One of the first tasks a business owner needs to define is where their sales are going to come from. Where do we get leads? How do we find new customers? The current resources a primarly comprised of lead generation programs, CRMs, referrals, brand advocates, affiliates, local events, networking events. How do you decide what works best for your business?
Large businesses with big budgets have expenses that typically far exceed a small business owner’s reach. These corporations can spend thousands on their CRM platforms. Their ad spends are off the charts. They can outsource and hire agencies to manage their marketing, social presence and more.
How do you, as a small business owner, compete with this?
Answer: You Don’t!
Increasing Local Market Visibility: Your Presence Is Required
Increasing local market visibility is possible with both digital businesses and traditional brick and mortar locations. Your local presence is where you call home; where you live, eat, sleep, shop, work and play. You are a business owner and member of a community. Many small businesses are missing huge opportunities to participate in their local marketplace and increase their visibility. I recently discussed this with a panel on Google Plus, but let’s dive even deeper and discuss your day-to-day local presence and brand experience.
Creating a Brand Experience For Your Clients and Potential Clients
A great place to begin building on this strategy is your city’s local event page. Every city has an event calendar, and is normally quite easy to find. For example: I went to Google searched for “Seattle events.” The first link in results was visitseattle.org, and the link took me directly to the event page. I could choose the type of events and location I was looking for. I want to see every event happening in and around me to find the best fit for my business to participate in or attend, so I selected “all.” Here is what my search provided me with: 2015 Seattle Events
This took me all of two minutes to do. I don’t live in Seattle, but there seem to be no shortage of events that any business could take advantage of and increase their visibility in their local communities.
How To Leverage Local Events
Here are a few ways you can leverage local events to increase your business’ exposure in the local market.
- Get a booth at a local event.
- Don’t have money for a booth? Be your own brand ambassador, bring some swag or product and pass it out as you walk around and enjoy the event yourself.
- Partner with another local business and do product testing or tutorials with them.
- Create a free or cheap event for local residents to come try out products, food, etc, to have a hands-on experience.
- Sponsor events that are put on by other local businesses.
- Is there a new business opening? Can you participate in their opening and help them drive traffic?
- I saved the best for last: Large Regional Events. Is the rodeo in town? X-Games? Olympics? Food & Wine? Any big Expos? Tradeshows? Marathons? Cultural Events? These are the best events to involve yourself in, but they are only once a year. These events are a fun way to get creative with your brand experience and provide a unique opportunity to piggyback off of larger brands like Disney, McDonalds, Chevrolet, etc. These companies pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into sponsorship and booths to create a brand experience.
There are a myriad of ways for you to incorporate experiential marketing into your business and not all of it has to cost you an arm and a leg. As a business owner, be prepared to spend money on marketing and finding creative, memorable ways to engage your audience will create a lifelong customer provided you continue to provide excellent service.
Gaining a Broader Impact
In conjunction with the utilizing local events, here are a few things to consider incorporating to gain a broader impact.
- Hire Brand Ambassadors:Brand Ambassadors can staff event booths for you.
- Giveaways: Have branded swag or product samples to give away.
- Contests: Run a contest for a big ticket item and collect email addresses for your mailing list.
- Beware of the raffle: Do not do raffle UNLESS you are giving away a very big ticket item, such as a car. There are legal hoops to jump through associated with raffles. Tread carefully.
- Make It Fun: Create a fun experience for your audience.
The key to building a local presence is to get customers in the door, create brand recognition and provide an experience that people won’t forget. Once you have them in the door, it’s time to cultivate those relationships and those experiences. Deepen them with good service and quality products.
Have I lost you in this crazy world of event/experiential marketing? Are you trying to figure out the best place to start? Reach out to me and we can discuss your marketing strategy and get you on the right path to increasing local market visibility for you. I have connections with nationwide event staffing agencies that provide fantastic, professional Brand Ambassadors, experience with larger brands such as Jeep and Disney, and will build your marketing plan around thinking big.