What’s a local business gotta do to get some publicity around here? How about trying your hand at event marketing? By taking part in a local event, you’ll have the chance to heighten visibility for your business and hopefully drive sales.
These reasons, among a few others, are why Scott’s Marketplace recently decided to sponsor an event for the very first time. First, though, we had to find an event that would attract our target audience — and we suggest you do the same. Remember, not every event is going to be the right fit for you, so always keep your target audience in mind.
When we heard about Local First Arizona’s Certified Local Fall Festival, we knew it would be the perfect place for us to get our feet wet in both event marketing and sponsorship. The festival is a family-friendly event in its eighth year where local businesses can sell their products to consumers – exactly the type of crowd we hope to attract to our site once it launches.
During this event, we learned a ton about event marketing, including things we did well and things we could have done better – and now we’re sharing what we learned with you!
Check out our event marketing tips below:
Free Photographs for All
Free photographs are a fantastic way to grab attention and get people talking about your brand. But, simply taking pictures of event attendees won’t be enough to get your brand noticed. Instead, make sure each picture you take is branded in some way and has viral potential through the incorporation of social media.
What we did well: For the event, we had a backdrop made by local business Designs Phoenix Signs with our logo on it. We knew people might be a little wary of strangers approaching them (ahem, stranger danger) and asking to take their picture. To keep this from being an issue, each member of our team wore matching Scott’s Marketplace shirts and approached event attendees in a fun and friendly way.
After each photo was taken in front of our backdrop, we gave attendees a card that told them to tag and share their photos from our Facebook page after the event. Doing this helped them to remember our name and scored us some new ‘likes’ for our Facebook page.
What we could have done better: Jill Hoffman, Scott’s Marketplace’s marketing director, says, “For our next event, we’ll take the fun factor to new heights with props. Providing festival-goers with silly signs, hats, mustaches, glasses, etc. that convey our company message in a lighthearted way would have made the photos more memorable and upped the possibility that those in the photos would tag themselves on Facebook.”
Tweet for a Shirt
Incorporating social media into your event marketing efforts is a great idea because it can help you reach more than just the event attendees and it has staying power. For example, if an event attendee tweets about your business, it’ll stay on their profile and it’s searchable, boosting your business’ credibility and exposure.
What we did well: Before the Local First event, we had branded T-shirts made by local business Soul & Spirit Clothing to give away to our target market. For festival attendees to get a shirt, they had to tweet this message:
Doing this helped drive new traffic to our Twitter page from not only the people at the event, but also all of their followers who saw the tweet.
What we could have done better: Jill suggests, “If you decide to incorporate this tactic into your promotional plan, be prepared to be flexible. We focused on Twitter, but not all festival attendees are on Twitter. Be willing to allow Facebook posts or Pinterest pins, for example. Also, don’t give up and throw in the towel if you talk to a few folks who don’t use social media. Those who are active on social media will have no problems posting for a free gift, and chances are they have the largest followings, thus bringing your company maximum exposure.”
Get Seen with Video
Want a visual way to promote your business? Consider setting up a video camera and letting your customers do the talking for you. First, though, make sure you have an idea of what message you want your finished video to convey so you can tailor your questions to match.
What we did well: We spoke with Kimber Lanning, founder and director of Local First Arizona, prior to the Certified Local Fall Festival to see if we’d be able to film short clips of festival attendees explaining what they love most about supporting local businesses. Once we got the green light, we hired Rafa Alcantara, local business owner of TWENTYFOURCORE Productions, to film the event for us.
As people came over to see what we were doing, we’d asked them if they’d mind answering a few questions on camera about local shopping. The people who were receptive to the idea gave us great replies to use in our local shopping video.
What we could have done better: Jill notes, “We gave each person that we interviewed information about where they could find the video, but we failed to collect their contact information. Next time, we’ll be sure to request this information so that we can alert them directly when the video is complete.”
Be Remembered with Goody Bags
If the event you’re sponsoring is handing out goody bags to attendees, be sure you get in on that marketable action. Why? Well, including a branded item in a goody bag will help your business be remembered after the event is over, which should always be one of your event marketing goals. Just make sure the item you choose is something that will last longer than the event otherwise it lessens your chances of staying forefront in attendees’ minds.
What we did well: We included branded magnets in each goody bag at the festival complete with our URL and tag line (can’t forget that!). And we like to think, even a few months later, we’re still on the fridges of the attendees… hopefully prompting them to look up our website to learn more about us and sign up for our launch list.
What we could have done better: Jill notes, “Scott’s Marketplace is still in beta (not live to the public), but if we had been live at the time of the event, offering a complimentary risk-free trial or shopping discount could have worked to drive traffic and awareness to our site.”
Bonus Event Marketing Tips
While you’re at the event, be sure you take the time to observe your surroundings in case you end up sponsoring the event again next year. You’ll want to come up with bigger — and better — ideas for how you can make your event marketing even more successful next time by taking notes of what you see and hear while you’re there.
For example, we noticed the Certified Local festival was a popular spot to bring both children and dogs. As a result, next year we’re planning on better catering to the crowd by offering fun items for both – perhaps Scott’s Marketplace balloons for the kids and bowls of water and treats for the dogs. By doing this, we’ll attract more people over to our booth and have a better chance at reaching a larger audience next year.
Tell us: Do you have any great event marketing tips to share?