5 Frameworks for Creating Local Events with Community Value

Andrew McDermottLocal, Local Marketing, Public Relations, Review Marketing, Small Business MarketingLeave a Comment

Local Events

Admit it.

You’d love to have a never-ending stream of positive online reviews. Being able to attract eager customers who value your work. To receive praise locally from the communities you’re a part of, and build an amazing reputation that attracts customers, sales and glowing reviews?

Most businesses won’t get it.

Not because they can’t get it, but because they don’t know how. They don’t know how to use local events to attract attention. They simply aren’t able to generate the results they need.

Can you use local events to attract attention?


Is there a way to use local events to attract customers and boost positive reviews for your business?

Absolutely. You do it by serving.

That sounds generic and really unhelpful doesn’t it? Let’s take a closer look.

You serve those with an audience. Individuals, businesses or organizations – it doesn’t really matter. You go on a quest to find ways to serve complementary partners, those who serve the same basic audience you do in a different, yet complementary way.

Here’s what that looks like.

If you’re a…

  •       Realtor looking for rave reviews you’d serve mortgage brokers, appraisers, home inspectors and title companies.
  •       Plumber, you reach out to general contractors, mechanical engineers, electricians, etc. Anyone who’s part of the building, development or maintenance process.
  •       Marketing agency, look for opportunities to help serve production houses, specialists like copywriters, graphic designers, marketers, etc.

See the connection?

You can’t serve everyone. You can’t be all things to all people. Instead, find the people whose business complements your own. These are the people you can make a difference for.

Your greatest impact comes from those you…


… Help the most. But how?

You probably want more customers and positive reviews, right? It’s not like you can walk into a random office and walk out with an address book full of happy customers and glowing reviews.

So, how do you do it?

How do you attract more customers who are eager to give you positive reviews? You figure out what they want. Every business has a list of desires, goals, fears, frustrations and problems.

Find out what they are.

Next, come up with a never-ending list of ways to serve each of your partners, helping them get what they want. This works best if you’re able to give at first without expectation.

This is both crucial and valuable.

That’s because giving initially, without expectation, is incredibly rare. You see this gross behavior at work on social networks. Follow other accounts on Twitter or LinkedIn, join a few groups and you’re bombarded with requests.

You see it with inexperienced sales people. Answer a cold call, express even the faintest interest and the sales person hounds you until you stop answering.

We’re all conditioned to be skeptical these days. It’s tough to get past gatekeepers. It’s tough to get in touch with real people.

How are we supposed to get potential partners to accept any of the local event ideas we have?

With a framework.

The right framework gives us a clear structure to follow, showing us when and how to approach potential partners with our event ideas. A framework gives us the ability to create new ideas at will, instead of becoming focused on the ideas we want to work.

The beautiful part about these frameworks is this: Handled properly they create the openings you need and methods you use to serve.

Let’s take a look.

Framework strategy #1: Teach or be taught


Education attracts customer attention. Use this strategy to approach complementary partners who have an audience but aren’t teaching them effectively.

Here’s a few examples:

  •       Restaurateurs can run cooking classes at the YMCA, specialty grocery stores, farmers markets, meetups, etc. Offer samples to your audience then, ask for feedback near the end of your presentation. Just be sure to record their feedback!
  •       Mortgage brokers looking for clientele can reach out to Realtors, offering to teach their customers about the dirty tricks dishonest brokers use to add thousands of dollars in interest payments to your loan. Ask for feedback and offer the next step.
  •       Marketing and PR firms can create a podcast, YouTube series or slide deck filled with interviews from influential players in the industry, getting inside scoops from search engines and ad networks, and customers. Get reviews for your series, attract customers to your firm, then get more feedback and reviews.

Framework strategy #2: Give what you have


If you’re short on time you can give complementary partners something they want. Just be sure it’s a desire, goal, fear, frustration or problem they want solved. Then give them what they want.

Your gift can be anything of value. You could…

  • Sponsor an upcoming local event
  • Make an in-kind donation
  • Offer a giveaway, free product, service or extended trial
  • Offer a relevant free gift to local event producers

Your gift should be something your partner (or their audience) wants very much. Handled well, you’ll save an incredible amount of time while maximizing goodwill, sales and reviews.

Framework strategy #3: Protect from harm


Are you a maven? Someone who has access to a vast amount of information others do not? Use it to protect potential partners (or their customers).

  • Protect customers from being abused or hurt
  • Expose people, events or circumstances that puts partners or customers at risk
  • Show partners why they’re struggling to solve a particular problem
  • Look at your partners customers; find those who are unsure, lost, confused or doing it wrong
  • Find a cheap, unique or faster way to help them

Framework strategy #4: Be a connector


Becoming a talent broker gives you ready access to influential people, which makes you an influencer yourself. Connecting people who can help each other is one of the most useful skills an employee or entrepreneur can have.

The best part? There’s more than one way to do it.

  • Introduce people who can provide value to others
  • Introduce two influencers to each other
  • Introduce two people, but seed the relationship with an idea
  • Host an event (e.g. webinar, conference, speech, dinner) but invite influential and complementary partners
  • Nurture the relationships you spark

This is a long term strategy. Introduce people and organizations that can help each other. Give people what they want, seed the relationships with your ideas then watch the positive results customers, sales, reviews, pour in.

This strategy isn’t as easy to control but the rewards are pretty significant. It just takes time.

Framework strategy #5: Provoke with Care


Find a problem affecting your community, a problem they want solved. Then, same as before, create ideas for solving them. Only this time, use fear, rebellion or the desire for fame and prestige as triggers to attract a dramatic amount of attention, like this:

cat lovers deserve to die

Or this:


Game Over

Or that:


Give your data to the NSA

Controversy is like fire, use it carelessly and you’ll get burned. Use it to attract a lot of attention to a mutually beneficial cause that the community cares about, and you’ll attract a lot of attention.

Do this on your own if the reaction you’ll provoke is too strong. Work with complementary partners if they have the stomach and emotional maturity for controversy and the backlash that follows.

This worked for others but it won’t work for you


Right?

That’s the fear we all have. But it’s entirely false. Over and over we see that it can and does work for a variety of businesses.

Botto Bistro partnered with Yelp (against their will) to generate an incredible amount of (negative) positive reviews.

AirBnB used Craigslist (again, against their will) to growth hack their business, driving revenue to $500 million.

Jason Sadler partnered with like-minded businesses, receiving $1,000,000 to wear business t-shirts for a living.

Jon Basso, owner of The Heart Attack Grill, abused these strategies, using his dead customer’s remains to promote his business.

There are hundreds of stories like these. Most entrepreneurs using these strategies take the honest route. Some are questionable, while a few take the dishonest route.

These strategies work like gangbusters and they’re used by the elites to attract customers, generate buzz and attract an incredible amount of positive reviews.

If they can do it, so can you.

Love your community, share the perks


Want glowing reviews from the community and local events? Want a never-ending stream of positive online reviews? Give everyone a reason to love, support and follow your business.

Serve.

Give complementary partners the tools they need to grow your business and you’ll grow yours. Create a framework of your own and you’ll discover you have the tools you need to attract customers and reviews on demand.

About the Author

Andrew McDermott

Andrew McDermott is the co-founder of HooktoWin and the co-author of Hook: Why Websites Fail to Make Money. He shows entrepreneurs how to attract and win new customers.