Event marketing can be a powerful way to increase the awareness of your small business and quickly identify new customer opportunities. While there is no such thing as a “captive audience” anymore, events do allow prospects to minimize their distraction and focus more on what they’re seeing, making them more open to your products and solutions.

The truth is, event marketing is so much more than trade shows, which can be cost prohibitive for many small businesses. So let’s look at three different types of events that draw in customers.

3 Events to Draw In Customers

Block Party

Whether you have a brick and mortar retail space in a revitalized part of town, or a small office in a building, organizing and participating in local neighborhood events and larger small business initiatives will draw in customers that might not otherwise know about you or get an opportunity to engage with you one-on-one.

So if you’re neighborhood business association already hosts these types of events, take advantage of it! Draw in traffic by setting up displays and demos out on the street, have a DJ, and special sales and products. And do a draw for a prize to gather email contacts so you can continue marketing to them after the event.

If your local neighborhood business association doesn’t already have an event, join a larger event like small business weeks hosted by financial companies like BDC and AMEX. Or work with your local small business development organization and put something together.


Events are just about being in person; they can also be digital events. Think webinars, Facebook Live, etc. Like a live event, the people who attend are already interested in what you have to say, on some level, so they are already warm leads.

These online events can be really powerful in generating real business leads. So be sure you have content that is valuable, demonstrates your expertise and how your product or solution can, or has, helped others. You can do a demo of a new software tool, share a case study or provide predictions for the future.

Whatever your content, an online event needs to be promoted heavily, with targeted advertising. LinkedIn can provide some value, and various media outlets can amplify your online event to ensure you get a lot of value from it.

Socially Engineered Dinner

If you’re a B2B small business owner, then you know the power of a network better than most. And chances are, you have a good one. One way to leverage it is to host a socially engineered dinner event. Invite a select group of your network who think would benefit from knowing each other.

The dinner must be non-transactional (no sales pitches) and focused on networking. Then ask that attendees invite others of a similar nature, and watch your network, and potential customer base, grow. The key is to keep it authentic and to avoid inviting people who are salesy. No one finds that valuable.

So there you have it. Three, non-tradeshow events that are sure to draw in customers.  

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