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Planning a Promotional Event

The owner of San Diego boutique Make Good offers tips on how to plan an event that makes a difference.
April 08, 2015

Over the last five years, we have hosted several community events to promote our store, Make Good, and the local artisans whose handmade good are sold there. My husband and I recently organized a six-hour event to celebrate the shop's design refresh, which included raffles, a pop-up marketplace featuring 12 of the store's artisans, local musicians, and a food truck. The event attracted hundreds of members of the community, including elected officials, and was covered by local media. We offer these tips based on our experience:

1. Any event you throw should be reflective of your business.

Your event should support your identify and mission—whether it's a marketplace, craft show or cocktail party. For example, we had a Dia de los Muertos, Meet Your Maker event in which customers could meet the local artisans who made the goods we sell.

2. Develop a theme and brand it well.

Our most recent event celebrating the redesign of our shop, Make Good, was themed Remade, reflective of our commitment to reusing and up-cycling materials. We designed collateral using the Remade title in the same font and colors as our logo, including an event email invitation that was a short video with music. We also used the Remade artwork in our social media.

3. Leverage media and key influencers and all they have to offer.

For Small Business Saturday last November, we utilized the canvas gift bags, doormats and other marketing materials provided by American Express. We also leveraged their social media audience by using the same hashtags they used for the event. For our most recent event, we leveraged relationships we’ve cultivated with local media over the past several years. Earned media in these situations is invaluable.

4. Have an incentive for people to attend.

They have lots of choices of what to do with their time. At our most recent event, the first 25 people to visit the pop-up marketplace were given a swag bag,each containing a $25 Shop Small American Express gift card and an assortment of items made by Make Good vendors, including soaps, greeting cards and jewelry.Long before the event started, we had more than 25 people standing in line. We also had three raffles: For each $20 spent in the store, customers earned a raffle ticket and a chance to win a collection of artisan goods. We also had a free performance by a local recording artist.

5. Define your measure of success.

That measure may not be sales—it could be building awareness or good will, or increasing your social media following.

Read more about Make Good.

Photo: Tommy McAdams