Making the most out of your event partnerships.

There are fantastic advantages to partnering your business with local events & festivals!

Festivals have an extended marketing reach and a captured audience. You can use this spotlight to increase your brand awareness and to gain a favorable consumer impression with potential customers.

With so many upcoming fall festivals we thought it was a good time to share some tips and ideas on how to make the most out of your event participation!

1.    Establish your event day goals

It's important to go into the event with a clear idea on what you want to accomplish. Are you wanting to collect leads? Do you want to increase your email distribution list by gaining 50 newsletter followers? Sell 20 items at the event?

Whatever your business goal is just make sure its defined leading into the event, and that your event day team is prepared and on board to help you achieve your goal.

2.    Bring your A-Team

Regardless of how impressive your booth is or how cool your giveaways are, the businesses that have the most event day success are the ones that have a dynamic event staff.

The people staffing your booth are representing your brand. You need to choose who best represents your brand and knows your product or service. You need personable, assertive people who are professional in their dress and friendly in their approach. 

That doesn’t mean everyone has to wear suits but you should establish a dress code that matches your brand. Perhaps that means a branded shirt or everyone wears a particular color palette.

3.    Create a buzz leading into the event

Creating a pre-event buzz around your business is one of the best ways to drive awareness and encourage more traction. You’ve got to think outside the box and create a creative campaign if you want people to share your posts and engage with you prior to the event. 

Here are a couple of examples:

·      Payscale (and their purple squirrel) created a pre-event buzz with an email campaign featuring an interactive personality assessment for their contacts to ‘find their inner purple squirrel’- random but memorable. The result? By creating an enticing pre-event campaign and following up with an invite to the event, Payscale generated over 600 leads before the event had even started, and it created an awesome conversation starter for their booth visitors too.

·      Be McKinney, A local McKinney, TX blog created a pre-event campaign to create buzz, gain followers and to attract people to their tent at the McKinney St. Patrick’s Day Festival. They called it the Ultimate Foodie Package and it had everyone’s mouth watering! They shared photos and details of the giveaway through social media and instructed everyone to visit their booth at the event to register for the giveaway. The result: Barrels of new social followers and blog subscribers. (Follow them on Instagram- @bemckinney )

4.    Attract attendees to your booth

Of course depending on your goals you will attract people in different ways. Regardless of your business type you are participating because you want to connect with people at the event. Here are some ideas that past event partners have used to achieve their event goals:

· Memorable/desirable swag:Think about giving away items that people will go out of their way to visit your booth to get.


 If it’s a night time event- buy glow sticks to give away in trade for emails. (every parent will be hunting down your booth and asking where people got the glow sticks). BTW- You can buy them from Oriental Trading in bulk.

If there’s beer at the event give away beer koozies.

If there are event t-shirts buy event t-shirts at a discounted price from the event organizers and give away the event t-shirts as part of your drawing.

Come up with ideas that tie your swag into the event theme. If people are attending a wine festival it means they like wine. Come up with swag that matches the event theme and therefore the demographics you are connecting with. Perhaps at a wine festival you partnered with a local winery and are giving away a wine tasting for 4. (tip- the winery will give you a great price if you are advertising them all day- or if you partner and use that as your pre-event buzz they may give it to you for free if you promise x amount of Facebook ads tagging their business).

·      Create interactive opportunities at your booth.

People are at festivals to have a good time. So help them do just that and make your booth the fun place to be!


 Bring in a roulette wheel, plinko board, slot machine or prize wheel and create opportunities for people to win a prize. (of course, they must fill out your lead form to play).

Create a Trivia Game and clear signage that shows that you have a trivia game happening. Design the game in the same format as popular trivia shows (family feud, jeopardy, etc.). Make it fun where you need x amount of people to play so people will be inclined to play since you are looking for one more player! Include questions about the theme of the event your participating in and incorporate questions that pertain to your brand/industry. Have prizes to make it more fun and worthwhile! That could be a discount off a service with your company or a free swag item you are giving away.

Have a counting contest and a jar setting out in front of your table with appropriate signage. At the end of the day you can see who was the closest and you will call that person to give them the prize. Example: wine corks at wine fest, gold coins at St. Pats, Guitar picks at Yellow Wood Music & Outdoors Festival, jelly beans at Easter, etc.

Bring in jumbo games that could attract a crowd and group participation. They have jumbo Jenga, checkers, chess and others.

Create a fun game of skill that leads to a raffle. Example: basketball games, ring the bell with a sledgehammer or a cash machine where you get inside a glass booth and grab dollar bills. (Landmark bank has one)! These fun ways to get people to participate create excitement, activity, traffic and get people looking at you!

·      Create a VIP/lounge atmosphere

Some of our most successful sponsors have created booth spaces that have created a warm, inviting experience for attendees to not just grab info and go, but to sit down and stay a while. This gives you the opportunity to ‘host’ attendees at your tent and get to know them better. If you have 2, 10x10 tents you can put them together, bring in some chairs or even a couple of couches, set up a coffee table and a rug, maybe a candy bar or bring in a tv and play the game on the tv. Make sure you are creating an opportunity to capture leads from those folks!

·      Raffle off one awesome prize

At our larger events the average number of leads that a sponsor receives is 400-600. 300 is the average amount of leads you should receive if you are working towards gaining those leads. Our sponsors and partners have had incredible success earning leads by raffling off one sweet prize. Make sure its obvious and you have the appropriate signage so people know what you are giving away. Require their contact info to enter the raffle and make the winner announcement live on social media at the end of the event! Tell them to follow you on social!



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Free Services: free house cleaning, landscaping, something worth a real value

5.    Follow up ASAP

It doesn’t matter how many emails or business cards you collected at the event if you don’t do anything with them. You gotta work it!

When you get back to the office, follow up promptly with all your leads to keep the conversation going and the potential deal warm. Leads left unattended will quickly grow cold in today’s fast paced environment and they’ll either forget you or get distracted by the competition who may be a little faster on their feet.

Our partners have found it to be helpful to have the follow-up email drafted before they even leave for the event. That way you just need to do edits to customize for each lead when you get back and you’re ready to rock!

Helpful Tips & Ideas:

·      Go digital for the optimum results. Make it easy to collect information and for attendees to quickly give you information. If you want to use an iPad to collect data use an app. Click Here for a list of app ideas.

·      Have stools instead of chairs for your team to sit in. Sometimes slouching in the chairs can make people think your less engaged or that you’re taking a break. Bring some stools so you’re A-team can rest but still appear to be engaged and approachable.

·      If you have time- make notes on every lead you receive so you can either customize an email or throw out the ‘leads’ that you know will waste your time. Example: If you’re a roofing company make sure there’s a question that says- Do you own a home?

· Have a post-event plan. Make sure your team members know what they’re doing and gets straight on with it. Time is of the essence with follow ups, if you’re going to maximize your results.

·      Create a special offer for event attendees that those leads will want to take advantage of quickly before the offer expires. Free roof inspection, whatever...

· Do a comprehensive event recap the day after the event. Record what worked, what didn’t and what should be done differently next time. That way, any subsequent events will be even stronger and more effective. If you leave this conversation until too long after the event, then the insights won’t be as detailed or as valuable. (take it from us!)

· Send an email blast to current clients and prospects advertising your in-booth activities up to three months in advance of the festival.

· Broadcast your contest, game or giveaway via Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn early and often and use the official event hashtags to reach attendees.

·      Partner with the festival to be a part of the festival experience. Example: Lead the grape stomp, be a chef at the culinary demo tent, be a judge at a festival contest, create an experience in the kid zone to interact with parents, etc. Experiential Marketing is the BEST way to connect with attendees and increase your brand awareness.

I hope these ideas are useful! We have amazing event partners and we want to make sure every event you attend with us is a fantastic success for your business!

For upcoming vendor and sponsor event opportunities please email SBG Hospitality by clicking HERE!


SBG Hospitality Event Ninjas

Lauren Stephan