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Effective CUSTOMER advertising

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  • Effective CUSTOMER advertising

    We are all, I hope, in this forum because either we hope either to sell our goods at a craft fair, or we hope to find crafters to attend our craft fair.

    Crafters make great efforts to attract the customer to their stalls, and the fair organisers are busy finding a suitable mix of crafters, organising the hall and facilities, and making sure everything is as attractive as possible for both crafters and customers.

    What seems to be somewhat neglected is any level of really objective study or discussion of how to attract that most essential factor for both crafter and organiser - the customer - to the venue in the first place, for without the customer we are all on a hiding to nowhere.

    People want to go to places but they don't want to have to search for them once they've seen or heard of the attraction (be it birds of prey, live steam or a craft fair) advertised in a paper or local radio or whatever, and made the decision to go.

    I've been to too many craft fairs recently where even I - a committed visitor for research purposes, not an impulse visitor/buyer - have had difficulties locating the venue once I've arrived in the general area, and - just as bad - even had difficulty finding the darned ENTRANCE!

    I am sure this is a large factor in the number of organisers I've heard recently apologising to their stallholders for poor footfall.

    Apologies won't cut it, though - the organisers need to get out physically, erecting and re-erecting signs at all cross-roads, bus-stops and lay-byes, visiting the venue in the weeks beforehand to leaflet attendees at different events at the same venue, visiting similar events at different venues in the general area to leaflet attendees in a similar way and so on and so forth.

    Paid commercial ads are all very well in their own way - I usually look in my local free paper to see 'what's on' in the area at the weekend - but if I see a clear attractive sign indicating 'open day' or 'display' or 'craft fair' I am likely to visit it on impulse whether or not I've already read or heard about it in local media.

    Additional thoughts and suggestions would be beneficial to all of us if they result in more customers!

  • #2
    So does nobody have any ideas to share on how best to get customers to visit the venues that we, as crafters, pay good money to attend?

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    • #3
      If there is a list of the up and coming fairs through out the year maybe all stall holders could have copies of this to give to the public, then they could see and plan their year as well just like the crafters themselves - My Husband is a Scooterist and attends scooter rallies all over the country - In His scooter magazine and in the Lambretta official Mag they have a list that is repeated regulary of all the official and unofficial events through out the year - so he can plan which ones will fit in with work, family etc. Not only that when he comes back from one he has a handful of flyers of other rallies and events and do's that are in someway associated with his scooter scene - I have wandered why other organizations that have a small following dont do this - you very rarely see a scooter rally advertised but there are always hundreds of people there spending money.

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      • #4
        I agree with the signs, banners etc and especially having them around the area the fair is in, not just outside the venue where its being held. Also how about advertising in local shop windows and hitting the area delivering flyers through peoples doors?

        I think some of the problem is its basically a marketing thing and a large number of crafty people are better at creating than marketing! Maybe if they get 'creative' at marketing it will help!

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        • #5
          Well I am no expert but have also had experience of badly advertised fairs, lots of stalls but no buyers!! So myself and another crafter are hosting our own next month, we plan to use FB as the networking abilities are second to none if done correctly, we have also hundreds of leaflets for lots of areas not just where the fair is although this will be the biggest drop, thankfully I have 2 teenage daughters more than willing to earn a few pounds, we have lots of posters which we have a list of community centres/shopping areas where we can advertise, for us this is not about making money which obviously a lot of event hosting is about, we just want a good fair for crafters and buyers
          We are also involved with schools and for a small fee of £10 it is going into their weekly newsletter for 2 weeks and with over 500 pupils

          I also plan to use as many sites where people craft too as we want to offer handmade goods and also supplier stalls in one venue in the hope we can get a bigger coverage of people attending

          Can I ask what the rules are about advertising on roundabouts etc??

          Will be watching this thread with interest

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Rae View Post
            If there is a list of the up and coming fairs through out the year maybe all stall holders could have copies of this to give to the public, then they could see and plan their year as well just like the crafters themselves ... I have wandered why other organizations that have a small following dont do this - you very rarely see a scooter rally advertised but there are always hundreds of people there spending money.
            Good ideas there ! - it is so very difficult for us as crafters to find fairs to attend that sometimes I am surprised that any customers attend at all; how do they find out about them? I have detected little to no networking among organisers, although fellow crafters seem very happy to share information.

            Publicity should be the job of the event organiser; if they are not doing their job effectively then should we crafters be doing it? Without customers we have nothing whereas the organiser at least has our fees. When I was involved in a minority sport I used to advertise the events I organised by attending events elsewhere and leafleting attendees, and also attending different (but vaguely related) events held at the same venue I was using, or nearby, and leafleting attendees at those events, too. Organisers of other events were more than happy to let me or my helpers hand out my flyers at their event and I knew they might well come along to my event and hand out their flyers.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by LibertyMel View Post
              I think some of the problem is its basically a marketing thing and a large number of crafty people are better at creating than marketing!
              But isn't that largely why we pay fees to event organisers to have a stall at their event? So that we can each of us concentrate on what we - supposedly - do best?

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              • #8
                totally agree, my hubby is in a band and is always griping about bars not even bothering to put a simple poster up then they moan about no one coming to see them, time and time again my hubby has said to bars that they need to advertise alongside the band

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                • #9
                  When signing up for the craft fair maybe its up to us to ask the question " What advertising are you doing?". I believe that the fairs organizers ask enough questions to the stall holders about what they will be selling - quality etc., (well I think the good ones). If you don't think that the advertising is going to be enough don't go - Or tell the organizers so - I suppose this way if all the quality crafters boycotted they would have to do more of an effective job. Leaving the poor quality hand made brigade to buy up the stalls - and then the organizers will end up with a bad reputation for poor quality fairs from the few that do attend! Phew! felt a bit of a rant coming on then. Lol!

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                  • #10
                    Personally a few weeks before our event I will be out in the local area with flyers posting them through peoples doors, asking local shop owners to put leaflets on their counters, I have also asked people with children to take leaflets to their child's school and ask the school to give them to parents.

                    To bring people to the fairs I also have other (free) activities going on not just the craft fair, for example this summer I will be hosting a craft fair and children's fancy dress competition. This tends to bring the family to the event and not just a few people.

                    As the organiser of an event I feel you should be in the field as it was trying to bring people to you. I also try and find venues with great parking and not in the middle of nowhere!

                    Vicky

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rae View Post
                      When signing up for the craft fair maybe its up to us to ask the question " What advertising are you doing?". ... If you don't think that the advertising is going to be enough don't go ...
                      Good suggestion.

                      Trouble is that in areas where craft fairs are few and far between (for whatever reason), it can feel as if you are cutting off your nose to spite your face. Of course you aren't, as if you do go despite knowing that the organiser is making little-to-no effort to bring in the customers, all you are doing is taking money out of your own pocket and putting it directly into the organiser's.

                      We all need to question organisers closely about their publicity for the event itself; perhaps then the poor organisers will realise that something other than merely taking the money is expected of them. I have found that when I've asked organisers what publicity they've planned, they immediately get defensive - as if I have no right to question them before giving them my money! Yet many of them see fit to demand all sorts of hard evidence from us, sometimes months and months in advance even if what you make depends on an upcoming seasonal supply.

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                      • #12
                        I have to agree with Vickyann.

                        We are the ones who want to sell our specially handmade items to people. Therefore, we need to get out there and let people know (in good advance) about what we will be doing and where.

                        If you inform people in more than enough time, then you can keep sending emails or facebook them to remind them. Flyers...hope for the best that they come.
                        And to set little competitions and family activities is another attractions strategy.

                        We shouldn't be shy to brag about our fantastic handmade goodies xx

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                        • #13
                          I've never done a craft fair before so have no idea what i'm talking about but I hope to get into them next year. My tuppence worth is this, why dont you set up a sticky thread and divide the active selling forum members into areas (maybe by county or region) then those who are, for example, in the south west region can join forces and work out a good extra advertising campaign such as leaflet dropping and putting up posters in certain places and different schools.
                          Ok maybe thats not worth tuppence but it popped into my head whilst reading this thread. I do like the idea someone mentioned about having a list at each fair to give out of upcoming events.
                          Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jamdalory
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