13 Budget-Friendly Events to Draw New Customers to Your Small Business

friendly events to draw new customers

Getting involved in your local community is an easy way to build relationships and find loyal customers for your business. Hosting a community event can help you kick-start these relationships, but events can be expensive, and a new small business may not have the resources necessary to host one.

To help small businesses find some effective yet budget-friendly event solutions, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members answered the following question:

“Getting active in the community is a great marketing technique for local small businesses. What’s one budget-friendly event idea any small business could host, and how does it attract new customers?”

Try out one of these event ideas to build better relationships with your community.

1. Value-Aligned Events

“Education, fun and philanthropy — one or all of those can be packed into a fun local event. Start simple, provide worth and fun and show off your company’s values. Live events are coming back strong and people want to get out and socialize again in a safe environment. Take advantage of that desire.” ~ Jeff Cayley, Worldwide Cyclery

2. Contests

“Host a fun contest where local neighbors and customers can participate. You can tie in the theme to your brand, and invite people to submit entries and show off their spirit. For example, some libraries host an Edible Book Festival and invite patrons to create displays based on their favorite stories. Scavenger hunts are a low-cost option and may allow you to partner with other stores in the area.” ~ Duran Inci, Optimum7

3. Shredding Events

“On-site shred events are an amazing way to connect and help the local community. People always have stacks of papers to shred in their homes. You could also add a charitable aspect to this and raise money for a local charity to further help your local community. These are fun events and really help people in a huge way. My business does at least one of these events a year for our local community.” ~ Kyle Clayton, Team Clayton of RE/MAX Professionals

4. Workshops

“One way to get active in the local community is to host a free workshop in your business’s space. This will prompt local people to come out and learn about the courses, workshops or services you offer.” ~ Andy Pandharikar, Commerce.AI

5. Volunteering

“Small businesses have a responsibility to be good stewards of the local community and environment. Organizing an old-fashioned beach cleanup or garbage pickup along local hiking trails is a great way to bring people together to do something positive. These events can be a chance to connect with people who want to make a positive impact in the community while doing something helpful.” ~ Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

6. Product or Service Sampling

“Sponsor small community parties and sample your service or products. Give out flyers and have a good connection with the people in the community. Make sure the niche is right and the timing is perfect!” ~ Daisy Jing, Banish

7. Hobby-Based Events

“One easy but impactful way to get involved with a community is to build a Facebook group around an activity. For example, a craft store could create and moderate a group for specific hobbies in a location. It’s a way to help people learn new things and share information, and you can leverage such a group activity to build your brand image. Over time, this will increase web traffic among your customer base.” ~ Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

8. Industry-Specific Events

“I’d suggest doing something related to your business that your customers will enjoy. If you’re in a health- or fitness-related field, you could organize a 5K or another type of sporting event. Food-related businesses could put together a food or wine tasting event. You could make the event larger and share the work by partnering with other local businesses in your industry.” ~ Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

9. Speaking Engagements

“A small business could host a speaking engagement utilizing their own staff members as the product experts. You could offer a discount code as an incentive for attending. After the presentation, you could have a live product demo where customers can get a hands-on feel and chat further with experts. New customers would be attracted by the discount incentive and one-on-one time with industry experts.” ~ Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

10. Giveaways

“Hosting a contest or giveaway is a great way to build excitement for your brand and attract new customers. Everyone loves winning prizes, and this gives your audience an incentive to participate and tell their friends so they have a chance at winning too.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

11. Sporting Events

“Try sponsoring a local sporting event, such as a high school or college baseball or football team. This is a great way to get your name out there, and it gives you an excuse to take a day off to watch some sports!” ~ Bryce Welker, Beat The CPA

12. Philanthropic Events

“Small businesses can host philanthropic events to help the community, raise awareness for a cause and build brand awareness. If your product is relevant to a good cause, you can use that to promote it and encourage others to participate as well.” ~ Jared Atchison, WPForms

13. Webinars

“Conducting a webinar can be one of the easiest and most budget-friendly event ideas for small businesses. You can host these webinars in the form of an online session to train your attendees on a specific topic. It’s a good way to generate more leads and establish yourself as a thought leader.” ~ Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

Image: Depositphotos

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The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.