Event marketing is the process of developing a unique experience, display or presentation that engages potential customers in a branded context. Events give customers a way to interact with your brand other than making a purchase. Effective event marketing can create trust and build loyalty with members of your local community.
How community events boost brand awareness
Before you can hold an effective marketing event, you need a strong brand story — a narrative that incorporates your brand's values. For instance, if your brand promotes environmental friendliness, each event you hold should in some way call back to a green initiative.
Think of each event as a new chapter in your brand story, which began when you first opened your shop. If you're new to event marketing, try not to overthink this part. The story of your first event can simply mark your brand's entrance into a new level of community involvement. In fact, an annual report from The UPS Store revealed that 94 percent of consumers believe shopping at local small businesses is important. Use that sentiment to your advantage.
No matter what the theme of your event is, it needs to be engaging. In this instance, engagement refers to interaction. It's not enough that community members attend your event — they should leave with a positive opinion of your business.
Marketing event ideas for retailers
Engagement can take many forms. Contests, games, seminars and charity fundraisers are just a few examples.
Consider one of the biggest names in retail, The Home Depot. Every week, the brand offers free classes and workshops in which home improvement experts teach customers how to complete a project around the house. The events give shoppers a chance to learn about home repair and upgrades, build trust with The Home Depot brand and get consumers in the store. It's a win for the business, and a win for homeowners who want to learn more.
A fitness clothing retailer could, for example, invite a local Pilates instructor to conduct a class in-store once a month. A sporting goods store could host a community basketball game. An eyeglasses shop could offer free glaucoma screening for seniors. The possibilities are endless.
If you're still stumped for ideas, consider asking the community. Use your social media pages to connect with your current customers and learn about the topics that interest them and causes that matter to them the most.
Converting event leads into customers
To engage customers for the long term, your event needs to generate leads. However, asking people to sign up for a mailing list isn't enough. According to Unbounce, if you want event attendees to take an action that benefits your brand, you need to give them an incentive. For example, you could:
- Give away something for free, such as a sticker.
- Exchange raffle tickets for newsletter signups.
- Offer coupons to customers who like your Facebook page.
No matter what you decide to do, make it as easy as possible for customers to take action. The more steps involved, the harder it will be to generate leads at your event.
For more tips on how to build your retail brand, check out our resource center today.