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Turning Events into Marketing Opportunities

Avatar photo by Casey Woods, Executive Director | March 20, 2017
How can it be that March already? Although January and February are historically slower months for Emporia Main Street (we are still waiting to see that slow time), the spring and summer months bring an explosion of down town activity! And while that activity might be bringing locals to an event or visitors from out of town, it is safe to say that there will be more people out and about in Emporia-meaning more potential sales for you! Here are some thoughts to consider when gearing up for these busier months. 
1. When are all these major events in Emporia? 

With all the great events happening in our community, it can be kind of hard to keep up with it all. Making sure that you are staffed appropriately for major events can help insure good customer services, more sales, and less stress on you and your staff. Emporia Main Street offers several resources to help you plan for upcoming events. Take note of the events calendar included in each newsletter, visit our website or check out the Etown app.  This app is a good resource for finding and promoting community events and can be downloaded for free on your smart phone or mobile device. Click here for downloading instructions.
2.  Does your storefront reflect current seasonal products? Does it tie into a community event? Is your window provoking and current? Some of the best window displays prompt onlookers to have an emotional or intellectual reaction. By coordinating with the current holiday or event, you give shoppers a reason to come into your store.  Right now several of our local businesses have been showcasing their St. Patrick’s day products while helping promote local celebratory activities. Dressing up your storefront for events like Cinco de Mayo, the Flatland Cruisers Car Show, the Glass Blown Open, and Dirty Kanza can be a fun way for your business to get involved with the event!
3. Can you participate in the actual event? Whenever business owners can find ways to participate in an event or activity outside of their store, they increase their ability to create a new customer. Finding unique sales opportunities like Quarter Mania (March 9th) is a great way to promote your products and services to a captive audience. Many of our larger community events also offer a Block Party component, where businesses can sign up to participate as a vendor.
-The Taste, is an annual event that Main Street hosts to showcase Kansas wineries, breweries, distilleries, and restaurateurs. If you are a local restaurant, we would love to have you join us! This is typically a sell out event at 450 tickets and is a great way to promote your menu or catering capabilities.
-The Glass Blown Open, is a premier disc golf event held in Emporia in April. While tournament activities last over a week, there is a Player Party held in the 800/900 blocks of Commercial Street on Saturday, April 29th. During this party, players and locals come down town to enjoy music, food, and disc golf activities. To register to participate in this event, click here. Emporia Main Street will also be hosting a Welcome Wagon the week of-encouraging businesses to chalk their sidewalks to welcome visitors!
-Cinco de Mayo, is a fantastic celebration put on by Hispanics of Today and Tomorrow. This years celebration will take place in the 800 block and will offer a variety of entertainment. Please call Emporia Main Street for more information! The event will be held on Saturday, May 6th.
-Flatland Cruisers Car Show, this annual event brings in hundreds of participants and spectators into our community each year. The 2017 show will be held on Saturday, May 20th.
-Dirty Kanza Finish Line Celebration on June 3rd. Each summer, Emporia Main Street hosts the Block Party for the Dirty Kanza-a party with thousands of attendees. Due to the overwhelming spectator response we received last year, we have decided to expand the block party hours-by having all vendors set up by 11 am. In previous years, vendors were asked to start arriving mid afternoon, but due to the large crowd last year it was almost impossible to set up if you were there after 1 pm. This year we will be promoting an earlier start time, so you the vendor has more opportunity to sell your product. If you are interested in participating in the DK party, please click here. We will also be hosting a Welcome Wagon for this event.
4. Merchandise. Can you make or carry a product that goes along with the holiday event? Planning ahead for these sales opportunities allows you time to get your creative juices flowing or work with your distributor to get themed products into place. In the last issue we talked about local companies that can help you create ‘”brandable”  merchandise, they can also help you put a concept together for merchandise for these Emporia based events.
As we embark in the spring and summer months, remember that there are a variety of ways to promote your business to existing and current customers. Planning ahead to ensure that you have enough products ordered and staff hired will be key to your success. And as always, Emporia Main Street is here to help your along the way. If you are interested in participating in any of these upcoming events. please contact us for further information!

About the Author

Casey Woods, Executive Director

Before accepting the director position in March of 2009, Casey worked in both retail and agricultural jobs in the family businesses. A lifelong resident of the Emporia Area, Casey was a ten year volunteer for Emporia Main Street prior to his appointment as director. During that time he served as the board president and chair of the Economic Vitality Committee.

Casey also serves as a partner in PlaceMakers, LLC, a consulting firm that routinely works with both large and small communities, and their businesses, to promote sustainable economic growth through community and economic development practices. Casey consults with businesses, organizations and communities to understand their market capacity and fill vacant spaces. He has been involved in two projects that included crowdfunding as a part of their overall business funding strategies, Radius Brewing and Twin Rivers Winery & Gourmet Shoppe.


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