Small businesses are sustained by their community. That’s why it’s important to take part in community events. Not only are you making an appearance with your main demographic, but you’re also supporting the people who support you.
However, it’s not enough to put up a banner and hand out business cards; you need to make a lasting impression that stands out from the crowd. Here are a few ways to market your small business at community events.
Caffeinate the Crowd
If you want to stand out against the rest of the noise at a community event, offer free coffee to the masses. Not only is this an affordable way to make a statement, but it will also make you very popular. Add custom cup sleeves with an incentive to visit your business, and you’ve got a two-tiered marketing approach that your customers will love.
To boost the impact, partner with a local cafe to have the coffee supplied. This can be a dual marketing effort in which you distribute the coffee, but also share the credit with another local organization. It can be an effective way to cut costs even more.
Be Active and Engaging
How many times have you walked through a community event or a fair to see local businesses with tents set up and people sitting quietly as potential customers walk past? Rather than being passive and allowing people to come to you on their terms, reach out and draw them into your area.
Think about what you’re going to say to people to attract them to your business. Don’t just start pedaling your wares – instead, take some time to build a rapport. In his one-of-a-kind marketing guide, Anomaly, author Zack Miller discusses his success with avoiding the infamous “what do you do?” question while networking. He recommends asking something that will help you connect on a real level, such as what Netflix show they’re watching right now.
This same methodology can be applied to your marketing efforts at community events. Start a conversation that stands apart from your business to attract an audience and create a memorable experience.
Make Your Freebies Matter
Giving away freebies is essential to make an impact on your audience at a community event. It’s equally important to make that freebie matter. Don’t just give away pens because they were the cheapest marketing option. Give something that will make an impact and is relevant to your business or something that has value to the recipient, like a portable phone-charging block.
It’s also wise to add a price tag to your freebie, as conflicting as that might sound. Offer a freebie – either a discount on your business offering or something people really want – in exchange for an email address and permission to add them to the email marketing list. That way if your initial sales pitch doesn’t pan out, you’ll have more opportunities to try and make your mark.
Use Social Media Too
Don’t just let people discover your setup at a community event; tell them that you’ll be there! Post ahead of time on social media to build hype surrounding what you’ll be doing there – especially if you’re actively volunteering rather than putting up a display. Post throughout the day to tell your audience what you’re up to and create a human connection. If you’re offering any incentives for coming to find you, post those on social media as well.
Another way to bolster your marketing at community events using social media is to post about the event itself. The more hype an event has, the larger your audience will be. Furthermore, by posting photos and content about other participants in the event, you’re more likely to have your post shared, extending your reach further.
The act of taking part in community events goes a long way into securing your place with your customer base.