Since his passing on July 3rd, there has been lots of talk about actor Andy Griffith. Much of it reminiscing about “The Andy Griffith Show” and what it stands for…
The small town with old-fashioned values where everybody knows and supports each other.
If you’re not familiar with the show, it centered around Sheriff Andy Taylor (played by Griffith) and his life in a small, slow-paced town called Mayberry. Sheriff Taylor was the honest, problem-solver, advice-giver and diplomat.
Mayberry, the fictional town, represents what life used to be like in many ways.
Just as I describe in my book, No B.S. Grassroots Marketing, (co-authored by Jeff Slutsky) it used to be that when an event came to town, such as the circus, everybody went. Unfortunately, we’re not in Mayberry anymore.
The box in the living room and iPad under the arm present a dizzying array of entertainment as well as educational “events” that do not require trudging off to a tent and paying admission.
Personally, I never thought of it as “trudging” and I think much has been lost to families and society in general by the disappearance of shared, special experiences into electronic boxes and gadgets, but that’s another subject for another time and place.
So, today, it takes a lot to motivate people to come to your event, even if it’s local. Still, people go. And putting on or participating in events is the most certain way to gain customers in clumps with speed and efficiency versus one at a time.
That’s why every small business that is vulnerable to online discounters, big box retailers and other competition should be using event promotions. (On Tuesday, Darcy talked about ways to pack your event full in her blog post No Fireworks Needed: 5 Tips To Make Sure Your Next Event Is Packed Full. In case you missed it you can read it here.)
For most businesses, nothing beats an event that gets current customers, clients, or patients to round up and bring family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
Multiplying satisfied customers in this way can create exponential growth: If 20 customers produce two new customers each,then you’ll have 60 customers for your next event. Times two, and your next event you’ll have 120 customers, multiplied by two and the next event you’ll have 240, and so on.
Another way to quickly boost event attendance is by local merchants banding together to put on an event. The synergy from cooperative list sharing alone can make this extremely profitable for everyone involved. In many areas, including where I live, all merchants in a shopping village frequently collaborate on an event. I witnessed firsthand a Harry Potter-themed event linked to the midnight release of the latest book in the series.
Holidays are a popular time for events. An event that took place in a small town in Missouri linked in even more than shopping and restaurants.
Their “Sugar Plum Fairy”-themed event connected their theme to a local performance of the Nutcracker. They also found ways to tie in local businesses that weren’t in their shopping district.
While your event promotion only needs to be over a day or a weekend, this promotion was designed to keep people shopping throughout the holiday season. The organizers put on a special event each week starting in early November all the way through the week before Christmas.
They had the “Sugar Plum Fairy” make an appearance and passed out flyers for the Nutcracker. Plus using props from the Nutcracker set, a local photographer took family holiday photos with a Sugar Plum backdrop.
A local wine shop brought wine in for an evening of wine-tasting and local chefs provided cookies and recipes in a cookie bake-off and cookie-recipe exchange.
Experts were invited to present special topics such as an interior designer who gave “Sugar Plum Fairy decorating tips.”
With every merchant, restaurant, expert, and business at least using their email list to promote, some mailing, and in-store promotion for weeks in advance, every business got the benefit of everybody else’s reach.
Customers brought friends who may never have been exposed to these businesses before. They captured email addresses by giving customers a book to get stamped at different locations and later turn in for giveaways. This allowed them to create new prospect lists for follow-up after the event promotion was over.
Jeff Slutsky is a master of the “blowout promotion” usually a single day or weekend—designed to generate an enormous amount of trial of your product or service in a very short amount of time.
It can get a lot of people familiar with a new business or a business in a difficult location in a hurry. It can restart a troubled business.
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