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Shakopee, MN, United States
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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Information on my "Girls Night Out"!

Wow! Thank you SO much for all the well-wishes and inquiries in response to my article in Studio Photography and Design! I have had a ton of emails from fellow photographers asking me how I put together my GNO, advice, swag gift bags, food, things I would do different, etc etc.

First of all, I was blown away by the response that my GNO received from the community! The Shakopee Downtown Partnership asked me to help them plan a Shakopee Ladies Night in the entire downtown area, so I am now in the process of putting that together as well! My GNO idea came directly from Vicki Taufer, I will not take any credit for the concept!!

I contacted several home based and store front businesses that I knew and asked them if they would like to participate. I invited about 30 or so and told them it was limited to the first 15. Well, I had them calling to reserve their spot the day they received their letter, they were totally excited to participate. I charged each business $40 to cover all advertising costs, food etc. They also had to supply a tangible item for the goodie bags (it couldn't be just a pen, coupon, etc.) We had candles, bracelets, spices, bath salts, boxes of chocolate, and more in the bags!! They were valued at at least $200 each!!! The first 30 ladies through the door received the goodie bags (which was advertised on everything).

Each biz received 50 postcards to mail out to their client base, and I also mailed to my clients. I posted it on my blog and website. I advertise it in the paper the week before (both in the local on Thurs. and in the county on Sat.). I had the phone ringing off the hook with other businesses wanting to participate, but had to tell them I was already full. I was really amazed at the positive response from the vendors!

Ladies started arriving an HOUR EARLY because they wanted their goodie bag. We politely told them they couldn't come in until 5:30 sharp so they lined up down the streeet and around the corner (keep in mind this was the middle of a freezing cold winter!) When the ladies came in they had to sign up to register for door prizes and then were allowed in to visit with the businesses. Each lady received my price list and information on the studio. We collected 104 pounds of food for the local foodshelf. (admission was free, they only had to bring a donation for the food shelf). The ladies were treated to wine, coffee, cheesecake, mini sandwhiches, and other finger food. They could sign up for massages, mini manicures, and hair up-dos. Every ten minutes, one of the vendors gave a mini-seminar on their services.

The thing I would do differently is charge a small admission. there were three woman who showed up for the goodie bag, turned around and walked back out. It was frustrating, but what do you do!? I only have 1500 square feet, so 100 ladies was a LOT in my space. Next time I will break it into two segments (maybe 4-6 and 6-8 p.m.) and limit it to 50 ladies at each session. They were crammed in and couldn't get to all of the businesses, and a lot of ladies didn't get a chance to sign up for a massage etc.

Overall, it was an incredible marketing tool!! I had people calling for days afterwards making sure they were on the mailing list for the following year!! All of hte businesses that participated were thrilled with the response and all want to do it again next year! I believe everyone got business or at least good solid leads from the event. I know I still have people calling because they had come to the GNO and scheduling sessions. I did hand out random 'free session' coupons to ladies as I tried to wander through the crown and have been having those coupons come back in!

One other down-side is that it was SO overwhellming for me I didn't have the opportunity to mingle with ladies as much as I would have liked. But those who wanted information sought me out and asked to speak to me, so overall it was great!!

I will definitely be doing it again this winter. If you have any further questions, please ask them in the comments secion below and I will try to address them right here for everyone to. I am sure if you are thinking it, so is someone else!

postcards were printed at Overnight Prints. (click on any image to see a larger version of it).

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