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Local Louisiana Marketing Blog

How can local businesses reach record breaking festival crowds and conventions?

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 15, 2016 12:58:44 PM / by TEGNA Local Louisiana

TEGNA Local Louisiana


French Quarter Fest experienced record breaking attendance of over 760,000 people.   Collision is coming to New Orleans in between Jazz Fest weekends and has over 10,000 attendees and Jazz Fest's line up is one of the best in years.

While most of us are out enjoying the sights, sounds and and tastes of festival season, many local businesses are working around the clock to cater to the hordes of visitors and locals that flock to these seasonal events.  In fact, spring is a very lucrative time of year for many local businesses. 

With French Quarter Festival, Jazz Fest and the Zurich Classic just around the corner, and many large conventions in town, the next few weeks could be equally record breaking.  All of those visitors will be looking for more than festival grounds or convention spaces to explore while they are in town, and it is not too late to reach them.

Many local businesses have had marketing plans in place for years to attract spring visitors.  But just like an annual spring cleaning ritual, a dust-off and freshening of your marketing plan during this lucrative season could help you clean up at the cash registers.

New season.  New Approaches.

Many decisions are made in the moment by determining which stores, restaurants and venues are near the consumer’s current location, next destination or in between.   For visitors and festival crowds social media has become an increasingly important part of the experience.  Sharing updates and photos of their experiences and looking for more information from their friends, the events, trusted news sources and places nearby.

The explosion in smartphone use over the past few years has made communicating in real time with on-the-go consumers possible.  Advertising technology has adapted to consumer preferences and now it is possible to serve ads to people based on their locations. 

Facebook Local Awareness Ads: 


Facebook recently held a Boost Your Business event at the Superdome to educate local businesses about some of their offerings.  One of the ad types they talked about at this event is a relatively new option that is perfect for event driven audiences – local awareness ads.  These ads are designed to bring customers through your door by reaching people near your location.

You can choose the call to action that works best for you.  For instance, if your location is in Mid-City or Lakeview both of which are near Jazz Fest but not on the way back to most downtown hotels, you could set your call to action to be “Get Directions.”  If you are a restaurant you might want to consider providing a phone number so that they can call immediately to book a table.  Since all of these actions can be done with the click of a button from your ad on the user’s phone, it makes the action frictionless.

Facebook has hundreds of targeting combinations to help you reach the best customers.  You can start with a radius from your location and then select interests.


For instance, if you are a store that attracts lots of conventioneers,

  • You could set a radius large from your store to include the convention center.
  • You could then set interests for the types of conventioneers you want to reach, for instance during Collision you could reach people with interests in tech of digital or entrepreneurship. 
  • You could then add a layer of interests for your products – like the type of clothing you sell.
  • Then you could add in targeting layers for the demographics that you know are your customers.

PRO TIP:  In order to add interest or connection targeting create your ads in Power Editor vs Ads Manager.  You will have more targeting options in power editor.

Now that you have a target audience – the ad will be served to any people who fit the criteria you selected and come within that radius during the days that you select.  Choosing the right audience is only half of the battle, making sure that you communicate in a way that speaks to them is the rest.


Images in social media ads are crucial.  At a local Boost Your Business event, the Facebook team pointed out that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.

For the example of the clothing store above, some creative image ideas for ads could be:

  • Create curated festival ready outfits made of clothing brands you used in the targeting criteria.
  • Create weather friendly outfits geared to the upcoming weather forecast.
  • Showcase a popular musician or personality wearing an outfit from your store.

The text in your ad is just as important as the images.  Start your copy by telling consumers why they should read your ad up front.  Consider a promotion specifically for this audience.  The clothing store in our example could promote:

  • 20% off specific brands or outfits.
  • Availability of weather related items – rain boots, sunglasses, hats, etc.
  • Walking distance to the convention center.

Now that you have selected your time-frame, created a targeted audience within a radius of your business, created your ad with relevant images and compelling copy, & selected your call to action button you are ready to start driving some of the people from those record breaking crowds into your business.

If all of this sounds great, but you just won’t be able to find the time before Jazz Fest to build this out and monitor your campaign during one of your busiest seasons.  Don’t let the opportunity pass you by. Contact us to have one of our marketing specialists handle your Facebook ad campaign while you tend to those busy cash registers.


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Topics: Social Media, conventions, visitors, facebook ads, festivals, geo-targeting

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