|Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.|
Promoting Your Small Business With Live Events
Live events offer a powerful way for small businesses to make personal connections with prospects and customers, showcase their expertise, and demonstrate how their products are made.
Small businesses can harness the benefits of live events by inviting their target audience to come together, either in person or online, for educational or networking opportunities that help them meet new people, collect leads and deepen connections for a relatively low cost.
Live events, a popular marketing staple for companies of all sizes, are making a post-pandemic recovery in a variety of formats that include:
Each of these events involve different levels of planning, and the best choice can depend on factors that include a company’s target audience and its goals for a specific event.
If your company serves a local audience, for instance, you may wish to bring in as many people as possible. If you’re a B2B company with a small customer base, inviting a handful of key customers for networking or discussions of market trends may be more effective.
For a small retail shop, an open house can be a great way to pull in local traffic. Common approaches include hosting open houses ahead of popular holidays, or in conjunction with local events. For example, offering refreshments after a local parade can be a great way to bring in potential customers who might otherwise walk past the shop.
Another popular and effective approach is hosting workshops or educational events tied to a season. For instance, a garden center can hold an educational session about spring planting, or a hardware store can schedule workshops explaining common do-it-yourself home repairs.
If you’re adding a new product line, inviting people for demonstrations can be another effective event strategy. A clothing boutique that’s adding a new brand, for instance, may be able to bring in a representative from that brand to show off the popular features and attract new customers.
The idea is to create awareness about your business, make some sales, and establish relationships with new and current customers that will lead to additional sales over time.
If you’re reasonably comfortable with the idea of speaking in public, sharing your expertise at events can accomplish many of the goals of hosting your own events without having to do the organizational work.
Libraries, service organizations, and trade associations are consistently looking for people who can provide educational information, discuss industry trends, or share how-advice with their customers and members. Preparing a short talk, usually around 30 to 45 minutes, can be a powerful way to position yourself as an expert while making new connections that can benefit your small business.
Promotion and Follow-Up
Just as you wouldn’t throw a party without inviting your friends, it’s important to promote your upcoming live event to ensure you attract enough people to accomplish your event’s goals. If you’re hoping to bring in members of the public, a local news release and a series of social media posts can be powerful tools. Consider a short preview video to help get the word out.
And if your goal is to collect leads, creating a follow-up strategy is an important part of your overall plan to ensure your live event supports your promotional goals.
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