It doesn't matter where your business is, you will eventually have to prepare for a festival, special occasion or holiday. Some business owners have unrealistic expectations of the organizers of these events. The organizers should communicate with the business community, or even involve them in some way, but they are not responsible for getting customers through each door.
So, to help you prepare for the upcoming holiday season, and the winter festivals that follow, here are some pointers your company can use to increase the number of customers walking through your door.
1. Support the season!
Come up with an idea that will link your product to the season or event. It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas, SnoFest, Black Friday or Manic Monday’s, your business should invite customers in to celebrate. Sales, workshops, specialty menus, prizes, giveaways are a few of the many ways you can create an affordable promotional experience. If your business is participating, you have automatically connected yourself to the buzz around town.
2. Communicate with event organizers.
When there is an event being hosted in your community, and you've created an offer to celebrate that event, let the organizers know! More often than not they are happy to share news of your promotion. Plus, you can find out if there is anything similar happening so that you can plan properly. If they don't reach out to you, feel free to reach out to them. This allows a stream of communication that will inform them about what the community needs so they can evolve accordingly over the years. But please, keep your expectations in check. These people are usually volunteers who don't need anything added to their to-do list. In fact, if you think there is a better way of doing something offer to help!
3. Create a work back schedule.
Give yourself ample time to get everything ready. A work back schedule will help you realize the time that will be needed to achieve your goals. You create a work back schedule by working backward. Start with the date you want to have your promotion in store and ready. Then determine the steps you needed to accomplish your goals while scheduling enough time for each action.
Advertising in a small town has a bad rap. From what I can tell this is because many people have spent money on advertising that didn't work. And there are many reasons why it didn't work. I could write a whole essay on this topic. But here is one thing you can consider: people see advertising everywhere. You have to catch their attention. Have you heard about WIMF? That's the 'What's in it for me' message. Convincing someone to come into your business is a lot easier if there is a WIMF offer. Taking a business card and printing it in a newspaper isn't advertising. It's background noise. Use social media, signage, print or radio - whatever the medium be direct in your offer...which leads me to my next step...
5. Keep it simple.
I can’t stress this enough. Keep your idea simple, and keep your advertising simple. Focus on one idea. Don't advertise a million things your company can do. It’s the time to focus on the one thing that will bring people through that door. If your communication is unfocused people will glaze over and keep walking.