When done well, events offer huge rewards, whether that’s increased brand engagement or more leads coming through your door from referrals made at events themselves. 

In March’s Marketing and Branding Month, we’ll go deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, Realtor.com and more. Top CMOs of leading firms drop by to share their newest tactics, too. And to top off this theme month, Inman is debuting a brand new set of awards for branding and marketing leaders in the industry called Marketing All-Stars.

Throwing your first real estate client event can be intimidating. You want to make sure you make a great impression and that everyone has a good time, of course. There’s a lot to consider, especially for those on a tight budget. That’s why we’ve put this article together for you. 

As a real estate agent, it’s essential to stay connected with your clients and nurture these relationships. One powerful way that many agents do this is to host an annual event geared just for them. It’s an opportunity to mingle with clients in person, create new memories, give them an unforgettable experience — and connect all your raving fans together, which is a great thing.

The key is to do your homework before the big day so that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Here are a few ideas:

1. Choose your venue carefully

The venue is one of the most critical aspects of planning an event. Not only do you want somewhere that’s big enough to accommodate all of your guests, but also somewhere that makes your clients feel welcomed and comfortable. 

Think outside the box. One of our coaching members created a drive-in movie experience in a parking lot. Another rented out a movie theatre. Another held a fun event at a marina. You may also want to consider area parks, hotels, art galleries, museums, zoos, wineries or even sport venues like Top Golf. 

Always be mindful of inclusion and consider things like wheelchair accessibility, location accessibility and an in-house AV team who can help you if needed. 

2. Set your budget

Before diving head-first into planning your event and buying out Party City, set a budget so that you don’t end up spending more than intended. Client parties aren’t for everyone’s budget, and I’m a big fan of not spending money you don’t have. 

There are plenty of ways to stay connected with your sphere and farm that don’t include event expenses. That said, if you (and your budget) are at a place where this is something you want to do, be mindful of the costs involved, such as catering, decorations, entertainment and equipment rental and decide ahead what you feel your return on investment should be before pulling the trigger and scheduling everything. 

3. Plan your guest list 

When it comes to inviting people to your event, there are two things to consider, each dependent on what you are trying to accomplish. Are you hosting an appreciation event for past clients to thank them for their business and nurture those relationships, or are you trying to attract new clients? 

  • If hosting an appreciation event, you want quality. These homeowners have helped you reach your goals and made you successful. By creating a special event just for them, you show them how grateful you are and how much you care about them. When they know this, they will want to refer their friends and family to you because they know their loved ones will be taken care of. 
  • If you are trying to attract new clients, you want to make sure that you invite people who have an interest in what your business has to offer as well as those who can help spread the word about your services. Focus on inviting prospects, current clients, influencers in your community, colleagues in related industries, and other VIPs who can help amplify your message and bring more attention to your business. Having your current clients present is like having walking, talking testimonials who can tell those considering hiring you why you are worth every penny (and more).

4. Get creative with invites

You want your clients to remember your event long after it’s over, so why not send them something special in the mail? Instead of just sending out generic email invites, paper invitations, or just an evite, why not get creative with something unique like custom postcards or even handmade cards? It’s sure to leave a lasting impression on them. 

Just make sure that all the invite details are included (e.g., date/time/location). We love to use print companies like VistaPrint or AM Cards, who can also mail the invitations for you. 

5. Take care of logistics early

Make sure all logistics are sorted early, including catering, equipment (microphones, etc.), entertainment, decorations and so on. If possible, try and visit any suppliers in person so that you get an understanding of exactly what they will provide on the day and if they fit within your budget. 

A helpful tip is to always ask questions; not only will this ensure clarity but also builds relationships which may prove beneficial next time you host an event. If you need volunteers to help you with your event, make sure you line up people and whatever tools they might need for the day of your event. 

If you are serving alcohol, check the laws and rules that your venue has about providing this, so any licensing or permits can be acquired. 

6. Provide entertainment and activities 

No one wants their guests bored during their event, so keep things interesting by providing some sort of entertainment or activities for attendees to enjoy during their visit. This could be anything from live music performances or comedians, interactive games (such as trivia), photo booths, face painting and so on. 

If you’re looking for something more low-key, consider setting up some cozy lounge areas where people can relax and chat with each other during downtime throughout the night. The possibilities are endless. 

7. Have enough refreshments

Make sure there are enough refreshments available throughout the night so that nobody goes home hungry. Think carefully about how many people you expect to attend when planning out food options — finger foods usually work best as they require no utensils while still keeping everyone satisfied. 

For drinks, consider having alcoholic options available alongside non-alcoholic beverages such as soft drinks, tea and coffee so that everyone feels welcome regardless of their preference. (This will depend on what kind of event you are hosting and the rules of your venue.)

8. Make it memorable

A successful client event isn’t just about giving people food and drinks; it’s about creating an experience they won’t soon forget. To do this, think outside of the box with activities like live music performances, interactive games like bingo or trivia nights, or even virtual reality demonstrations if you want to go all out. 

Having something special planned will create buzz before (and after) the event so that more people will know about it — and be excited about attending. Help make the event memorable by hiring a photographer to capture special moments. 

9. Have fun

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself on the day. You’ll work hard for months leading up to it so take some time out during the event to mingle with your guests, connect with potential clients and reconnect with past ones, and enjoy the event that you’ve put together. 

10. Follow up with attendees afterward 

Don’t forget about follow-up after your client event ends. Reach out via email or phone call and thank everyone who came out for attending. This will make them feel appreciated and gives them one last reminder of what a great time they had at your event. 

Also, be sure to ask them if they have any feedback on how the night went; this will give you valuable insight into what worked well and what could be improved upon next time around. 

Throwing an unforgettable client event doesn’t have to be difficult; all it takes is some careful planning and creativity. When done well, these events offer huge rewards, whether that’s increased brand engagement or more leads coming through your door from referrals made at events themselves. 

These steps should put you on track toward creating an unforgettable experience for all involved parties while strengthening relationships with current clients as well as prospects in the future. So don’t hesitate: Start planning today. 

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