When you’re preparing for a craft show, doing your part to promote it should be factored in. But just how much promotion are you responsible for, as the vendor?
I got the chance to speak to some amazing event organizers who really know how to market a show and bring in a good crowd.
Although organizers are responsible for marketing a craft show or market, it never hurts to have more people helping to spread the word.
The more people we get talking about a common cause, the better it is for anyone, right?! Not only does it help create a successful show, it also lets your dedicated customers know where to find you.
So check out these 4 events and the advice they have for vendors who may be wondering just how much they should be promoting an event they’re participating in and how.
CRAFT SHOW BIOS
Got Craft? aims to bring together a community that fosters handmade and a DIY culture. Founded in 2007, Got Craft? Is held twice a year and features 75+ handmade designers, craft workshops, food carts, and one of the best swag bags in the city!
Refresh Market is Squamish’s largest indie marketplace for handmade, vintage and curated wares. The market takes place twice annually at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park and features more than 70 handpicked vendors from Pemberton to Metro Vancouver.
Creative Edmonton is proud to announce their next market-style event, Heroes Vs.Villains! A fun night of delicious food, unique/handmade items, and live music will delight your senses as the Heroes Vs. Villains market arrives in the heart of Edmonton. Hosted by Creative Edmonton and MacEwan Retail & Campus Services, this will be a showcase featuring local artists, businesses, and musicians who have come together in a market style to engage Edmonton’s local businesses and community. Grab your friends or co-workers and make a full night of the festivities!
MOM TO MOM SHOP AND SWAP
The Mom to Mom Show brings many handmade, unique and hard-to-find products together along with this city’s best local businesses geared to families! With shopping, education, our infamous Swag Bags and of course, fun for the littles, this is the must attend family event of the year!
Why is it important to have vendors promote your event along with your own marketing efforts?
Got Craft?: Our show includes about 75 individual vendors that are most likely able to reach a different audience than we would on our own. I believe that it’s a group event and successful marketing by both sides is a win / win – more attendees to the show and more shoppers buying from the vendors.
Refresh Market: Let’s just start by saying that we have an incredible community of designers, artists and creatives who we are fortunate to have as Refresh Market vendors – without them, we would not be the event that we are today. Our vendors are our biggest supporters as well as an essential part of our own event marketing strategy. When we talk about our vendors, and vice-versa, everyone benefits. Our audience grows. Our awareness grows. Our networks grow. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Creative Edmonton: I think it’s very important for the Vendor to promote the event alongside of the Event Organizers. It shows that there is a collaborative/community effort involved from both sides. It’s also important for client relations. If a Vendor has different demographics/different kinds of clients they should advertise to that particular audience. It’s about extending that invite to your customers.
Mom to Mom Shop & Swap: This is especially important if your business is web-based. You likely have hundreds (or thousands!) of followers on Social Media who have yet to make a purchase from you. Invite them to the show to experience your company and get a first-hand look at the products you offer – this may be what they have been waiting for before taking the plunge and making their first purchase with you! For existing clients – invite them to see what is new and meet the company president in person.
How much promotion do you expect each individual vendor to do for your show?
Got Craft? There is no set number, but we do expect vendors to promote upcoming events to their own social networks. We send out vendor newsletters leading up to each event with ideas on how to promote both the event and their participation, so instead of posting “buy this, buy that”, we encourage vendors to post process shots, images from around their studio, etc.
Refresh Market: Our vendors know what they’re doing. They know that if they talk about our event, people are going to get excited about it, and people are going to get excited about them. They also know that responding to and supporting other participating vendors is equally as important. It’s all part off the ongoing conversation leading up to the event.
Creative Edmonton: I think it’s up to the Vendor to decide how much they would like to promote/market the event. Again it depends on what the Vendor is hoping to achieve with their customer base. If the event itself really fits their demographic or an audience that they cater to they would probably want to advertise that more. We also would hope that Vendors would be selective of which shows/events they are choosing to be apart of. Advertising your products and where clients can find you will be the key to your success.
Mom to Mom Shop & Swap: That’s entirely up to the vendor but I definitely feel that you’ll get out of it what you put in! Guests come to shows for the exhibitors so you’ll want to let everyone know they can find you there. It’s a great opportunity to build sales with existing clients too. Some food for thought; in a show with 100 exhibitors, if each vendor had just 10 people confirmed attending that is an extra 1000 potential clients you’ll be exposed to!
What are the best methods for vendors to help promote the show?
Got Craft? Share the event via social media (instagram, facebook, twitter), newsletters, post the event in your email signature and online shop announcement, and make sure that your upcoming event list on your website is up to date. We also try to attend as many upcoming shows in our area as possible, to distribute event cards to each of our vendors and encourage them to display them at their booths, hand them out to shoppers, places they eat / shop at, and / or places that they sell their goods at. Of course, never underestimate the power of word of mouth.
Refresh Market: If you have a newsletter, include the event poster along with an invitation to visit you there. Hang event posters in your shop. Keep a stack of event post cards near your point of sale. Provide a daily photo journal: take photos of your product, your process, your packaging. At our event, we give out swag bags to the first 50 people who arrive. A lot of our vendors take sneak-peek photos of their swag items in advance and share them with their networks as yet another simple and fun way to promote the event.
Creative Edmonton: Social media has become a really great tool. That’s something we look for when going over Vendor applications or when sending out invites to new Vendors. Having a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all really great tools. I think announcing that you will be at an event is important, also helping promote the show a week, or the day before the event is also probably a good idea. Listing what events you will be at on a company website is a great tool as well. We have had Vendors advertise events on their newsletters and some have sent out personal invites to their VIP customers.
Mom to Mom Shop & Swap: Use the existing channels that you know work for your business. For example, if you regularly run sponsored posts on social media include where prospective clients can find you work by listing those shows. If you regularly exhibit at a farmer’s market advertise your upcoming events there as well. Use your blog and community connections to advertise as well. Put up a flyer for a show you are attending at the local café, etc.
Should vendors be promoting the event through their business platforms as well as their personal social media platforms?
Got Craft? If it is truly a personal account separate from their business, then there is no expectation to do so. That being said, it never hurts to mention upcoming events that you are participating in as I’m sure your family and friends would like to see what you are working on!
Refresh Market: Blending the two is really a personal preference. The majority of our vendors interact with their audience using their business platforms however it’s always nice to receive a personal invite to attend (not to mention, moms and grandmas like that sort of thing). It’s like receiving a handwritten note.
Creative Edmonton: It depends on what kind of a business they own. If it’s something that would be fun or interesting for your friends & family to attend then why not? I think as long as you are not overwhelming both your friends & family then it’s fine. Finding the right balance for promoting events or shows that you are apart of can be tricky but it can be done. That’s why figuring out who your audience is can be so important. That probably will also help you navigate which events or shows to be apart of as well.
Mom to Mom Shop & Swap: If your friends are a part of your target demographic then absolutely share that information with them!
What’s your suggestion for vendors participating in back to back events and having a hard time keeping up with promoting each of them?
Got Craft? We understand that vendors are busy, so we try to make it as simple as possible to help promote upcoming events by providing – social media blurbs that vendors can just cut and paste and avatars that they can upload. I’m also a big fan of timelines to help map out the days / weeks / months leading to an event as they help keep me on track.
Refresh Market: Again, visual content is key. Create a graphic or stage a process shot and include your upcoming market dates. Post it on your social media profiles as well as your web site, if applicable. Some vendors have a dedicated ‘Markets’ page on their website and social media profiles with an ongoing list of upcoming markets, shows and special events.
Creative Edmonton: My advice to Vendors would be know your audience. That’s the first step in promoting multiple events. If you have different types of clients/customers then target ads/marketing towards those customers. Never over do it but still be an active participant in promoting shows/events that you are a part of. Part of this goes back to the point about being selective in events or shows that you are a part of. If you are proud to be a part of a certain kind of market chances are your marketing/advertising strategy will reflect that. Marketing should be fun, not overwhelming. If you are feeling overwhelmed chances are that you might be doing too much.
Mom to Mom Shop & Swap: Set aside a few hours at the beginning of the month to plan your social media strategy. Use a Social Media Managing App (Hootsuite, tweetdeck, etc) to preschedule all your posts for the month. This takes the stress out of doing it daily and you can make sure you are covering all bases when it’s laid out in front of you. If you are taking part in multiple shows over a short time span I would change you cover photos to include “Save the dates”.
If you’re looking for additional ways to promote and sell more at the craft fairs you join, check out our e-book MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS – How to be the Busiest Booth.
You may also be interested 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!