From Harry the Hawk working it out on the dance floor before a wine tasting. To the word-covered, white sofas on the lawn reminding you of delicious dishes like Tabbouleh, Falafels and Ratatouille. The diverse sea of people that show up each year for Taste of Atlanta always have plenty to see, do and eat.
After all, we came for the food.
And whether you’re a foodie or just a hungry sister who neglected to eat breakfast (that’s me), there’s a mouthful at this event. Making it an ideal opportunity for local restaruants to market their business — if they do it right. In fact, every event that small businesses participate in requires some additional planning and effort in order to make the most of the opportunity.
From an event marketing perspective…
…you have to pay attention to several things including booth location, signage, the people behind the table, as well as materials that make it easy for your audience to find and connect with you after the event.
Now I ate well. I had Smoky Alaska Surimi Seafood Dip and I have the recipe card to recreate it and the name of the company so that I can find the exact same primary ingredients.
I can still taste that dish.
From Another Broken Egg Cafe at 2355 Peachtree Road Northeast I had Banana’s Foster Jumbo Pancakes and as they say “it’s a bona fide humming experience.” I didn’t know that at the time, but I did end up with a “hummm” or two.
It was good to me.
The tastiest event marketing lesson ever
I also remember a tasty lamb burger — vegetarians forgive me — in an oversized bun, but I can’t recall the restaurant’s name. The same thing happened at a booth with a delicious rice noodle dish that I would go visit this weekend if I could find them. But I have nothing to go on, except my memory and that doesn’t always work out well when it comes to directions.
So I figured I would flip through the Taste of Atlanta program and find everybody that made me so happy that gourmet-filled, sunny, Saturday afternoon on Spring Street and 4th.
Well, that was easier said than done. While everybody’s logo, name and address is in the book, that’s not enough to jog my memory, not after just one impression — though it was a tasty one.
So here’s my humble marketing advice
For restauranteurs at live events marketing is everything. It’s not enough to just show up. There are few things to help any small business owner stand out a little more at these live events.
1) Get In The Program.
If there’s a printed manual or program for your event, buy an ad so that you can stand out. That program is going home with the crowd. You need to be in it with a picture, location and contact information.
2) Create Eye Catching Print Materials.
Create easy to carry print items of your own with pictures that remind your walking diners of what they had and where to get more. Be sure to include your website and relevant contact information on the card.
Don’t force them to find you online before they can make contact with your restaurant again. Provide the telephone number right there on the card.
But if they want to use their cell phones to look you up, don’t make them Google, Yahoo! or Bing you. Just tell your future client exactly where to go online by including your web address on your print materials.
3) Leave Them Hungry For More.
Display your menu at the booth. Let them see what your restaurant has to offer right there at the event. The Salt Factury Pub on Canton Street in Roswell did this and I ended up eating there within 24 hours of leaving Taste of Atlanta.
Pubs aren’t my style, but their twist on the typical pub menu caught my taste buds. It was the Goat Cheese Ravioli and the sassy friendliness of the women behind the booth that brought me to the doors. It’s the spicy cold slaw, their New Zealand Lamburger with the carmelized onions and goat cheese — can’t seem to get enough lamb and goat cheese right now — and the friendly staff that’ll bring me back again.
When it comes to business, every piece of communication is marketing in one form or another. Make the most of every by maximizing your marketing message.