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Promoting yourself at events, craft fairs and markets

Hoorah! Congratulations on getting your application accepted! Whether you are off to your first event, trying somewhere new or making a return appearance it is vital that you promote, promote, promote.


Your stall fee will of course include some solid marketing foundations put in place by the organiser. However it is crucial to remember that the organiser can only reach their audience, you are responsible for reaching yours.


Why you should join in with promotion

A wise woman once told me,

“It blows my mind a bit that some people don't bother telling their audience where they'll be, therefore relying on footfall from other people's audiences! If half the stallholders do that, it's useless for everyone.” You, know what, she’s spot on. Hopefully you will be the only person doing what you do at an event, possibly one of three or four at a large show. If someone shouts about their wonderful wooden chopping boards they are probably going to attract people who like wood and cookery. Relying on the fact that they will really like your crochet too is a huge gamble. Do you want to take that risk?


Event promotion is a collaborative effort. If every exhibitor attracts 20 people to a show through their own efforts a 60 stall show should have a minimum footfall of 1200, plus those that are drawn in by the organiser. If only 25% of exhibitors promote their attendance we immediately drop to a lousy 300. If 1200 people attend then you are 4 times, 400% more likely to make a sale than with 300. You are also 4 times more likely to hand out a business card that ends in a commission, 4 times more likely to be approached by a buyer for a local or national gift shop and 4 times more likely to get your item put on someone’s Christmas list.


But I paid for a stall, it’s the organisers job to promote it and get me sales.


Of course any event you attend should be promoted by the organiser, however, their reach alone can only go so far. The best advertising campaign in the world will only draw people who have a reason to go. In other words, the success the organiser has with getting people to come to an event to shop is entirely dependent on the items that will be for sale.


With any event there will always be people who go because they always go, people with an interest in craft fairs, people who go because they have nothing better to do and people who go because they spotted an ad somewhere and thought they’d have a look see. Honestly, these are the only type of people that the organiser can attract by themselves. These people are browsers. Browsers make the hall look full and the organiser look amazing but there’s a good chance they’re not going to spend anything.


Don’t misunderstand, we love browsers, we want them there but 3000 of them could wander through the door and you not make a single sale. With 20, 50 or 300 stalls at an event, the organiser will have used each stall as an equal reason to make people want to attend. That means there will be a 1 in 20, 50 or 300 chance that if the browser buys something, what they spend will be spent with you. The only person who can make visitors to your stall to spend money with you is you. So, yes, rely on the organisers browsers, don’t do any promotion of your own. Just remember, those 20 people that you told you were going to be there, you only need a 5 of them to buy something and already you‘ve already had a better day than if you told no one at all.


But that other event, they always have good footfall


The first question to ask yourself is how much did you pay for your stall? If you spent £400 then the organiser has a lot more money to invest in advertising. They can spend £1500 on a single billboard, £3000 on door to door leaflets, £8000 on a series of weekly full page adverts in the newspaper even. If you spent £30 you can’t expect the same type of campaigns.


Of course we all know that paid advertising is no where near as successful at increasing footfall than good old word of mouth. Those teeny tiny markets that everyone is on the waiting list for, they don’t pay for anything much when it comes to advertising. Why? It’s because everyone else does their advertising for free. Stall holders shout about it. The friends of the stall holders shout about it. The stall holders customers shout about it. The friends of those friends and of those customers then shout about the next one and become customers themselves.


Lets look at it this way. The only way an event can grow is if people tell other people. You ever notice that the Etsy shop with a large number of sales is the one with a large number of feedbacks? People have told other people about it so they get more sales. It’s the same for events. At event number one 20 out of 20 stall holders each get 20 people to come. That’s a footfall of 400. Those 400 people tell someone else and the next event gets 800 people. 800 people can quickly become 1600 and so on. If only 5 of those 20 stall holders had got 20 people to come then the footfall would have grown from 100 to 200 to 400 in the same amount of time. Much less impressive.


Of course, the real growth comes when customers tell other people on social media. If someone buys some earrings, posts about it, tags the seller, tags the event, then it’s not just one person who they‘re telling, it could be thousands. If even a few of them click through and make a note of the next event it still has the potential to increase footfall by tenfold.


You could make the most beautiful items in the world and still not get picked for those tiny markets. Why? Because they haven’t seen you shouting about anything. I would assume that with most tiny, oversubscribed events it’s not a numbers game, not based on the amount of followers you have but how well you interact with them. If there is no evidence of you promoting yourself, especially if you don’t have effective means of promoting yourself, then the organiser will generally choose the person who has. It’s not necessarily to do with the quality of your work but instead your ability to grow their reputation, their footfall and in turn grow their business.


Ok, I’m going to promote. How can I do this?


Download the free checklist


*Please note that the Facebook elements of this tutorial are done through a web browser, not a mobile app. This is because many functions do not... function properly in the app and will leave you banging your head in frustration!*


Facebook events

Most events will get listed on Facebook. you can find the event you’re attending by clicking the events tab in your side bar and then searching by date. If you type the event organisers page directly into the Facebook search bar it should also come up.

You can also click on a direct link provided by your organiser.

If you are part of our markets these are as follows:

St Andrews Hall events - https://www.facebook.com/events/270127453648467/

Norfolk Showground event - https://www.facebook.com/events/531163677287988/


You should mark yourself as going to the event and share it as an absolute minimum.

To mark yourself as going just click the icon above.

To mark yourself as going just click the second icon and select going from the mini drop-down menu.

To share the event just click the third icon and chose how you want to share. Type your post and voila!


While you're there you should be able to post an introduction to yourself in the event discussion. Just click on the tab circled in red and type in your message. If you have a Facebook business page it should give you the option to post as your personal page or your business. Click your little face pictured below and select the page you want to post from. Often this will have to be approved by the event host or co-host.



The Organisers' Facebook page

If you click through to the event organisers page, just under the row of tabs there will be the option to write a comment. Click in the space as if you were going to type and this little arrow will appear. Click on that and it will bring up the same drop down menu as above, allowing you to post as your business instead of your personal page. It's a great idea to post here as it will drive traffic back to your own sales. I'm going to say use it wisely though. A daily sales post will come across as spam and probably lead to your posts getting blocked.



Your Facebook Page

You can share the event on your personal or business page just like you would any other status update. Click in the box to post and copy and paste the link to the event in. Facebook will automatically generate a thumbnail to point people to the event.

*Please note, I got this link by navigating the long way. If you are specifically looking to share our events you can do so by clicking on one of these.

St Andrews Hall events - https://www.facebook.com/events/270127453648467/

Norfolk Showground event - https://www.facebook.com/events/531163677287988/



Your Facebook friend list

On the organiser's Facebook page or on the event page there is a share button. You can invite friends to any event, whether you are

at it or not. At this time you are not allowed to invite people in your groups or from your business page unless they are friends with your personal account. I understand that some businesses would create spam but it really would be a useful feature.

Instagram feed

Instagram may be the app of choice for many but it really is lacking in a lot of areas, notably the ability to share things that you like with other people. You can use a third party app to re-post posts by other people but it doesn't look too good and is overly complicated for something that should be very straightforward. Anyway, issues aside, Instagram is great for sharing your attendance at an event. Make your image square and ensure the details are accurate. If you would like to create a branded sharing image for our markets then you can click the link to go to our hidden 'Downloads' page. You will find branded transparent overlays that you can post over the top of your own image or a plain background colour.

www.handmadeandcreativemarket.co.uk/downloads


Instagram contacts list and Story

On Instagram you can click on a post of interest and share it directly with people on your contacts list. You just click the paper aeroplane icon and up pops this list.


You just click on the circles to add people to send the post to. You can also click "Add Post to your Story". This will pop up....

Tap on the image once to show what the original poster wrote, tap it again to show the picture only. Tap on the coloured area around the image to write your own caption.


Twitter & Linked in

Honestly, I hate both of these platforms so I'm going to acknowledge that you can post on them and leave it at that. Linked In, for me, is the most boring, spam generating platform of them all and I really don't feel 'Grey polyester suit' enough to use it. I know it's supposed to be the 'best platform for business networking' but... I'd rather invest my efforts elsewhere. As for Twitter, I don't believe you can say anything worth saying in under 160 characters but if that's something you excel at please, give it a go and post there.


Etsy local

Etsy local is essentially Etsy online partnering with local market hosts and giving them free advertising, lots of it. However, once a geographical area has a partnership with Etsy they are unlikely to give it up. If you are attending a non-partner event as an Etsy seller then you can still create your own event on the Etsy Local page.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/local

When you arrive it will bring up your local area. Check your event doesn't already have a listing. If it does you can click on the link and join the event (you must be signed in for this to appear). If it doesn't, simply click the link to create your own.


Pinterest

Pinterest is not the best board for sharing events. However, if you are an exhibitor with us you can request to pin pictures of your items on the collaborative board.

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/LicclefreakLoves/norwich-creative-market/


Your own website

Do you have a website, wordpress or similar? It's worth adding an events tab to your menu so you can list events you will be attending throughout the year. Many people still like to see the item they're buying, especially when spending a large amount. Treat your event attendance as if you had a bricks and mortar shop. Tell people when and where they can come and see you in person.

The mailing list from your website is also a valuable resource. Pop your event listings into your newsletter to remind people that they can come and see you.


Good old fashioned posters and flyers

Ask the event organiser for a poster file to be emailed over. You can print it out and pop it in your window, on the notice board at work or in your local coffee shop. You can also display it at your other events. If you can have flyers posted to you, even better.

The key thing here is DO NOT FLY POST. What this means is that you must have permission from the property owner to put a poster there. Attaching posters to railings, lamp posts or similar can result in fines of hundreds of pounds per flyer. Yes, many, many events get away with it but if your organiser is fined that could drive a small event completely bankrupt and everyone loses out. The Circus has special rules and are allowed to post basically anywhere. This is an antiquated loophole from when the Victorian travelling Circus was the event of the year that the whole town would have wanted to attend.


Thanks for reading

Once again, thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this post it would be fantastic if you would copy and paste the link and share it with others. Feedback on my Facebook page would also be wonderful. Thank you.