I have always been a proud supporter of local and independent businesses and also giving back into the community I live in. So it has been a pleasure over the years to be able to work with and support many small businesses in the UK to reach their local customers and grow their business.
One of the great things about local marketing is that your business can position itself firmly as part of the community and build trusted relationships with your customers. It is often a much easier place to start, rather than trying to launch your product or service nationally or internationally.
As well as ensuring your clients are kept up to date with your news and offers, one of the best ways to grow word of mouth buzz and referrals, is by hosting events. Events offer a powerful opportunity to get to meet, know and grow your customer base.
Here are 7 useful tips to ensure a great event which will slay your competition:
#1. Decide what kind of event you’d like to hold and how it can provide the best value to your customers
Is it a seasonal discount, an event where potential customers can try and sample your products, or an event to showcase your expertise? Remember to include this clearly in your messaging when promoting your event so your customers know why they should attend and take part.
#2. Ensure your local ‘tribe’ supports you
Don’t forget to ask your local neighbours to help support and promote your event, whether they are suppliers themselves or businesses in the area. Get in touch with your local business association, and even local tourist boards if it’s a festival, to see if they can also promote the event within their marketing channels. Contact your local media both with news of the event to pre-promote the date, and if there’s a community focussed angle, invite them down to the event itself.
If local businesses are reluctant to get involved then encourage them to realise the benefits of buying and supporting local businesses and events.
A few of the benefits of supporting local:
- You can experience or buy something original and unique
- It helps boost the local economy
- It is ethical and helps reduce environmental impact
- It encourages innovation and entrepreneurship and showcases local talent
- It helps to build and strengthen communities and community identity
You can take a look here for further information on the benefits of supporting local https://sustainableconnections.org/thinklocal/why or search: support local, buy local, shop local, support independent business and so on.
#3. Promotion schedule and activity
Remember that promotion needs to take place weeks in the run up the event, not just the day before, to attract as many people as possible. Be sure to include the key points of your business in your content to provide context so people get to understand you better. For example, showcase whether it’s a family business, the history and heritage behind the business or the industry within the area.
- Post a series of blog posts (approximately three) in the run up to the event
- Promote these and also reminders of the event on social media channels and email
- Create an event on Facebook and invite people so you can get an idea of interest and numbers and keep them up to date on what is happening
- Run a dedicated social media campaign with special offers or a competition to win something
- Set up a booking page or landing page on your website and use an event booking plugin to take payments online or set up a free event page through an online ticketing system such as Eventbrite
- If it a business event or workshop, you could do a free webinar in the lead up to the event to tell more people about what they can expect on the day. If you give people something of value and they they get to know you better, this will help build awareness and trust
- Drop some leaflets and flyers into local businesses or take along with you to any networking events
- Remember to always include a clear action that clients need to act upon such as a link to register or buy tickets
#4. Encourage email sign ups
Gather as many as possible so you can continue the conversation after the main event and grow your customer database. Whether it’s a downloadable voucher or special information leaflet from the website, think of ways of capturing new customer information so you can continue building your relationship and your business.
#5. Focus your targeting
Promote the event to your community with paid for Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts which is still one of the most effective to really refine and track your marketing and can be tailored to gender, age, interests and location and from a budget of under £5. Again be sure to promote a clear action such as Register or Buy Tickets.
#6. On the day promotion
Remember that promotion on the day is very important to generate buzz but also attract last minute interest. If allowed, are there banners, signage or balloons outside your event that you could use to attract people from the street? Are you taking photos, recording videos and carrying out interviews on the day to post that you can use to promote during and after the event? Ensure you also get people details so you can follow up with or tell them about future events.
#7. Post event promotion
Don’t forget to post up highlights from the event on your social media channels and include any testimonials from suppliers, customers or neighbours. Also if you can, promote the dates for your next event (as well as doing it on the day), perhaps giving them a special offer to promote loyalty and as a thankyou for attending your event.
Case Study – Thirst Consultants
Cheryl & Mark Cade are beer sommeliers and their company Thirst Consultants (now Cheryl Cade) organise local events and tours including trips to Europe. Events such as the Ladies Beer Club introduce female beer drinkers to delicious local beers, promote local pubs and include talks from local female brewers to encourage women to find a new appreciation and reason to celebrate our national drink!
As well as private events, they have also done a couple of Trappist Beer Tasting Events to showcase deliciously unusual beer and food pairings – who knew ice cream and beer would be such an amazing combination and that a dark bitter chocolate could be bought to life when combined with a strong beer called Rochefort 10! The events are held at the Narthex at St John the Baptist Cathedral in Norwich, quite fitting as the beer is brewed by monks and the second event held recently attracted 25 people up form 14 on the first event.
We asked Cheryl for her secret in successfully promoting her tours and events and she provided us with some of the methods she is using to promote her products and services:
- Email newsletters using Mailchimp
- Post on Facebook groups like Norwich and Norfolk Camra and other niche beer and food lovers groups
- Network within local groups and niche groups and attend conferences to also target corporate companies for their events – for example with Nissan she can tailor beer tasting to Japanese beers
- Post regularly on Facebook, Twitter, and a small amount of LinkedIn – use hashtags such as #beer #food #norfolk and also tag in the beer, brewery, pub, venue or people that may be interested
- Create Facebook Events to invite people to upcoming events
- Look at promotions that could tie in with certain holidays and dates to sell vouchers and gifts – e.g. Father’s Day
- Create and distribute posters at pubs or places where she is holding events or that may be interested in her events or tours or beer
- Use platforms such as Eventbrite so people can book and pay online with ease
Do You Need Some Help Promoting Your Local Event?
If you’re a local business looking to help boost your events through online marketing with ideas about how to promote it offline as well, then get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on LinkedIn