Insights from an Event Producer: How-to Develop a Strong Offline Presence in your Community
Organizing events to promote your company in the community where you live is a wonderful way to give face and feel to your brand and shorten the divide between digital presence and reality. People get the opportunity to experience your brand personally. That said, planning a stand-alone event can be too much to ask for small businesses that don’t have the human resources and expertise to carry out event planning, design and implementation. Business owners wear many hats and event planning is a time-consuming process with many different aspects and tasks that can become overwhelming very quickly.
So how can you, as a business owner, still use the power of local face-to-face community marketing, without having to plan any stand-alone events? I am a professional event planner, and although I would rather you call me to organize your brand awareness event, below I am going to reveal 5 secrets on how to get a strong offline presence in your local community, without needing my extensive event planning know-how.
Sponsor an event
Sponsoring an event in your community is perhaps one of the most powerful ways to put your company out there and to show people that besides the fact you do business for profit, you also care about the community well-being. When you take a decision on sponsoring an event, you will ideally sponsor an event or a cause that you care about. Sponsoring an event comes with many advantages for your business: you get promoted by the organizer, without having to work on any of the cumbersome and time-consuming event planning tasks. You get the benefits and recognition from the event organizers and you are a beloved community member in the eyes of the attendees. It is truly a win-win equation and I encourage every small business to sponsor a local event. Local event organizers always need financial help and are often spending much of their time looking for businesses like yours to help out with funding of their event.
Take part of a local tradeshow
Tradeshows are another great opportunity for local people to meet you and your employees face to face. People enjoy attending trade shows to learn more about what local businesses are offering and what is new in a specific niche market. They also absolutely love freebies. By inviting people to put their name in for a draw, businesses collect valuable new leads. Local non-profit organizations, such as the chamber of commerce, usually organize events where members can be promoted to local audiences, as well as to encourage the community to spend their dollars locally. People, these days, are much more aware of how important it is to keep the local economy strong, more than ever before. When we buy from businesses in the community, we retain vital jobs and services within the community, instead of outsourcing them elsewhere.
Attend local B2B events
This is a valuable marketing activity even if your business is planning stand-alone events throughout the year. By meeting people and prospects personally you stay on top of their mind when they need your products. Always have your business cards on you and present one when you introduce yourself to new people.
When it comes to B2B events, there are many networks organizing events. In my town we have The Rotary Club, BNA, KNA, and several others. Chambers of commerce often organize educational workshops, business breakfasts, socials and more. Attending one or more of these are wonderful ways to promote your business face-to-face.
Give away a gift certificate
“Gift cards and gift certificates are one of the most popular giveaways for businesses because they provide an additional revenue stream, promote product and brand awareness and increase customer loyalty. 72% of customers will spend more than the value of their gift card. On average the recipient will spend 20% more than the gift card value.” (source: shortstack.com)
The most important factor in attracting local residents to your business is to have them “come through the door”, even if you are giving away a gift card for a different product than what you offer. People are hesitant to use the services of a local company that they have never visited in reality. Bringing people through the doors to pick up their gift certificate is a good strategy in building face to face interactions and trust within your community.
Partner up with businesses to put an event
The idea is to partner up with a business that compliments yours, such as: real estate agent and mortgage broker, organizing First Time Home buyers event. These two types of businesses have the same target audience and if people are looking for a mortgage broker, they will also be looking for a real estate agent. These partnerships could work for stand-alone events, or as a part of larger events such as trade shows and business forums. All involved parties can share the costs and responsibilities of the event planning which makes it better value for everyone. Because of all these advantages, partnering for organizing an event can lead to creating extravagant and beautiful events that might not be possible if you are planning an event on your own. You will also attract new audiences - your event partner audience, and they will be happy to connect with yours.
Elena Markin is a guest contributor to the Kamloops Chamber blog. She is the owner of Elite Events BC - an event planning company established in 2017. Elite Events BC is based in Kamloops and services the BC Interior. Elena has a vast experience in event planning and event management. She plans business events such as meetings, conferences, executive retreats and socials, as well as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and other private events. Elena is often involved in organizing public events as well. In 2018 she was heavily involved in the launching of the Thompson River Salmon BBQ Festival and Competition, held as part of Hot Nite in the City Car Show event. For further information on her work, please visit https://eliteeventsbc.com/