Does your business rely on a local clientele? If so, event marketing at community summer events like street fairs, bike races, food or drink festivals and outdoor concerts can provide the ideal opportunity to attract attention and get new customers. Plus, they're a fun way for you and your team to promote your business while meeting prospective customers in person.
In some cases, the type of event that best fits your business will be obvious, such as a food festival you can use to market your restaurant. In others, you'll need to dig a little deeper into an event's attendees to find out if they're part of your target market. (The event organizers should be able to provide this information based on past events they have held.)
Once you've determined which event(s) you want to work with, find out what you can do at the event and how much event marketing will cost. For example, can you buy a booth at the event to sell products? Can you work the crowd in person by walking around and handing out free gifts? Knowing exactly what you'll be getting in exchange for any fees, as well as any restrictions on your activities, can be helpful when event marketing.
Not sure what your business' event marketing plan should be? Consider using any one of these seven ideas for promoting your business at summer events.
1. Give Away a Product
Having manned plenty of expo booths, I can attest that the offer of anything free—whether it's a tote bag or T-shirt—helps attract people like flies to honey. But traditional promo products aren't your only options. Consider matching the product to the event and the needs of the attendees. For example, if the temperature is projected to be in the 90s, paper fans with your business logo on them could be a cool giveaway (pun intended).
2. Give Away a Service
Your massage business could offer free, five-minute shoulder rubs for participants after a fun run, or foot rubs at an outdoor fair.
3. Give Away a Consultation
If you provide a complex service, such as home remodeling or interior design, consider offering information about your services and signing customers up to receive a free in-home consultation.
4. Feed the Crowd
Everyone loves free food and drinks. Try handing out samples of your food item or beverage at an event. Even if you're not a beverage company, something as simple as handing out ice water in paper cups with your logo on it can get attention.
5. Hold a Contest
Depending on the nature of the event, you can hold a contest on the spot, such as a prize drawing for a $100 gift card to your restaurant or a free personal training session at your gym. Consider collecting business cards or having people fill out entry forms in order to register for the prize.
6. Sell Something
At some events, you can go beyond promotions and giveaways to actually sell products or services. For instance, your restaurant might be able to sell food at a craft brewing festival.
You could take these sales beyond one-time events by including some type of special offer along with them. If a customer buys food from your booth, for example, consider including a coupon good for a discount off a meal at your restaurant, a buy-one-get-one-free deal or a free appetizer. Asking if the customer wants to sign up to receive promotional e-mails from you can be a way to get a new customer through event marketing.
Of course, just attending a summer event does not guarantee success. You may also want to consider:
- Choosing the right employees. Selecting outgoing, energetic workers who can approach strangers with confidence and draw a crowd to your booth can be very helpful when event marketing. Introverts can work the event, but you may want to put them behind the scenes stocking supplies or doing booth setup and teardown if they're not comfortable talking to strangers or drumming up booth traffic. Make sure you have enough staff on the day of the event—you never want to leave your station unmanned.
- Marketing the event. To make the most of the event, you may want to think beyond relying on the event organizers to get the word out. Sure, they'll be promoting the overall event, but amplifying their promotion and also emphasizing your role in the event can help.
Consider telling customers you'll be participating in the event via your email newsletter or other email marketing messages, signage or flyers in your location and through good old word-of-mouth. Social media can be a vital part of promotion. Consider hyping the event on all of your social media channels, and using the appropriate hashtags and keywords the event organizers have chosen so your post will pop up when people search for the event.
- Using giveaways to get something. You can't expect people at a fun run to give you their email addresses in return for a cup of water. But if you're giving out something more valuable, you can ask event attendees to give you their business cards, sign up to get your email newsletter or fill out a contact form in return for the freebie.
Finally, don't drop the ball after the event is over. Within two weeks after each event, use the contact information you gathered to reach out to prospects.
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