Small businesses do not have the necessary resources to invest in massive marketing campaigns, which can be detrimental to their overall long-term success.
That is not to say that a good marketing budget is enough to create a good marketing strategy. Getting new customers requires creativity and effort in addition to other resources.
One of the possible approaches to overcome the marketing conundrum could be putting more effort into local events.
During the pandemic, live events were not really a thing. However, since the situation has improved, you have people eager to participate in more live events than before, and that opens doors for interested businesses.
Fairs, festivals, conventions, conferences, and sports events are some examples of where you can advertise the business face to face. But before you commit, there are certain things you have to do first.
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Understand Your Demographic
As a business owner, you should already be aware of your audience. However, since it is a live event, the approach has to be a bit different, meaning that you have to carry out extra research.
Finding out which events attract your potential customers should not be too hard. Thanks to social media pages and local news sites, you should have enough information to figure out event calendars.
The next step is to detail events and determine whether they are a fit or not. For instance, if you sell custom tumblers and other knick-knacks, general fairs and festivals are usually a safe bet.
However, what if your niche is a bit more specific. Selling sports drinks should go well in a sports event. Power tools are great for handyman conventions, and baby clothes should sell at mommy blogger conventions.
That is not to say that specific products would not do well in unrelated events. It is just that your chances of success are higher if the interests of an audience specifically align with your business.
Consider Whether A Local Event Is Profitable Or Not
As a rule of thumb, you want to confirm that the event is worth your attendance. It does not make sense to bother participating if there are not enough attendees. Few people showing up means that you are unlikely to make enough sales to justify participation.
Getting in touch with event organizers ought to be enough to get information. Most event organizers are happy to share details about attendance and who the usual attendees are.
You can also check the public records of past events (so long as they are available) to get a better idea of what you can realistically expect.
Figure Out How To Participate Yourself
Joining a local event as a business is not that straightforward. You need to make sure that you are not breaking any laws, in particular. Selling in an area requires permits and all that, so be sure to check with the local authorities.
You should also talk to other participants, especially if they are veterans. Valuable pieces of advice can go a long way in helping you make the most out of the participation.
Sponsor An Event
Benefiting from a local event as a business does not necessarily involve you selling directly at an event. No, you can take a different approach and become one of the sponsors.
If you were to look at local events, it is common to see various brands appearing on stalls, walls, and so on. They are sponsors, and a monetary gain from businesses is one of the reasons why an event or certain parts of an event can occur in the first place.
Giving away freebies at an event is worth considering as well. For instance, if you have custom brand merchandise such as t-shirts or caps, you can give them for free to event attendees.
It is hard to find someone who dislikes free stuff, especially if it has actual value. Good quality t-shirts or wacky mugs are great to have, even if they come with a certain business name on them.
If anything, after announcing a giveaway, you can expect people to line up for a chance to win. In case the number of interested participants becomes overwhelming, you will need to create a raffle. The first-come, first-serve method might not necessarily be the best approach as you miss out on a chance to expose yourself to more people.
Arguably, the right way to do a giveaway would be by announcing it early in the day and holding a raffle in the evening. Not only does this attract more people, but the anticipation also builds hype around the raffle—something you benefit from as a business owner.
You can follow up with customers and other interested people. Even if someone does not spend money on your business, they might still be interested in checking it later. Thus, be sure to offer them your business card.
In a similar vein, if someone has a proposition to collaborate, be sure to exchange contact information and check with them later.
Overall, consumers might not be too keen to get bombarded with promotional stuff during live events because they want to relax and enjoy themselves. However, if there is an opportunity to build leads in a respectful manner, make the most out of the opportunities presented to you.
Utilize Social Media
Before and during the event, you should spend some time on social media and tagging locations and using relevant hashtags.
Presence on social media is a great utility to generate interest and build your profile even more. In addition, if you have an established social media presence, you can advertise the event on your pages and generate interest, which would also benefit the event itself.
Ideally, if it is a big local event, you should prepare in advance and build the hype days, if not weeks in advance, to make it as successful as possible. Your input might not be that noticeable, but every little bit helps, so an effort, regardless of its size, should not be underestimated.