It’s that time of year again. Christmas is on its way and the holiday season is in full gear. For those of us here in Nassau, this means we get to go to events such as The Wine and Art Festival, The Cultural Fair and of course coming up this weekend, the granddaddy of them all, The Jollification.
But what does this have to do with web design and marketing? How can there possibly be any correlation between having a few cocktails at a local shindig and marketing your business properly? Here’s the thing. At each one of these events, artists and small business owners pay a boatload of cash just so they can get a stall to set up and display their wares to the inebriated denizens of our small island. At the end of the day, they hope they’ve sold enough products to cover their costs and perhaps even make a profit. That in and of itself is the problem. They are shooting for the wrong goal.
Now, I’ve never personally had a stall at one of these events. However, I have had the chance to speak to a few people who have. More than once I’ve heard them talk about how they’ll never go back since they didn’t sell anything or didn’t sell enough. Your goal at one of these events should not be centered around the amount of sales you make. I’ll say it again since I might have lost you on that. Your goal at one of these events should NOT be centered around the amount of sales you make. Your goal should actually be on the amount of contacts that you make.
You should be doing your absolute utmost to gather as many contacts as you can at an event like this. As an artist or local business owner I shouldn’t have to tell you about the value of having a mailing list of interested prospects should I? If you need a refresher, please refer back to these two posts:
So now what? You know you should be trying to get people on your mailing list but you’re not sure how. What’s the process? How do you make this work?
Everybody’s going to be different. Businesses sell different items and its impossible to have a catchall solution that covers everybody. However, I’ll give you an example of what I would do.
Let’s imagine for a moment that I’m a Bahamian straw weaver that makes nice purses out of straw. I’ve paid the fee for a stall at the Jollification. Now I want to maximize my ROI for the money I’ve spent. Here’s what I’d do.
- If I haven’t already, I’m going to sign up with a mailing list provider such as MailChimp.com
- Next, I’ll pick out a nice purse that will catch the eye of passersby (it’s a real word, I Googled it!).
- I’ll print out a sheet with spaces for names and email addresses and attach it to a clip board.
- I’ll then print out a sign on my computer, which says “Enter to WIN this handmade purse”. In small type underneath “Just Leave Your Name and Email Address”.
- Upon arriving at the event, I will set up my wares but I will also put the purse and the sign in a prominent place.
- When people come by to browse, regardless of whether or not they’ve purchased something, I’ll invite them to sign up to my mailing list for a chance to win the purse.
- After the event, I might not have sold much product but I will have a list full of people who have met me, seen what I can do and are obviously interested in getting their hands on my product.
- When I get home I’ll add all of the names and email addresses to my mailing list.
- Within the week I’ll randomly select a winner and announce the winner via the mailing list with instructions on how to collect their prize (if they don’t show up for it that’s their bad).
- From this point, a few weeks before Christmas (or any other holiday for that matter), I’ll send out an email to my list announcing my latest available products with purchasing instructions. If I had a website and/or a Facebook page, I’d also let them know about that.
By taking this route, I’ve gone from hoping to sell enough product to cover my costs to having a list of interested potential customers that I can market to as many times as I’d like for the price of the stall and one purse.
*As a side note, I’m sure some people will begin to wonder if they’re just going to end up with a list of people looking for free stuff. Firstly, the people showing up to these events had to pay a fee just to get in (so I’d see them as pre-qualified buyers). Secondly they came by your stall, which seems to indicate that they had some interest in buying. At the end of the day, the people added to your list are people you didn’t have before, and they’ve given you permission to market to them. What more could you ask for?