It’s easy to emphasize monetary value and sales when it comes to business growth. But there are more ways to elevate your business than with transactions. In fact, the more a customer feels integrated with your brand as a whole, the more likely they are to become repeat customers and advocates for your business.

A thoughtful event or experience is a brilliant way to foster these connections and help your customers build deeper relationships with you. Think about the Tupperware parties of the past – when people came together and spoke about how they used the product, it created more brand love! So whether you’re a creator, a non-profit or a small business, how could gathering your customers together help your business in the long-run?

Here are some creative ideas to spark your next interaction with your customer.

For Makers and Creators

So you’ve got your storefront or online marketplace, now what? Ideally, you’ll have a busy store and daily click notifications for online sales. But this isn’t always the case or always in motion 24/7. Here are some ways you can engage your local community through events:

  • Offer a peek behind-the-scenes – A tour of your brewery, a wine-tasting event or a walk around your workshop makes your customers feel closer to your product, building a deeper connection with the story behind your brand.
  • Get customers involved in the action- A DIY workshop gives customers a take-home memento and reminds them of your brand. Through this, they’ll have a conversation starter when friends ask about the product and they will keep you at the top of their minds for ongoing gifting.
  • Create a striking stall – Join a local marketplace of like-minded sellers and create an engaging and interactive stall. The more people visit the stall, the more experience and confidence you’ll build talking about your product. Pack contact cards and a sign with your social handles so customers can look you up afterwards!

“A marketplace is ideal for networking with fellow creators, the local community and potential collaborators.”

At San Francisco Small Business Week, our Opening and Closing Parties featured intimate marketplaces of local creators and makers surrounded by food from La Cocina chefs and drinks served by Royal Bartending. The exhibitors seized the chance to introduce the San Francisco Bay Area community to their products and build excitement about their brands. Creating a fun, unique environment for people to connect and check out the offerings made for a lively atmosphere and one of the best Small Business Week Events yet!

For Non-Profits

As a non-profit organization, you may already have the support of your regular donors and ongoing sponsors. Your opportunity for growth can come from engaging with the wider community of partners and followers. Here are some ways to share your mission and programming:

Offer to speak at an upcoming event.

Find a business that inspires you and connects with your core values and offer to speak on a panel at their next event.

Inspire with storytelling.

If you’re doing good work, you have a powerful message to share. When the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Northern California division came to us to plan their fundraiser, we created a gallery filled with portraits of refugees who came to the USA, with their stories told alongside the images. The visual element allowed attendees to better understand the emotional and physical journeys many refugees had to endure. This allowed us to effectively build empathy and more support for the work that organizations like the IRC do.

Offer volunteer opportunities.

Need some extra hands to pack boxes, sort food or plant trees? Or mentors to inspire youth? Connecting individuals and companies to volunteer is a great way for the community to better understand your work, feel more personally invested and bring people together for an important cause.

Speaking as someone who has had the opportunity to volunteer with the SF-Marin Food Bank, it’s always an exciting day. The break in routine, getting your hands dirty doing something good and working alongside other passionate people has always left me reinvigorated about helping our local community – particularly on the issues of food accessibility.

For Small Businesses

Gathering with the community can be just as important to your business bottom line as it is to yourself. As small business owners, it can often feel like the weight of the world is on top of you as you manage all the different roles all by yourself!

Having a community of other like-minded people who you can bounce ideas with, share your challenges and wins with and just feel a little less alone is so important. I’ve felt comforted and inspired by the communities I’ve built in my local area, in the events industry and in the social impact space – each helping me to continue innovating and remaining resilient through this small business journey.

Here are some tips to find your small business tribe:

  • Join professional associations – We are recent members of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) and the San Mateo Chamber of Commerce and longtime members of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and ILEA-NCC (International Live Events Association – Northern California Chapter)
  • Attend creative events – We’ve been attending CreativeMornings to meet new people and be inspired by new ideas.
  • Ask your community for an intro – Your core community are people you trust, so they should know who you’ll connect with. Don’t be afraid to just ask for that email intro and start the conversation there.
  • Build a networking event – If I see a gap in the market, I’m never shy about jumping to fill it. If you prefer working in a team, buddy up with a friend to co-create.
  • Follow inspirational businesses on social – Businesses use social media to share their latest news and release ticket links. Keep an eye out on new opportunities to learn and connect with others.

Let’s Come Together

If you can’t tell already, we love bringing people together! We want to help people like you think creatively about ways they can connect with their customers and community. If you’re facing a business challenge as a non-profit, community organization or maker, let’s have a chat about how an event can help you break through and deliver exciting results for your business.

Contact BB Events today to gain a creative thought partner, strategist and co-creator in your event planning journey.