Get your message ‘out’

A summer event marketing strategy gets your company’s message out of doors and into the customer’s sightline

Veronika Noize
The Marketing Coach

With the sunny days of summer comes the opportunity to market your products or services directly to the families in our community at the many festivals and fairs that abound in the warmer months.

The advantage of marketing at summer festivals and fairs is that your business gets the chance to interact with your prospects and customers in a relaxed, holiday environment, creating a positive association with your business in the minds of your customers.

Event marketing is so effective that some small businesses wait all year to market their wares and services at just a few summer festivals. Many larger businesses find that participation in community events enhances customer relationships in ways that months of expensive direct mail, public relations and advertising cannot accomplish.

To take advantage of this seasonal opportunity, you’ll need to be ready with a plan. Here’s where to start:

Choose the right event. There are so many festivals and fairs that it may be tough to choose, but it is easier once you identify the similarities between your customers and the crowds the events draw.

Set clear goals. Are you looking for sales, leads, relationships, to expand awareness or improve the public image of your company? With a clear goal, you can set strategies to achieve it. Without a goal, your event staff – and therefore your visitors – will be confused and your time, effort and money may be wasted.

Select the right level of participation. For greater visibility or to emphasize a strong association between your business and the event, a sponsorship that includes advertising, media and signage is a good choice. If you are simply looking for the opportunity to meet, talk and sell to your prospects, a booth or two might be all you need.

Don’t keep your participation a secret. Before the event, invite your best customers, your best prospects, your strategic partners or anyone at all that you want to see (and see you) at the event. Let them know in advance by invitation if you are planning a special offering or discounts at the event. Double the impact by drawing attention to your participation in your pre-event advertising or on your Web site.

Take advantage of pre-event publicity. Alert the event staff or send out your own press release announcing any special demonstrations, giveaways, celebrity appearances, stunts, samples or other activities that you have planned for the event.

Make a spectacle of yourself at the event. To get noticed, have staff members walk the festival area with flyers and/or signage to encourage visits to your booth. Give your display high impact with color, movement and sound.

Focus on the customer. Your booth staff needs to speak to visitors, not each other. Visitors may hesitate to break into a conversation, so make sure your booth staff is trained to greet passers-by and respond attentively to any attention the booth gets.

Sell, sell and sell. Be ready to enroll, sign up and sell on the spot, because chances are that if you don’t take advantage of this eagerness to buy right now, another vendor will.Check out the competition. Cruise the entire event to check out what your competitors are doing, to greet colleagues and acquaintances and to encourage others to stop by your booth for a free sample or demonstration.

Follow up, follow up and follow up. After the event, follow up by sending notes, e-mails or literature to your hottest prospects.

Veronika (Ronnie) Noize helps small businesses attract more clients. Ronnie’s Web site is a comprehensive resource with free articles and valuable marketing tools for small office/home office business professionals. Visit her web site at www.VeronikaNoize.com or call her at 360-882-1298.

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