5 ways local businesses can make the most of the county fair

County fairs are family-friendly events that provide wholesome fun and foods that are hard to find elsewhere. County fairs also provide great opportunities for local businesses to attract new customers.

Fairs draw large crowds, which should appeal to small business owners who want to market their businesses in a way that won’t bust their budget. The following are five ways local businesses can take advantage of the unique promotional opportunities presented by county fairs.

1. Put it in print.

Many county fairs hand out printed pamphlets or guidebooks that showcase fair history and highlight all of the attractions on display. These booklets are filled with useful information for fair-goers, but they’re also loaded with advertisements for local businesses. Local business owners can place an ad in fair pamphlets/guidebooks highlighting their services and location. Include a QR code that fair visitors can instantly scan on their phone to take them directly to your website.

2. Sponsor an attraction.

Fair organizers often raise funds by selling sponsorships to featured attractions. If possible, sponsor an attraction that aligns’ with your offerings. For example, local restaurants may want to sponsor an eating competition, even providing the foods competitors will eat during the event. If so, offer free bite-sized samples of the foods to spectators during the event itself.

3. Set up shop on fairgrounds.

A booth on the fairgrounds can be a great way to interact directly with customers. Select a small sample of your products and offer them directly for sale at the fair. Hand out business cards with each purchase and let customers know there’s more to be had on your website and in your store. Booths tend to book quickly, so contact fair organizers as early as possible.

4. Be prepared to engage customers.

County fairs harken visitors back to times when carnival barkers would attract passersby with boastful assertions or promises that were simply irresistible. Local business owners who want to set up shop at a county fair must recognize that all sorts of attractions and businesses will be competing for attention, so they should go there with a plan and a willingness to engage people who pass by their booth. Embrace your inner carnival barker and offer free samples and even prizes to draw potential customers to your booth.

5. Put out a mailing list sign-up sheet.

Even the largest fairground booth will likely offer only a fraction of what’s available in-store or online. So encourage visitors to your booth to sign up for a mailing list, enticing them to do so by touting exclusive discounts and other perks available only to mailing list members. This is a great way to attract new customers even if they don’t make any purchases on the campgrounds.

County fairs are all about fun, but they also present great opportunities for small business owners to connect with new customers.