Have you been wanting to hold an online party for your direct sales company but didn’t know how, or even where to begin? Good news… it’s much easier than you might think! Here are instructions to help you plan and hold your very first online party. You can start right away building your business with added online sales using this technique.
• First, invite a friend or family member to serve as hostess. You can host the party yourself, but it’s nice to get others involved. If you choose a hostess up front, she can work with you to promote the online party and invite more guests.
You can also hold a “Mystery Hostess” party where you draw a name at the end of the party from all the guests who stayed for the whole show. This can be a lot of fun and is added incentive to get your guests to stick around the whole time.
• Decide on a date and time for your online party. If you have a hostess, work with her to set a date that’s convenient for you both.
• Next, you’ll need a chat room. If you plan to do online parties on a regular basis, you can add a chat room to your site using one of the many services available online. While some of these chat rooms do cost, there are added benefits to having your own customized room.
But if you only want to hold an occasional party, are just getting started, or simply don’t want the hassle of setting up your own chat room, there are several free party rooms available online. Just search for “free WAHM chat rooms” and pick the one that looks best to you. You can always go for the paid, upgraded version later on.
• If you’re using someone else’s chat room, check to see that the site you’ve chosen limits parties to one rep per company per day. That way you’ll be able to get more guests to your party and you won’t be competing with another consultant from the same direct sales company.
• Once you reserve your chat room, you may want to play around with the mechanics of it a bit to familiarize yourself with how everything works before the day of the party. If the chat room offers an online tutorial, read it thoroughly so you’ll be comfortable. You don’t want the technical aspects of the chat room site or software to affect your comfort level during the party itself.
But don’t worry! Chat rooms are extremely easy to navigate and you’ll feel like a chat room pro in no time.
• Your next task is to invite guests. Just as with a live party, the more the merrier–and the more orders you’ll get! Some ideas for getting the word out include:
==>Invite everyone you know.
==>Have your hostess invite everyone she knows.
==>Offer a gift or a discount to anyone who brings a friend.
==>Add a note about your party to email or forum signature files.
==>Post a note on your website.
==>Blog about your upcoming party.
==>Tweet about your party on twitter.
==>Announce your party on Facebook.
==>Send out a postcard (electronic or print!).
==>Do anything you can do to get more guests–without SPAM, of course!
Guests are the lifeblood of a party and without them, your party will fail. Spend as much time promoting and inviting as you can!
• Plan two or three games to play during the party. If you play games that involve searching for items on your website (and you should!), ask your guests to open another browser window so they can keep the chat room window open at the same time.
• You can find several possible games online. A couple popular and easy ones include Word Scramble, where you scramble the name of a product and the first one to decipher the word wins that product, or Product Search, where you give guests the name of a specific product and the first one to find the description and type it in wins that product.
• Create a script to use the day of the party. That way you can cut and paste snippets of text to eliminate the need for typing everything. This will also ensure you remember all the things you want to say.
• Keep in mind that an online party operates much like a live party. But instead of verbally saying what you want to say to your guests, you’ll be typing what you want to say. The activities and conversations will be much the same, though.
• Start by introducing yourself to your guests. Tell them a little about you and how you came to be involved in direct sales. Then invite each guest to introduce herself. This is a good time to play an icebreaker game if you have one planned.
• Allow time for your guests to ask questions about your products, if needed. Just as when hosting a live party, explain various products, how they work, and give tips for their use. Include sales and specials for party guests, booking incentives, hostess gifts, etc. You can do almost anything online that you would do at a live show. Just keep in mind you have to explain it via text rather than verbally.
• Remind guests that every order they place will give their hostess credit (another reason for having a friend serve as hostess). And help them place their orders online if they need your help.
• Be sure to create a “party atmosphere” by providing fun and entertaining activities, games and lively discussion. You want every guest to be glad she came so she’ll want to attend the next party you hold–and ideally, book one of her own with you as well!
• After your online party, send a quick email thank you to everyone who attended, whether she ordered or not. It’s a nice gesture and will leave a positive impression with your guests.
When you are planning your direct sales online party, you need to make sure you use your time to the fullest during the party to attract more sales. You will have the potential there at the party so implement the following tips to convert more sales.
4 Tips to More Online Party Sales
I know most of us have held our own online party, been to one, or at least read about them. Many of the materials online are general, and the average online party (for individuals) has around 5-10 guests at the most. Maybe more, maybe less, depending on several factors. But really for those that do not belong to party groups, and are holding their first party the attendance is going to be very low.
After some thought, I realized the way we are holding these parties is wrong. In a previous article we talked about stepping out of the wahm zone, and searching for your specific customers. When looking for guests for your online party, it should be no different. Instead of mass submitting party invites to wahm groups, let’s take a step back and see what should be done FIRST.
1. BUILD a newsletter
Before you have your next party or even start to plan it, set up a newsletter. This is something you should have already for your business, no matter if it’s an informational newsletter or one that lists your specials – you NEED a list of potential customers. If you haven’t started to build one, start now! I could go into detail as to HOW, but newsletters are an entirely different subject of their own.
2. USE your newsletter list
No I don’t mean take advantage of them, but I do mean send your party notices to your list. Your list is the most important, targeted sources of free advertisement you have!
3. Give good REASONS to attend
Simply saying “online party – join us” isn’t enough. Not even saying “games and prizes” is enough anymore. Get creative and have a good reason for having your party. Such as announcing a new product not released yet, giving away free items (be specific in your email!), or featuring a specific type of product on your website. Informational chats are good as well, such as one that explains what a certain non-familiar product is.
4. Make a SCHEDULE
If you have monthly parties introducing or featuring specific products, the attendance is going to be better than if you just have them at random. Weekly is the best for repeat guests, but you also do not want to burn your guests out offering them the same products. Monthly would work best, since it’s not as often but still creates that habit. Make sure you have it on the same day every month (such as the 1st, 10th, 15th…something easy to remember).
Don’t forget to get creative with your parties! With so many offering online parties today, you really need to make yourself stand out. Granted if you do follow the first two steps, you WILL have a much better response since instead of just other wahms you will have a targeted group that may not be familiar with online parties. Even still, there is always room for improvement. 😉
Good luck with your next online party!
Kara Kelso & Anita DeFrank are two busy wahms, and the owners of Direct Sales Helpers – DirectSalesHelpers.com