Articles, guides, tips and checklists to help strengthen your digital marketing efforts – and stand out in your neighbourhood.
Hosting a Shop The Neighbourhood event is a great way to get your community to support and boost its small businesses. Spread the word about your event with these creative—and free!—event marketing tactics to encourage your neighbourhood to celebrate local shopping.
1. Event page
The foundation of your entire event marketing strategy will be your event page. This can be a page on your website or, if you don’t have a website, you can create a page with EventBrite or Facebook. Start with the basics: describe your event, the location, date and time, who should attend and why. Include links to your fellow small businesses’ websites and your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn profiles. Don’t forget to add our Shop The Neighbourhood digital banner to your page!
Now start blogging about your event! Attract attention to your page by posting fun and informative content: articles, photos and videos of the venue, preparations, and details on the businesses participating. Post short interviews with your local business owners and showcase all the great amenities they offer. In fact, get fellow business owners to contribute too.
Send an email inviting your customers to come out and support their neighbourhood businesses. Write an enticing subject line like “Why you don’t want to miss this neighbourhood bash” and include a calendar invite so they can save the date by immediately adding it to their schedules. If you already distribute a newsletter, use it to keep people updated and encourage them to visit the event page. Make sure you send two reminder emails before the actual event. And spread the love—share your email copy with other businesses and ask them to do the same with their customers.
4. Social media
Other than event details, you can post the content you’re creating for your event page to all your social profiles. Engage people with a mix of entertaining articles, visually attractive images and videos, and event-specific promotions and opportunities to win free swag if they attend. You can even post promo codes and encourage people to share with their friends to spread the word. Use the hashtag #shopthehood with each post, mention other vendors participating in the event, and tag and invite relevant people living in the area. Keep things interesting and encourage people to join the conversation and hike up the urgency in your posts as the date draws closer.
5. Traditional channels
Contrary to popular belief, marketing on traditional channels doesn’t always have to be expensive. Many local newspapers and publications have calendars where you can add your event. What’s more, you can often negotiate lower pricing and discounts for ads and prints of flyers to distribute around your area. Download, print and hang a Shop The Neighbourhood cling in your window and tell your customers about the event, encouraging them to attend and spread the news. Send a press release to local journalists and media outlets—they might just want to cover your event. You can find local media outlets through a simple online search.
Come up with limited-time promotions and giveaways to attract people to your event. These could be anything from special discount codes to a free gift with a purchase. Tell your existing customers about the event, encourage them to attend and entice them with a discount if they bring friends. Make sure to regularly post about your promotions on all your social media channels.
You can get a whole lot of people on board to push your event promotion—from collaborating with your local Business Improvement Area, chamber of commerce and other businesses in your neighbourhood to not-for-profit organizations. Partnerships will make your business and your event appear bigger and draw a larger crowd. To reach more people, share your promo codes with your partners and ask them to promote these too— and do the same for them. Distribute pre-written tweets with #shopthehood to your partners so it’s easy for them to spread the message from their social accounts.
These low-budget event marketing tactics should help you get the word out about your Shop The Neighbourhood event without breaking the bank, and bring loyal new customers to your local small business community.