If you’re looking to make a lasting impact on your community, local marketing is a tactic that can help you gain new customers, build loyal relationships and find complementary partners. Consider having a block party to promote your business and provide value for your community at the same time. Plus, you may be able to gain local publicity for your business and get the word out about your event.
The Benefits of Local Marketing
Local marketing involves targeting people in your community. This can be done both online and offline. One of the most impactful local marketing tactics is a neighborhood block party for people of all ages, which gets new prospects and old customers excited about your business. It is a good way to get attention from everyone in the community.
Unlike other marketing efforts that target by demographic or user behavior, local marketing is about specifically targeting by geography. While businesses also target by other factors, the location of the customers is the key focal point. This is particularly useful for retail businesses, service-based businesses and other companies that have in-person operations.
Some of the benefits of local marketing include:
- Getting the attention of prospects in your area who may not be aware of your business
- Establishing your position as an integral part of the community
- Building partnerships with complementary local businesses
- Gaining publicity from local newspaper and TV outlets
- Humanizing the business and putting a face to a logo
Choosing a Strategic Location for Your Block Party
Selecting the right location for your annual block party is key. Your event needs to be in a convenient location for your community to attend. If it's located somewhere that requires a lot of travel, it’s unlikely you’ll get a good turnout. Plus, you have to keep traffic and parking in mind in addition to accessibility for those who require assistance.
Consider the needs of your target market first. For example, if your business targets families with young children, you may want to hold the party in a residential neighborhood at a park. If your business targets business executives, then having the party near a golf course might feel like a fit.
If you have a physical storefront, having a block party right outside your business may be a good way to get foot traffic into your store. This way, you can not only provide your neighborhood with a good time but you can also hold promotions within your store to help increase revenue.
Getting the Paperwork in Order
Check with your local government to see what kind of permits you will need for your block party. There may be specific permits required depending on whether you’re serving food and alcohol, how many people you’re expecting, the age of your guests and the location of your party. You may also need to make arrangements with the local fire department and police department for safety measures.
Be sure to source your block party permit far in advance of promoting your event. You don’t want to run into any issues with the permit after you have invited your community to attend.
Collaborating With the Community
Consider partnering with other local businesses, community groups and nonprofit organizations. Be strategic about the people with whom you want to work for your block party. If your party is being held right outside your business, you can ask the neighboring stores if they would like to participate. This way, every business on the street can take part in the planning and reap the benefits of the event.
If your block party is in another location, consider asking complementary businesses in your town or city to join the special event. For example, if you run a bakery that sells bread, work with cheesemakers and local cafes in your area. If you sell toys, work with children’s clothiers and sports equipment stores. Consider your target market and incorporate businesses about which they care into your event.
Creating Value for Your Event
Community members, even if they are in your target market, will not want to attend a block party if they think it will just be a place for you to sell your products and services. You have to provide your attendees with something of value for which they will want to show up. What kind of entertainment will be at your block party?
- Food trucks or stands from local restaurants
- Live music from local bands
- Stand-up comedians
- Inflatable bouncy castles
- Raffles and door prizes
- Giveaways from each participating business
- Fundraising for local initiatives
Consider what is most important for your business’s target market. If your customers have young children, they will appreciate having a place where the kids can play. You can even invite a petting zoo to make it really enticing for families. If your business caters to people over 65, you may want to ensure there is enough seating and ramps and that the music is relevant to their interests.
Promoting Your Block Party
Once you have established the details of your block party, develop a marketing plan to get the word out to your target market. Be sure to use multiple promotional channels so that you can maximize the exposure and ensure you have a large crowd in attendance.
You can promote your block party by:
- Advertising in local newspapers and magazines that are relative to your audience's interests
- Posting in community social media groups
- Handing out flyers at your business and other participating stores
- Emailing your customer and prospect lists
- Calling special customers and partners whom you’d really like to attend
- Placing signs around your store, especially at the POS area and at the front window
Consider how you will brand your block party, as this is a key customer interaction for your business. Will you place your company logo on the event banners, hand out business cards or have branded balloons? In addition to promoting your event, you also need to have a strategy to promote your business during the event itself.
Taking Care of the Logistics
Consider what you will do if it rains on the day of your block party. You may want to select a rain date and add that to all of your promotions. You can also have some large event tents on standby to use in case it rains during the event. If you change the date of your block party the morning of the event, be sure to clearly inform all of your attendees of this change so that no one shows up disappointed that the block party has been delayed.
In all your promotional materials, have a call to action where guests can RSVP so you have an idea of how many people are attending and whom those people are. This way, you can collect email addresses and contact the attendees if anything changes. This is also a good way for people to reach out for more information about the block party if they need it. You can also contact them later about upcoming events or store promotions.
Networking at the Block Party
During the block party, be sure to take some time to mingle with guests. This is a good way to get to know your target market and members of your community. It helps to build relationships because they can see the person behind the business. It is also a good way to talk to potential customers and learn what kinds of needs they have that you may be able to fill.
In addition to chatting with prospects, be sure to connect with other local business owners. You may be able to establish new partnerships, learn from their experiences and make new connections to benefit your business.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.