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Freebie Marketing Tip for Festival Food Vendors

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Saturday, April 2, 2011
Freebie Marketing Tip for Festival Food Vendors
I spend a lot of time at weekend crafts fairs and festivals. That's because my daughter (Sarah) and her partner (Jonathan) do mobile pizza catering (S & J's Woodfired Pizza), and my wife and I like to tag along to the festivals they work, for moral support (and free pizza).

As the consultant to S & J's pizza biz on all matters related to their online presence, I'm constantly thinking about ways they can leverage their online properties (Web site, blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) to do a better job of connecting and interacting with their audiences.

Here's an idea from the other day. It's an idea that festival food vendors, in particular, might be able to use.

Let's suppose you're a food vendor at a festival that runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. You sell 9-inch personal pizzas. Each pizza purchase is written up on a separate numbered sales ticket with a tear-off stub.

You're going to have your busy periods (11a-2p and 5p-7p) and your slow periods (all other times).

Here's what I'm suggesting you do:

Announce and conduct a lottery each day.

Let your customers know that at 3:30 pm all the tickets from the day's pizza purchases will be put in a hat (or, better still, an empty pizza box) for a drawing for a free pizza for three lucky customers.

Let them know that you'll be posting the ticket number of the winner on your chalkboard menu at 3:30 p.m. and that the winners have until 4:00 p.m. to claim their prizes.

The goal, of course, is to get a throng of people with pizza on their brains to come back to your booth during your slow period. You'll be giving away three free pizzas. But maybe some of the losers will make another purchase. And maybe the crowd will attract other passers-by who hadn't yet bought from you.

And here's a twist: tell your customers that you'll also be posting the winning ticket number to your Twitter timeline and on your Facebook Page.

(Hint #1: Make sure your Facebook and Twitter addresses are prominently displayed so that customers can easily like/follow you via their smart phones.)

(Hint #2: Use a QR code and associated landing page that links to all your online properties. More on that another time.)

The goal of this, of course, is to get more people following you on Facebook and Twitter.

The more tech-savvy smart-phoners won't even have to come to your booth at the designated time to find out if they won; they just have to check their social networking apps on their smart phones — and be less than 30 minutes away from you if their number is called.

When 3:30 comes, ask someone from the crowd to pull the tickets from the box. Ideally, choose a really cute kid holding a slice of your pizza in one hand. Ideally, get her parents to sign a model release form so you can take a picture or video of her and post it to your blog and Facebook Page.

That's it. That's my idea. If you use it, I'd love to know how it worked for you.
Jeff Cohan
Metro Atlanta-based nSiteful Web Builders is a full-service Web design & development firm. We have designed and built (and continue to maintain) Web sites and Web applications for businesses and organizations representing a variety of industries all over the country.

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Metro Atlanta-based nSiteful Web Builders, Inc. is a full-service Web design & development firm. We design, build and maintain Web sites and Web applications for businesses and organizations in a variety of industries all over the country.
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