Continuing with our "think outside the digital ad" series, let's talk about event marketing. Are you looking for a chance to get face-to-face with your ideal clients? Event marketing might be the perfect option for you.
Event marketing is a broad category. The standard definition is "the process of developing a themed exhibit, display, or presentation to promote a product, service, cause, or organization leveraging in-person engagement." These events are usually experiential and can be considered guerilla marketing if conducted informally. For our purposes, we're going to niche down again and focus on event marketing in an expo setting- traditional tabling or tent marketing that customers would encounter at a health fair, farmer's market, tradeshow, or expo. These are far from only location possibilities. Event marketing for our purposes includes any location where potential customers would walk by your booth as they peruse all available options.
Event marketing can create hundreds of sales opportunities for your studio in just a few hours with the right audience, value pitch, and atmosphere. But often, studio owners feel like their previous events were a waste of time and effort. So how do you ensure your event will be a success? First, let's outline what success looks like from an event marketing lens.
If you're hoping to sell a bunch of memberships, you will likely end up disappointed. It's rather rare that event audiences will purchase intro offers and even less likely that they'll buy high-ticket packages. On the other hand, if your goal is to increase local brand awareness and communicate your value with potential customers face-to-face, you're in the right place. If you're aiming to capture email addresses for lead recapture, you can leave with a goldmine.
With your goal clear, it's time to book your spot, but before you do so, analyze the following:
What your booth offers to walk-by traffic is often the difference between a tedious afternoon and a spreadsheet full of leads. We'll focus on three key areas, client attraction, capturing contact information, and follow-up.
There may be hundreds of competing booths in your immediate vicinity, and some may be direct competitors in your industry. How do you get customers to step up to your table or walk into your tent? You need a hook. Put yourself in their shoes. They've been walking by businesses for an hour and are probably carrying handfuls of postcards, discounts, and flyers. What would make you stop and look?
Your venue will dictate your offering, but don't be surprised if you only sell a few intro offers. Your primary expo goal is often brand awareness and capturing emails, not sales. However, that doesn't mean you want to show up empty-handed if someone is ready to buy. Think low pricepoint, short expiration date for your magic event-marketing formula. Buy one get one, or buy two get one are usually a great option, especially if your standard intro offer is above that pricing threshold. Essentially, you want to offer a product that someone can buy with one or two dollar bills (i.e., a $19 offer would require a $20 bill or a $29 package would require a $10 and a $20) even if they're using a credit card.
If you have branded retail and a portable retail rack, feel free to bring that along. Not only will it encourage shoppers to come into your space to browse, but it also supports your brand marketing goal. These should be priced to sell at an expo with tons of competition. Two tank tops or grip socks for $20 and other lower-ticket price points will make sure your retail moves, so leave your expensive athleisure or bulky items that visitors won't want to carry all day at the studio.
If this is your first event, you may have more questions than answers about what you need. Every studio will be a bit different, but here are the basics:
If you focus on nothing else, aim to capture everyone's email address. A raffle is my favorite way to accomplish this, but practice asking people for their info when interacting with them. You're going to have to offer something of value, "sign up here for our newsletter" will not be attractive enough to convince them to part with their email address, so think about your freebie or value proposition to make it appealing.
When it's quiet between customers, share live on your social media. Check out the hashtags and geotags from event organizers and even consider partnering with your neighbors to go live on each other's pages. Post frequent stories and consider linking your expo offer in your link in bio for others to purchase from home if they missed out. Most importantly, encourage expo visitors to follow your page so that you can continue the conversation later.
You've picked your location, signage, and client conversation starters; now it's time to practice. You do not want to learn that you're missing a crucial piece of your tent while you're in the middle of setting up or realize early in the day that your mobile credit-card reader doesn't work with your phone. Set up your entire booth or tent- everything you're planning to bring, sell, or use and role play any client interaction you may have. Practice asking people to sign up for your raffle, selling an intro special, or showing a specific picture on your slideshow. You only have a few minutes of a customer's undivided attention before they move on to the next booth. Make the most of it by having your process ironed out.
This is where studios trip at the finish line. You've captured all the email addresses; now you need to warm them up so they'll purchase.
Event marketing is an incredible way to get in front of potential clients. Keeping these considerations in mind, get out there and talk to your ideal customer! You'll be surprised how many people didn't know your studio was waiting to welcome them.
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