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As a vendor and promoter, I’ve seen many mistakes when it comes to advertising craft fairs. Yes, advertising can be expensive, but there are ways to budget more efficiently and effectively to get the most for your advertising dollars.
It’s also possible to do a great deal of promotion for free, but don’t cheap out or fail to use due diligence. Many successful craft fairs fail after years of success because they stop moving with the times and doing what it takes to keep shoppers interested.
With the rise of “pop-up” shops and the ever-increasing retail boom, traditional craft fairs face increased competition. Fail to change with the times and your events will fail also.
Here are some quick tips to keep your craft fair engaging and reach more demographics.
- Include raffles or giveaways
- JURY! Quality handmade vendors do not want to be in the same events as direct marketing companies. You also need someone who knows how to tell the difference between handmade and cheap foreign junk being passed off as handmade.
- Consider doing a “make & take” project area, or allow your vendors to sell kits or do small make & takes in their booths. DIY and experiences are all the rage right now.
- Provide other forms of entertainment and food – an example might be a free kids activity, bounce house, play area etc.
Expanding your scope will make your event more marketable to a wider range of people. This will in turn help with your advertising and reach.
Craft Fair Advertising Tips
Coordinate with local area businesses and organizations. Allow them to hand out information or advertise at your event in exchange for cross-promotion and providing a service or activity.
Make use of public bulletin boards in your community.
Incentivize your vendors who have large social media followings to cross-promote. Offer a discount on rental or a free meal during attendance.
Get your event listed in church bulletins and organization newsletters. Your vendors and co-promoters may be able to help with this.
Talk to your local Chamber of Commerce if your event is hosted in a member business or benefits a community organization or school. They will often advertise or post on your behalf.
Create an event page on Facebook at least six months in advance of your event and start posting at least once a week.
Don’t think you can advertise just a month in advance. You need to get the word out for MONTHS before an event and then do a strong push in the last few weeks.
Ask vendors and local businesses to provide coupons, small items and other things for “swag bags” you give away to the first 100 attendees. Have everyone advertise this – people love freebies and swag is a great way to draw a crowd and have a line at the door.
Post to local Facebook groups in your area.
Create a Facebook event on your events Facebook page and do an ongoing promotion for several weeks. Use engaging photos or even a short video or slideshow to increase views.
Use HIGHLY targeted Facebook ads. If you aren’t certain how to do this, ask for help from someone who regularly advertises their business.
Small local papers and magazines may be more obscure, but those who read them tend to be very loyal. Advertise in these papers/magazines to reach targeted crowds.
Print flyers and ask local businesses and organizations to let you display them. You’ll have better luck with this if your craft show is benefiting a school, charity etc.