Event Marketing for Small Business Owners

Bullhorn announcing Event

There are millions of small businesses competing against each other with websites, advertisements and marketing campaigns vying for the attention of consumers. It is difficult to stand out from the crowd in such an environment, but event marketing puts your brand right in front of consumers in a way that other forms of marketing can’t.

Events are a tried and true method of marketing, and lots of businesses large and small use them to engage potential customers. Live Marketing reports that companies spend $24 billion on exhibiting at events every year. Here’s a look at some of the tenets to help you take advantage of the vast opportunities available to you in event marketing:

Host Events

The quickest way to have people notice you is to invite them over. Hosting an event gives you a chance to market your product to consumers while networking with other businesses. As a small business owner, your event may not be a huge convention, but this gives your brand a chance to stand center stage and make a big impression.

Think about what kind of event is right for your business. If you run a bookstore, host an event where your staff reads books to children. Or, if you run a print shop, host an educational event for other small business owners about creating marketing material. Be sure to brand your event with custom signage displaying your logo, colors, and message. Items such as pop-up banner stands and wide-format posters are affordable, portable and can be reused for other marketing opportunities.

Trade Information

Whether you host an event or attend one, be sure to put your contact information into the hands of anyone who seems interested. You can do this by creating an email sign-up sheet or by offering incentives for people who visit your site and log in right then and there at the event. Also stock your event with flyers, brochures and any other print collateral and work to put it into the hands of your event visitors. Your primary goal should be to get as much information from potential consumers as possible as well as giving them the tools to research your business after the event is over.

Asheville Area B2B Trade Show Event, 2015
Asheville Area B2B Small Business Expo

Document Everything

We live in a media-centric world, and if you don’t take pictures, it may as well not have happened. Additionally, social media gives you a chronology of people who interacted with your brand that you can broadcast to engage your followers and drive business. Playing photographer and social media guru can be a challenge, but with an up-to-date smartphone like the HTC One M9, you can handle all that and more from the palm of your hand. Take pictures of yourself and your customers, and share them on social media to link yourself to the community around you.  Include print and promotional products with QR codes to help drive traffic to your online marketing – it’s all about using every opportunity to take advantage of multichannel marketing.

Give It Away

Branded trade show promotional products
Branded promotional products as giveaways put your name in your prospects hands.

Promotional items are a cross between gift and marketing material, and they are always a hit at events. Convention-goers often get excited about all the free swag they can receive, and you can leverage this to get the crowd to advertise for you. By giving away small promotional items, such as keychains, T-shirts and hats, you can make potential customers happy and have them advertising for you wherever they go. Furthermore, promotional items drive business — Epromos reports that 85 percent of consumers do business with a company after receiving a free promotional item.


Heading to an event won’t help you if no one knows you are there. This means you need to get the word out. Post on your website about the event and take to social media to let your followers know where you will be. Reach out to bloggers in your industry and local news outlets to let them know about the event and your role in it, so you can get some press before the event even begins.


Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Engraving – our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.



Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.