Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Promoting your business? The CVB can help!

Are you struggling with how to best promote your business without spending a fortune? There are many opportunities available through the Convention and Visitors Bureau for free or at minimal cost.
For instance, this last month I attended two shows geared to consumers looking for weekend getaways and day trips. Attractions like the water park, opera house and festivals always grab their interests but many are also interested in our shopping and dining. Ann Engel, Main Street director, has helped me keep an updated map and directory of the downtown area marked with shopping, businesses, restaurants, ATM locations and available buildings. I hand out hundreds at every show that I go to, as well as, at local hotels, restaurants and shops. This is a free service of the Convention and Visitors Bureau we provide to local businesses.
Another free service we offer is our Visitor Coupon Book that we print and hand out to visiting groups and conventions and hand out at shows. We currently have 35 merchants participating in this book for free. We handed out 1,200 at the Taste of Home Show in Hutchinson alone last week. Our criteria to participate is that businesses offer a percent discount or BOGO offer, have no expiration date, and keep a tally to turn in to our office every quarter of coupons turned in. Anyone in McPherson that can meet the criteria can participate.
There are also online opportunities where you can list your business with the state’s tourism website via the CVB and even include a picture at no charge. Additionally we can list you in their printed official visitors guide for the state at a nominal charge. Close to 800,000 of these guides are distributed to potential visitors. The more listings we can get for McPherson, the more these potential customers will want to plan a trip to our town.
Often when I go to travel shows there are opportunities for door prizes or to have us hand out a brochure about your business. All of the names we collect through our prize drawings are entered into a database that we will share with any business that provides giveaways or decorations for our booth.
Another great inexpensive way to promote your business is to join organizations like McPherson Main Street and the Chamber of Commerce. The amount of promotional opportunities and networking opportunities you get for your membership is invaluable. A strong Main Street and Chamber that plan community events certainly make my job easier. The CVB tries to support both organizations with marketing grants and partnerships like I listed above.
One project that we are all three partnering on is an update to our official visitor guide and community profile magazine. This publication will be distributed at all the travel information centers and locally at hotels, restaurants, shops and at our office. When you get a call to support this guide I hope you’re able to help us put out a quality publication that represents our fine community.

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