Entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Manchester may be wondering how they can compete in such a bustling market. It’s the fifth-fastest growing city in the UK, with a GDP rise of around 3.6 each year. The good news is that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority does a lot to support local ventures, which is why the city is thriving. Still, start-ups need to ensure that they use innovative methods to attract new customers.

Fairs and Events to Target University Attendees

With numerous universities and colleges in the city, students are among the primary demographics that a lot of businesses aim to appeal to. It’s interesting to see that, even though technology has moved forward and changed many aspects of marketing, many businesses in the city still choose to go “old school” when targeting this group.

There are five main universities across Greater Manchester, with around 100,000 enrolled at any time. More than 30,000 people join each year and are likely to continue studying for at least three years. This means that if a business can attract one of these students when they first join, they may be able to earn repeat custom from them for a relatively long period of time.

In the early weeks of the university term beginning, there are numerous fairs going on around the main campuses. These give businesses an opportunity to promote themselves and connect with customers. This is a method that businesses have been using since the days before the internet, and the rise of the online world has been unable to halt it. However, some businesses are seeking ways that they can modernise this approach and combine online and offline marketing methods.

Try Before You Buy

One of the most common approaches that businesses use when they try to attract new customers at these events is to allow them to try something for free first. Shops often set up mini stalls that allow them to give out freebies and get to know their target customers in a more intimate way.

This initially connection is so important, as it allows for trust to be built and for customers to feel more comfortable with a business. This is one of the ways that Domino’s has managed to dominate the pizza market in the city. It frequently gives away free slices and discount pamphlets to ensure that it always takes in hordes of new students looking for easy takeaway options.

This method has been so successful in business over the years, and it’s not surprising that it also migrated to the online sphere. In the entertainment industry, it’s harder to find options that don’t offer something free than ones that do. All the leading streaming services including Netflix, Amazon and Spotify give users a taster month first so they can see if they like the product before paying.

The online casino sector has also seen a huge rise in these offers. There has been a recent surge in the free spins casino concept, which gives players the opportunity to play slot games before they invest any of their own money. They get the chance to test out a site such as Wink Bingo with 30 free spins and see if they like it before depositing their own funds.

Integrating Modern Methods

While university attendees still love a live fair as way to meet and connect with people, other demographics may be more inclined to discover businesses online. Online sales are rising by as much as 11

per cent each year, so it is imperative for brick-and-mortar businesses to ensure they also have an online presence.

Companies that want to form that initial connection in an online setting can take inspiration from the success of the live events. This can come in the form of creating a web experience that allows customers to feel that they have entered a journey with a new company. It could include the introduction of gamification elements, where users are guided through levels to learn about a brand. They could also be awarded points when they buy.

The best businesses in Manchester focus on the key demographics in the city and make sure they cater to their needs. Integration of contemporary online methods is crucial, but there are still a lot of benefits from going “old school” with live events.


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