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Event Advertising - 2 Page Summary of Best Practices and Ideas
By Louis Marquette  -  a Craft Expert    about page  personal website
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More effective advertising is a matter of smarts, not money. Don't 'throw money at the problem'.

1. Word of Mouth – One customer can bring MANY other customer with them. Encourage it!
2. ReputationRegardless of the actual advertising, some are know as great shows and are sought out!Turn craft shows into events: Name them and use the same weekend yearly! e.g. Annual Fall Craft Blast, First Sat. in October.
3. Give Promotional Material Packet to Vendors - Remember, the most likely show-goer, is a previous show-goer at your show or another! When you send your vendor packets out, send each:
* Handouts - to pass out at the events they attend leading up to your event.      
* Flyers – for bulletin boards, store windows, etc.
* Postcards – for merchants to mail to their self-maintained mailing list.
* Info Stickers – many have their own postcards. Send event info stickers for their postcards.
* Entrance Coupons or Free Passes' – for merchants to send/give to their TOP clients.
* Encourage vendor promotion - Send each handouts, postcards, etc. with a unique number in it. For every one turned in, they can receive a $1.00 or a point towards a prize, etc.
* Instruction to write a press releases - Encourage vendors to write to all their local and all event local media. PHENOMENAL success reported!
4. Exhibitors should send Press Releases to all ... – SOME free advertising is bound to result.
5. Community Organizations' Involvement - Create some type of community involvement where there is none. For example, have kids do a car wash at your event for their charity.. Offer to collect for charities & organizations. If event appropriate, offer free spots to religious organizations for bake sales, group craft sales, info booth, member meet, etc.
6. Mailing List Usage ( Promoter's and all Exhibitors' )
Request to use of EACH exhibitors' mailing list - Ask the size, then send material to be mailed; some may even send you mailing labels to use yourself. One vendor claims a large list that they swear promoters try to get them into shows just to use...
Postcard Announcements to previous customers is essential. Collect attendees' info with a form or entry card signup (complete with phone #s, addresses, and e-mails, where they heard of the event), and after the show compile a mail/e-mail/call list for future shows in that area.
7. Street Signs, Banners, & Posters - SIGNS need to be LARGE, with BIG, CLEAR, EASY TO READ PRINT and SIMPLE INFO on a BRIGHT BACKGROUND. Early and comprehensive coverage and planning is a must.. SIGNS CAN BE LEGALY PLACED IN ALMOST ANY TOWN, JUST NOT ALWAYS ON PUBLIC LAND - Private property is a great place for signs, just approach property owners for permission, treat them to free tickets, movie passes, etc. Add a huge sign to the event premises the month before. Try a multiple car and lawn sign blitz - Every organization volunteer has a car that can be turned into mobile advertising and a yard that can hold a sign or two! Improve signs the day before, with balloons, ribbons, colored splotches, etc. Posters in many locations really do work, if put in right places. You MUST pick places for the right people, such as high end clothes stores for cultured craft shows. Ask businesses around town if you can put a poster or flyer.. Record where you post them for removal and for subsequent years!
8. Newspaper - Customers for many successful shows travel from hours around. Signs may remind locals, but only distant advertising will bring in the out-of-towner.... However, many said they tried newspapers, but found only certain small community papers, under a things to do section, actually bring in any new customers, others said display ads in papers which cost quite a bit never paid in added customers through the door. What works in one town, may not in another – experiment and track!
- Send 'Releases' to all the papers. Send multiple copies, months in advance, weeks, then days. The more ‘ready to print’, the better your luck will be! Send interesting, info & photos.
- Be sure to submit your show info to the Calendar Editor separately. Usually, papers will not take the initiative to put an event in the calendar even if it's written up several times in the newspaper or even advertised.
- Coupons work! Time and time again, I'm told that coupons placed in newspapers almost always bring in more in entrance fees than the ads. Coupons will also increase the chances of it being placed on their refrigerator as a reminder.
9. Radio & TV
- Send out a press release to every radio and television station, and post on every free news site in the area. A live radio broadcast would be optimal, ASK! I have had promoters tell me they did get this for free, so be creative and try! Let them know that YOU know that they will enjoy exposure to your large, already expected attendance by their attending and broadcasting live.
- Most local stations have a "Public Service Bulletin Board" where they announce upcoming local events. Normally, they just need the information on your event - but weeks or months in advance.
10. Other Ideas
- Internet - Find the countless free sites for your town or region. Post on chamber of commerce sites, tourism sites, tourist destination (resorts, inns) sites with event lists online, etc.
- Many promoters visit every other local show that they can to promoter their own event.
- Offer to partner with other local events in advertising - trade handouts, postcards, flyers, posters, even print or media ads. Place their show handouts on your info table at your show, in exchange for your flyer at theirs, etc.
- Use Local Resources Geared towards Tourism / Travel / Activities
- Many municipalities and even large apartment complexes & gated communities can and WILL add info about whats happening in the area and other notes to water bills, trash bills, electric bills, etc. IF ASKED Also contact local utilities for same with any directly billed customers.
- Contacting and working with your local Chambers of Commerce and Tourism will reap benefits. Most have websites with upcoming event lists and some have Tourism Offices where material can be distributed.
- All local to-do magazines, tourism booklets, etc. should be contacted.

Most Importantly:

Refine your Advertising! Track ALL ads, ALL monies, and source of EACH customer. ASK EVERY ENTRANT where they heard of the event and how many are in their party. Plan future advertising around proven effectiveness. Designate multiple greeters with clipboards to ask EVERY gate entrant where they heard about the event. They should stroll or be at main entrance points if there is no gate. The info gathered is priceless! Since you know the cost of each media ad, campaign, gimmick, etc. you can brake down each ad source to how much each customer from it cost. In future years, drop the worst and improve upon the best!

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