Establishing and nurturing your community can drive loyalty, deliver repeat business, increase sales and even help manage PR issues. We share nine top ideas to get your social calendar firing and your cash register ringing.
When you think of community events, does your mind go straight to local area marketing, like an on-the-ground activity that inspires footfall and encourages sales from those in your hood? There is no denying the power of events In Real Life (IRL)… But don’t limit yourself!
Indeed, these days we should avoid defining ‘community’ by geographical location when the power of online means a tribe can be borderless. We already know this to be true in the biking world, don’t we? It’s not where you live but rather what type of riding puts a passion in your belly. Indeed, that fire links you to countless others, creating the glue that binds you and can lead to a sense of connection and belonging.
As an IBD, harnessing and nurturing this passion can fuel your business. With community comes loyalty, trust and influence (organic ambassadors spreading the word).
So, how do you get your community event programme firing on all cylinders? We share our nine favourite virtual and IRL ideas to help you grow your tribe and set your IBD apart from the pack.
1/ Bring in Some Buddies
Is there a local brewery or coffee bean roaster in your area? Biking and beers or coffee go together like knicks and jerseys - they’re made to be! So why not invite them around to present a beer or coffee masterclass or blind tasting? See if they can’t bundle up some door prizes or even a hamper giveaway to help promote the event in the lead-up.
2/ Bike to School
Welcome the return to school with a special group bike train. Offer free checks on kids’ bikes, helmets and safety accessories. Even better, provide families with a free bike awareness morning or afternoon leading up to the big day back.
3/ Random Repairs
Are there key commuting arterials in your town but not on your doorstep? Don’t wait for the people to come to you - go to the people! Provide a free bike mechanic service for X hours on X day. Offer basic spot repairs but be sure to give out vouchers, incentives etc to encourage people to redeem in-store or online.
4/ Strava Challenge
Why not start a Shop Strava Challenge over the winter? Those who don’t abide by Rule #5 can meet virtually to thrash out a challenge. This is an excellent opportunity to offer deals on wind trainers and computers - maybe even provide a Garmin or Wahoo as an end-of-season prize for the person with the best score? Surely that’s going to deliver plenty of sign-ups!
5/ Scavenger Hunt on Two Wheels
This event requires some organisation but has the potential to be a really great day out doing something a little different by bike. Why not start or finish the activity with a BBQ or simply a tray of muffins and coffee outside the shop?
6/ Free Venue Hire (for a Good Cause)
We know several great stores are doing this and getting great kudos in their neighbourhood. How hard is it for community groups and initiatives to find a comfortable, affordable meeting space? As such, why not offer your floor outside of business hours? Whether it’s a youth initiative, a Men’s Shed style set-up (er, minus the shed!), or a cancer recovery group, these community initiatives genuinely need a safe, suitable space. You’d be doing something selfless for your area, and that gesture will return to you in spades.
7/ Shop Ride
It’s an oldie but an absolute goldie - the humble Shop Ride. Yes, it’s been around forever, but nothing drives connection, product interest and brand awareness quite like a shop ride. To take yours from humble to hero, consider the following:
- Consistency - same day, time, meeting location, rain, hail, or shine. Make this ride as reliable and constant as electrolytes in a recovery drink; it’s just always there;
- Support with social media - promote the event in the lead-up and acknowledge any highlights when it’s done and dusted. Encourage images to be taken and shared. Consider a shop ride hashtag.
8/ Tour with a Twist
Another oldie but goldie - hosting a Tour, Giro, Vuelta, Spring Classics party, or even a daily/nightly viewing depending on where in the world you are. Bring in some couches, pull in a projector, crank up surround sound, twist open your ales of choice and settle in. Is your store mates with IBDs around the world? Why not Zoom them in and share the party vibes.
9/ Free Bike Maintenance Class
Ideal for beginners, this is your opportunity to introduce customers to the basics of bike repair and good bike maintenance. Although this is great IRL, it could also take place virtually. It’s a top way to empower customers to care for their bikes and impress upon them just how essential professional bike maintenance is (i.e. you can do this at home, but not that…!), therefore encouraging an annual in-shop check-up. Why not offer the latter as a discount to all course participants?
BikeExchange Loves Community Events
We love hearing about community events run by our sensational sellers! Are you planning something? No matter what the scale, season or cause, why not contact our Seller Success team and see how we might be able to help promote your activity, or indeed if we have any additional ideas that might add some sizzle to the sausage! So contact us, and let’s get this party started!