Participation in local events can open up a number of possibilities – both for connecting with the public, as well as opportunities for networking with other business owners. Even if your town is relatively small, you will still be able to get to know more people than you would normally be able to do otherwise.
 
Where to Participate
 
Charity events are a great way to gain exposure. Sure, it would mean that you sacrifice some time – or even offer something at a discount – but it can place your business in the limelight, as well have the added benefit impacting others perception of you and your brand in a positive way. Of course your goals aren’t completely altruistic, but no one says you can’t be a kind and giving citizen and still grow your business.
 
For instance – offer to create a small website for a local cause, but place a link on it to your own site and services, saying: "Website created and donated by XXX XXX Solutions". The organizers will include the website link in all their promotions – giving you free, vast exposure.
 
Additionally, you can offer to donate a percentage of every client's revenue to the cause during the course of a specific campaign. Dollars add up!
 
Flea markets offer another great opportunity. Sure, you will be seeing the odd business owner who was able to take time off from his or her business, but here you will also be able to attract the home business owner. This may include the guy who builds kitchen cupboards after hours, the lady that creates wedding dresses, and the woman offering art classes from home, etc.
 
These small businesses are exactly the type of client who needs your services, since they do not have a main street address with passing trade. While not all of them might be able to afford your services, some of them do work with reasonable amounts of money, and will invest in your expertise.
 
Church fundraising events are another great option for participation. These events are usually in the public eye, and naturally draw a reasonable crowd at the very least. Additionally, many business people (or wives of business people) attend the event, since in many cases they are considered to be respected people in the community. By grabbing their attention, you will be able to do both marketing and branding at the same time. Simply offer a discounted package to be raffled – even if it’s as a part of something else.
 
Additional Tips
 
Watch your local newspaper for ideas. Anything that gets as far as the local publication is worth pursuing, considering the amount of exposure, advertising, branding, and of course the number of new clients it can bring you for free.
 
At some events you might need to fork out some money, but at others – depending on your creativity, you will be able to come up with ways to get involved without blowing your budget to bits. Opportunities to network and attract new clients abound for those who keep their eyes peeled and look for them.
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