakers, you’ve got to consider the agenda, topics and a follow-up plan. Here are six steps to make it less overwhelming.

Hosting a successful first-time homebuyer event can be extremely beneficial to your real estate practice — it offers great exposure, a chance to grow your mailing list, boost referrals and a plethora of other advantages. But it can be tricky too.

Besides having to think of everything from the method of registration and location to the ambiance and speakers, you’ve got to have a follow-up plan ready to avoid dropping the ball on any leads. You also have to make sure your attendees leave equipped with new insights, answers and a plan to look to you for their future real estate needs.

Here are six tips for putting together a stellar first-time homebuyer event.

1. Set goals

Although the ultimate goal is to convert guests into clients, there is also a benefit from the exposure and brand awareness that promoting the event will generate.

Established measurable goals should also include calculating the number of people who were exposed to the brand leading to and after the event.

2. Understand the audience

Research will help uncover the type of audience who would be interested in learning more about purchasing a home for the first time in your local area. Knowing the target audience will help in planning the agenda, choosing speaking topics, finding the most appropriate location and how to promote the event.

3. Have a master plan

Based on the target audience, there will be some key decisions that must be made. What day and time might work best for them? What would be this audience’s preferred location? Once you have the insight, get working on the following:

  • Secure a venue, the equipment and any necessary catering
  • Enlist speakers and presenters
  • Plan entertainment (if desired)
  • Open registration (online/offline; Eventbrite is good)
  • Align with sponsors
  • Shamelessly promote and market the event

4. Make it interesting

The agenda should be innovative and current. With a thorough understanding of the audience, plan the topics that are most important to first-time homebuyers. Some things to consider:

  • What can you truly afford? A financial planner might help get the message across by discussing the importance of having good credit and hefty savings.
  • The real cost of owning a home. Owning a home means more than having a down payment. A mortgage lender is best suited to discuss this topic by providing insights into what fees might be negotiable, along with an itemized list of documents that are necessary for the homebuying process.
  • Buying a fixer-upper. A general contractor or interior decorator could speak on mitigating risks when purchasing a home that needs plenty of repairs. First-time buyers might believe it’s as easy as it looks on TV.
  • The importance of an excellent agent (aka support system). A local expert who can provide plenty of guidance is a must-have when purchasing a first home.
  • Individual questions. Giving participants the opportunity to ask personal questions and meet with the speakers and presenters over refreshments is always a great idea. This is also a good time to provide support documentation and worksheets.

5. Get the word out

Marketing, publicity and promotion will play a key role in leveraging attendance. The creation of an Eventbrite or Facebook event is a start, but those alone won’t suffice.

With a good agenda, a strong suite of speakers and some interesting entertainment procuring local coverage makes sense. Aside from just PR, the event should be featured in emails, social media, direct mail invitations and digital ads. Let your budget decide which platforms to use.

Event sponsors will also be able to aid in the promotion of the event by tapping into their own sphere of influence. This will help get a higher number of attendees.

6. Follow-up

During the event, guests should gain a new level of knowledge or confidence, as well as a sense of enjoyment, which might encourage that “a-ha” moment that will guide them toward the purchase of a new home. Participants won’t only serve as possible clients, but also as referral sources; be sure to collect emails from all those in attendance so they may be followed up with.

Offer to send attendees informative materials that will aid their home purchase journey. This is a great way to keep connected and make the most of the event. Also, feature event images and information on social media to let others know what they’ve missed, as it will open the doors for a follow-up event.

Laura Ure is the CEO of Keenability, a full-service marketing agency specializing in lifestyle and creative real estate marketing. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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