People want to know about the events happening in their neighborhoods.
Event attendees look to online community publications and city guides on national publishers like Eventbrite and Eventful. Consumers are also served personalized event recommendations on Facebook and Google. All of this adds up to one thing — businesses that don't manage the details about their events in these local guides are losing out on would-be attendees.
Listing every event with the correct details is critical to getting discovered and converting those event-seekers to event-goers. This means promoting every event, individually, across all the channels your customers are using to search for local events (including Eventbrite, Facebook, Eventful, your website, and community sites).
This process can seem incredibly daunting, especially since these sites consider events to be everything from community days, to tastings or samplings, product demonstrations, in-store appearances, and more. However, it is possible to scale your strategy so that you can promote your events effectively — and drive more traffic as a result.
1. Build on what you are already doing.
Brands hold events because they know it's a great way to build customer loyalty and trust. You can promote all types of events across third-party sites, including partnerships with other local businesses, participation in community events, customer appreciation days, and special product demonstrations or classes.
But making the decision to build out a strong local events strategy does not mean you starting from zero. There's no need to rack your brain trying to identify dozens of new events that are relevant to your local markets — your locations are likely already doing a lot of these events on their own, since doing so helps drive additional foot traffic through the doors. Instead, you can simply take what they are already doing, and promote it in more places — without creating excessive work.
If you offer special incentives for loyalty members, for example, you can turn those into events by specifying times when customers can come into your location to participate in a special experience, receive a gift, or earn extra points. Or if a neighborhood is having a street fair, you can create a special in-location party, which you can promote on top of the existing event, and stand out from your competition. Classes, workshops, tastings, and product demonstrations are all events that you are probably doing — and they don't need many additional changes to be optimized for promotion online.
2. Utilize local staff.
Provide your local managers with a framework for what could be considered an event, and communicate the details that you would need from them to get the event online. Create forms or provide software enabling them to submit the times, locations, photos, descriptions, ticketing information, and other important details.
For the sake of simplicity and scalability, try to mimic the processes you already have in place, such as the way local managers currently update the website, or how they submit other store updates to corporate. By empowering your local teams to identify events, not only do you alleviate corporate of extra work, you also mine the local knowledge of your store managers — so you put on events that actually matter to the communities you're located in.
This process can also work in reverse. For events that are happening across multiple locations, you should provide the skeleton information that will allow your teams to update with the appropriate location details, store hours, or photos that they know will help them stand out in their local markets — and bring customers directly to the event.
3. Tap into "National Days."
From National Ice Cream Day to National Boyfriend Day, it seems like there's suddenly a "holiday" for everything. But don't roll your eyes; use it to your advantage. Your flower shop can boost traffic by promoting an in-store event around National Flower Day, for example. As a bonus, you can capture extra eyeballs by leveraging the hashtag across social platforms.
Check out what Ben & Jerry's did. The famed chain served 1.3 million scoops on its Free Cone Day — and event promotion made all the difference.
The key is to make sure that your customers can find the detailed information about your event when they need it, wherever they're searching. By hosting and promoting more local events in a holistic manner, your business can see a traffic bump too — no free ice cream giveaways required.