How to Use Craft Shows to Promote Your Business

One of the best things about owning your own business is the freedom to market and promote it however you choose. Whether you are in a business where you hand craft your own products or you rep for someone else, such as a direct sales business or something similar, finding the right place to market your product is critical to the success of your business.

Depending on your market area, using craft shows and similar marketing opportunities might be just what you need. A craft show gives you the unique opportunity to put yourself directly in face to face contact with potential customers and clients. You’re able to speak one-on-one with them find out their wants and needs so that you’re better able to market to those desires.

How to Use Craft Shows to Promote Your Business

How to Use Craft Shows to Promote Your Business

Most people go into a craft show with the idea that they are going to sell all of their merchandise. Granted that may be their goal for that show. But if you look at and focus just on the sales, I think you’re missing a big area of promotion that you could be tapping into.

There are many people that just simply walk by your booth if they are not interested in the product that you happen to have. By not stopping and talking with them you have missed a marketing opportunity for promoting your business.

So how do you engage them?

Ask questions to find out what people are looking for what are they interested in. Offer your business card with a discount attached. Tell them about other shows you may be participating in. If they’re interested in purchasing but don’t maybe don’t have the funds, see if they want to be added to your email marketing list for future shows, sales, discounts etc.

Don’t miss a golden opportunity to speak one-on-one to people walking by your booth. If you truly want to reach your target market and grow your business, you have to get out into the public and using a craft show is a wonderful way to do that.

Make sure that that shows you to participate in are related to your type of business and not just random show that happens to be around for the best results.

5 Effective Ways to Advertise Your Craft Show

sale sign http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1150477
Anyone can throw together a craft show, but getting the shoppers there is the key to a great event. Let’s face it; your vendors expect something from the fees that they pay to attend the show. It is your job to advertise the show and get those people to attend. Here are some tips that you can use to help to advertise your craft chow event.

1) Create a flyer and make sure that all of your vendors have a copy. Encourage them to share it with their customers and at other events that they are attending.

2) Online craft show event calendars are a great way to get the information out especially if you promote it ahead of time. If your show is large, you definitely want to be on sites like Craft Show News and Fairs and Festivals.

3) Advertising locally is a must. The Newspapers still rule when it comes to events. Take out an ad in the events column and run it on weekends several times before the event. Also run it the few days before the event and the day of as well.

4) Go to radio. If you are a non profit, radio stations will play ad spots for you at no charge is space permits. It is optional and they can pick and choose so make sure that you have great information for them. Plan this at least 1 month prior to the event.

5) Use local signage – make sure that you have signs at major intersections all over your area. Help direct people to where the event is being held.

These 5 easy tips will help with your attendance. By taking the time to advertise your event, you will increase the attendance making it easier to enjoy more shows in the future.

7 Common Vendor Event Blunders

I have written many articles on craft show tips and my friend, Laurie Ayers, has written a great article that I needed to share with you. Laurie has hit the nail on the head with some additional helpful hints and tips. So instead of me stealing her content and writing something of my own… (just kidding), I am reposting her article for you to enjoy.

7 Common Vendor Event Blunders

‘Tis the season for vendor events. I went to a couple of craft shows this weekend. It’s always good to keep up on what the competition is doing; plus I might see some treasures I have to have. Some of the vendors stated that things were “a little slow” (translate: they weren’t selling much of anything). Sure we can blame the economy and I will acknowledge that may have some bearing on it, but I venture to guess that those most affected by the current economic situation likely just stay away from craft bazaars. So if there were people and they weren’t buying, it’s time to take a deep look at the root cause.

I didn’t have to look far to find a number of common vendor mistakes that were likely the culprit for their low or no sales. If you’re going to participate in a vendor show, avoid these seven costly errors:

1. Little or no inventory for sale. Facts are most people go to vendor events to buy things. They want to take it home on the spot. They don’t want to order it. If they wanted to order they’d likely just stay home and order online. Most people are not (or shouldn’t be) comfortable giving money or a credit card to a complete stranger in hopes they will receive their product in three weeks. If you don’t have ample supply and variety of inventory to sell, don’t plan on any sales during the event.

2. No signage. I walked up to more than a few tables that didn’t have the company logo anywhere. I should have known before I even reached the table what vendor was at that booth. Then once I reached the table there was no price list to be found anywhere and none of the products had any price tags. Do I assume those were all display items? Or were those vendors just waiting for me to ask “How much?” You know the saying – ‘if you have to ask, you can’t afford it’.
3. No business cards. Who would take the time and financial investment to set up a booth and then not have a way for customers to contact you after the event?

4. Product not labeled with vendor contact info. What if I wanted to reorder more? If I was buying this for a gift the recipient would have no way of reordering.

5. Vendors attacking shoppers. No not literally attacking – but the moment I came within ear’s shot “Have you heard of XYZ?” “Do you want to sign up for our drawing?” “Why don’t you book a party and get some free?!” Eek – back it down tootsie. There is a fine line between engaging the customer and attacking them. Perhaps a simple “Hello” or “How are you doing tonight?” or “Is it cold enough for you out there?” Get their attention, let them know you’re not a total slug, but allow the customers to look in peace.

6. No samples or catalogs. I know that some people will take anything if it’s free, regardless of any genuine interest. So as a vendor, you do need to be careful not to give away the farm and gouge your profits too much. Yet free samples have been proven to bring a wonderful return on your investment. People need to smell, touch, feel, see, or hear – before they’ll be really engaged. If your catalogs are expensive at least have a stash set farther back on the table and offer them to those who pause long enough or look semi interested.

7. Total lack of involvement. Just the opposite of the attack vendors are those who sit behind the table talking on their phone or texting or chit chatting with non-customers. When I said don’t attack passers-by I also wasn’t suggesting that you should act like they’re an intrusion on your time. Use common sense and find a happy medium.

One last note about lack of inventory; some would argue that it’s ok to attend these events if your intent is to simply take orders. Sure, if you have absolutely nothing better to do with 4-8 hours of your time or can’t think of a better way that you could potentially get new customers or recruits, then I say go and have a grand old time. Otherwise, experience has told me that you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you are not prepared and if you don’t put your best foot forward at these types of events.

Happy holidays – enjoy the busy gift giving season while it is here!

About the Author: Laurie Ayers is a WAHM from Michigan and a Superstar Director with Scentsy Wickless Candles. She enjoys helping others start and maintain a candle business. You can find Laurie at http://la.Scentsy.us or Thriving Candle Business