Today’s special guest blog post comes from Liam O'Mahony, MBA, APR, from the City of Chandler, AZ Community Services Department. Liam’s post provides great tips about special events promotion for your agency!
Is Your Special Events Protocol Practical?
Hosting an information table to promote your agency at a special event doesn’t have to be a burden for staff or a mundane task that just gets someone out of the office for a few hours. Whether it is a company wellness fair for employees, a magazine’s summer camp event for parents, a chamber business expo or cultural festival, it is always a positive brand showcase to have a booth with a colorful look and promotional literature to raise awareness among residents or customers.
Regardless of the type of event, there are several procedures to embrace when preparing a booth. It is beneficial to approach each event with an open mind and no specific expectation for traffic volume. Even if it turns out to be disorganized, poorly attended or not a good fit for your organization, you can still garner value if staff is tuned into peripheral details.
Below are 10 recommendations that may contribute to your agency’s satisfaction from exhibiting at special events:
- Arrive 30 minutes early so you can have your booth set up and ready for visitors. Consider having a branded table cloth and signage to complement your table and the materials being distributed.
- Take photos of your booth to show staff what it looked like within the context of the event layout. These images can be used for employee newsletters or future marketing collateral.
- Before the event is opened to the public (or employees if it’s a company health fair), spend 10 minutes visiting other vendors and asking them how they heard about the event and what their experiences have been with similar events.
- Collect vendor cards and brochures to expand your network (even if they are not in your line of work; you could be a resource by sharing the information with your colleagues).
- By collecting information from vendors, staff can augment your database for future considerations when you are seeking vendors or sponsors for your events or programs.
- Staff should always stand up and be proactive in greeting every visitor to the booth. It is acceptable to sit down for short breaks if there are no approaching visitors in the vicinity.
- Staff should not eat while working at the booth (beverages are fine, especially to stay hydrated in warm situations. If there is more than one employee, they should alternate walking the event space and taking short breaks when the foot traffic subsides. When there is only one person, ask a neighboring vendor to cover the table for a few minutes.
- Stay to the end of the posted time. It can be tempting to pack up when traffic slows, making the last 30 minutes seem really slow. However, it looks bad for the organizers when tables are empty or there is a commotion from vendors heading for an early exit.
- Inquire with the event host about leaving behind brochures, fliers or business cards for the employee break room, community information area or administrative offices.
- Follow up and thank the organizers the next day. Give them kudos (and constructive feedback for improvement) on some specifics and request to be notified for future events.
Let us know how you promote your agency in the comments. Any other tips to share?