Dear Diary: Low turnouts – I don’t get it.

We had a tasting event tonight with a special guest who traveled to us, nearly a 6-hour drive.

The product is great and we had the maker/artisan in, which should be two strong draws in themselves. Granted, we are competing against other beer week events that folks are traveling North for, but there are still plenty of South-enders who may have been able to come out and taste.

The event was open-house style, as most of our tastings are, spread over 3-1/2 hours, from 4:00 until 7:30 p.m. — in order to reach people on their way home from work. Normal turnout for our typical “staff pick” Wednesday has been averaging around 20-25. Tonight’s audience: 17.

It’s low turnouts like this that leave me scratching my head.

To do this tasting at home, a person would have to invest $42 + tax just to acquire the two bottles. To taste at the store, just 91-cents, plus tax ($1). On top of that, we supplemented the cost of tonight’s featured products (retail value $3.30 per person for the samples).

I put M on for pouring as he’s much more outgoing than I could ever be, and with the great special guest, figured that’d help draw in folks to participate. (Despite my efforts, I am much more of a “behind the scenes” person for events. I am an introvert; a wallflower. I feel the uncomfortable pauses. Though I wish I had the gift of gab, I wasn’t blessed or born with it, and it’s not something I have mastered.)

Publicity: Email, twitter, facebook, website. A reach well over 3,500. That calculates to less than 0.4% show. Crazy. Crazy. I don’t get it. Especially with the crazy number of people who ask about when we will have a mead tasting, the number of people requesting far outnumbers the number who came.

On the positive side, the participants who came got a lot of quality one-on-one time with the artisan maker. They enjoyed a quality product. They had a good time.

Too bad so many others didn’t come. Oh well. Their loss. But now they will continue to ask me to host more mead tastings…but they won’t come.

A small business challenge: How to get people to come?

I totally expected double the number of participants.

I’m always a little embarrassed when we have low turnout for special guests. And bummed. I get a little down about it. I try to keep my chin up. To focus on the quality time and delicious product and good company that those who came received. To realize that those folks who didn’t come still got to see information about the great product, to meet the artisan through our event posts.

But all that said, I still don’t get it:
Why low turnout when the value is there?

Have we become a society who wants something great for nothing?


2 thoughts on “Dear Diary: Low turnouts – I don’t get it.

  1. More updates on recent tastings–

    5/19 Saturday’s turnout — 24 participants.
    $3 per person, tax included.
    Sample: 4 beers.
    1st 48 got FREE pint glass.
    (broke even)
    Brewery rep present.

    5/23 Wednesday’s turnout — 54 participants.
    $1 per person, tax included.
    Sample: 2 beers.
    1st 48 got FREE pint glass.
    ($96 loss)
    Brewer present.

    Gotta figure out a way to get more folks in for brewery rep, break-even dollars ($3/person). Definitely get more folks in for the dollar event even though its less beers, but glass giveaway alone put us in the red. Lots of buyers tonight, so giveaway at a loss seems worth it to get people a chance to try the beer. Interestingly, local brewers seem to be a great draw to get folks in; distance not as much which seems strange to me. I’d think brewers would draw a strong crowd no matter where they come from.

  2. Yeah!! Glad for the big turnout tonight; went into it knowing we were going to take a financial hit, but lots of sales as everyone liked the products.

    6/6 Wednesday’s turnout — 67 participants.
    $1 per person, tax included.
    Sample: 6 handcraft ciders + first bunch of people get to taste a limited release ice cider (one bottle to pour)
    ($77.14 loss) — cogs after tasting fees collected
    Cider rep present.

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