here are some thoughts on marketing and promoting a local craft show.
so, bluntly put, there's no point in running a craft show if no one buys or sells anything. you have to make the event worth everyone's time. buyers should be wowed by the variety, uniqueness, quality and range in prices of the items for sale. sellers need an audience of buyers who have an idea of what to expect (the range of prices, a general idea of the types of items, etc) and have come to shop.
the challenge, then, of course, is connecting great buyers with great sellers. since we already went over how to get together great sellers in part one, let's focus on buyers. the only way you're going to get buyers to a brand new event is through really effective marketing.
- first and foremost, be sure to create a central place for people to find information about your show: this will probably be a website. it should provide information for the press (stats on how many sellers there will be and how many are local, times and dates for the event, a map to the event with directions from transit and large nearby roadways, etc.). needless to say, it should be a clear, well designed website. this is your audience's first impression of your show, make it a good one.
- send press releases. you want to get as much free press - inclusion in local events calendars, around town articles and what to do on the weekend blog posts is free and awesome - as you can.
- see if you can interest local writers (blogs, weeklies, etc) in doing a series of interviews with some of the artists who will be selling at the event to drum up interest.
- buy advertising. think big. this is not rocket science. consider who your target audiences are - think local, as well as neighboring suburbs or affluent communities nearby. local magazines, weekly papers, your big newspaper, popular blogs, neighborhood newsletters, and specialty magazines all sell ad space. this one is big: do your homework and get it right.
- have postcards and small posters made, and organize a team to post and leave them at local businesses - coffee houses, boutiques, art shops, galleries, convenience stores, etc. be sure to check with each business for their policies on distributing this material.
- consider asking local businesses if they'd like to sponsor the show in exchange for inclusion of their logo on your promotional materials. in turn, they can help promote the event and /or cover the cost of advertising.
- prior to the event, check local sites to list on, such as:
- create a facebook event for people to RSVP to
- have sellers twitter about your event
don't forget that sellers can do a little promoting, as well. make it easy for your vendors to promote by:
- creating an easy to copy-paste code with the .gif or .jpg trunk show ad linked through to your show's website (so they can put it on blogs, facebook, etc)
- making a pdf of a flyer that they can easily print out (high contrast so they can cheaply print it in black / white) to distribute to friends, coworkers
- allotting a number of postcards for sellers to pick up in advance to distribute to promote the show.
the most awesome craft shows happen year after year, so consider including a blog or some other reason for people to check back to your site throughout the year. posting tips, how-to's, featured artists, etc. keeps things fresh and build anticipation in advance.you want to built a reputation for putting on a really awesome show (and live up to that reputation).
what other great ways have you seen craft shows market themselves? what do you look for when considering attending a craft show as a buyer or seller?