Festivals are a great opportunity for businesses looking to get some exposure, with thousands of attendees passing through the gates of each event. The potential for publicity and engagement is fantastic if you get it right, so it's not surprising that companies offering their products and services at these events can make a great profit.
But, with plenty of other businesses — both large and small — to compete with, it's more important than ever to make sure your SME stands out. Here are five ways to get started:
1. Use social media to gain traction
Consider how you can build excitement and get people talking ahead of the event. One of the simplest and cheapest ways of doing so is to use social media to keep people up-to-date with what you're doing and where you'll be.
This could include dates and times you'll be there, as well as a pitch number if you have one. You'll also want to give previews of the types of products that you'll be offering on the day, making sure you highlight any 'festival specials' you'll be launching.
As well as using your own platforms, it's a good idea to interact with the festival's official social media accounts, too. Commenting, liking and sharing their posts will ensure people know you'll be there, and it's a good opportunity to reach out and generate exposure amongst potential customers before the event.
2. Design an eye-catching festival space
Festivals are filled with stands, stalls, acts and entertainment, so it'll be worth checking out the plot in advance and selecting a spot you think will get the most footfall. To do this, consider areas where people may gather, for example around main stages, toilets, water points, entrances and exits.
Once you've found the right spot, creating an eye-catching space will really help to grab people's attention. A custom-printed gazebo can be a great way of ensuring you stand out against competition, especially if you incorporate bold colours, logos and slogans into the overall design. Add advertising flags and banners in the same theme to help direct customers through the crowd towards your stand.
Your stand or stall needs to be both appealing and practical. For example, food businesses can benefit by displaying their food menu in a high place with large lettering so people can see what's on as they pass by and queue. Similarly, if you have any perks you think may draw customers in, such as contactless payment, be sure to display these clearly somewhere on your stand.
3. Deliver exceptional service
Customer service is an incredibly important aspect in business and getting it right can not only secure you more sales, but also repeat custom. Any festival you attend is likely to be busy, so reducing the amount of time people are waiting to be served will keep you in their good books. Having enough staff and organising queues in an orderly way will help with this, as will providing complimentary refreshments and freebies.
Additionally, you'll need to ensure that the team working alongside you are all knowledgeable and approachable. This will be particularly important if you need to convey information about allergens.
4. Offer innovative products, services and packaging
Even the most niche of SMEs will have competitors, but finding your company's unique selling point (USP) can help you to differentiate your business from others with similar offerings. This will be particularly important when you're heading to festivals where companies of all sizes will be attending.
Ahead of the festival, review the products and services you offer and see how you can make these differ from the companies that will be at the festival. This could include creating exclusives that'll just be around for the festival. Not only will this create a buzz, but it also poses a great opportunity to trial potential products you were considering launching.
If you're offering a product, you'll want to think carefully about the packaging you display it in. When customers who buy from you wander around with distinctively packaged goods, it's more likely to generate interest from people passing by — particularly if you've got an innovative product.
5. Create and distribute promotional materials
Promotional materials can be useful for ensuring that your customers remember you once the festival is over. While leaflets about your products and services can be helpful for relaying information that you don't have time to convey at the festival, it's likely that people may lose these during all of the excitement.
Instead, consider giving out promotional materials that will genuinely be useful to festival-goers. For example, music festival-goers are sure to benefit from some foam earplugs to help them sleep among thousands of other campers, while drawstring backpacks will be appreciated by those wanting to keep their belongings safe throughout their time at the festival.
Festivals can create great business for your SME, but with so much competition it's important that you promote a strong brand identity throughout the event, and give customers something to remember.
About the Author
Richard Cutmore is Director at TFH Gazebos. The company specializes in providing heavy-duty gazebos for commercial and personal use, as well as a customisation service that will allow your pitch to stand out wherever your SME takes you. TFH Gazebos was set up 10 years ago and has since become a six-figure business through providing excellent customer service, durable product lines and constant innovation.