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Event Marketing on a Shoestring

Whether your small business sells goods or services, marketing events can be an ideal way to get in front of your audience because you literally get in front of your audience. Marketing events can encompass a variety of events; from trade shows to roundtables to cocktails, meaning any business with any budget can pursue event marketing, even on a shoestring.

The Open House

Don’t underestimate the power of relationships. Inviting customers, clients, business partners and other interesting guests to your office or store will create a touchpoint with your audience and an opportunity to put a face to an email address or voice on the other end of the phone. You only have to provide some wine (there are four glasses per bottle and people usually have two glasses max), and something to nibble on, to host an event.

To take your open house a step further, make it a charitable event and encourage guests to bring cans of food or donations and watch your guest list grow. Plus, you might be able to write off the expense. And you can add your open house to local community events pages for free PR and advertising.

Sponsorship Flexibility

Finding a sponsor can help cover even the most basic costs. With a few phone calls, you may find a restaurant willing to give you a space on a slow Monday night. Or maybe seek out a local insurance sales agent willing to pay for, say, the first 20 drinks.  Look for complementary businesses to co-host the event with and share in the cost or ask a client to host an industry round table. With the right relationship and a compelling value prop to your sponsor or partner, you might be surprised at what you can get.

After Hours Classes

Take advantage of the expertise within your own walls by holding a seminar taught by the experts in your office. Unlike the open house, you don’t have to provide more than good, useful content that you can always record and repurpose to feed your content marketing monster.

Dress It Up

Creating a positive experience with lighting, music and details make all the difference. Just look at weddings. Pinterest is filled with inexpensive ideas but one of the most valuable and versatile tip is to pick up some table cloths at your local dollar store. Use them to cover unsightly machines, block off access to restricted areas, or create backdrops for photos, speakers, etc.

Marketing events can be fun and a terrific way to get some valuable face-time with clients and prospects. With a few creative ideas, your event marketing on a shoestring will be a success.

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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