Getting involved in your local community is an easy way to build relationships and find loyal customers for your business. Hosting a community event can help you kick-start these relationships, but events can be expensive, and a new small business may not have the resources necessary to host one.
It is difficult to handle everything on your own. To organize an event properly, you will need help of Events staff also.
- 10 Budget-Friendly Event to Draw New Customers to Your Small Business
- Creative Ways to Get New Customers
- Ideas to Attract Customers to Your Store
- How to Get New Customers And Increase Sales
- How to Get New Customers to my Business
- Ideas to Attract Customers Online
- How to Attract Customers to Buy Your Product
- How to Attract Customers Through Advertising
- 10 Low Budget Marketing Ideas For Your Small Business
- Free Advertising For Small Businesses
- What Are 4 Ways to Attract Customers?
- 6 Strategies to Attract Customers
- How to Make an Event Look Budget Friendly
- What to Serve at a Budget Friendly Event
- How to Cut Budget For an Event
10 Budget-Friendly Event to Draw New Customers to Your Small Business
To assist small companies discover some efficient but budget-friendly occasion options, a panel of Younger Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members answered the next query:
“Getting energetic in the neighborhood is a superb advertising and marketing method for native small companies. What’s one budget-friendly occasion concept any small enterprise might host, and the way does it entice new prospects?”
1. Worth-Aligned Occasions
“Training, enjoyable and philanthropy — one or all of these might be packed right into a enjoyable native occasion. Begin easy, present price and enjoyable and showcase your organization’s values. Dwell occasions are coming again robust and other people need to get out and socialize once more in a secure atmosphere. Reap the benefits of that want.” ~ Jeff Cayley, Worldwide Cyclery
“Host a enjoyable contest the place native neighbors and prospects can take part. You may tie within the theme to your model, and invite individuals to submit entries and showcase their spirit. For instance, some libraries host an Edible E-book Pageant and invite patrons to create shows primarily based on their favourite tales. Scavenger hunts are a low-cost possibility and will will let you companion with different shops within the space.” ~ Duran Inci, Optimum7
3. Shredding Occasions
“On-site shred occasions are a tremendous method to join and assist the area people. Folks at all times have stacks of papers to shred of their houses. You can additionally add a charitable side to this and lift cash for a neighborhood charity to additional assist your local people. These are enjoyable occasions and actually assist individuals in an enormous approach. My enterprise does not less than considered one of these occasions a yr for our local people.” ~ Kyle Clayton, Staff Clayton of RE/MAX Professionals
“One method to get energetic in the area people is to host a free workshop in your online business’s house. This may immediate native individuals to return out and be taught concerning the programs, workshops or providers you provide.” ~ Andy Pandharikar, Commerce.AI
“Small companies have a accountability to be good stewards of the area people and atmosphere. Organizing an old school seashore cleanup or rubbish pickup alongside native mountain climbing trails is an effective way to convey individuals collectively to do one thing optimistic. These occasions generally is a likelihood to attach with individuals who need to make a optimistic affect in the neighborhood whereas doing one thing useful.” ~ Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences
6. Product or Service Sampling
“Sponsor small group events and pattern your service or merchandise. Give out flyers and have a superb reference to the individuals in the neighborhood. Ensure the area of interest is true and the timing is ideal!” ~ Daisy Jing, Banish
7. Passion-Primarily based Occasions
“One straightforward however impactful method to become involved with a group is to construct a Fb group round an exercise. For instance, a craft retailer might create and average a bunch for particular hobbies in a location. It’s a approach to assist individuals be taught new issues and share info, and you may leverage such a bunch exercise to construct your model picture. Over time, this may enhance internet site visitors amongst your buyer base.” ~ Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
8. Business-Particular Occasions
“I’d counsel doing one thing associated to your online business that your prospects will get pleasure from. Should you’re in a health- or fitness-related area, you can arrange a 5K or one other sort of sporting occasion. Meals-related companies might put collectively a meals or wine tasting occasion. You can make the occasion bigger and share the work by partnering with different native companies in your business.” ~ Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
9. Talking Engagements
“A small enterprise might host a talking engagement using their very own employees members because the product specialists. You can provide a reduction code as an incentive for attending. After the presentation, you can have a stay product demo the place prospects can get a hands-on really feel and chat additional with specialists. New prospects can be attracted by the low cost incentive and one-on-one time with business specialists.” ~ Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Net Design
“Internet hosting a contest or giveaway is an effective way to construct pleasure in your model and entice new prospects. Everybody loves profitable prizes, and this offers your viewers an incentive to take part and inform their associates so that they have an opportunity at profitable too.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Kinds
Creative Ways to Get New Customers
Every small business owner wants to attract new customers. Here are 10 time-tested ways to help you bring in “new blood.”
1. Ask for referrals. Referrals are one of the best ways to get new customers—but if you sit back and wait for your current customers to refer their friends and family members to you, you could be waiting a long time. Take charge by implementing a system for actively soliciting referrals from your satisfied customers. Build referral-generating activity into the sales process.
For example, send a follow-up email asking for a referral after a customer has received their order from your e-commerce site. Have your B2B salespeople ask for referrals when they follow up with customers to answer questions after the sale.
2. Network. Generate good old-fashioned word-of-mouth by participating in networking organizations and events relevant to your industry and your customers. Be sure to approach networking with the attitude, “How can I help others?” rather than “What’s in it for me?” By thinking about how you be of service, you’ll build relationships that lead to new customers.
3. Offer discounts and incentives for new customers only. Introductory offers, such as a two-week course at your karate studio for $100, can lure curious customers in your door by providing a low-risk way to try your products or services. Track which customers redeem the special offer, then target them with marketing message encouraging and enticing them to keep buying from you.
4. Re-contact old customers. Everything old can be new again—including old customers who haven’t done business with you in a while. Go through your customer contacts on a regular basis and, after six months or a year without interaction or purchase, reach out to dormant customers with a special offer via email (possibly via a site to buy manage mailing lists), direct mail or phone. They’ll be glad you remembered them and want to win them back.
5. Improve your website. These days, consumers and B2B buyers alike find new businesses primarily by searching online. That means your website has to do some heavy lifting to attract new customers.
Give your website a once-over to make sure that the design, content, graphics and SEO are up-to-date. If this isn’t your strong suit, it’s worth enlisting the services of a website design company and/or SEO expert to help.
6. Partner with complementary businesses. Team up with businesses that have a similar customer base, but aren’t directly competitive, and strategize how you can target each other’s customers to drive new business to each other. For example, a maternity clothing website and a baby products website could pair up to offer discounts and deals to each other’s customers.
7. Promote your expertise. Generate interest—and new customers—by publicizing your expertise in your industry. Participating in industry panel discussions or online webinars, speaking at industry events or to groups your target customers belong to, or holding educational sessions or workshops will impress potential new customers with your subject expertise.
8. Use online reviews to your advantage. Does your business get online reviews from customers? Cultivate your reviews and make the most of them. Link to reviews on your website and post signage in your location urging customers to check you out on Yelp (or wherever the reviews are). Social proof is powerful, and new customers are more likely to give your business a try if they see others praising it.
9. Participate in community events. All else being equal, most people like to support independent businesses in their communities. Raise your profile in your community by taking part in charity events and organizations. Sponsor a local fun run, organize a holiday “toys for kids” donation, or supply a Little League team in your city with equipment. It gets your name out there, which helps bring in new customers.
10. Bring a friend. Offer 2-for-1, “buy one, get one free” or “bring a friend” deals to get your “regulars” to introduce new customers to your business. For instance, a restaurant could offer a “buy one entrée, get a second for free” special to attract more customers.
You can even get specific: “Invite a friend to try our new happy hour specials!” to let customers know you’re looking to introduce your business to a wider customer base.
Ideas to Attract Customers to Your Store
For a small retailer, an empty store can quickly mean an empty bank account. How can a small retail store drive more foot traffic? Here are 10 ideas to try.
1. Spruce up your store sign. Make sure your sign is in good repair (lights working, paint fresh), clearly visible, and easy to read from a distance.
2. Announce what your business does. Customers driving by should be able to tell immediately what your business sells. If your signage doesn’t clearly communicate whether you sell children’s clothes or pet supplies, they won’t bother to come in and find out.
3. Announce you’re open. Have you ever driven by a dimly-lit shop with closed doors and wondered if it was open or not? Keep your door open and lights on. Put up an “Open” sign with your hours—even roll out an actual welcome mat. Anything to signal to passersby you’re open for business.
4. Indicate where to park. If your store has parking that’s not immediately visible (like behind the store) a sign in the front window saying “Free Parking in Rear” will help encourage visitors who might not want to search for street parking
5. Provide bike racks or storage. Does a lot of your target market ride bikes? Depending on city ordinances, you may be able to get a bike rack outside your store.
6. Use mobile signs. Sign-twirlers dressed as hotdogs reek of desperation, but a sandwich board with a great offer gets passersby to stop, look and shop. Add a clever saying and they’ll probably share it on social media, too.
7. Promote perks via signage. Do you have free Wi-Fi? Do you offer layaway? Did you just get a new shipment of a wildly popular product that’s hard to find? Alert passersby with a sign in the window.
8. Hold an in-store event. A fashion show, book signing, author reading, art exhibit or even live music are all ways to get more people in the door.
9. Hold a contest. Promote it online, via email and on social media, but require coming into the store to enter.
10. Use in-store social media. Set up a “selfie wall” with a backdrop people can take pictures in front of. Change it out from time to time and put your store hashtag on it. Give customers discounts for posting to social media and tagging your store.
How to Get New Customers And Increase Sales
As much as customer retention is important – your business wouldn’t be a business at all without them – finding new customers is vital. But it can be time-consuming and it might even be expensive. It is estimated that attracting a new customer is approximately 10 times more expensive as it is to retain one of your existing customers.
Here are our seven top recommendations for low-cost ways to grow your business by attracting new customers.
1. Update your Audience Research
Your audience will be changing all the time. You should know who is currently buying your products – but don’t forget that audiences change – and as they change you need to understand how to bring any new potential customer base to your website.
Some methods you can try to find out more about your audience are:
- Use your analytics and look at new keywords/trends
- Make use of your customer database and email them a survey
- Utilise Social Media to make contact with your followers
2. Get to Know Your Competition
It can be a crowded marketplace and you and your competition are all seeking to attract the same customers. Your need to understand what your competition are doing…and do it better.
Here are examples of things you can try:
- Investigate your competitors backlinks
- Follow their social media output and engagement
- Carrying out a full audit of their website
- Read their blog, and subscribe to their newsletter.
This is not a one off task and it will make sure you don’t fall behind your competitors.
3. What are your benefits?
Your customers are interested in finding out how your product will help them. Yes, they want to know about the features – but they want to know how those features will solve their problems or make their lives better.
By all means put your features on your website – but also focus on the features. Think about your customers and their problems – how does your product help them?
4. Build a relationship with your Target Audience
Develop a good sense of customer service and be consistent in your message across all your contact points. Connect with your followers and don’t push the sales.
5. Develop a Referral Programme
The strongest advocates for your brand are satisfied customers. If you could create a referral program they are sure to tell others about your business. However, you can’t rely on them to just do it. They will , of course, but it’s not the quickest way to grow your business.
By introducing a referral program you are actively encouraging them to go out and spread the word. A referral program could be anything from offering discounts or a preview of a sale. You might also host an event for customers who send new customers your way.
You might need to provide referral codes or a distinct url to be able to track the referrals.
6. Join up with Other Businesses
You will be surrounded by other businesses all looking to grow – and a lot of them won’t be in direct competition with you – but they might be able to help you and vice versa.
If you’re in a similar but not identical business area where there are direct synergies you could pair up to cross-promote each other’s products and websites. Could you each offer discounts to each others, customers, via referrals and you could also link to each other’s websites?
7. Create Shareable Vouchers and Offers
We talked above about making use of your social media followers. By creating vouchers and offers and sharing them with your followers and encouraging them to share and spread the content with their followers too. It might not be classed as “viral” content but by encouraging your followers to share your posts you will achieve a much higher impact on social media than otherwise, you might have done.
How to Get New Customers to my Business
From marketing tactics to better networking, try these tips and watch your customer base grow quickly.
1. When it comes to your pitch, get out of your comfort zone
If you’re having trouble expanding your customer base, you may be inadvertently narrowing your focus—and with that, missing the mark with potential new customers. If you’re pitching your business in the same way that you always have, it’s no surprise that you’re having trouble reaching new customers.
“Go against the grain and defy expectations,” recommends Wesley Mathews of High Level Marketing. “Selling is the transfer of trust, so instead of relying on a sales pitch you’re comfortable with, focus first on building a relationship with the potential customer.”
Building trust, says Mathews, is one of the key ways to reach new customers. “Once you’ve earned their trust, you’ve also earned their ear,” he says. “At that point, you can begin to educate them on recognizing the superior value of your product.”
2. Leverage your existing network
Your existing network may be the best place to reach out to, as their good word of mouth will help grow your customer base.
“I’d recommend that the business develop a core group of customers that can make referrals; referrals are strong leads,” says Tim Shoemaker. “I’d recommend that they network as much as possible within their target market. For example, if they’re a bike shop, then they should try to join as many cycling-related groups as possible.”
Entrepreneur Darrah Brustein agrees: “Tap into your immediate network and determine who might be a good fit for your product or service,” she says. “It’s best to focus on the lowest hanging fruit in the beginning, and to boot, they’re also more likely to recommend your company to their networks. You already have established trust with your network, so leverage that.”
3. Build a “relationship map”
Tamara Nell of The Leading Niche recommends building a “relationship map,” which will match your strongest relationships with the areas where there is the greatest need for your product or service. This map will help point you in the direction of who you need to reach out to, in order to tap into potential customer bases.
“When I first started my company, I created [a relationship map] and found a partner who had the introduction to the client but not the resources to do the work,” she says. “We partnered, and The Leading Niche was founded. To this day, I continuously update my relationship map, which leads to new opportunities.”
4. Continue expanding your network
While relying on your existing network to expand your customer base is great, you may eventually wind up out of new leads. When you find yourself in this situation, you may need to look to expanding your network.
“You can have a great idea and a great business structure, but if you do not have contacts that might be interested in helping you, it’s impossible to succeed,” says Alfredo Atanacio of Uassist.ME.
How do you go about growing your network? “Attend networking events, join organizations, form partnerships, and watch your network grow,” he says. We’ll get into that a bit more next.
5. Speak at an event or host an industry gathering
You have plenty of expertise in your field—why not get involved in the community? By sharing your experience and getting involved in your industry at a local level, you’ll have the opportunity to grow your connections, as well as your reputation as a thought leader in your industry.
“My first clients came from offering to speak for free or hosting a workshop at business events that I knew my ideal clients would be attending,” says Natalie MacNeil of She Takes on the World. “I started off on a local level, and then I was given bigger opportunities that got me in front of more people. That’s how I got my budding business off the ground.”
6. Add calls to action
On a smaller, more immediately actionable level, there are plenty of strategies you can take with your marketing that can potentially draw in new customers. Add a call to action for every piece of marketing you send out—whether that be an Instagram post, a weekly newsletter, or one of your offline marketing strategies.
“After establishing a marketing plan, you will begin to execute multiple strategies each day,” says Nicole Munoz of Start Ranking Now. “It is not enough to just write a blog. After it’s written, you must add in a call to action that clearly states how clients can work with you (i.e. ‘Sign up for my…’). Make this a part of all your speeches and networking actions as well.”
Calls to action don’t have to be elaborate or ask much from your customers; often, the goal is as simple as increasing engagement. Ask them their opinions, suggest that they tag you with a certain hashtag, or provide a link so that they can sign up for your email updates.
7. Try offering free trials to new customers
Another practical tactic for acquiring new customers? Offer them a free trial of your product. “Free trials are a great way to market, since they attract new customers and garner good reviews and testimonials,” says entrepreneur Souny West. “They also allow you to get more feedback on new products and then make improvements where needed.”
Okay, that sounds great, but how do you turn them into actual return customers? “By offering free trials, you can show them the value of what you have to offer and convert them into paying returning customers later,” says Souny.
Instill in this potential customer the value of your product, and make it clear that your product or service is truly exemplary. Do this, offer great service, and you’ll likely be able to convert them into a loyal customer.
8. Provide your service for free in exchange for a case study or in-depth testimonial
If you are a service-based business, offering your service for free, in exchange for the client serving as a “case study” or providing a detailed account of the benefits of your service can be a great way to get new clients.
“Getting a great case study is one of the best ways to drive lots of new business, since it assumes that your service works and that you have happy customers,” says Obinna Ekezie of Wakanow. “In addition, exchanging value—service for case study—is a great way to build trust and get solid feedback from a customer.”
For example, say you offer personal training services. Try to partner up with a prominent member of the fitness community, and offer them a free service, in exchange for a blog post reviewing your service on their highly trafficked blog. This has the effect of increasing brand exposure, building trust and credibility within your field, and, hopefully, will drive plenty of new clients in your direction.
Ideas to Attract Customers Online
No matter if you already have your online store for some time or you are just starting your adventure with e-commerce – you won’t succeed unless you can attract clients to your e-business.
Of course, that sounds like it is easier said than done – acquiring users for an online store may be really difficult and time-consuming.
To make this process easier, we have listed for you 5 most effective ways that will help you get lots of traffic without spending a huge budget
1. A beautiful store
First thing you need to do is to ask yourself if your website is attractive.
The design of an online store is crucial, because if it’s ugly customers will simply click away. You have to be aware that a user ‘s purchase decision is usually made just after 3 seconds on your website – so it is the first impression that counts. If customers do not like it, they won’t buy anything and won’t ever come back.
2. Social media activity
Social media is one of the channels that enables you free promotion. Of course, if you publish ads among networks, you will pay, but the mere presence is free.
And it can bring lots of benefits too!
The key to success in social media is providing marvelous content. You have to be interesting and outstanding so that people will want to follow you. If you manage to do so, you will have a great marketing channel at no financial expense. So what actually should you do to attract customers using social media?
- post regularly – at least on a daily basis, so customers can’t forget about you (but not at all costs – if you post just because you should, it may have a reverse effect!)
- engage your users: ask them questions, reply to their comments, try to catch their attention
- choose the best channels for you business, but always focus on Facebook and Pinterest, because those drive the most traffic to online stores (FB: 55%; Pinterest: 25%)
- use graphics – posts with images usually get 50% more engagement that others
3. Customer care:
Another thing that will help you attract many users is outstanding customer care. Always remember: there is no better promotion than satisfied clients. Make the experience of buying in your store remarkable – but only in a positive way. A Forrester research states that 45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly.
This means that if you want to attract clients, you need to reply to all their comments and inquiries. And as soon as possible, cause timely responses are the key to success in this matter.
Never ever underestimate the impact of customer care. A research conducted by McKinsey revealed that 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. As it turns out, it is not the product itself or the ads that are the key – it is customer service. And your task is not simple – people are two times more eager to share negative than positive impressions.
It is even said that is takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative. Thereby, make sure that all your clients are satisfied with the service you provide.
Be nice, helpful and competent and you will see that the customers will come. Believe me, you will be surprised how great the power of word of mouth marketing is.
We all love promos and discounts. But usually, it is not these 5$ that we save which makes us happy. It is rather a psychological mechanism that is responsible for these feelings. It has been confirmed that the word „free” makes us feel irrational excitement, which stimulates association with positive emotion.
5. E-mail marketing
Last, but not least: e-mail marketing. It is both a cheap and effective solution to attract customers. An Epsilon „Branding Survey” has demonstrated that 54% of people have a more positive attitude towards companies that send them e-mails. What is more, 71% of respondents stated that when shopping they always remember e-mails that a company sends to them. These results confirm the importance of e-mail marketing.
But what actually can you do?
Some of the most common ideas are:
- send mails about new products
- send mails about sales and promos
- send mails after purchase with similar or recommended products, so that people are eager to make another purchase
- send mails to clients who haven’t been active in your store for a while with discount coupons to make them revisit your website
- send some tips or stylizations related to your products – this way you will inspire people and make them visit your store
How to Attract Customers to Buy Your Product
A “marketing plan” can sound a little intimidating, but don’t worry! The good news is you don’t need a team of MBAs to bring in new customers. These 5 affordable, easy-to-implement strategies will help you build a marketing plan that works for your business.
1. Identify Your Ideal New Customers
One of the most common tenets of any effective sales marketing campaign is knowing the customer. The first question is, “Who is your ideal new customer?” The second question is, “What does your ideal new customer want from your business?”
It’s far easier to develop an effective marketing strategy for one person than for every person – not every person will want the exact same thing, so you have to cast a huge net to draw mass attention. Some giant corporations can do that – Amazon, for example, or Target.
They have the infrastructure and market power to pull customers from nearly every demographic. But even those giant companies put special emphasis on certain demographics that are likely to be good customers. So, the first step is to clearly define your client base.
This step will take some internet research, getting out there and talking to different demographics, and some good old-fashioned brainstorming. Think about the kinds of people that will be attracted to your product or service. You can start with really general categories – does your business cater toward men, women, or both, for example.
You can also break it down by age, income, and location, to name a few. The trick is to get to a target that’s specific enough to be worth targeting but not so specific that you’re cutting out potential customers.
For example, contrast two niche groups: “women aged 30-50” versus “women aged 30-50 who like yoga, own dogs, and Iive within 10 miles of our shop.” See how much easier it would be to craft a specific target message to the latter group?
Maybe you’re selling athletic wear – you could set up a Twilight Yoga and Yappy Hour (e.g, bring your dogs) event at a local dog park to entice new customers to try your products. The more you know about your customer, the happier you can make them with your direct, just for them (or so it seems!) marketing, events, and products.
2. Use Direct Response Marketing to Attract Customers
Direct response marketing is a popular tactic where you ask your customers to engage in a call to action; usually, this involves responding to an email or opting into your email marketing group. The benefit of this type of marketing is that you’re creating a roster of interested customers that you can reach out to with sales, events, newsletters, and other reminders to keep your brand in the front of their minds.
Direct marketing works best when you craft intriguing compelling messages designed to attract customers and pique their collective interest. Some brands do it by offering rewards for signing up. For example, say you’re running a bakery. You could allow people to enter a drawing for a free cake in exchange for signing up for your newsletter.
Others offer a discount on the next purchase after signing up for the email list, and still others simply heavily emphasize their email marketing and frequently prompt people to sign up. Make sure to include calls to action on your website and in your brick-and-mortar store – let people know that they might be missing out on great opportunities with your business.
Of course, in order to attract new customers and increase sales, you’ll have to actually keep up with the emails. Send out regular newsletters with updates about new products, promotions, news about your business, and whatever else your customers may want to know.
As with any marketing materials, make sure your newsletter fits your brand – the same logo, messaging, and tone as you use online and in-store. You can use a service like MailChimp to customize a design template and send emails to your whole list at once, which makes it look professional.
3. Give Something Away to Entice New Customers
Handing out free stuff may not seem like the most logical business plan for a small business, especially when you’re starting out on a lean budget. But this is one instance when it pays to sink a little upfront money into making more money later.
Giving away free or discounted products can bring customers through your doors. For example, you can offer a discount for first-time customers – maybe they get 10% off on their first purchase. You can also offer incentives for your current customers to refer new customers – like offering them $5 off for every new customer they bring in.
Then you have new customers coming in and your original customer will come back to take advantage of the discount. It’s worth shaving off that $5 to increase sales overall.
Some business experts recommend pairing with a partner to offer a free product. For example, a tax prep company can pair with a computer store to offer an hour of free service.
A salon can offer free travel-sized hair products or a certificate for discounts on future salon services for those who spend a certain amount at a neighboring boutique. The key to making this tactic work is to align with a prospective partner who shares the same ideal niche customer.
4. Give Your Business a Face Lift to Increase Sales
If your business is housed in a brick-and-mortar shop, then it’s important to pay attention to the message the exterior of your shop sends to those passing by. Does it fit your brand? Does it fit the area? Is it in good shape or does it look like it’s falling apart?
You want your business to put its best foot forward right from the start. Rather than neglecting your storefront, give it a critical look and assess your shop as though you were a brand-new customer. Is it clean and well-lit? Is your signage in good shape? Is it visible from the road? By the same token, the inside of your shop should be clean, in good repair, and designed to fit your brand’s image and your target customers’ tastes.
You should also consider the physical layout – is it easy for customers to move through the shop? Are there bottlenecks or cramped areas that you could rearrange? Maybe you can move displays around to make it easy for customers to linger a little longer and see a few more of your products as they move through the store.
The same is true of online businesses. Try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and take a look at your website. Does it look professional? Does it fit your brand, with appropriate logos and messaging? Once you’re past the immediate aesthetics, make sure the site works.
Every link should take you to the right place, all of the information should be correct, and the shopping and payment mechanisms should work smoothly. It should also be easy to use – you want it to be as simple as possible to get from shopping to checkout.
Making your business look good is a great way to increase sales, with the added benefit of pleasing your current customers.
5. Get The (Right) Word Out
Above all, the best thing you can do to attract new customers is to spread the word as far and wide as possible about your business. Depending on your target demographic, that may mean advertising online, in newspapers, or even on billboards. If your budget is too tight for that kind of expenditure, social media offers a great way to reach lots of consumers for free.
These days, word-of-mouth advertising is really word-of-internet. Reach out to your personal social networks and let them know about your business. Ask them to follow your business on social media and spread the word to their friends and beyond. Keep up an active social media presence and use it to stay in touch with your customers.
In a similar vein, keep an eye on review sites like Yelp. Encourage your customers to leave good reviews to boost your ratings. You should also address any negative reviews; that may involve apologizing or offering a refund or a free product or service as compensation. That shows them and everyone else on the site that you care about your customers.
The first step to drawing a new customer in is simply making sure they know your business exists. Everything else follows from there.
How to Attract Customers Through Advertising
1. Leverage social media
Social media offers many attractive ways to connect with customers. A business can post photos or videos about its products or communicate through comments or messages. Social media provides an environment where customers can learn about the business or its industry. Engaging with customers builds brand loyalty and elevates customer service.
Example: On Monday, a coffee company posts a video of its coffee-making process, and on Tuesday they announce a new coffee flavor and encourage customers to stop in one of its shops for a taste test. On Friday, the company engages with customers online to get their thoughts on the new product.
2. Start a blog
Blogs provide content on a website or product page that helps a customer make a buying decision or to learn more about a service. Blogs may be updated daily or weekly, depending on the goals of the strategy, and posts ideally create value and build authority.
Some companies may feature guest blog writers who confirm value or educate customers. Sharing blog posts across social media or similar outlets expands the audience and potential customer base.
Example: Dr. Parker’s psychology practice plans to implement a new therapy technique. The doctor wants her clients to understand how it works, so she starts a weekly blog post that goes into detail about the technique. Once a month, Dr. Parker features posts by prominent psychologists for different points of view and reader interaction.
3. Maximize search engine optimization (SEO)
Keywords or phrases are typed into a search engine to locate a particular subject or answer a query. Web browsers are designed to search those keywords or phrases on websites or articles and present results to the user.
Effective SEO can not only place the company at the top of search engine results, but it is also a powerful way to segment and target customers. While keywords and phrases are valuable, companies must also create engaging content that offers value.
Example: A sporting goods company is having a sale on bicycles and creates content about the sale using specific keywords. The company researches keywords and phrases related to bicycles and chooses the most popular among them to use throughout its content.
Example keywords or phrases for the bike sale:
- Bike shop
- Bike sale
- Bike discount
- Cycle gear
4. Create a call to action (CTA)
A call to action is a prompt for the customer to ask questions, follow up, learn more or make a decision. A call to action may be in the form of a question, an offer, a suggestion or to create a sense of urgency.
- Sale ends Tuesday, get yours now!
- Get this free report when you join our mailing list.
- Ready to learn more? Click here!
5. Partner with influencers
Influencers are primarily social media people who have gained a following or audience they appeal to. Companies may partner with influencers who match business goals or strategies. Influencers may promote a product by using it, wearing it or by telling their followers about it.
If the company’s products and sales systems are in place, influencers can help create value through direct experience to influence buying. Influencers that fit the company’s niche can help the business reach more customers.
Example: A company that makes hiking boots follows a popular person on a social media platform. The person has many followers and shares photos and posts of the many places she goes hiking. The company approaches the influencer, and they make a deal where the influencer gets a free pair of boots in every style the company makes if she agrees to wear the boots and talk about them in her posts. She tags the company’s social media account and recommends the boots to her followers. The company now increases its number of followers and can boast the positive first-hand experience of the influencer.
6. Build a mailing list with email marketing
Building a mailing list can help a business offer incentives to its customers or encourage them to return. Email marketing keeps the company in front of the customer while the company can segment lists to target specific customers. If a sporting goods company is launching the latest in-line skates, it may partition its lead list to target a certain demographic, such as 18 to 24-year-olds.
The automation of emails means you can connect to customers right away through personalized messages and offer them something for their time. Mailing lists alert customers to sales or promotions, share tips on using a product or provide education on its industry.
Example: Customers can be persuaded to sign up for a newsletter by offering a value proposition:
- Receive my free report
- Sign-up and get our eBook
- Subscribe for a 20% discount coupon
7. Create an affiliate program
Similar to partnering with influencers, affiliate programs mean your customers do the selling for you. An affiliate is someone who receives an incentive for every sale or referral to the business that comes through their website, social media platform or similar avenues. Affiliates get people talking about the business and may greatly expand how many people learn about the products and services.
Example: A coffee company searches for bloggers and influencers who fall within its niche and pitches its affiliate program. The coffee company might send its affiliates samples to try for their review or recommendation. Each time a customer clicks the unique affiliate link, both the blogger and the company gain from the relationship.
8. Engage customers with chat
Having a chat feature is a great way to answer customer questions or solve problems right away. Customers may use chat to learn more about a service, troubleshoot a product or ask a question about delivery times. Some modern chat features can transfer the chat right to the customer’s device, so they can leave the company’s website but not the conversation.
Example: A consumer’s vacuum just stopped working, so she visits the company’s website to locate a phone number or documentation to troubleshoot the machine. Once on the website, the customer finds a chat feature that enables her to message a representative right away. The customer is thrilled to find out her vacuum needs a new belt and the chat representative has already arranged to get a new belt to her by the end of the week. The customer’s problem was solved immediately, and excellent customer service kept the chat connected until she was satisfied with the outcome.
9. Host webinars
Webinars are typically web-based learning or information sessions. Webinars may be used as an onboarding tool for new employees or to introduce a customer to the business. They are ideal for focusing on a single idea to present it across several platforms. Webinars may include a question and answer session or end with a call to action.
Example: A company has launched a new garden tool and creates a series of webinars around the product. The first webinar explains how the tool will make gardening easier, the second webinar offers tips for using the tool and the third shares photos or videos of customers using the tool. Each webinar offers a coupon for 20% off the purchase of the tool.
10. Develop customer personas
Personas define who the customer is, what they like and lend insight into their buying patterns to serve them better. Companies that sell a product or service ultimately need a customer to make a purchase. Through the research of their ideal customers, companies can develop existing personas to personalize their service even further.
Example: A surfboard company designs a board that is longer than most and suited for people over six feet tall. The company creates a character sketch of its ideal customer to define its marketing efforts. The company updates details about their ideal customer as they come into focus:
- Over 6 feet tall
- 18 to 25 years old (updates to 18-35 year-olds when the company discovers many customers are over 25)
- In college (or recent graduate)
- Loves the beach
10 Low Budget Marketing Ideas For Your Small Business
Small businesses often have a tight marketing budget to work with, which can make promoting your business a challenge. The good news is, there are plenty of ways for you to market yourself to your customers without spending any (or much) money.
These strategies are 100% free and don’t require a ton of resources or time (since we know that time is money).
1. Create a free Google My Business account
For local businesses especially, a Google Business Profile has become one of the most effective free marketing strategies available. This free listing allows your business to show up on Google Maps, the local section of Google Search, and the right-side Knowledge Panel for branded searches.
But in order for your Business Profile to show up higher on Google Maps or local results, you need to optimize your Business Profile, and in order to optimize it, you need to have verified ownership of it—which is done through your Google My Business account.
2. Post (and engage) on social media
Increasing social media engagement and building a community online is a free way to grow your small business while expressing your brand’s personality and building trust with your audience. Create business accounts and participate in the big social media sites—Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and more. This is something you can do whenever you have a few minutes to spare.
- Promote your blog posts, which drive traffic to your website.
- Directly dialogue with followers to express your brand voice and garner more engagement.
- Run polls and request feedback.
- Take excerpts from longer forms of content and create quick and informational posts that are easier to digest.
Whatever your motivation, make sure you are regularly active and proactive on the social media accounts you create. Think: consistency, community, collaboration, and commitment.
3. Tag people (and brands) on social media
Tagging your loyal customers, brand evangelists, or even neighboring companies and vendors on social media can broaden the organic reach of your business to a new potential audience, help you grow your following, and potentially even attain more clients. You should also encourage your followers to tag your social media handle or business location in their posts.
4. Use hashtags!
Another free marketing tactic that can broaden your reach is to incorporate hashtags into your social media posts—on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok for sure but also for Facebook and LinkedIn.
Broad or trending hashtags can help you reinforce your brand identity, but they should not be the only hashtags you use. More specific hashtags (sort of like long-tail keywords) are good for when you’re providing resources or advice.
Location-based hashtags are a must if you’re a local business. And don’t forget custom hashtags! Apply a mix of hashtag types in your posts so they can reach the people for whom they are meant.
5. Don’t sleep on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a major social media site that is often under-utilized. Don’t just add network connections and sign out; enter into dialogue with the connections you make, share your blog posts and offers, join and contribute to forums, and share others’ quality content.
By enabling other professionals to grow and educating your potential customers, you can build your brand and earn trust and respect in your industry. Also, encourage all your employees to get active on the platform too!
Free Advertising For Small Businesses
Here are the 10 best ways to get advertising for free:
1. Google My Business
Google My Business offers free local advertising. Google My Business is an actual listing that appears in Google search results and in Google Maps. Your location, phone number, website, hours and directions are listed. Savvy businesses add additional content. Google says: “Businesses that add photos to their Business Profiles receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, and 35% more clicks through to their websites ….”
2. Bing Places
Bing Places for Business is the Bing version of Google’s local business offering. Set up a profile and verify your company. Or you can import your Google My Business verified listing into Bing. How’s that for easy?
3. Other Search Engines
Other search engines give businesses visibility in local search results. For example, you can list your business in Apple Maps. DuckDuckGo does not have a directory; however, it uses Apple Maps data for local businesses. Yandex offers a business directory.
Aside from listings, the regular results in engines like Google are a source of potential buyers. Called “organic results”, don’t confuse them with search ads. There is no fee for organic search results. But you should optimize your website pages to be found prominently in searches.
This practice is called search engine optimization (SEO). SEO requires skill, but by learning it you can increase your website traffic and lead flow. Tip: if you have a WordPress site, install the Yoast SEO plugin for guidance on how to optimize.
Facebook offers a way to promote your organization with a Facebook page. Make frequent updates to your Page. Also, use your Facebook cover image to promote something special. Experiment with Facebook Call to Action buttons, and participate in Facebook Groups related to your industry.
Pinterest offers a way for people to share images from your company website. Pinterest is great for brands with a strong visual element and for blog owners. Make sure you have one good shareable image on each key page of your website.
Tip: Set up Pinterest boards by topic or category and “pin” your own content. People often search Pinterest for images on a particular topic and may find your website.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media channels for brand awareness. You can share photos and video with followers. Instagram is ideal for a “visual” company: food, fashion, furniture. Instagram is not great for driving traffic to a website.
Typically you can only include one link in the profile field. But we have seen businesses link to an index page on their website established just for the products they highlight on Instagram.
Twitter is one of those social media platforms ideal for establishing someone as a thought leader. It is especially good for consultants, freelance journalists and subject matter experts.
Around half of all searches on YouTube start with “how to”. Build a sales funnel by setting up a YouTube channel. Then create how-to videos on topics related to your products and services. Add your website or email address in each show description so interested parties can contact you.
LinkedIn is one of the best social media channels for B2B (i.e., any business that sells to other businesses). People and companies should both have profiles on LinkedIn for brand recognition. Flesh out profiles with content to get better found in LinkedIn search results.
Tip: If you are a freelance professional, try LinkedIn Profinder. Set up a no-cost profile to get leads from companies looking to hire an independent contractor. Also, Slideshare, another LinkedIn property, can be used to share PowerPoint.
What Are 4 Ways to Attract Customers?
Whether you’re a new business or have been in operation for several years, getting more customers is probably your top priority. If you’re having trouble coming up with new ways to get more customers and increase revenue, here are some pointers:
1. Partner up with other businesses
You already know you need to identify your target audience, but then what? The answer is pretty simple:
- Find other places that serve the same clientele. Make a list of retail establishments, lifestyle brands and charitable or business organizations your ideal client might support. Approach that business about creating a partnership.
- Come up with what you would offer their existing clientele. For example, if you run a sports bar, maybe partner with an outdoors or camping store to add some coupons for free appetizers to your place with a purchase. If you are a personal trainer, partner with a local designer’s boutique to offer a free training session with the purchase of a certain fashion item. Design the marketing and create the physical paperwork that must be used by customers to take advantage of the deal.
And don’t stop there. When you do attract customers from your partnership, you’ll need a way to convert that customer on their visit. For this, you could try punch cards, membership discount cards, or coupons for a second repeat visit.
2. Hold in-person events
Getting to know people where they live is a great way to make and keep new clients. Gyms can hold public workouts or yoga classes in the park. Hair salons can do style shows and ask for hair model volunteers. Bars or cafes can hold themed tasting events supporting a local sports team or celebrating a favorite ingredient.
When you host your event, make sure you have a place for visitors to sign up for freebies given away throughout the programming. When you collect information, let people know you’ll also send coupons via email or to home addresses.
Create a special hashtag for your event and hold a social media contest to involve the new customers in your online marketing. Don’t forget to build in some extra employee time while you’re
3. Offer discounts (or better yet, give something away for free!)
If you ask us, not enough companies offer discounts or limited-time offers — they’re a hugely powerful way to drive new customers.
And while giving away freebies might not seem like the best plan for a business looking to grow, we promise, this will pay dividends down the line. If you’re a gym owner, for example, why not offer a free trial for new customers so you can convert them into a loyal customer down the line?
Offering your services for free in exchange for a customer’s testimonial is also an effective way to drive more customers. Just remember, don’t give away more money or time than you can afford to part with.
4. Motivate current customers to advocate on behalf of your business
We all know the old adage that acquiring new customers costs much more than retaining your existing ones. And while that still holds true, your current customers hold value in more than one way: they can also help you bring in new business by spreading the word about your company to friends and family and their wider social network.
Word of mouth marketing is far and away the best way to generate some buzz around your business. While many customers will do this organically, it’s just a fact that most of them will be looking for something in return. So, think about setting up a customer referral program, offering free or discounted products or services in exchange for people sending new customers your way.
6 Strategies to Attract Customers
As a small business owner or direct seller, your customers are your livelihood. Attracting customers is something you’ll likely be striving to do whether you are just starting up or have been in business for years. In order to attract customers more effectively here are six strategies to help you attract customers and keep them coming back.
1. Host an open house and make yourself accessible.
In doing so, you have an opportunity to not only bring in new customers, but also to connect with your community. Consider inviting local business owners and residents to your open house, where they can become acquainted with what you have to offer.
Provide merchandise samples, product or service demonstrations, giveaways, and brochures. Supply refreshments for your guests and use the time to introduce yourself to them so they can put a face to your business name. You can begin building professional relationships by immersing yourself in the community.
2. Cross-promote your business.
Another benefit of being active in your community is the ability to join forces with other businesses in order to reach a wider customer base. There are many ways to use cross-promotion such as: offering incentives to customers who use both your services, providing each other’s fliers to your customers, and sharing ad space in newspapers that you could not afford by yourself. Cross-promotion, when used effectively, can become an inexpensive way to expand your clientele.
3. Generate conversation and maintain an online presence.
Let’s face it: ever since the word “Google” became a regularly used verb, most people have begun to research nearly everything online before making an actual purchase. Your website should not only be informational, but useful as well. If possible, provide specific product information and the ability to purchase online.
Furthermore, many business owners are adding blogs to their sites where they can answer questions and provide tips that their customers would find useful. Beyond your business’s website, use social media to promote your business and generate conversation with your target market. Facebook and Twitter are obvious choices, but also consider Foursquare and Pinterest.
4. Explore and tap into unique communities.
Explore your interests. Look for hobbyists, clubs/organizations, and causes that you can get involve with. This is a natural and low stress way to network. The more interest you explore the more people you network with and the more exposure for your business.
5. Provide a little something special.
Many consumers perceive indifference from the businesses they frequent, which is why it’s extremely important that you provide the special extras. Here are some examples, when customers make a purchase, provide an inexpensive sample product and ask for their input about it.
Remember to send them a birthday card, sponsor free kid workshops to give your customers who are parents a break, offer free gift wrapping, and local delivery service. This will help retain your customers, but also remember that word of mouth is very effective. By making a memorable and positive impression, your customers will want to share their experiences with their families and friends.
6. Make customer service the focus of your business. Create a system that rewards customers for their patronage and loyalty.
Develop a clear, simple process on how to engage prospects, first time customers, repeat customers, loyal customers and doing follow-ups. Your goal is to make prospects and customers feel that they are special and highly valued with their first experience with you. You want to hear that they’ll be back soon and that they’ll refer their friends to your business.
How to Make an Event Look Budget Friendly
We’ve put together 10 useful event planning tips for stretching your event budget dollars further.
1. Know your attendees
One of the best tips for planning an event on a budget is to know your attendees inside and out. Having a clear view of your audience demographics will help you plan more efficiently, spend less on marketing, and attract partners that can help reduce your costs.
2. Negotiate with venues and vendors
Always get multiple quotes for venues and vendors. Shop around and be prepared to negotiate to get the best deal. If they can’t lower the price, see if they are willing to trade some additional inclusions in exchange for being promoted as a sponsor.
3. Ticket every event
Even if your event is free, you should always be looking at ticketing. Offering tickets online helps you build a clearer picture of attendance numbers, gather important demographic data, and set up a direct communication channel with interested attendees – whether or not they show up on the night.
4. Be flexible with dates
You might be surprised at how many people will come out to an event on a Tuesday evening. Days that are quiet for venues attract lower costs – and you will have less to compete with when it comes to getting the time and attention of your attendees.
5. Invite sponsors and brand partners to create activations
Sponsors and brand partners can help entertain your guests on a budget. Rather than simply asking for money, you can collaborate to run a fun activity or brand activation that enhances attendee experience, like cheap giveaways for events. This is a win-win situation that entertains attendees and won’t cost you a cent.
6. Uncover new and local businesses
New businesses don’t have a lot of cash to offer for sponsorships, but they are keen on getting the word out about their products – your event could be the perfect opportunity.
For example, if you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy dessert offering, start searching the platform for hashtags like #melbournecakes or #sydneybaker to see if you can find an up-and-coming influencer or entrepreneur that will give you a discount (or maybe a free shout out!) to help get their name out there.
7. Consider raw or unique event spaces
Some venues are locked into contracts for catering, or offer low room hire rates but expensive food and beverage packages. Hunting for free event venues? Particularly if you’re able to partner with some new and exciting businesses to provide food and drink, hiring a raw space (or different spaces that aren’t locked into event contracts) could save you a lot of money.
8. Get crafty with your event styling
Pinterest is the friend of event planners when it comes to inspiration for styling and event themes. If you’re looking to make a splash on a budget, you may want to get crafty and look for DIY tips before you start spending up big on decor. For example, creating a unique photo booth is a simple and cheap event planning tip to entertain your attendees and provide a keepsake of your great event.
9. Check eBay and Gumtree for bargains
eBay is great for both second-hand and new bargains when it comes to styling an event. Common items like foil balloon lettering, photo booth props, lights, and signage can be picked up for a fraction of the cost at party stores. Gumtree, meanwhile, comes in handy for things like fake grass or interesting props that people don’t need anymore.
10. Source a local music act
If you can’t afford a band or DJ, look to local universities, music schools, or even buskers to find a local gem that fits your budget. Start within your own networks to see if you can find someone reliable who’s keen to take on a casual gig in a local setting.
What to Serve at a Budget Friendly Event
Food and drink lie at the core of a positive guest experience. That’s why you never want to run out! The first key is to keep track of where your catering dollars are going. Then you can really stretch your catering funds by:
1. Making food experiential. Choose an inexpensive menu where guests can have fun interacting with each other while creating their own concoctions. A taco bar, rice bowls, a hot chocolate bar, or ice cream sundaes are all great choices.
2. Schedule the event when appetizers or dessert are expected, rather than lunch or dinner. Another way to keep costs at bay is to host a brown bag lunch, where guests bring their own lunch and the host provides a big, beautiful salad, an elegant dessert, or spa beverages.
3. When hors d’ oeuvres are served, place the less expensive appetizers (like crackers and cheese) on the buffet table and pass the more expensive ones on trays. Guests eat less food when it’s passed and having the appetizers brought to them elevates the elegance level.
4. When serving alcohol, let the bar service know that you want to pay by consumption rather than per person.
5. Negotiate with vendors. If you have an annual event, try to negotiate a multi-year contract where you get a discount if you commit to exclusively using their business. This not only applies to catering, but also transportation, rental space, floral, hotels, and dining establishments.
6. Make setup fast by streamlining communication and ensuring everyone is on the same page. Use a room layout maker to show everyone where every meal should go.
How to Cut Budget For an Event
1. Be flexible
The narrower your requirements for elements of your event, the tougher it will be to fulfill them on a small dollar amount.
Sometimes it can be as simple as using what’s provided to you for free. Opt for the standard white linens included by your convention venue instead of renting a particular color. (You can always bring in color with table displays and centerpieces.) Your guests likely won’t care what the chair they’re sitting in for a big meeting looks like, as long as it’s decently comfortable, so you don’t need to spring for the stylish option.
You can also use or produce items that will see you through more than one event – think folders with just your company logo, without a date or location – to save money. Or, reuse pieces like directional signs and display materials to stretch your investment.
2. Look for package deals
It may seem that shopping around for the cheapest deals in each expense category (catering, tables and chairs, space, etc.) is the way to save money.
Not always so.
Your venue might also be able to supply your equipment, or even food and beverage, and cut you a deal because you’re using so many of their services. Mandatory in-house catering, though, can sometimes be a tactic for increasing your bill without giving you an option of going elsewhere, so do your research.
3. Use free tools
In this day and age, you don’t have to pay for a newspaper ad or the side a billboard to get noticed.
Ahead of the event, you can do most (if not all) of your promotion through social media and email marketing, without increasing your budget. Social media is also a great way to keep attendees engaged during the event and get their feedback on various parts, and it won’t cost you a dime.
Event management software doesn’t have to cost you anything, either. You can also explore all free event marketing software solutions to find what best suits your needs.
4. Staff your event with volunteers
Volunteers are a great way to add manpower to your event without adding cost.
You will have to invest your time to properly train volunteers, and they need to have quick access to someone at the management level for questions or in case something goes wrong.
Entice volunteers with perks, like an hour to taste before guests arrive at the festival, or free entrance to a conference session if they staff the registration table.
Volunteers are a better fit for some events than for others. If you need someone with a particular skillset like bartending, someone to look after valuables, or someone to run complicated technology or machinery, hiring a professional is the way to go.
5. Think about the off-season
Did you know plenty of wedding venues cut their prices in half during the winter? You can get deals on spaces and other amenities by choosing less popular dates and seasons for events, as long as they don’t largely inconvenience your guests. Hotel rooms are also cheaper during the week than on Friday and Saturday nights.
Do keep in mind that some dead zones, like the last weeks of August, are that way for a reason: You don’t want to plan a conference at the same time as most of the big players are on family vacation.
6. Don’t travel far, or at all
A conference doesn’t have to be somewhere exotic. Sure, it might sound nice to ship the company to sunny Florida, but if you’re going to be spending 95% of your time in a hotel and meeting rooms, the locale will be lost on attendees.
There’s nothing wrong with a staycation. If it makes sense, pick a place that’s close by, which will cut down on transportation and lodging costs.
For events where guests would have to travel long distances (like internationally), consider the virtual option. There are many options available for virtual event management software to help you host your event.
7. Save the trees
Printing is expensive, and it makes the Lorax sad.
Limit your printing to what is absolutely essential for attendees.
Let technology fill in for reams of paper. Have helpful information like check-in details, daily schedules, and places to eat in the area on an event-specific website or in an easy-to-find spot on your own site. Make sure it’s optimized for mobile!
If you’re already investing in event technology, an event app is a great way to share information without using the printer. Or, use RFID wearables for a paperless check in and as a way for attendees to collect more information without collecting paper.
8. Cut down on catering
Food and beverages don’t have to be such a large expense if you’re open to straying from traditional trappings. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
Instead of paying more servers to pass hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour, allow your guests to seek out stations if they’re hungry. You can skip the multi-course, plated dinner in favor of a buffet; your attendees will welcome the freedom to choose their meal.
Think about the kind of food to serve, too – black-tie fare isn’t necessary for casual events, and lunch doesn’t have to mean deli sandwiches. Change it up! A baked potato bar can be a crowd-pleaser (and vegetarian), cupcakes are a frugal alternative to a fancily decorated big cake (plus they’re cute and you can get a range of flavors), or food trucks can show off local culinary flair while being delicious and cost-effective.
And unless you know you’ll have heavy drinkers at this soiree, open wine and beer is generally plenty for an open bar. You can oomph it up with a few signature cocktails if some liquor options are a must, rather than stocking a full shelf.
9. Don’t waste money on swag guests won’t want
Less is more when it comes to goodie bags. No one needs another ballpoint pen with a logo on it, so think carefully about what you’ll send your guests home with.
BizBash has lots of event gift ideas, but as a general rule, things that serve a purpose do better than frivolous frills. Consider snacks to fuel attendees through a long meeting day or branded notebooks they can use during a conference.
Remember: If it’s not something you’d be excited to get at an event, it’s not worth including at yours.
10. Ask for help
Sponsors can be an enormous help in financing events, especially large-scale ones.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to businesses – local ones are more likely to feel they have a stake in your event– and ask what they can do.
In exchange, offer to give them visibility (through banners, logos on material, or written or spoken acknowledgement) or cobrand the event if the sponsorship is substantial.
A contribution doesn’t have to be in the form of a check, though. A sponsor in the office supply industry could provide you with those notebooks to give to guests, or a caterer could donate services in exchange for the chance to give out business cards to diners.