November 25, 2015

1 Step most Vendors Forget at a Craft Fair to Increase Sales

Product – check, wicked display – check, business cards – check! You’re all set to attract, obtain and keep customers at a craft sale right? Weeeeell…there’s another important aspect that many people forget about that should become part of your craft show checklist. 


We know selling your product is your first choice. And if they don’t buy today then handing out your business card is your second choice. But you’re leaving money on the table if you don’t get either of those shoppers to…..


Handmade product? Check! Business cards? Check! Wicked display? Check! You'll all ready for your craft fair right? There's one thing most vendors forget.


Sign up for your newsletter!


Think about it: how many times do you take business cards home, file them away in your office and bring them out to review each month? Probably never (check out this article on how to keep your business cards out of the trash).


When you hand out your business card, you’re leaving a 2nd interaction in their hands. It’s like giving someone you like your number; they hold all the power and all you can do is wait and hope that they call…or that you bump into them again. If you’re in a situation where you’re meeting lots of shoppers, gather their emails!


You’re ensuring a 2nd interaction with them and increasing your chances of a future sale.


If you don’t already have a newsletter campaign set up, don’t let that stop you from collecting emails this weekend.


You’re coming face to face with your target market and you should be taking advantage of that.


Follow these 5 steps to start collecting emails and creating a Newsletter Campaign:


STEP 1 – Decide on a newsletter style

You can make it whatever you like depending on your business. You can send one out:

  • as your new product lines debut (be sure you’re creating collections as explained in this free download as it will give you a good reason to email people. When you’re making products there’s only one of and nothing similar for them to shop, it’s hard to email hundreds of people about it.
  • for each craft show season, letting shoppers know which events to find you at
  • when you’re having sales or promotions
  • weekly or monthly if you constantly have something interesting to share like DIY’s, blog posts or updates

You don’t want to email people just for the sake of emailing them (that will get the unsubscribe link clicked real fast) but you should try to find something of value to email your subscribers about at least once a month. Remember, out of site, out of mind, so if you don’t do anything with that email list, you won’t see any results.


People will also want to know what they’re signing up for so whatever you decide on, be sure to communicate that to people (you also need to follow Canadian Laws and ensure people are aware what they’re signing up for, more on that below).


Have a quick elevator pitch you can say to people as you’re wrapping their purchase or as they’re browsing your table. “Would you like to sign up for my Newsletter? I send out emails once a month with promotions and as I release new product lines.”


You may even want to give your shoppers an added incentive for signing up and let them know their email will be entered to win _______ (fill in the blank with one of your products or services). Just be sure they know they’re signing up for both an entry and your newsletter.



STEP 2 – Sign up for a service

If you don’t already have a way to collect emails on your website and to create and send newsletters, you’ll want to sign up for a free service like MailChimp (they have paid options as your list grows but you can use their service for free up to 2000 subscribers. If you hit that amount of sign ups at your next event, you’re a rockstar!).


As mentioned above, you can get your newsletter drafted after your craft show this weekend; just make sure you use this event to gather emails, either online or offline.




Step 3 – Gather info


The easiest way is to set up an app like MailChimp Subscribe to gather emails using your tablet or phone. If you already use MailChimp, you can set up MailChimp Subscribe on your tablet or phone to gather emails on the spot and link it up to your MailChimp account when you have wifi.

This option is faster since you don’t have to go home and manually enter all the emails, plus, you can choose the double opt-in setting on MailChimp. Once the subscriber enters their email in your form (first opt-in), Mailchimp will then send the subscriber a confirmation email with a link for them to click on (second opt-in).




If you don’t want to set up the app or worry about someone walking off with your tablet or phone at a busy event then it is perfectly fine to use pen and paper. You do still have to keep Canada’s Anti-Spam Laws in mind so be sure to have a read over the next step and follow the guidelines for providing a proper sign up form and sending a confirmation email (Mailchimp has instructions for gathering emails offline and sending an


If you don’t want to add too much work into the paper form with newsletter details, dates, checkboxes, etc., you can simply collect names and emails using our printable form below and then send the shopper an
email after the event to follow the proper process.


The email should remind them they signed up for your newsletter list at X event and include a link to an online form where they can electronically enter their name and email and then confirm their subscription through email.


It’s also handy to have a clipboard so people don’t have to clear a space on your table to write.


Click on image to enlarge & print


Step 4 – Follow the rules

As mentioned above, keep in mind that Canada has Anti-Spam laws and if someone complains about receiving an email from you, they perceive as spam, you may need to provide proof of a valid CASL (Canada Anti Spam Law) compliant opt-in (MailChimp gathers and stores the proper information for you when you follow their double opt-in process). Find more on those laws here but the basics you need to follow are (this list is not updated, please check the government’s website for the most up to date laws):

  • Make it clear on your form that people are signing up to receive emails from you and that your company is going to be the sender
  • Your form must not trick people to join your mailing list by having a pre-checked checkbox that opts them in. Keep this in mind for offline as well: just because someone entered their name and email to win a prize, doesn’t mean you can start sending them promotional emails. If people are entered to win a prize when they sign up for your newsletter, it needs to be clear on the form that they’re also signing up for your monthly newsletter.
  • A double opt-in is required which means once you gather those email addresses, you must send a confirmation email with a confirmation link the new subscriber must click in order for you to put them on your list.
  • Your email gathering system must capture the date/time and IP address of the new subscriber (MailChimp will collect this data for you when you use their double opt-in feature)
  • If the subscriber unsubscribes (by emailing you or clicking a link) you may no longer email them.


Step 5 – Take action

You’ve likely heard before that it’s much cheaper to market and sell to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one, so you need to make use of that list! These are people who have either already bought from you or liked your products enough to agree to receive messages from you.


After the show, start working on your newsletter and be sure you’re sending them something of value. You know how many emails you receive in a day and your subscribers are probably in the same boat; send them something they’ll appreciate receiving. Have a catchy subject line that intrigues them to open your email and make sure it’s full of high quality photos and info about your products.


If you’re looking for more ideas like this that will help increase sales at a craft fair, download our e-book: MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS. It’s full of valuable tips you can actually use and that will actually get you results.


Everything you need to know about selling and selling out at craft fairs is in this guide so you can spend less time consuming and searching for the right info and more time creating!




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15 thoughts on “1 Step most Vendors Forget at a Craft Fair to Increase Sales”

  1. I also like to have a raffle for a small giveaway and use that to collect people’s emails for my newsletter! Works really well. I put a little sign on my table near the raffle jar that says that everyone who signs up for the raffle will be added to my newsletter subscriber list, and no one tends to mind. Love your newsletter sign up page, by the way! Adorable graphics 🙂

  2. I’m just starting out selling pottery. These are GREAT articles. I’m trying to find shows in my area that I can sell at. Any suggestions where I can start my research?

    Thanks so much

  3. Hi Julie, thanks for reading! Which area are you looking to participate in shows? We do have an EVENTS page which lists craft shows and different events. Or if your city doesn’t have events listed on our site yet a Google search of “craft fairs in ______________ (your city)” may bring up some options.

  4. Thankyou for sharing this great information with us. I sell Decorative painting on wood at the Craft Shows and I am finding a lot of these articles very helpful. I also downloaded your E-Book Make More Money at Craft Fairs. Excellent information. Keep up the good work.

  5. Hi Maureen,

    Thanks so much for reading and for purchasing my ebook! I’m glad that you’re finding the information useful!


  6. I am going in my first craft fair in December and my first pop-up market in November. I’ve decided it’s about time I made some money off my hobby, especially since I can’t use them all. I’m a retired grandmother and love having more time for my passion.
    I am finding your site extremely useful, and I’m on day 3 of your 5 day challenge. I find some of the points to me are common sense, like sitting behind your table reading a book while customers browse (people really do that??). Maybe it’s my retail past that says that’s a no no.
    Thank you, off to research, read & study some more.
    Debbie 🙂

  7. Some really good tips and advice here, thank you. I have recently set up my business and have 4 craft fairs arranged in the run up to Christmas!

  8. Thanks Joanne, glad you enjoyed the article! Hope you have a really successful holiday craft fair season!!

  9. Thanks so much for sharing all your tips! I’ve recently restarted a business that I had a few years ago (doing all the things in the ‘you don’t want to do this category!) and your worksheets and articles have been super helpful! I have sold more since I restarted (about a month ago) by doing what you’ve suggested than I did in 3 years last time. I’m so excited!
    Andrea x

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