For many fans, meeting their favorite athlete in person can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Associating an athlete with your business and brand can generate outsized attention for your company from local media outlets and fans. 

Here is how to use a meet and greet with an NCAA athlete. 

How to find athletes for live events

If your business is local, look for teams or players near you that have had recent success with conference or national titles at a state level.

Recent success will bring more excitement to your event. If that success is in the form of a title, ask players if they can bring the trophy. Trophies are always an attention-grabber.

When Alabama won the football National Championship in 2010, their fans showed up in droves to take pictures with the Coach’s Trophy while it was displayed at a Walmart.

If your business is running a national campaign, a NIL platform can help you identify athletes with large followings and audiences that align with your target audience.

How to maximize the value of your event

No matter what your product is, the opportunity to meet a notable athlete will motivate people to go to an event they may otherwise not attend. 

However, the extent of the opportunity doesn’t stop at just meeting the athlete. It’s always a good idea to talk to athletes about the value of your business and what you provide.

Doing so can increase the chance that an athlete might work your business into their conversations with attendees.

When Mercedes partnered with Dreamfield and stars like Mac May and Jeff Sims for the EQS vehicle launch, they taught them the features of the new vehicle for the Welcome Center launch events.

Those events received national media coverage while also energizing fans to attend local events in high-value markets where Mercedes wanted to focus their efforts on driving sales.

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How to market a meet and greet event

In the last few weeks before the event, athletes can help whip up excitement with their audience by posting on social media. 

This is something your company can then cross-post to its channels.

Beyond social media, you can also leverage local radio and podcasts to help get the word out through guest appearances or paid advertising. 

Your business’ email list is another powerful tool for promoting the event. Be sure to include a picture of the athlete to capitalize on visual and name recognition. 

Throughout all of your promotional activities, be sure to highlight special perks, like photos with the athlete, autograph signings, a question and answer session, or the presence of a trophy.

How to maximize the event’s impact

Giveaways and raffles are particularly powerful to combine with an athlete meet and greet. 

Doing so creates multiple incentives to attend and a chance to send guests away with something to remember the event (and your brand) by.

Having a branded backdrop with your business name and logo is another way to extend the event's impact. Encourage customers to post their pictures to social media with a hashtag of your choosing.

The meet and greet event is also an excellent way for your business to increase its marketing reach by collecting customer email addresses as part of the registration for the event. 

Once the event is over, you can send a branded email thanking attendees for attending and inviting them to return to the store or shop again online.

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