I adore live events. The social butterfly in me is indulged. I meet people and chitchat all day long. Though there is more to attending a live event than just showing up. Proper planning can make your day lively and without incident, as opposed to boring, or worse, problematic.
The list here can be endless: craft fairs, pet adoption days, shelter events, town events, and so forth. My favorite event is a local Fairy Day. Everyone, including the pets, wear fairy wings while walking around the town green. The organizer of the event will be able to tell you the demographics of past attendees. Your decision to attend should be based on whether or not your target audience will be in attendance.
Your local newspaper has listing of all upcoming events. If you belong to a chamber of commerce, you will most likely receive an email invitation to buy booth space at upcoming events.
Consider your ROI or Return On Investment. I have seen prices range from free to a couple thousand. That’s dollars. Will you generate the clients to cover the cost of the booth? Generally, I will spend between $0 and $50. However, for an animal shelter’s fundraising event, I have dropped $150. Some events will trade booth space in exchange for providing a free service such as nail trimmings or a short informational talk.
Are they providing table and chairs? If not, you will need to provide them. If you plan on attending several events, the investment in a table and chair will be around $100 new.
Will you need electricity or wi-fi? I have a video on my Facebook page that showcases my business. Sometimes a venue includes these services for free or for a nominal fee if the service is even available to the venue.
If indoor or sheltered booth space is not available, you will need a tent. Trust me- you will need it. Do one event under the sun and I guarantee as soon as you get home, you will order a pop up tent for the next event. Cheaper is not better when it comes to these tents. Expect to pay about $130 for a new one. The inexpensive tents are hard to put up and take down and the first good breeze will send them sailing.
· Bottled water for you, as well as a water bowl for dogs passing by, as it can be easy to dehydrate sitting outside in the sun. There may be people with their pets at events, especially if it is held at a park.
· A bagged lunch for you and a bowl of candy for people stopping by your table. As a general rule, people will stop and open the candy giving you an opportunity to pitch your services. Sometimes there are food vendors at events, but usually there is a long line.
· Promotional material such as business cards, brochures, or coupons. Consider a treat bag with a business card attached. Sometimes loose business cards have a way of getting lost at the bottom of their bags and forgotten. Potential clients will have a way to contact you. Magnetic cards are even better as they usually end up on a refrigerator.
· Raffle off an inexpensive gift bag. Make sure it is specific to your services. You only want people who have an interest putting their names and emails into the jar. Once you have their emails, you have a way to contact potential clients through a newsletter.
· Many events coordinators will hand out gift bags to all participants. Make sure they have something of yours to add to the bag. It can be a coupon or an inexpensive item that has your business information on it such as a magnetic notepad. I love anything magnetic because it always ends up on refrigerators where it will be seen several times a day.
· Many events collect larger items such as a gift certificate that are raffled off with proceeds going to a local shelter or rescue.
· Bring a friend, so you can hit the potty or visit the other booths.
· Your booth should be attractively laid out and inviting. Call attention to yourself. Vistaprint has a large inexpensive selection of banners and event posters.
· Create flyers to hand out to your current clients to hang up in the break room where they work. I like to give my clients a job to do.
· Send out a newsletter detailing the event.
· Post the event on your Facebook business page.
· Live broadcast at the event using the live video feature of your Face book business page. This video can be saved and used for future marketing.
I do well at live events because I enjoy doing them. It’s a chance to showcase my enthusiasm and knowledge, as well as present potential clients with the opportunity to see my passion shine through.
Originally published at medium.com