"At the end of the day you'll get nothing for nothing." -Les Miserables
I'm on the planning committee for a new street festival that will happen this summer in downtown Jackson. It's a big one. Artists, Musicians, Restaurateurs, Local Brewers and Wineries, a Color Run and more.
Some of the merchants on the streets that will be closed are concerned. I hear comments like...
"These events never draw me any traffic."
"All these events do is close me down to my regular traffic."
"Too many street closures and I'll have to close, too."
Five thousand people walking past your shop and you can't do any business?!?
When you ask those who are complaining what they did to get those people the last 20 feet from street through door, the usual response is a blank stare.
Street closures for construction suck! Street closures for fairs and events can be a windfall... if you recognize that it is your job to get the customers from the street through your door.
If you do nothing, you'll get nothing.
You have to do something.
You have to do something special.
You have to do something that will move the needle for someone who came down to look at classic cars or taste local cuisine or peruse amazing art.
You have to do something that gets their attention, makes them notice you, be interested in you, desire your products and services, and make the purchase.
You can't reach them through radio or TV or email. They are 20 feet away. Right here right now. You have to go out and get them. You have to do something so amazingly wonderful that they drag their friends through the door with them.
That last statement could apply any time of the year. If you're not getting the traffic you think you should be getting, whatever you're doing to try to attract customers is pretty close to nothing in their minds. Time to up your game.
PS One simple clue into what not to do to get them that last 20 feet... People at street fairs - especially ones involving art and food - spend like drunken sailors. You won't win them over with a sale or special price or discount nearly as much as you will by offering them something that matches their world view. They are already over-paying for food and drinks at these events. Entice them with something impulsive and fun and in line with their (your) Core Values. They are ready to overspend. Don't disappoint them.