You’ve successfully found a craft show, booked the craft show, and have a handle on your inventory…. Now what? Well now you need to promote the show. 75% of the promotion of a successful event should be done by the organizer, the rest is up to you.
If you did all of your research before you signed up for the event you should have all the information to begin promoting your craft show. Customers are going to have the same sorts of questions that you did.
- Where is it?
- What time does it start? End?
- Where is parking?
- What vendors will be there?
- Is there food?
- Social media info?
- Any exclusive deals?
- New products?
Look familiar? It should. With the exception of the last two questions, those are the same questions you should have asked the organizer before booking the show.
Now that you know you have all the information, what do you do with it? Where do you post it or send it? Well let’s take a minute to talk about what the vent organizer should be doing when promoting the show.
The organizer should be promoting the show on a variety of outlets, including (but not limited to);
Quick advertisements or announcements on local news channels can help get the event in front of the people who live close enough to attend.
Just like the TV ads, radio advertisements at local radio stations can get your event into the ears of the people in your area. Many radio stations even have a time slot devoted to local events, and it’s free to call in.
While it might be tempting to skip out on newspaper advertising, a good organizer will include it. A large percentage of craft show attendees are older (at least in my town), and they specifically look in the local papers for the information. There is also usually a local digital calendar for events on the newspapers website, which is another good place to be listed.
A Facebook event and page for the event is a must. People share them and add them to calendars and it can really extend your reach. Plus the organizer can have every vendor share the same event, and even post pictures of their exclusive inventory to help promote the show.
While this can be a good way of promoting the show, not every event can utilize a website. Shows hosted by organizations (churches, schools,dance studios…) should be putting the event all over their websites.
These can be as simple as a half sheet of printer paper, but they are effective. A good organizer will make sure they have stacks of flyers around town, at other events, sent to all the vendors, pinned to message boards….
Signs or Banners Around Town
There should be a larger sign or banner at the event location. Plus smaller signs scattered around town, at major intersections, outside of businesses… think of all those local government election signs and this is what craft shows should be doing. (Although, please be a bit more responsible and respectful if you as an organizer do this. Take them down after the event and get permission from the business owners that you are posting them in front of.)
Signs, banners, notes on their website or calendar…. All of these are options that the organizer has to promote the craft show at local businesses.
The Event Location
No one will be able to find the event, or even remember that it is happening, if the organizer does not advertise at the actual site of the craft show.
When Should I Start Promoting?
You should start promoting the show right away, even if you booked really far in advance. I have a show that requires me to book a year in advance, and I start reminding people that I will be there the day after. A simple “Hey, if you missed me this year I just reserved my space for next year, mark your calendars!” works wonders. If you are doing a bunch of shows in rapid succession, start promoting them in the order they happen. Talk about your first show and your second show, once the first one is over then talk about the second and third. “If you missed me here, I will be here next” is a really easy way to promote both at once and will keep it from seeming spammy to your followers.
I try and post reminders of my show at least once the month before, twice the week before, once the day before, and three times during the event. If I am during multiple shows in a weekend, I will combine the advertising. This way I am not spamming my followers and I am giving other vendors and the shows organizer a shot at promoting the show.
What Should I Post?
While it may be tempting to just post the same event graphic every time you are promoting the show, I would recommend mixing it up a little bit. You can mention the event, or even have a smaller version of the event graphic, and post a different image.
Here are a few ideas of what you can post without sounding to repetitive.
I have learned the hard way that doing a show alone can be stressful, but I also don’t want to inconvenience my friends and family by making them come help me. So I frequently partner with other vendors. We will book the show together, request neighboring spaces, and help each other out. This includes cross promoting for shows. Instead of just posting what I am bringing to the event I will post a few pictures of what they will be bringing. If possible I also show products of theirs that work well with mine. For example, one of my really good friends makes amazing soaps, so I’ll let my customers know how well her soaps work with my spa products. In exchange, she will post about my items and include me in any live videos she posts.
I sell at a couple local businesses, etsy, and my website… and each place has a slightly different selection of items available. When I do craft shows I offer a few exclusive items that can’t be found at any of my retail locations. Sometimes they are a limited time color or style of one of my best sellers. And sometimes they are unique gift baskets/bundles featuring several of my items. If you can create a fun exclusive products available at your shows, let people know about it. It can help draw people to your event and booth and give you something to post other than the same event graphic you shared the day before.
In one of my previous posts (You Found A Craft Show, Now What?) I talked about the different fee structures you may come across when you book a show. If your craft show has a raffle, door prize, or silent auction make sure to let your customers know about it. If you want to run a seperate giveaway for customers that mention seeing your ads on social media, start posting about it before the event.
Some organizers will send a floor plan to the vendors ahead of time. If this is the case, create a less detailed version of this map and use it to show customers exactly where you will be located at the event. Some of the larger craft shows will have a detailed map put together for the customers, if that’s the case share that one.
If you have the time, create and post a quick map of where the event is being held. This can help customers find your event if its not on a main road. Remember if you can’t find the event, your customers can’t either.
In addition to the event exclusive products, I will sometimes run event specials. This includes things like “buy 3 sets of shaped crayons and receive a coloring book free” or “$5 off all fruit pillows”. The day before and the day of the event I will post about these event specials on social media and make sure the signs in my booth match.
Behind The Scenes Content
I like to post a few pictures of items I am making for a specific show. I’ll take a picture of the materials all laid out before I start, a progress pic, and a finished product. Let people know that the item will be debuting at the event. Also tag the event in your content, they may share your image. If the craft show has an event page, share your pictures there to start creating excitement. You can also share a quick picture of your car all packed for the show, or of you starting to set up your space. These sorts of images are relatable to customers and show your personality. They can get your customers attention far better than just sharing a generic “Come shop with me” image.
*Quick Side Note*
Before creating your own version of the event graphic, check with the organizer first. Usually they want the branding and look of the event to be cohesive across all advertising campaigns. This means using the graphics that they provide to you. If you have a specific look that matches your branding, consider putting their flyer over top of your own branded background. This maintains both aesthetics and helps customers recognize the event better.
Where Should I Be Promoting The Show?
You’ve gotten a few ideas about what to post, but how should you go about promoting the show? Well…. You should be promoting the show in all the same ways that the event organizer is.
While it may seem redundant, keep in mind that you probably have different contacts and audiences. Because of this you will have different target audiences, which will help spread the word further. Here’s a quick run-down of the places I use to promote the craft show.
E-Mail List Or Newsletter
If you have an email list or newsletter you can add a quick paragraph to your next email about upcoming shows. You can either add the calendar to the email itself, or direct them to your website (which should have an events page). If you don’t have a regular newsletter, you can still utilize the email list to send out a quick “Where Can You find Me?” type email. This can include all of your upcoming events as well as any boutiques that you may have permanent displays at.
Keep in mind that most people get a lot of email on a daily basis, so I would not recommend sending a separate email for each upcoming event that you have.
Make sure your “events” page is up to date!
If your business doesn’t have a website yet, you should make one. There are several quick and inexpensive places to get a basic website put together. (I used Yakima Branding, they designed everything for me and taught me how to keep it updated. You can find their info here.)
Using your event as a source of content for a blog is another way to promote your craft show or vendor event. You can do a series of blog posts covering booking the show, what you will be bringing, other vendors who will be there (link to their sites), and special promotions. After the event you can write another post talking about the fun you had, the people you met, and if you are gonna be there next year.
Social Media is the place most people will rely on to advertise or promote the show. There is nothing wrong with that, there is a huge audience of people on social media that you can reach. Just don’t rely on social media alone to get people to the event. I am by no means a social media expert…. but I do know several, and I have included links to some of their resources in each of these sections.
Facebook posts have a tendency to stick around more than other platforms. So you can get away with slightly less posting about the event here. At a minimum I would post once directly prior to the event and once during the event on your business page. I would also share the official event page at least twice and post in the event once.
Check out this blog article for more information on using Facebook for your business.
Twitter is a fast moving social media platform, so you can get away with posting about the event more frequently. If you have a larger following you can tweet one to three times a day about the event. If other vendors at tweeting about the event, make sure to like or retweet their posts as well. Include a couple relevant hashtags in your tweets to help people see your tweet.
Instagram is all about the graphics and images. This is the perfect place to share behind the scenes pictures. If you usually post a couple times a day, use one of those posts to share the event and what you are bringing. At a minimum, post about the event a week before and the day before. Remember, consistency is key with instagram. So use images that fit your brand and post regularly. Hashtags are also important, like with Twitter use a few event specific hashtags.
Here is a great article on using Instagram.
I do not use Pinterest to advertise for my craft shows, however I do post pictures of my show set up for other vendors to look at. If you are interested in using Pinterest for your business take a look at this blog post from an expert on Pinterest.
If you have permanent displays at local businesses consider hanging up a flyer or posting a sign. Let people know where they can meet you in person or get exclusive products or specials. If craft shows are a side business for you, see if you can hang a flyer in the break room at work.
Family Or Local Businesses
Small businesses are all about community. Contact local and family owned businesses and see if they would be willing to advertise your event. Most have a bulletin board or reader board where local events can be advertised.
Your Other Events
Many of you will have multiple events throughout the year. I always keep flyers for my future events and a calendar of where you can find me posted at my table. Customers can take a flyer and snap a quick picture of the events list (with my logo on it). This not only advertises the next craft show but also helps get your brand recognized every time they look at the picture.
If you are also an Etsy seller consider posting the event on Etsy Local. Etsy Local is a place for customers who want to purchase handmade items in person instead of online. You can find Etsy Local by doing a quick Google search or by looking here. Check to see if your event is listed, if it is you can quickly click the “I’m Participating” button to let your Etsy shoppers know you’ll be there. If the event is not listed, you can either add the event yourself or contact the event organizer and have them add the event.
This is one of the most important pieces of preparing for a craft show, and often the one most overlooked. An event will only be as successful as you and the organizer make it. If no one puts the time and effort into promoting the craft show, customers will not be able to find it.
Trying to promote a craft show can seem overwhelming. But if you break the task down into manageable pieces, it really can be easy. I personally like to use a calendar combined with a list to organize my tasks. I can write down when my shows are and then make a note on my calendar each day I should be posting about the show. If you aren’t a paper and pencil type person, try using a digital calendar or scheduling app to send yourself reminders.
So far in this blog series we’ve covered everything from finding shows to promoting them. Next up we’ll talk about Prepping For Your Craft Show, and staying organized for your entire show season.
Have you promoted a show before? I’d love to hear what did and didn’t work for you. Let me know in the comments section below.
- Everything You Need To Know About Craft Shows
- Craft Show, Craft Fair, Vendor Event… What’s The Difference
- When Is Craft Show Season?
- How Do I Find A Craft Show?
- You Found A Craft Show, Now What?
- Indoor Shows VS Outdoor Shows
- Promoting The Show
- Prepping For Your Craft Show
- Things To Bring To A Craft Show
- Inventory, Pricing, and Custom Orders At Craft Shows
- Craft Show Set-Up and Displays
- How To Act At A Craft Show
- Going It Alone, Why Bringing A Friend To Your Craft Show Is Better
- After The Craft Show