Participating in festivals can be a lot of work and can cost a lot of money. Why on earth would downtown businesses want stay open on a long weekend, pull their inventory and services into the street and think of creative ways to engage their target markets? Why indeed…
Here are the top 10 reasons downtown Williams Lake businesses should consider going inside/out July 1st…
10. Front of Mind
People who haven’t shopped downtown in a while see your store, maybe for the first time… or maybe they get reminded. Either way, they’ve seen it and if they like what they see, they will be back. We always get comments after events and festivals from people who are amazed at the great stores we have downtown.
9. New Relationships
People get to relate to you in a new way. Maybe you’re selling things outside, so people who wouldn’t normally enter your store can browse on the street. Maybe you’re providing an activity to engage your target market. Suddenly, you’re more than a sign over a door, you’ve extended yourself and your business – you’re accessible. The public’s new experience of your store will create new relationships. People who enjoy the relationship will be back.
8. Arts Connection
An arts-focused festival like the July 1st festival they can build symbiotic relationships between the arts community and the business community. You may hear a musician you want to invite to perform later during a promotion. You may see an artist’s work that you’d like to show and/or sell in your store. You may be inspired to invite an artist to design your window displays or paint your interior space. Artists may realize you provide goods and services they need. An arts-focused festival is an opportunity to be inspired by local talent, to partner with creative people, and to get your but out of your rut.
7. Easy Pickings
If a festival is planned right outside your door, and crowds of people are walking by, or standing around, cast out your net! Talk to people. Offer something they can look at, listen to, enjoy, ask you about, interact with. Give out your cards and your brochures. Let people know what you do. When they need you they’ll remember you and they will be back.
6. Connect with your Neighbour
Festivals are a great time to see and talk to your neighbour business owners and staff. Conversations may give you new information that will effect how you do business. You may find ways to partner with your neighbours to attract shared markets. Planning block events together can attract press coverage and shoppers to your street. Think of your neighbour as your marketing partner and see how many ideas you can brainstorm together during the July 1st festival.
5. Free Press
Plan something interesting and the press will cover it. You can benefit from press coverage before the festival, during the festival, and if you’ve planned it well, you’ll get coverage after the festival as well. A contest where the winner is announced after the festival is one example of how press can promote you before, during, and after July 1st. A unique activity, a special showing, a hands-on experience, a demonstration, a unique theme, a fundraiser… if you are doing something interesting, the press will want to tell your story.
4. Shared Marketing Costs
The July 1st festival will have a two-page spread in the issue before the festival date. The two pages will be full of exciting reasons for our local and extended communities to flood into downtown. People will be looking for these pages, and will be holding on to them throughout the day to reference festival information. Your ad on that two-page spread will be worth far more than it would on a normal day. A unique event hosted at your store and listed with festival events… priceless
3. Shared Vision
This festival is designed to show the community what a vibrant downtown looks and feels like. Imagine how walkable streets, outdoor dining, live entertainment, arts & cultural experiences and exciting businesses will make the public feel. If we can bring this energy to downtown for one day, then we can do it for two. We can do it for a season. We can do it all year round. It starts with sharing a vision and then working together to build the experience.
2. Expand Markets
People are coming from far and wide to enjoy the rodeo. The downtown festival July 1st is designed to attract locals and visitors. Think of July 1st as an audition where non-locals check out our downtown. If they like what they see, they’ll come back and visit us again outside of Stampede weekend. If you’ve done a great job connecting with people during the festival, they’ll be telling their friends back at home about your business – and they’ll be passing out your card.
1. Ride the Wave
For the July 1st festival, your BIA is doing the bulk of the heavy lifting – all you have to do is (1) think of something fun for your business to do July 1st, (2) tell your BIA and we’ll send the press your way. Then, (3) July 1st, show up, open your store and shine (there will NOT be an outside vendor crowding your doorstep – promise).