8/19/2022  DiscoverNWBBQ.com
BBQ Competitions are always fun however they are more fun with greater crowds.  The competitors love it, the vendors love it, and of course the sponsors do as well.
Discover Maestro has been the lead marketing agency for the Hudson Bay Heritage Days BBQ Competition in Dupont Washington for the last 5 years but has also produced major events in the Puget Sound such as the Tacoma Freedom Fair with over 125,000 attendees.   Today, they share some secrets.
Discover Maestro analyzes the goals of the producers.  Primarily, most just want a good attendance but there may be other goals such as filling hotel rooms, building a social media audience, driving website traffic or filling local hotel rooms. 
Website - You want a modern website that is easy to access and view most of the information on the home page.  Many people do not always go to subsequent pages  Sponsors should be highlighted on that home page.  There are cutting edge technologies that you can incorporate into your website that can ensure your success long into the future.  An outdated website can turn people away from your event.  Contact us to learn more.
Social Media - at a minimum you want a Facebook page.  This helps to keep everyone updated.  Most importantly facebook's events should be used as they will help to promote your event as well.  Social media can be automated with systems so that you can continually keep your audience engaged.
Greater attendance happens when a mass audience knows about the event.  A percentage of those who see the event will attend.  As a general rule, we put that number at 5%.  For example, if 100,000 people see your event repeatedly, you should get a crowd of at least 5000 people.  There are more factors involved such as will the people who see your event want to attend.  Advertising to the most optimum demographics will help.  Above all, word of mouth is not going to get you the crowd that you want.  Plan marketing into your budget.  It should not be an after thought.  
Sponsors - events happen with the generosity of sponsors.  It is important to start reaching out to them a year in advance.  That gives them a full year of promotion with the event.  It is vital to help them to be seen.  This helps them to get a return on investment and they will be willing to come back again.  This only happens if the event is widely seen before the event and the event is well attended.  For maximum results, it is important that sponsors have a booth space at the event. Sponsors should engage the audience, conduct a raffle and collect contact information from those who may be interested in your products or services.  Someone sitting in a chair underneath a tent is not going to be productive.  I often ask sponsors, "How many email addresses did you collect?"  If you got none, you may want to reconsider your operations.  Let us know if you would like a free consultation as a sponsor or if you would like us to coach you & sponsors for success.
It is important that you get high resolution images of sponsor logos, website links and social media sites.  This allows you to promote their businesses.  You want to use tracking links so that you can show them how much traffic that they got from you.  We were able to show one of our main sponsors how many clicks that they got to their website which can help them measure their success with us and even track sales.  We use these tracking links on the websites and social media. 
Vendors - Many businesses plan their events up to a year out.  Engage your previous vendors to come back and sign up early.  We promote our events that require potential vendors to input their information into a form to receive information about the event.  This allows us to build a massive vendor list that can be used for the future to get them to attend or advise others to attend. Vendor management from initial outreach to the end of the event is important and we will cover this in later articles. 
Get your sponsors and vendors to share your Facebook event on their social media.  Promote your vendors on social media since they are promoting you as well. 
Keep statistics on your website traffic, social media and digital marketing efforts.  Email marketing is crucial to remind people of your event.  You can incorporate sponsor ads into your emails.  All these statistics can be used for sponsor information packets.
If you need additional help, visit DiscoverMaestro.com.