Monday, November 3, 2014

Event promotions

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     with examples from real small businesses.

     Promoting your small business with events is easy, effective, and can be inexpensive. An event resonates with the general public.

     Events attract attention to you. You are expert at what you do. Spread the word and share your experience with the public. 

     What is an event? It can be an open house, an information talkfest, a workshop, or an introductory free session or demonstration of what you do. 

     Hold the event at your place or volunteer to speak at organization meetings, club functions, corporate groups, senior centers, libraries, or other gatherings. At these, you are not selling anything, just passing on information, educating people, answering their questions--and in the process, promoting your small business.

     Events can be held by anyone in business--therapists and tutors, lawyers and landscapers, artisans and agents, bakers and bricklayers, chefs and consultants. No matter your expertise, a segment of the public will be interested in you and what you do.

     Example: James is an expert in computing. He is an applications engineer--he does lots of animations, games and cartoons for big companies and advertising agencies. He put the word out on social media that he would be holding a free introductory session aimed at students. He would show them the ins and outs of the animation field, how they could do some initial work on their own to punch up their college applications. The session was a hit, drawing an overflow audience. James is scheduling more sessions, in animations, games and cartooning. No student is likely to hire James to do a project, but the word is going out in the community and beyond. And he uses social media to broadcast his business far afield.

     Example:  Judith is a massage therapist. She announced an open house where she would give free 15 minute massages to introduce people to the benefits. The open house was well-attended and resulted in more clients for her. These clients returned for private sessions, and they spread the word among their friends. In addition, Judith used social media to announce the open house and to follow-up with pictures. Further, she made arrangements to give free, short sessions at senior centers. These sessions also resulted in more private appointments--and publicity for her business.

     Example: Eduardo is a trained chef. He regularly holds free cooking demonstrations at his restaurant. He schedules these on Tuesday evenings when the restaurant is closed to dining. At these free events, he shows attendees how to braise meats, how to make cakes in unusual shapes, how to include healthy ingredients in soups and stews. People who come to these sessions are encouraged to participate in the activities. At the end of the session, everyone sits down and they eat what has been demonstrated. These events are popular, and they attract more paying people to the restaurant. Eduardo uses social media to announce and to follow-up with pictures of each event.

     Events are more effective when you involve attendees in the event. Sometimes, you might be just talking and taking questions. At other times, get everyone's hands dirty. Actual involvement can seal the relationship. 

     Give some thought as to how you can hold events at your place. And always use social media to increase attention--both before and after the event. 

     Many more examples of events held by other small businesses are scattered throughout these write-ups. I have been working with and writing about small businesses for more than 20 years. I never use a real name (except my own), but the examples are from actual experience.   

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