Most people love a great community event! It lifts the monotony from the everyday routine, and it’s well organized, hundreds or even thousands of people may attend.
Brick-and-mortar businesses can score big by marketing at local events. At least some of your target audience will be in attendance, and you can expand brand permanence and generate new leads.
Yours won’t be the only company at the event, however. Many brick-and-mortar firms — perhaps including some of your biggest competitors — will be there, so you’ll have to stand out as much as you can.
Here are a few tips to set yourself up for success.
- Erect a Customized Tent
A customized tent is perfect for outdoor events. It protects your employees and your stuff from sun, rain, snow, and even wind. It can also catch people’s eyes and signal your professionalism to potential customers.
Everyone at the event will likely have a tent over their table, so you need to make yours stand out. Customize your tent to grab attention and inform customers about your products and services.
“Adding custom graphics to your canopy is a fantastic way to increase your visibility — literally! Graphics can drive sales, attract support, or simply stand out in a crowd,” advises an article from the online retailer eCanopy.
It’s also one of the best ways to create brand permanence in the mind of your audience. Visitors will see your brand emblazoned on your tent as they walk past, so when they may need your product or service in the future, they’re more likely to remember you.
- Give Away Useful Swag
Everybody loves swag. Possibly every company in attendance will have some. Unfortunately, many will have the same knickknacks as you: koozies, keychains, pens, pins, magnets, etc.
Customers aren’t going to appreciate ten of each of these, each from a different company. If they don’t find the item useful, they’ll all throw the giveaways out, and the money you spent on these items will be wasted.
“There’s a huge difference between being thoughtful with your company swag items and just throwing your company logo on the cheapest thing you can find, and the benefits of doing the former go way beyond what you might think,” warns Will Harris of Impact.
“Investing in high-quality swag has the potential to earn you extra brand impressions, build awareness, cultivate strong company culture, and build good rapport between your brand and your prospects.”
Rather than going with cheap swag products that everyone else is likely to pass out, try to come up with more useful ideas. You want to give away items that other companies won’t have and your potential customers might use repeatedly. Some unusual, useful items might include:
- Moleskin notebook
- Well-designed sweatshirts or T-shirts
- Stainless-steel water bottle
- Earbuds, corded or cordless
- Mini ice scrapers
- Phone cases
- Screen cleaners
- Mobile chargers
- USB flash drives
- Drawstring bags
These items might be more expensive than other swag, but they’ll have a greater impact on your intended audience.
- Run Contests to Attract Attention
Consumers will be flitting around competitor booths and window shopping. Not everyone will stop, and most won’t make a purchase if you don’t do something to attract their attention.
Contests or games can make people want to stop and engage with you. “In a very real sense, most of us are hardwired to notice games and are excited to participate or watch- and more importantly, share [our] experience with others,” says Danny Lambert of Metro Exhibits.
“The very best trade show games are those that are different and persistent.” Lambert goes on to suggest several games, including:
- Prize putt: Use a putting station with different holes to determine which prize an attendee wins.
- Matching contest: Attendees are given a sticker and asked to find another attendee with the same sticker. The matchers must return to the booth together to claim their prize. Since most brands don’t achieve permanence in the minds of consumers on the first visit, this is a great way to increase brand awareness.
- The Prize Wheel: Participants spin the wheel to win a prize.
- Trivia Games: These are effective for both catching consumer attention and introducing your products and services.
- Prize Package Drawings: Most people are only too happy to enter to win. Sweeten the deal by requiring that they provide their email and consent to be added to your email marketing list.
- Plinko: This is like the spin-the-wheel game, but uses a Plinko chip and board to determine the prize.
- Bean Bag Toss: Only those who get their bean bag in the hole can be prize winners.
Not everyone will participate in your game or contest, so have people on standby to converse with those who are more directly interested in your products and services than your games. Have small swag products or food items to hand out to those who don’t participate.
Competition will be fierce at any community event or tradeshow you attend. Using these promotional tricks will help you stand out and make a positive impression on your target consumers.