Helpful Tips for Vendors & Artists at Craft Fairs and Shows

market and fair vendor booth with cute mason jarsAre you a vendor or artist who participates in Art Shows, Craft Fairs or Holiday Markets? If so, be sure you’re putting your best foot forward with these helpful tips.

Implementing these could benefit you and your customers. And assist in generating more sales before and after your show or event ends.

As vendors and artists prepare their goods for shows, all too often they lack any business acumen. Sorry for the tough luv folks, but it’s true! They are void of something as basic as business cards. No supporting marketing materials. And/or their website has not been updated (NOT just your Facebook page). None of these should be the case.

The “I’m too right-brained to think of biz stuff” has to go!
Artists are notorious for using this excuse and I’ve heard this more times than I can count! I get it, you have other things on your mind. However, we’re talking business 101 here. So you need to lose that mentality and get on the ball. Remember folks, this is YOUR business – so if anything you should be even more on top of matters.

Hopefully these tips will help guide you in the right direction moving forward…

Tip One:
Business Cards, Why You Should Have Them

Business cards still matterOften you may be engaged in conversation with someone and another prospect may just walk away. Perhaps they are short on time? So having business cards easily accessible to passers-by could allow them to reconnect with you down the road – which could result in a sale. Place them throughout your booth so they are easily accessible. Don’t hide them or force people to have to ask you for one.

It’s amazing how many times I’ve heard vendors at shows or other public facing events say “oh I forgot them” or “I did’t think I would need them”. There’s nothing worse than meeting a vendor at an event and they have nothing to hand out but a ripped-up piece of paper. Sorry folks, in this day and age there’s no excuse!


What to Include on Your Business Cards
Not sure what to put on your cards? The following are suggestions. However, there may be other elements that you’ll want to include depending on your industry, products or services.

  • Simplicity does it – go for a clean, quality design.
  • If you have a logo be sure to include it.
  • Business name and contact info – phone, email
    – in today’s digital age YES, you DO need an email address.
    – it’s not necessary to include your physical address if your
    business is a home office.
  • Include a small image or two of your works – allowing folks to
    easily remember and visually identify with you.
  • Include a link to your website, Etsy shop or other online store.
  • You SHOULD have a website – NOT just a Facebook page!

Another option: use both sides of the card. Say the front side has your logo and contact info and use the back side to include photos or images of your products or works. This way you’re getting more bang for your buck!

Need More Visual Real Estate? Use Postcards
If you feel you’d like to use a bit more visual real estate, then try postcards. With an array of sizes available, you’re not limited. These can provide more surface area for you to incorporate info and images about your business. If you are part of a seasonal market and fair show circuit, you can list where you will be next on the postcards!

It’s a great point of reference for folks to have easily available and as a reminder of where you will be next. And if you do have a mailing listing, well you can mail them out too – so they can perform double-duty.

Short on time? Connect with a local Graphic Designer
If you’re short on time or really do not have the inclination to create a business card that will do you justice, then connect with a local graphic designer. They can create business cards and or supporting marketing materials for you. This way you will be well-prepared for your Art Shows, Craft Fairs and Holiday Markets.

Business cards and the like are part of your supporting print collateral materials used to market and promote your business. By having them you can make a nice statement which allows you to be more memorable.

eco-friendlyBoth business cards and postcards are so inexpensive to print. And with digital printing, you no longer have to have mass quantities printed so that can greatly reduce your costs. That way you’re not left with a bunch of materials you cannot repurpose. It’s a bit easier on the environment too – which is a good thing 🙂


Tip Two:
Build an Email List by Having a Sign-up Sheet

email sign-up sheetConsider having an email address sign-up sheet at your booth. Yes, inboxes have gotten pretty full these days – but sending out a few won’t hurt. You could do so quarterly. It can be a great way for to stay in touch with interested parties.

Send one out before the holidays – especially if you’ll be participating at any of the local Holiday Markets. If your works make for great gifts all the better. Hand-made items win out over store bought!

Even if you won’t be at a Holiday Market, if you have some featured items for gifts that folks can buy from you online via your website or Etsy shop, then by all means, let folks know with a nicely designed holiday email newsletter.

As it gets closer to Spring, send one that lets folks know where you’ll be ahead of the new season. Be sure to include new products or services you may be offering!

With options like Mailchimp and Constant Contact to name a few, once you set up a template, it can lay the foundation for your email campaigns. You can easily populate them with text and images. You can also monitor your email marketing campaign’s performance to see what works or what you may need to tweak.


Tip Three:
DON’T Just Update your Facebook Page!

social media failThere are a host of reasons why ignoring your business website in favor of you FB page is a bad practice. Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and the like may seem all well and good. But if you’re using them as your home-base, you could lose all of your content!

Their algorithms are constantly changing – which could limit access to your audience. Plus, if you “break the rules”, they can revoke your access to their platforms.

No one can kick you off of your own website.
However, Social Media CAN kick you off their platforms!

All too often business owners simply post new information to their FB page rather than their actual business website. They may not have the technical expertise or knowledge to do otherwise. So this is the quick, easy and cheaper way to get new info about their biz out there. What may seem cheaper/easier to you may not be convenient for your customers and could be costing you more in the long run.

Your actual website needs to be kept updated. Include info such as upcoming events, new products or services etc.

This way all of your customers are being served – and with a far better user experience. Furthermore, Google tends to look more favorably upon websites which are updated on a more frequent basis. So ignoring your actual website can have negative impacts.

Blog about your last show – include photos, successes, encounters. It’s a treasure trove of potential high-quality relevant content which you can share and is really good for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes too!!

Keep in Mind: Your Website is a Business Hub –
Facebook is a Marketing Channel

Yes, your Facebook page can be a great way to engage with people as a social media platform. But for those of us who want to “get in, get out and on their way”, having to navigate through much of the mindless chatter of FB is just not an option.

Facebook is a marketing channel. Whereas the goal is to drive potential customers to your business asset or “hub” – which is your website. So if you’re not keeping your business website updated with current/relevant info, you could be alienating an entire segment of your audience and losing potential sales along the way. Remember, your website, Etsy store or the like are your main business hub!

No time or expertise to update your website?
Then connect with a web person who can assist you with site updates. They will be happy to help!


In Closing…

basket of fruitPreparing for the market and fair season can leave you short on time. Try to recognize when assistance with your print materials and your website would be beneficial. By implementing these tips as part of your marketing strategies, it can ensure all your bases are covered – which could result in a much more fruitful season!


eco-conscious graphic designer barbara rogersWritten by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Graphic Designer and Nature Inspired Art photographer visually enhancing client’s print and digital media. Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place.