While the town was full of people milling in and out of stores, I saw only a few really engaging businesses. I had hopes of finding a bit more engagement with shoppers throughout the day.
Several shops conducted business as normal without any attention really to the festival. The local winery offered tastings, the candy store was filled with shoppers, and the used bookstore had an author conducting signings throughout the day.
But what if these same stores, and others, took an approach to extend that experience online in an ongoing way? What if businesses intended to offer value and continue the connections well beyond the event itself?
Possibly have contests that involve subscribing to email newsletters or texting campaigns to win something in person that day could build the further connection. Announce a special event promotional only on your Facebook or Foursquare pages, and place a sign in the store that prompts users to discover what that special is.
Give shoppers an easy way to get to connect further with you. Implement QR codes, contests, and exclusive offers. Have business cards or postcards to distribute that direct people to your website for a promotion happening next week.
Merely treating the special event as though it were a busier day than normal is losing out on the chance to really expand your connections.
Jump onto the social channels like your Facebook business page and interact with the event coordinator on behalf of the business page. Connect with the other nearby businesses and participate in their conversations.
A local community event is similar to a trade show. You can either treat it as something to just do or you can make the most of the experience. Be intentional in how you connect.