Nearly 60% of small business owners say fall and winter are responsible for as much as half their annual profit. And 47% say events increase their face time with customers, helping strengthen relationships and loyalty. Hosting events as part of your local business marketing needn’t be expensive, and the festive atmosphere encourages shoppers to relax, so they may be more inclined to buy more.
Here are some ideas to kick start your fall marketing:
1. Product demonstration.
People love how-to demos, whether it’s the latest clothing accessory, a new piece of winter sports equipment or a cool kitchen gadget. No physical product? Host a workshop. No room? Hook up with a complementary business, a retailer or restaurant. Teaming up with another business is a great idea for wine or food tastings, food prep demos or hands-on lessons (for adults or kids).
For example, your lawn care of landscaping service can partner with a garden center or outdoor equipment seller. Demo their equipment and talk about planning ahead for spring clean-up or yard enhancement. Offer a discount to attendees for future work and/or enter everyone in a drawing for a larger-value prize.
2. Primping events.
Everybody wants to look their best for holiday parties, etc. so events that capitalize on that are particularly appealing. Everyone also seems to be more harried during the fall, so an event that allows your customers to relax and do something nice for themselves can be equally appealing.
Show off holiday hair styles clients can recreate themselves at home, or do it for them right in the shop. Or hold a hair-and-makeup event for those attending a big community fundraiser, and donate part of your proceeds to that event. Hold a bring-a-friend event with two-for-one pricing or a complementary add-on service. Hold a men-only spa day, complete with micro beer or bourbon tasting and tips for “no frou-frou” skin care.
3. Transform a sale.
If you normally hold a sale this time of year, make more of it. Decorate your entire business, inside and out, in the theme of your sale. Arrange your merchandise displays so they promote your entire event, not just “sale.” Invite a local celebrity to make a special appearance, if their celebrated status relates to your products. Serve snacks and beverages such as champagne or wine or hot cider, or add live music in keeping with your theme.
4. Host a “showing.”
Invite top local artists or craftspeople to set up display tables throughout your business. Make sure everyone promotes your event, so you all benefit from new customers you wouldn’t have attracted otherwise.
5. Customer/client/patient appreciation event.
Any business can (and should) do this kind of thing, to thank people for their business and build loyalty. Make it a simple “open house” type party or an exclusive shopping opportunity with “sneak preview” merchandise not available to other shoppers — at least not yet — or specially discounted pricing.
Postcards are perfect to promote your event.
The point of all local business marketing is to increase awareness and sales. Postcards are the smart, cost-effective way to draw customers in your door throughout the fall, not just for your special event. Be sure to send them early enough to get the word out, then reinforce that with a couple more mailings a week apart as reminders. Use your postcard as a coupon or ticket to your event, so it’s not only an attention-grabbing invitation but tempts recipients with a tangible reward.
Local business marketing should be fun and friendly. Neighborly. The Saturday after Thanksgiving may be officially designated as Small Business Saturday, but that doesn’t mean you can’t strategically use fall marketing to promote your business every day. You can boost sales now and attract new customers to build your clientele for the coming year.