Local Community Digital Event Marketing Ideas for Small Business Owners
Would you agree that marketing your small business is one of the most important, yet frustrating, activities as a business owner?
There are countless promotional options an owner can pursue in today’s market; traditional advertising (broadcast & print), social media marketing, digital advertising, influencer marketing, event marketing, etc.
It’s taken years of trial and error for me to finally formulate an effective local marketing strategy that merges all of these promotional possibilities into a single technique that I call Digital Event Marketing.
What Is Local Community Digital Event Marketing?
As the name states, digital event marketing is the creation of a small, yet entertaining, local community event targeted towards your core audience.
Digital event campaigns are similar to live events except for they predominantly take place online.
For example, instead of hosting an event at a local venue, you’ll be creating the entire experience with online resources such as landing pages, webinars, short videos, email series, social media and more.
Just like a local live events, which are planned meticulously by an event coordinator, digital events are developed similarly to achieve a business owners desired outcome.
With most owners that outcome might be more leads, increased brand awareness, sales growth, community recognition or all of the above.
Digital event marketing campaigns are exclusively unique for every business.
This is because when creating digital events you must define an audience, the best medium for communicating with that audience and what action you want your target audience to take.
No other business, even your direct competitors, will have the exact same objectives for their digital event as you do. And if they did, the experience you deliver would be completely unique from theirs.
That being said, I have put together a few original digital event marketing ideas to spark your inspiration for the creation of your own successful campaign.
Before we get to the ideas, it’s important to note that entertainment and quality content are the major “force factors” for creating a highly engaged digital event.
I know when I attend an event, live or digital, I expect to be entertained or to learn something that I can’t otherwise find by searching on Google.
I’m saying this because if you want your digital event to be “the talk of the town”, you’re going to have to come up with a fun theme or worthwhile content that will entice your audience to participate.
The theme or content you decide on may not be in direct relation to the services you provide. It may be an unrelated subcategory that a high percentage of your target audience enjoys in their spare time.
An example of this might be a real estate agent creating a pet yearbook promotion.
When you understand that over 65% of home owners have pets, you can quickly see why publishing a pet yearbook could be an excellent way to build rapport with potential property sellers.
Another example is a personal trainer creating a Free 30 Day Fat Melting Diet Plan delivered daily via email. What a great way to build solid relationships with prospective clients!
5 Local Community Digital Event Marketing Ideas for Small Business Owners
- Develop A Community Themed Publication -
I kinda hinted at this one above with the pet yearbook example. But to mix it up a little, I’ll throw out a fresh idea.
Producing a digital publication where the content is provided by your prospects or customers is an easy digital event for any small business owner.
It will be necessary to perform some research on what it is that interests the majority of your audience. This should lead you to a micro niche within your industry where you can form your digital event idea.
Let’s say you happen to be Business Consultant who helps other owners increase profits and productivity.
As a way to recognize the achievements of past clients and attract new ones, you could create a digital event campaign with the purpose of publishing an annual Local Entrepreneur Q&A Guide.
What I would do is setup a single landing page targeted to local owners that clearly describes the extraordinary benefits of participating.
By being included in Q&A Guide, you could make it so business owners will get free publicity, featured in the completed publication and a free complimentary consultation.
All they have to do is give you 30 minutes to ask a few interesting questions about their business and share their goals with you.
For added value, you could have the Q&A Guide printed and mailed to prospective local business owners. Better yet, you could use the Guide as a free giveaway to capture more leads from your website.
A content piece like this can be repurposed by posting snippets of it on social media.
Depending on how far you take the idea, you might even shoot some video as your interviewing business owners so you can feed your YouTube channel.
Creating digital events makes it so much easier to come up with great social media content so you can drive traffic back to your website.
Plus, just think of the impact it will have when potential clients view video after video of you engaging with local business owners. That’s instant credibility!
2) Do It For A Local Community Cause -
Supporting a good cause always has a place in local communities.
Residents love seeing small businesses lend a helping hand to those who are experiencing unfortunate circumstances.
And when your graciousness is truly genuine and selfless, it makes it all the better.
Is there a charity or cause that aligns within the scope of your business’s services? Do you have a warm heart towards a certain non-profit organization in which you’d like to help?
If no is your answer to the above questions, then you creating a digital event for a local cause probably isn’t for you.
But if you’re intentions are pure, hosting an event that boosts attention to a cause could be an exceptional way to gain positive exposure for your small business.
Creating a digital event for a cause mostly revolves around telling the stories. I would, however, approach this with the utmost sensitivity towards the situation.
An idea for a cause-centered digital event could be getting a spokesperson who is passionate about the topic. This could be volunteer of the non-profit or maybe even you.
Again, on a landing page you could post a short video of the spokesperson explaining the problem(s) and possible solutions of the cause you’re supporting.
With your business as the featured support, you could offer a free or extremely discounted service for anyone who signs up to give to the cause.
One example is a digital campaign called Roofs For A Reason. This promotion, created by a local roofing service, donated 10% of every job to a women’s shelter within the community.
On the back-end of the campaign there was an affiliate program setup so that local influencers or supporters of the cause could share the Roofs For A Reason landing page and get paid for qualified leads.
In other words, if you were a supporter of the women’s shelter and had a friend who was planning to buy a new roof, Roofs For A Reason would give you a track-able link that you could share with your friend.
If your friend actually buys a roof, you would earn a referral fee and feel good knowing that 10% was given to the women’s shelter.
This digital event packed double impact by giving donations and paying local residents for quality leads.
As new jobs come in from the campaign, you could interview the customers on video and ask them to share their story about why they feel it’s important to support the cause.
And as new roofs are completed, you could take pictures and post the amount that was donated from each job.
Another content idea is to get one of those huge prize checks and take pics of you, with the customer, handing the check to the non-profit organization.
This is a wonderful way to get lots of positive press while you’re contributing to the community.
3) Create A Digital “Pre-Event” To Bridge A Live Event -
Do you plan on hosting a live event in the future but you’re not sure if attendance would be good? Start with a digital event first!
What if before you even set a date for your live event, you could build a list of people who are ready and waiting to attend? Wouldn’t that almost guarantee the success of your event? YES!
You’ll just have brainstorm on how to convert your future live event into a digital promotion.
For example, I just recently learned that a local bar was hosting a karaoke contest.
The winning prize was $500 cash and a trip to a NYC studio where the winner will record a professional demo.
The problem the bar owner had was that he ultimately wanted 40 contestants, but was stuck at only 12.
My recommendation was to start the karaoke contest online to draw in more viewers and contestants.
By putting up an exciting landing page that lays out all the prizes, visitors could sign up to follow the contest in a private online forum or group. (Creating a Free Facebook group page would work perfectly!)
To begin I would split the 12 contestants that have already joined into 2 groups (Ex: Groups A & B). This way the owner can proceed with the competition and as new contestants arrive, they can be included in groups C, D, E, etc.
Now this idea will make for some great entertaining content!
The owner could video each contestant and post their video online where followers can submit “votes”.
As friends and family members of contestants share their favorite performances, the follower-ship will inevitably grow and attract more contestants.
The goal is that by the time group B has performed, groups C and D will be filled with new contestants.
After all the contestants perform and a healthy following has formed, the bar owner can hold the finals live at his location.
At the end of the day, the bar owner makes his money on alcohol and food. So by building a list of followers and contestants, he can easily pop out a “come see karaoke finals” message to pull in customers.
I like this technique because it minimizes the risk of a sparsely attended live event, grows a customer list for future business, and creates the opportunity to distribute awesome content on social media.
4) Cooperative Partnership Events -
This is a digital community event idea that worked amazingly for me in the past!
I created a competition called The Best Burger and recruited 5 local restaurants to participate.
Afterwards I put up a landing page where residents of the community could learn about the competition and purchase a “Best Burger Certificate” that allowed them a free burger from each of the participating restaurants.
Participants had 30 days to visit each of the restaurants and send in their vote for the best.
This campaign brought the restaurants many new customers that might have never given their food a shot. And most participants ate with their families so additional foods were sold.
I earned a decent profit from the sale of certificates and received a free full page article in the local newspaper, which in turn brought in more participants. (That’s the power of a themed digital event!)
You might not want to partner with your direct competitors, but there are businesses who serve the same demographic of customers with products you don’t offer. Reach out to those guys.
This really works well if you don’t have a lot of upfront money, because you can set a fee to become a sponsor and have the other businesses pay for the campaign.
Running a co-op partnership digital event will take a bit more work, since you have to find participating businesses, but it worth it if done correctly.
5) New Product/Service Launch -
Do you have a brand new product or service to announce to the community? Introduce it with a digital event!
If your product is not super expensive, you can run an online competition to giveaway 5 to 10 units to winners. (This alone could bring you more customers!)
Once you have 5–10 customers using your product, ask them if you can interview them for social media content. (Its best to disclose your intent from the beginning so every winner knows this will be asked if them.)
In your interviews you can ask, how the customer likes the product, why they’ll continue using it, what they used before and the difference (if applicable), and what’s their favorite product feature.
Finding a way to infuse entertainment value into your content will maximize the response you receive when you post to social media networks.
If possible, you might be able to show your customers using the product. Or tell some attention grabbing story about your customers.
With any digital event marketing campaign it’s imperative that you milk any possible piece of social media content that you can; articles, pictures, videos, etc.
The more content you have the further it will spread increasing the chances of it going local viral.
At the conclusion of this digital event, you could put all of the content gathered into a downloadable .PDF report to give away for free to future prospects from your website.
I hope one or more of these ideas Sparks your imagination for creating your own local community digital event.
If you’d like a custom digital event idea specifically for your business, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Much Success To You!