From product demonstrations and hands-on sessions to fun classes and expert talks, retailers are going that little bit further to give shoppers a reason to visit their stores, helping to ensure High Street survival.

 

Whether you’re offering entertainment, a chance to learn something new or an exclusive opportunity, at the top of your list will be driving success by getting people to take part and there are a myriad of tactics that you can deploy to help spread the word.

 

What you choose will depend largely on budget and resource. But while there’s no doubt that getting your marketing right is vital to success, you also need to make sure that it fits seamlessly with your unique look and feel; representing, strengthening and acting as an extension of your brand.

 

Here are my top tips for successfully marketing in-store events:

 

Maximise existing custom

A good place to start is by communicating with customers that are already coming into your store. Effective and low cost options include creating posters and leaflets that can be placed at both the till point and alongside the relevant category. Bag stuffers are also a consideration for inserting into bags at checkout, ensuring that shoppers take the message home with them.

 

Explore local opportunities

More costly awareness-raising alternatives include advertising your event in a local newspaper or taking space on a local radio station, this option can also be cheaper than you may imagine so it’s worth putting in a call to the station to see what they may be able to offer. More cost-effective options include putting up posters or cards in newsagents or post offices.

 

Brief colleagues

Store colleagues can be great advocates for whatever you’ve got planned and help spread the message by word of mouth. Make sure that they’re well-briefed with all of the relevant information including key selling points and the type of person most likely to come along as well as dates, times and any cost information.

 

Create a mailing list

If you haven’t got a mailing list already, now is a good time to start. By asking customers if they’d like to join your mailing list – and perhaps offering an incentive such as early notification of sales and invitations to exclusive events – you can capture people’s contact details and then communicate your event via email.

 

Incentivise

Giving people an additional reason to join in your event is another great tool to help drive participation. You could set up a ‘recommend a friend’ scheme where if people bring a friend along they get something free or a discount, or you could use a ‘special promotion’ that is only available at the event.

 

Go social

If you have established social channels such as Facebook or Twitter, make sure that you use them to amplify your message. Also look at leveraging relevant digital platforms, forums and associations.

 

Ensure materials are on-brand

Whatever route you decide to take it’s imperative that resulting materials remain true to your brand. Start by being clear about what your brand stands for, so that you can check that new materials work sympathetically and consistently every time. Also ensure that the brand is at the heart of what you do, don’t be afraid to be big and bold. And don’t forget to take control at every stage – don’t be afraid to tell the printer/agency if you don’t think something’s right!

 

Sue Benson is managing director at The Market Creative