Are you considering adding event marketing to your Westchester business promotional strategy? It can be a great idea. Hosting classes, book signings, parties, concerts and live performances in your business can bring new customers through your door, raise your profile in the community, and help you craft a distinctive identity for your Westchester business.

To realize the maximum benefit from event marketing, you want to have an event that’s well-attended and of interest to the media. This doesn’t just happen! A successful promotional event requires a substantial investment in terms of your time, energy, and even resources.

At SCORE Westchester, we’re here to help you make sure that the investments you make into your small business pay off! With that in mind, we’re sharing the three mistakes you can’t afford to make when you’re planning a promotional event.

Mistake #1: Not Thinking About Your Customers

Let’s say you’re a bookstore owner. As such, you’re thrilled that your very favorite author ever, Jane A. Writer, is able to come into your store for a book signing. Imagine your embarrassment when the turn-out is smaller than small! What’s up? Well, upon investigation, it turns out that Jane A. Writer writes military science fiction, and the vast majority of your customers are die-hard romance fans. While seeing Jane A. Writer was of interest to you, it didn’t interest them.

It’s very easy to confuse your own personal enthusiasms and interests with that of your customers – but more often than not, the two are nowhere near the same. You need to look at your customer base with an objective eye, and determine what types of events they’ll be excited about and enthusiastic about attending. Not sure if you’re on the right track? Mention to a couple of your best customers what you’re planning. Their reactions can be very informative.

Mistake #2: Not Promoting Your Promotional Event

The success of your promotional event hinges on how well you market it to your customers and general public. A sign in your store is just not enough! You need to start promoting your events at least six weeks before it occurs. Save-the-date postcards, emails to your customers encouraging them to attend the event, signage in and outside of your store, press releases to local media, in person reminders, and other promotional efforts help encourage attendance at your event to help you grow your small business.

Many times, business owners will combine a sales or incentive offer with a promotional effort to encourage visitors to become customers. This can be a great strategy – especially if you remember that you don’t have to give away the store. Don’t discount too deeply during a promotional event: you don’t want to cheapen your brand. Cut prices just enough to make it enticing to buy!

Mistake #3: Not Following Up on Your Event to Build Customer Relationships & Grow Your Small Business

The purpose of hosting a promotional event is to bring new people into your store. Turning those people into enthusiastic customers is the next step. You need a strategy to collect contact information during the event, and a way to reach out to those individuals after the event. Retail researchers have learned that the sooner you get someone back into your Westchester business after they’ve attended a promotional event, the more likely it is that you have a long-term, profitable relationship with that individual. Coupons that can be used on their next visit – which must be before an expiration date no longer than 2 weeks away – work well to get that relationship started. No one who visits your event should leave without a reason to come back again soon!

Make Sure Your Promotional Event is a Hit: The 3 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make