Summer festival season is traditionally a major marketing and money-making time for businesses including breweries and pet stores. With the COVID-19 pandemic and country shut-down, summer festivals are being canceled.
If your business relied on summer festival season to supplement, or give your budgets a boost, how will your business adjust?
Outdoor festivals, for many small businesses and animal shelter and rescue organizations, are ways in which they connect with current customers, meet new customers and pet parents. These festivals are also ways in which many businesses make a bulk of their sales.
Now that these events are postponed or canceled, business owners including breweries, brick-and-mortar pet retailers and small “mom and pop” entrepreneurs are rethinking summer marketing plans.
For many of these small business owners, summer festivals -- whether local or traveling the summer festival circuit brings in large revenues. Money has already been spent on marketing, booths, ads, banners, table set-ups and branded pet merch.
How To Reach Customers This Summer
How will you reach customers this summer if the gatherings your business relied upon are canceled?
We have put together a list for your consideration.
Have your own outdoor “festival” in your parking lot
If your business is an area where you can open the doors as long as you and your customers are wearing masks and practicing social distancing, why not hold a festival on site. Pet parents are bored with being isolated and are looking for connections and for something different to do with their dogs; your festival might be just what they need right now.
Advertise your festival on your social media pages
You don’t have to spend a dime if you don’t want to on your social media advertising. Reach out to your fans and let them know you’re hosting an event. If it’s pet-friendly, make sure they know that, too. This is key for bar, brewery and restaurant owners -- you can connect with pet parents if they know that Fido and Fluffy are welcome.
Make it a true “event”
Make certain you’re following all local regulations for social distancing and for sanitization when you set up your event. You can have games for the dogs, set up a small agility run or even a “scent work” game by tossing treats in the grass. The pet parents can dash around with their dogs (make sure you enforce a “keep your dog on a leash” rule for everyone’s safety) and enjoy the fun of their pup finding a treat. Do giveaways. If you have branded dog or cat items like leashes, collars, plush toys, blankets or other items, ask guests to write their name, email and phone number on a piece of paper and do a drawing for various items. Hint: This is also a great way to build your mailing list!
Partner with another business owner
Working with another business owner is a great way to highlight his or her business to your audience and they will be highlighting your business to their audience. Find a business to partner with that doesn’t offer competing services. Plan a two day event -- one at your location and the second day at the partner business owner’s location. Reach out to one of our design consultants and talk with him or her about designing the branded dog toy for your event.
Work with a shelter or rescue organization and you both benefit
When you partner with a shelter or rescue organization they will be able to meet new potential adopters for the pets in their care. Their supporters will also be introduced to your business. To truly make the most of any partnership you should invest in dog and/or cat toys or other items like leashes, water bowls, traveling items and more. You can offer these items for sale at a low price with the proceeds to benefit the partner business or the shelter. You and the business you’re partnering with can both invest in co-branded dog toys that you can offer for sale with the proceeds going to a shelter or rescue group you both support.
Coronavirus is challenging all business owners to look at new and unique ways to market their business, remain connected with current clients and build a community of pet-loving customers.