What small town businesses can do during events to capitalize on the extra people


A diverse crowd watches a marching band in a small town parade

Everyone’s in town for the big event. Is your business ready for them? Photo by Becky McCray

Guest post by Jeremy Zeller

Do your homework – WHO WILL BE ATTENDING the event?

Cater to that audience. Families, College students, Car enthusiasts, Cosplay…yes, even them.

If you do not want to keep your store open, set up a SIDEWALK STAND or TABLE and sell there.

An assortment of products and swag to just give a little taste of what you offer for when they come back.

Bring the right FREEBIES.

This can be as simple as a bag with your logo on it, or a package of tissues with your logo on it. Chapstick, small notepads, microfiber cleaning cloths. It should be something that people use often and keep around either in their purse or car. Be sure to have your logo with the business name and what you are, address, and social media. Phone number is fine, but they are more likely to want to come back to visit or look you up first.


Do you have a product you want to show off? Now is the perfect time to do so. If it is clothing, get a few models to show off your merchandise.

SURVEYS – 5 questions at max that will help your business succeed.

Examples: “How satisfied are you with the customer service you received?” “How satisfied are you with the price of our product/service?”
“What is the most memorable part of your experience?” “Where do you live?”

Collect video TESTIMONIALS or written testimonials.

People love to hear stories. Find customers that you have that can talk about a product they bought, how great it is, and maybe something that happened when they used it. Example: “I bought this Consuela Bag for my Mom on Mother’s Day. The quality is so great because we have used it while camping at Alabaster Caverns to Sand Dunes in Waynoka to visiting the Salt Plains and it still looks brand new!”

While on the topic of videos, get a video ENDORSEMENT. If it is a known official, local or state celebrity, nationally acclaimed, or organization; see if they will give approval to endorse your business and then promote it later.

Share COUPONS or vouchers.

Events a great time to get them to a bunch of people. “10% off” “Free Gift”. Be unique.

Create a SALES EVENT to take place the next day or week.

You have a chance to reach out to many people. So create your own event sometime after. Advertise it during the event taking place.

Create a POKER WALK during the event.

Work with other businesses open during the event. Do a 20% DISCOUNT SHARE. This means if they shop at one store and buy something, they get a 20% discount at another store. That store has it for another store. And so on and so on.

Be an event SPONSOR.

Before the event is happening, see what it takes to get your name on the advertisement.

Gather E-MAILS.

This is the perfect time to build up your client list. Use your phone to collect and store e-mails to increase your customer e-mail blasts.

Jeremy Zeller is the Economic Development Director for Woods County, Oklahoma. Previously he worked 16 years for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce including the Main Street program. He holds a degree in film, video and photography from the University of Oklahoma.


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