Written by: Jason Trovela
Super Bowl LI is in the books. On February 5th, Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to an exciting overtime, against-all-odds win over the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28. If you spent any time on social media over that weekend, you probably noticed the enormous buzz big events like the Super Bowl generate online. These events are practically holidays, and as such, they create an atmosphere of excitement and camaraderie. It goes without saying that big events call for big celebration, and with any party, someone’s got to be in charge of coordinating and shopping. This is the optimal time for businesses to take advantage of the hype and hold specials for the big day. So lace up; it’s time to tackle the 5 ways you can use big events to drive your business.
Create & Maintain Social Media Buzz
In order to get people through your door, you have to engage. Big events will always draw a following, and social media allows everybody to be a participant. The best examples of this occur during holidays like Christmas when your Auntie Jean posts 62 pictures of her “Holiday Meal Prep!” to her Facebook. But big holidays don’t have to be the only time to utilize this social buy-in. Any type of event that garners more attention than usual is on the table. If it’s football season, you’ll notice that offering a game time special when the Bears play the Packers (or the Packers play anyone) will result in a traffic uptick when promoted on social media. As a personal fan, I can assure you when we’re not watching the game, we’re tweeting game time thoughts and looking up stats on our sports apps.
But how do you engage followers without sounding like an ad? According to this article by Christopher Litster, following the one-in-seven rule creates a more relatable message to your followers. Basically, the rule states that only one in every seven posts should overtly promote your business. The rest of your posts should be sharing valuable content of interest to your audience. Once you offer a position that’s interesting to your customers, many will take the opportunity to share their opinion...especially if you ask people to weigh in on “Bears or Packers?” debate.
Even though many of us have become faster communicators though type/text, people will always be talking; after all, we are social beings. After engaging potential customers through your marketing channels, your business will become more easily identifiable for fulfilling a specific consumer need. Wife and mom Sally Mae got a lot out of the “Thanksgiving Hacks” article you shared, and decided to share it with her best friend and mother-of-three, Joana. One week later, while preparing her Thanksgiving meal (using Thanksgiving Hacks), Joana forgets one key ingredient. Thanks to your article, she remembers that your grocery store also happens to be open on Thanksgiving Day. If a consumer really needs something, they’re going to find it. Keep in mind, it’s up to you to position yourself and your business at the front of the line.
While a grocery store owner during Thanksgiving might be an obvious example, every industry can advertise during any time of the year when positioned correctly. Take the real estate industry, for example. In an article by Forbes, they describe the holidays as the “off-season” in real estate. This makes sense because who has time to house hunt in the middle of Thanksgiving and Christmas? The answer is, those of us looking for a good deal. The winter season has less competition from other buyers which puts pressure on sellers who need to get out before spring, and according to realtor Alisa Bair, prices normally dip during the winter months. Spin it the right way, and you could sell mouse traps to mice.
Make the Event Your Own
Just because you’re running a business doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate too! A gym owner may find that having an annual new year sign-up party may be an opportunity to meet new prospects and build their relationships with current members. As we’re all aware, “new year, new me” usually encourages us to get back in shape, and offering an opportunity to follow through on this resolution will drive traffic to your business.
You can even take it a step further by incorporating your event theme into your business for a limited time. Not only does this make your store look more interesting, it shows customers that your brand has character. For example, KIA Motors launched their “Holidays On Us Sales Event” during the 2016 holiday season. This campaign tied the holiday spirit with their brand, allowing customers to take advantage of special discounts, while also instilling the warm association of the holidays with customers every time they enter their new vehicle.
Don’t just provide the occasion, but reward your customers for their engagement! If it is the 2016 World Series and your business is located in Chicago, provide a special incentive for customers who show up sporting Cubs gear (or Indians, but for the sake of my bias, let’s not go there. #FlyTheW).
Make Your Product Unique
Brands that proactively engage their customers are more likely to see them regularly in-store, but remember, they’re returning for more than the experience. Your customers are expecting a unique product that fits a need associated with the big event or holiday. Offer a limited time special, and position these products at the front of your store for the highest exposure rate for incoming traffic. For example, a Milwaukee liquor store promoting a new brand of beer in the summer might offer free tickets to SummerFest as an incentive for customers to try the new beverage. With any good special, you want to create a sense of urgency. Don’t wait! Limited quantity available! This activates a person’s natural competitiveness; I have to get this before someone else does.
Playing off the liquor store example, an owner should also understand that certain brands are more available and more desired during certain times of the year. Promote this product heavily for the limited amount of time it’s available, and make sure it’s known that it won’t be on-shelf forever. Summer Shandy, anyone?
Hold the Line!
Once you have it, keep it. Olenski’s article stresses that business owners should keep their doors open 24/7, or as long as possible. During big events, many stores may opt to close early though this may be one of the biggest opportunities to retain new business. Customers will recognize this, search for alternatives, and remember the limited hours the next time they’re prepping for an occasion. The procrastinating holiday shopper comes to mind here. By keeping your doors open, you may be preventing a family meltdown over some cranberry sauce, as well as cashing in on the profits.
The same article suggests retargeting your advertisements. Customers who have previously engaged with your brand should be drawn back in while the deals last. Because they’re already familiar with your brand, you will have an easier time winning their business again when the need resurfaces.
Tie the Bow
Follow these steps, and you can turn lost customers into new business. Big events such as holidays, festivals, or professional sports don’t have to take attention away from your brand. By engaging customers and offering a new way to celebrate the festivities, it will add a new positive connection with your brand and increase loyalty with your customers; a win-win for everyone.
Scanalytics is among the top 10 fastest growing “Internet of Things” companies, measuring human behavior insights through intelligent floor sensors. The SoleSensor platform translates consumer foot traffic into actionable data through a dashboard interface for real-time and historical viewing of trends in physical spaces. Using the floor sensor technology, brands capture and analyze occupancy, traffic patterns and engagement times to increase conversions and improve ROI.
With over 40 million impressions to date, Scanalytics has deployed SoleSensors across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Southeast Asia. Learn more at: www.scanalyticsinc.com