Although craft show organizers should be doing their part to get lots of shoppers to the event (if they don’t have a marketing plan, it’s a red flag, watch for these ones too before you commit to any event), those shoppers aren’t guaranteed to be interested in your products.
You know who is guaranteed to be interested in your products and likely to buy from you at the craft show?
Your fans, followers, customers, and people who hear about the event from you and are interested in attending because of what you’re selling.
Just as you can’t expect Etsy to bring you loads of customers simply because you’ve set up a shop on their platform, you can’t expect loads of sales just because you’ve set up at a craft show.
You must put effort into promoting your products that will be at the event if you want to have a successful show.
Below are 10 ways to do so, which are from MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS: Deciding on Stock & How Much to Make. Which also covers:
- How to determine the right products that will sell at a craft show
- Formulas and calculations to help you bring the right amount of stock
- How to create a lot of stock in a short amount of time
- And more…
There are many ways to spread the word about your participation in an event. Choose ones that work well for you and reach different markets but don’t overwhelm followers.
1) SOCIAL MEDIA
If you’re participating in several shows over a couple of months, create group postings to let people know where to find you. Use personal social media accounts if you have a different audience than on your business account.
Be excited about the event, what’s going on (vendors, food, music) and the products you’ll be selling. Your enthusiasm will come across in your marketing and get other people excited. Include information about the event and pique their interest with visuals of your products.
If there’s an entry charge, maybe you can arrange a draw to give away a couple of tickets to people who share the event posting. Perhaps several vendors can contribute to a gift basket for one lucky person who shares the event. Get creative and think about what would make you stop scrolling and take a look.
Each platform is different in terms of how many posts you can get away with before people start hitting the un-follow button. Below is a general rule of thumb for posting etiquette. Of course, posting frequency can vary depending on your audience and what you’re posting about.
- Facebook – stick to one to three posts a day on this platform and make sure your posts have variety. One or two posts a week about the event is sufficient while others can be focused on your products with a mention of the upcoming event. Share any incentives for them to attend and be sure to post a couple pics while at the event. You can update your profile picture or cover photo to showcase upcoming dates. Some events provide an image, “I’ll be at X event” to post to your wall or use as your profile picture.
- Twitter – this one moves fast so you can post a little more. Do what works for you but if you’re posting content and replying to tweets, 10+ tweets in a day is not unheard of. Play with hashtags and tagging different people. Don’t spam-tweet people with the same message; that gets annoying and doesn’t make people feel special. You can also update your profile pic or cover photo here to announce upcoming
- Instagram – one to three posts throughout the day is a good average. This one is all about images. Many people don’t read captions but quickly scroll the feed to view and like. Use brightly lit, neatly styled photographs to illustrate the products people can find at the event. Adding a banner “Find at X craft fair this weekend” at the top of a beautifully styled photo will make people stop and take notice. Hashtags and tags are good to play around with on here as well. Tag the event if they’re on Instagram and they may repost you.
Partner with other vendors participating in the event and share each other’s social media platforms to garner more interest for each of you and the event.
Spread out your posts. A mention when you first get accepted, a few in the weeks leading up to the event, a couple the days before and the day of will help you reach a variety of people and remind them to visit you. Scheduling apps allow you to write your posts ahead of time and schedule the date and time you want them to go live.
This is a great time to send out a press release. The event’s organizer will likely send one about the event but you can write one promoting your business and mentioning you’ll be at the upcoming event. You really need to give the media a reason to be interested in what you’re doing and able to make a story from it.
If you’re doing something interesting at the event (like painting live and auctioning off the piece for charity), your press release can focus more on the event details. If your press release is about your business and products, a short mention about the event can indicate where people can find your items.
Another idea is banding together with like-minded businesses that will be at the event. Are there three of you making products out of recycled goods? That’s a great pitch to send to a journalist and explain how you’re each doing your part to reduce waste and you’ll all be at the upcoming show. Don’t spring the story on them two days before the event. You could send an email pitch a couple of weeks before the event with a subject line that catches their attention and that points out the show’s date so they’re aware the story has an expiry.
3) WEBSITE AND ONLINE STORES
Have a place on your personal website that’s easy to update as you are accepted to events and as they pass. Be sure to keep this up to date. When I visit a business’ website that has an UPCOMING EVENTS tab and it’s showing dates from last year, I wonder if they’re even in business anymore.
If you don’t have a personal website but have a store through an online platform, you can add dates, times and locations of sales in your bio section. Be sure you keep it up to date and set reminders if necessary.
Write a feature article on the event or blog about your journey leading up to it. You could work out a cross-promotion deal with non-competing vendors.
Offer to share their work on your blog if they’ll do the same. Send a few questions they can answer by email and include pictures of their work. Turn this into a blog post introducing your fans to something you think they’ll love and giving them another reason to stop by the event.
This is a great opportunity for everyone to reach new audiences and improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO). More sites with quality content linking to your site, helps you rank higher in search engines.
You will need an email subject line to encourage people to open it or your efforts will be wasted. “RE: Craft fair Dates” isn’t as interesting as, “RE: I’ve never done this before – visit me before I change my mind”.
List your offerings and why they should come to see you (special promotion, new line, etc.) and include images. If you’ve arranged a cross-promotion with other vendors this is a great place to link to their blog post. As mentioned earlier, be careful of how frequently you send newsletters and don’t bombard subscribers because you have an upcoming event.
6) POSTCARDS / FLYERS
Have your own postcards printed with your branding and images. These can be from a professional printer, printed at an office supply store or print a few at home. Keep them on-brand and perhaps add an incentive for people to hang onto them.
For example, a recipe for a favorite summer drink to go in your handmade copper mugs or a list of Christmas activities in your city to wear your handmade scarves to, could go on the back of a postcard, while promoting your products on the front.
If you know another vendor will be attending similar shows, you could share postcards and split the cost. One side can promote your work and craft fair dates while the other promotes theirs. Even if you’re at some shows they’re not, it can be a good opportunity to cross promote.
If you don’t have your own postcards you can hand out the organizer’s marketing material.
Where to distribute:
- Events (craft fairs you’re participating in)
- Friends and family
- Groups you’re a part of (e.g. your soccer team, knitting group)
- Local businesses (find those that support the arts and see if they’ll keep a stack on their counter)
- Restaurants (leave one for the server with your tip)
- Work (break room or bulletin boards)
7) EMAIL SIGNATURES
How many emails do you send in a day? Create a graphic that will catch the reader’s eye and put it in your email signature. You could reach a ton of people, many of whom you may not think to invite otherwise.
From your business account, you may attract people such as your graphic designer, a supplier or even a customer service representative. It’s a subtle way to advertise the events you’re heading to without a direct mention to the recipient.
Remember to update your signature as the event passes and your next one nears.
8) DIRECT EMAILS
You can also reach out to individuals through personal emails. Who, besides your shoppers, would you like to meet at a show?
Send an email and try creating an “Add to Calendar” link in the message so they can easily add the craft fair to their schedule and set a reminder for it. Consider reaching out to people in the following areas:
- Storeowners – are there any boutiques or shops you would love to get your products into? Why not contact the owner and let them know why your products would be a great fit for their store and invite them to the event to check out your work and other local vendors. Include a quick blurb about your company and products, a high-quality photo and a link to your website. It’s also a good idea to offer to visit them if they aren’t able to make it to the show. Let them know you’re happy to accommodate their schedule.
- Bloggers – are there influential bloggers you would love to have write about you? Give them a heads up about the event and a story idea.
- Media – inviting the media is a great way to raise awareness for the event and your business. Email a short overview of the event with all the important details, instead of a press release. Short and to the point is how journalists like information since they receive so many emails and pitches in a day.
- Collaborators – is there anyone you’ve been wanting to talk to about a partnership or collaboration? Invite them to the show to see what your brand is all about. Be sure they’re aware you won’t be able to have a meeting during the event but you want to show the excitement and buzz around your products.
- Investors – if you have a Kickstarter campaign or are in talks with an investor, here’s a great opportunity for them to see you, your brand and your products in action.
9) SNAIL MAIL
How much do you love getting a nice piece of mail that’s addressed to you and not junk? Send an event flyer with a card to some of your local customers, adding a handwritten note thanking them for their support and inviting them to your upcoming event(s).
You could offer a special discount for your VIPs that no one else receives. Create a coupon, a sticker to put on the event postcard or just a note asking them to present the card at your booth to redeem the discount.
10) WORD OF MOUTH
Talk up your events when you’re out with your friends, chatting with a cashier, at a networking event or talking with colleagues. Know the times and location so you can give them accurate information if you don’t have a postcard handy.
Use the ANNOUNCING YOUR EVENTS worksheet (*found in MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS, as well as several other worksheets to help you get organized) to determine where, when and how you’ll announce the events you’re participating in.
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!