Despite living in an increasingly digital world with online shopping growing at astounding rates, small business owners appreciate face-to-face interaction with buyers more than ever. That’s according to the 2014 Brandmuscle State of Local Marketing Report, which surveyed hundreds of local affiliates, agents and dealers from across the country.

In fact, local events captured the highest rank for overall satisfaction across all tactics considered in our survey, with 80% of respondents stating they were somewhat or highly satisfied with the results, and 71% saying the same about community sponsorships. Overall, 79% of respondents said they participate in local events.

8 in 10 SMBs like marketing at local events

Satisfaction ranked highest for local events according to our report

What do local marketers like about events?  Here are a few comments, tips and observations from our respondents:

  • “Local events create great word of mouth for my business.”
  • “We host a Customer Appreciation Day. Free food, prizes, and giveaways. Customers seem to like entering to win a high dollar accessory just for upgrading.”
  • “Local events give me the opportunity to talk to the local community about our services and products.”
  • “Face-to-face community events work well. Face to face is the most powerful way to connect with people.”
  • “Community events and sponsorships put us in the community; they let people know we care.”
  • “Local events are best. They give us the ability to have face time with customers and create a great experience to enhance our brand image.”
  • “Dedicated local events allow for repeat appearances to create brand recognition.”
  • “Concerts and local events work for me. Every year I run a local country music concert and we average about 20 sales!”

At Brandmuscle, we recommend that local marketers leverage events and sponsorships to develop a consistent presence in their communities and establish a reputation as a trusted local provider.

Local events and sponsorships can be relatively inexpensive when compared to other traditional tactics, and can serve as an effective tool for local affiliates who want to close sales on-site or gather leads. By meeting your customers where they are or offering them an event they’re interested in, small businesses can create a great opportunity to get in front of people.

The message from our survey seems to be this: never underestimate the power of meeting with your customers face-to-face. We completely agree !

To learn more, download the Brandmuscle 2014 State of Local Marketing Report.