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10 Smart and Powerful Event Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business

Originally published on Patch.com

Whether you are building a brand-new business or spreading the word about an existing one, event marketing can be one of your most powerful tools. If you want your small business to be noticed, you need to go where your customers are. Here is how to reach into the community with well-planned and effective events:

The events you stage do not have to be costly or elaborate, but they do need to be well planned and properly executed. With the right event planning strategy, you can maximize your marketing dollars, build your brand and pave the way toward a more successful, and more profitable future. Here are 10 smart and powerful event marketing ideas you can use to grow your small business and boost your bottom line.

  • Build buzz and generate free publicity with a well-crafted press release. Local reporters are always looking for great stories, and a well-written press release can send them right to your door. 
  • Talk to local reporters and pitch human interest stories. Your press release can help you get your foot in the door, but it is only a first step. A single human-interest story on the evening news can reach tens of thousands of potential customers, so harness the power of local media whenever and wherever you can. 
  • Spread the word on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites are powerful marketing tools, so use them to their greatest advantage. Post details about your upcoming event, create an event page and invite your friends and fans to share in the fun. 
  • Create great signage for your event. If you want your event to be well attended, you need to make it easy to find. That means providing detailed maps and directions on the company website and social media sites and having highly visible signage in place. 
  • Offer up some great refreshments. You want your customers to arrive hungry and leave satisfied, so serve up some high-quality snacks and treats. If you are raising funds for a cause your small business supports, you can lower overhead by soliciting donations and asking employees to pitch in. 
  • Avoid scheduling conflicts. Scheduling conflicts can wreck your event and put all your hard work to waste, so check community calendars and the dates of competing events before you make your plans. 
  • Solicit in kind donations from other local businesses. From the snacks you serve your guests to the giveaways for your raffles, soliciting donations from other local businesses can lower your overhead costs, boost your donations to charity and make your event a huge success. Offering to return the favor with in-kind donations of your own can increase participation and foster goodwill with your fellow small business owners. 
  • Consider crowdfunding your charitable endeavors. The success of crowdfunding sites has given small business owners a new way to raise cash for the causes they are passionate about. Combining crowd funding and event planning can give you more bang for the buck and help spread the word about your upcoming endeavors. 
  • List your event on community calendars and through the local media. Look for every opportunity to spread the word about your business, from local bulletin boards to online event planning sites. 
  • Solicit feedback and use it to make your next event even better. No matter how great your event turned out, it can always be better. Ask attendees what they liked, and what they did not like, about the festivities -- and take those recommendations to heart. 

Planning a great event for your small business is not rocket science, but it is lots of hard work. From making sure your attendees are having the time of their lives to soliciting ideas to make subsequent events even better, there are plenty of things you can do to effectively market your small business.

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