SCORE Tip of the Week: How to Cash in on Summer Events

SCORE's CEO, Kenneth R. Yancey, offers advice for getting the most marketing potential out of seasonal events.

For small business owners, summer events such as fairs and festivals offer a raft of opportunities for new business. In order to benefit from summer events, start by setting goals for what you hope to achieve. Do you just want to build awareness of your business? Do you want to sell products or give away samples? Do you want to collect names and emails of event attendees?

Next, look into what local activities are planned for the coming months and which are most likely to meet your goals, as well as attract the type of prospects you’re hoping to reach. For example, if you own a health-food store, you might want to get involved in local fun runs or health expos. Community newspapers and websites, chambers of commerce and your local contacts are good sources of information about upcoming events.

Investigate the reputation of any event you are considering. You can search online for reviews or complaints and talk to your local contacts to get insights. Consider how long the event has been operating and whether the same organizers are still in place.

Contact the event organizers to see what types of opportunities are available. Can you sponsor the event? Can you set up a booth to sell product, give out samples or talk to prospects and hand out brochures about your business?

Know what you’ll receive in return for your participation. For example, if you’re a sponsor of the event, will your company logo be on the event ads, brochures and banners? If you set up a booth, are you allowed to collect contact information? Get this information in writing so there are no misunderstandings.

Plan how you will promote your business at the event, such as any giveaways or marketing materials you need to take. Finally, let your customers and prospects know about the event by promoting it on your website, in your email marketing messages and in your business location.