It’s that wonderful time of year when Thanksgiving and Christmas are at war for marketing space. The next few months are key to having a successful end of the year. What better way to drive traffic to your store than with a great holiday event?
According to the Event Marketing Institute, 74% of consumers have a more positive impression of a brand after an in-store event. Also, 59% say that they plan on telling others about that experience within 48 hours of it.
We know events are important, so how do we boost customer attendance? No worries! Here are five tips to maximize your holiday event marketing.
1. Entice your customers before the event
This time of year is busy for both you and your customers. While you are prepping your store, your customers are getting their lives in order with family, friends, work, shopping, cooking and more. Knowing that, keep them in the loop about the event before it is going to happen. Waiting until the day before the event gives your customer no time to prep.
First, tease your customers. According to HubSpot, “On average, companies use 5 different methods of event promotion.” Create buzz everywhere you can. Send out invites and don’t stop at just email either! Place invitations in bags as stuffers for customers to take home.
2. Retailtainment, your new favorite word
Not only is this buzzword fun to say, but retailtainment also helps you maximize your event. In his book, Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption, author George Ritzer describes it as the “Use of ambiance, emotion, sound and activity to get a customer interested in the merchandise and in the mood to buy.” Fancy definition, but what does it really mean?
Overall you should focus on creating a wonderful shopping experience for your guests. While creating that experience, try to focus on all of their senses to help them remember your event. A general rule is to aim for at least four of the five senses. For example:
- Let guests sample cookies from a local bakery (taste and smell)
- Play holiday music or invite a local band to play at the event (sound)
- Have products out to sample (touch)
- Create visually pleasing displays in your windows and throughout the store (sight)
If you’re planning a kid-friendly event, have Santa Claus pay a visit, consider providing a coloring station or cookie decorating station. Get creative!
3. Give to get your guests information and emails
Don’t forget to gather emails and customer information during your event. To encourage your customers to share their info, offer a small giveaway or let them pick which email list to subscribe – newsletters only, promotions, new products, etc.
Also, don’t leave that zip code off of the form! It seems like such a small piece of information, but it tells you a lot about your audience. You may think that only locals are visiting your store, but with zip codes you’re able to find out if people from a neighboring town are driving in to celebrate. Knowing that information tells you where you can advertise later.
4. Share the love and partner with other small businesses
You are not the only small business in town. Others may want to do an event, but may not have the resources. By joining with other small businesses you can help to cross-promote your brand and gain access to a new market. That new market can be full of potentially loyal customers who are ready to see all that your store has to offer! Plus, the businesses you partner with may be willing to help split the cost or even donate products for a giveaway.
However, don’t just partner with anyone. According to the CEO of Whence, “We choose partner brands whose values, style and mission reflect who we are and what products or services appeal to the target demographic.” In other words, make friends, but choose friends who support your customers and mission.
5. Event marketing does not stop during or after the event!
The event has started! What now? Just because the event is in full swing doesn’t mean you should stop marketing. Be the life of the party. Walk around and encourage your customers to post photos and tag your business!
Finally, after the event is over, send out a thank you to all those who attended. Don’t forget to share your own photo albums to your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Any customers who missed out will get a chance to see how wonderful the event was. (Next time they will be sure to attend!)
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