Wednesday, 25 July 2007

The Craft Show Secret that Defies Logic :By Sharon Conley

Here you are at another craft fair, watching people walk by, sometimes several times, sometimes more. Occasionally, someone stops at your booth to look. Most of the people who stop pause only a few moments and continue their journey. Sometimes, someone picks something up, looks at it, and sets it down again. Every now and then, someone asks a question. You cheerfully answer the questions and get the opportunity to try to make a sale. A few times, someone buys something. You may or may not make a profit when the weekend is over.

Sound a little familiar? If so, I’d like to help you look at craft fairs a different way. What if you got a second chance with all those people who stopped and looked for a minute? What if you got three, four, or more chances? What if you got a chance to sell them something every month instead of that one time when they paused in front of your booth? Think your sells would go up? You bet they would.

The secret to craft shows is to stop using them as mobile stores. Think of them as opportunities to meet new people and build relationships. Instead of trying to sell to people who stop at your booth, get their contact information, including name and email address, so you can send them a newsletter each month.

Often, the best way to get their contact information is to offer something free. You can give away a free sample of your product, a small newsletter or article, or just about anything else, and most people will give you their email address. The key is that whatever you give them has to have value. If you are giving away a sample, be sure it is enough to be useful. If it is an article, be sure it provides information your audience wants. Offer your gift, and then ask for the information using something like, “We send out a monthly newsletter with tips and advice. May we add you to our mailing list?" If they are worried about privacy, assure them that you will never give their email address to anyone else, and that they can quit receiving email from you any time they want.

After the show, send a thank you email to everyone who signed up and include a special offer just for the people who attended that craft fair. Be sure to include the name or location of the fair. After the first email, you can send them the same periodic newsletter you send everyone. If you don’t yet have a newsletter, you should start one as soon as possible. By sending email to your list of customers every month, you can get more orders than if you have one shot at them during a craft fair with dozens or even hundreds of others.

The sooner you stop thinking about craft shows as a place to make sales and start thinking of them as a place to get customers, the better off you will be. A sale is a one-time event. A customer is someone you have a relationship with and someone who may buy from you repeatedly, sometimes for years.

Sharon Conley is a multimedia crafter and craft show addict. Together with her husband, a marketing expert, she is building a complete marketing plan for crafters. To learn more about craft show success, visit

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