Promoting your business at events and festivals

Promoting your business at events and festivals can be a very effective way for a business to reach their target market. The opportunities can range from large trade shows with very specific target markets through to local community festivals, school galas and sporting events with a wide variety of attendees.

No matter what size the event is, you will need to invest resources into preparing for and attending the event including time, money and perhaps staff. To ensure you get the most benefit from this investment it is important you put some careful thought and planning into how you approach this type of marketing.

This article provides an overview of what you need to consider when planning and preparing for an event. It will help you get maximum benefit from your investment.

Slice Creative can help you with planning and designing your site and organising any promotional material that you need. Please contact us if you would like to know more about how we can help.

Identify what type of events are most suited to promoting your products and services

To do this you will need a good understanding of your target market to help you identify what type of events they are most likely to attend.

Identify the event/s you wish to attend

Find out what events are held that would be suited to your target market. Use the internet, contact local councils and art galleries, read newspapers, ask others…

If at all possible attend the event as a spectator first or attend a similar event. Really take notice of what other business owners are doing with their sites. Take notes, ask questions – this is your chance to really find out what is required and how to best approach this type of marketing. What sites really stand out? What sites look scruffy and why? What sort of people are at these events – are they really the type of customer that would be interested in your product or service.

Identify the practical stuff

Once you know which event/s you are going to attend, contact the organisers as soon as possible and find out how things work, what facilities are available and any other information that will help you prepare your display.

Plan how you are going to display and promote your products and services

Once you know what you have to work with, you can start planning your display.

Budget

Draft up a budget. Take into account your time (to organise the event, set up for the event, attend the event, and tidy after the event), additional staff, loss of income if you are not able to carry out your normal working day because of the event and any other costs that you will incur such as display material, stock etc.

Organise your display material… well in advance!

Make sure you allow plenty of time to organise everything. Give your designer a call as soon as you can to find out how much time they will need to organise the job for you, especially if they are organising the printing as well. Order in stock with plenty of time to spare in case something goes wrong. You want to be calm and relaxed on the day – not feeling like a frazzle from running around at the last minute trying to get everything finalised.

The event

Yay – the day has finally arrived. You have had lots of rest, are full of energy, look amazing and are rearing to get out there and promote your products and services. Yeah right – probably not after organising for the event as well as keeping on top of business – ignore it, you can rest at the end of the day!

Try and get to the event well in advance to give you plenty of time to set everything up – and allow time to spare for the inevitable last minute oversights.

It’s time to start promoting your business. How you do this will depend on many things, including the type of product or service you have, your level of confidence and comfort level – it can take one or two events to really get comfortable for some people, and the type of people attending the event. Engage with people walking by, smile and chat with them to make them feel welcome… and don’t forget to give them a business card and take their details if they are happy to give them.

After the event

Will there be a next time?

It could be some time in the future before you really know if attending the event has been a worthwhile marketing strategy for your business or not. You may never be able to assess the full extent of how your business benefited from the event. Marketing and advertising is the perfect example of the phrase ‘the sum is greater than it’s parts’. An effective marketing strategy is made up of many parts; vehicle signage, advertisements, consistent look and feel of all your marketing material, sponsorship, brochures, mail-outs, attending events… depending on your business. It is the combined effect of all these elements that has the real power. That’s why it is important to follow up with contacts made, perhaps do further follow up advertising three or four weeks after the event targeted at the same people who attended the event or think of other ways you can remind attendees of the event about your business.

This method of promoting your products and services isn’t right for every business

You will need to decide if this is in fact the best way to spend your marketing budget. If for example your primary target market is global then attending a local school gala obviously isn’t likely to be worthwhile to you… do keep an open mind though, they may have international feature guests at the event!

This is a very summarised overview. How you approach a small school gala will be quite different to attending large trade shows. There are many more considerations you need to take into account if you are attending international trade shows or events.

Good luck with your next event. You are welcome to contact me if you have any questions or need help organising your next event. I can help you with designing your site layout, designing and printing your promotional material and give you ideas on ways you can let people know you will be at the event to help you further promote your business. If you have any feedback, comments or suggestions that may help others please feel free to leave a comment below.

And finally – the number one tip if you do decide to try this type of marketing…

DON’T LEAVE THINGS UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE!

You can almost guarantee that when you pull out the kit set shelving your products will be displayed on from its box the colour will be wrong or a ‘bit’ will be missing. Or, something will break or you will realise you have run out of tape… don’t do as I did for the last event and leave everything until the day before when all the shops are closed and you have no time left for those unexpected ‘things’!