Promoting your Business through Community Events
August 06, 2014
We hear a lot about networking these days. From web presence to business deals, networking seems to be the name of the game. But in our existential search for online popularity and sixth degree connections to famous celebrities, we often forget the everyday networking possibilities that are staring us in the face.
Every business is part of a community. From the employees you hire to the customers you serve, the community is directly affected by your daily actions. The economic stability of an area can be directly affected by the amount of business you’re conducting. The local news and gossip can have both positive and negative effects on the amount of business you receive. Every community is an intricate system of communication and actions between businesses, residents, and organizations. So ideally the best way to promote your business is to be present when businesses, residents and organizations collide at community events.
How to get involved with your community:
1. Talk to Events Centers. Every community has one or two organizations or event centers that host a variety of shows, clubs, charity events, organizations etc. Ask the event center for a list of booked events. Find one that fits with your business interests and approach the organizers that make it happen. If you are willing to speak as an expert, pay for some space or help sponsor the event, this is prime real estate to network with the community and cultivate new customers.
2. Work with Schools and Youth Groups. For class based business owners, schools present a wonderful opportunity to engage younger audiences with your business. You can contract schools for workshops, clinics, field trips, etc. Send home a flier or a free piece of merchandise with the students including some contact information. When parents see it and hear about the fun their children had that day, it might spark further interest.
3. Join a Community Planning Group. Community planning groups are constantly trying to cultivate interest and participation in the community on low budgets. If your business can get together some volunteers or sponsor/host a booth or attraction at the next town celebration, you can generate some positive media and promote your business at the same time! Plus, the individuals that help with community planning are often deeply involved with other businesses and organizations. If you can create a rapport with them, it could open up a whole new world of opportunities.
4. Go to the Fair. Most towns have an annual fair or celebration to bring the community together. Ask any of your staff members, customers, family and friends to wear a piece of branded merchandise at the fair! They can take photos of themselves showing off the merchandise and send them to your business to be featured on your website or social media. This has two advantages. The first is having your business represented everywhere attendees look. The second advantage is now you have a whole host of pictures showing that your business encourages community involvement. Put a positive spin on it like “Superstars Gym and Cheer was at this year’s celebration, were you?” and host it on your website. You may even be able to work something out with the committee hosting the event to repost some of the pictures on their site to reach an entirely new audience with your brand!
5. Regularly Sport your Logo and Carry Business Cards. It seems almost too easy, right? Support your own business by decking out in your branded merchandise and head to a sporting event or go grocery shopping. While you're there, be sociable. Say hi to people you know and help out other customers. When appropriate, find a place to slip your business into the conversation. If the person sounds interested, hand them a business card. It’s as simple as that. Even if an opening doesn't present itself in conversation, they might notice some of what you're wearing and associate that with a positive event. Simple psychology in advertising.
6. Arrange an Event. Do something to encourage customers to interact with your business. It can be a charity car wash in your parking lot, a neighborhood ice cream social, a winter coat drive or a family game night hosted in your facility. It doesn't have to be too fancy, but if you ask around, you can probably get other local businesses to participate and share the costs for the chance to pass around a flyer and a little goodwill.