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How to Market Your Business at Summer Events, Fairs and Festivals

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How to Market Your Business at Summer Events, Fairs and Festivals

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
Published: June 14, 2012


Summer’s here and for most communities, that means the season of outdoor fairs, festivals and other events is underway. For a small business, community events like these can be a great opportunity to market your products and services to local residents and other event-goers. Here are some steps to get you started.

Research what events exist in your community and nearby communities. Your options might range from local “fun runs,” chili cook-offs or classic car shows to surfing contests or music festivals that bring in attendees from all over the country. If you’re new to event marketing, you’ll probably want to start at the smaller end of the spectrum.

Find the right match. Figure out which events are likely to bring the kinds of customers you want to target. Consider the city where the event is held, the target audience and the activity. It’s best to start with an event that has a track record in the community since the organizers will be better able to give you an estimate of attendance and audience breakdown.

Get the details. Contact organizers to see what opportunities exist. This could range from sponsoring the event (contributing money in return for getting your name on banners, fliers, programs, etc.), having a booth at the event to give away information or samples, or actually selling products at the event. Ask about costs and requirements.

Talk to others. Events don’t always live up to their hype, so find other business owners who have participated in the events you’re considering and ask them what they liked and didn’t like. Were fees and registration costs worthwhile? Did they get qualified leads or make a lot of sales from the event? Would they recommend it or not and why?

Be prepared. If you’re working a booth or selling products, plenty of advance planning is required. If your goal is collecting leads, make sure you have enough samples and literature to give out. Make it easy for attendees to give you their information, say by dropping business cards in a fishbowl or filling out a quick form. If you’re selling products, be sure you have enough stock on hand, an appealing display and several ways to accept payment (a mobile credit card reader like Square can be great for this purpose). Either way, make sure you have several friendly, well-trained and energetic staff members to work the event.

Assess results. Like any marketing effort, you need to track results to see if the event was worthwhile. Set goals for how much you want to sell, how many prospects you want to talk to or how many leads you want to capture. Track them and assess your results afterward. Fine-tune your approach depending on what you learned.

For smart small business owners, summer events can be a way to capture new leads and sales—while having some fun in the sun, too. 

About the Author:

Rieva Lesonsky
Rieva Lesonsky

Guest Blogger

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at and visit to sign up for her free TrendCast reports. She's been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades


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I own a Directional Well Planning Service for Oil and Gas Well and I need to get the work out to the Industry to get my name out and circulating to drum up interest and business.If you've any ideas please share because I'm totally confused!small business help
Marketing in its basic form involves the 4-P strategy, product, pricing, promotion and place. Small business marketing adopts these elements in a different manner than larger entities but first lets define them.
Great tips! Events are truly the best opportunity to introduce a certain service or a product, this is because of the fact that people congregate for an event and explore different kinds of activities. Knowing the kind of event, your target market and most especially the kind of service that would hook up the attention of your target audience are the top 3 considerations for me.
This is a really interesting idea. For some businesses (like mine) whose marketing goals including helping consumer break down the barriers to finding advice they need, attending a local event attended by hundreds of local consumers gives you a very local and accessible presence.
yeah you're right, you hava nice idea about How to Market Your Business at Summer Events
This is great advice. I think one of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make when participating in events like this is that they do not know enough about the event or are not prepared for the crowd so they just show up and expect miracles. I find that when I talk to the event planners a few times before hand I am able to valuable information about the types of attendees they are inviting. Such as how many are invited, expected amount of attendees and if people are preregistering for the event. This helps me prepare my staff and properly so we can make the best of the opportunity!
I think small business owners tend to forget to track the results of their marketing, events in particular. But the whole point in testing out new marketing ideas is to see if the new marketing ideas do better than your current ones. This can only be done with tracking. Great article!

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