Here in the U.S. we celebrated Independence Day yesterday. And as a part of the 4th of July traditions here in Denver, we always head out and attend the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, one of the largest of its kind here in the U.S.

I love taking in the sites and the sounds – they have great bands on the main stage to help you enjoy even more. And this year we spent as much time as we could heading in to each booth, as it was in the mid 90’s with lots of sunshine as we strolled around the area.

This year, I noticed a few trends I thought I would share here.

Take Advantage Of Their Marketing

Any time you work at a festival, whether its something like the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, or even a bridal festival, chances are they are experienced at putting together a show. They know how to set up booths, get the best vendors, and market their show to the community.

Because they are always looking for ways to market their events more effectively, chances are they offer each artist a chance to use the latest technology. This year they have a website that showcases each artist within the appropriate gallery: photography, jewelry, drawing, wood, etc. And they also offered something new: a QR code attached to the sign placed at each booth. And this is where almost all need help.

People understand older technology – websites – and so they are using that fairly effectively. Yet when something is new, rather than finding out more about it, they simply use it in the easiest way possible. And this is where opportunity is missed.  While most people simply use the QR code to send people to a website, this is really your opportunity to grow your following. Why not send them to your Facebook Page, and give them a reason to like and follow you? Or maybe a special page on your site where they can take advantage of a show special?

Think About Sales For The Next Year

Many artists that head out to festivals think in terms of sales for the weekend. They try to capture a few buyers while they are there in order to make enough money to continue doing what they are doing.

Yet the purpose for a festival is 90 percent exposure; 10 percent sales. It’s always great to have a few people purchase your artwork during the festival itself. But what about the dozens of others who stopped by your booth, and weren’t ready to buy? They were simply looking for the day, collecting ideas for the future? This is where your focus needs to be.

Create business cards, postcards, brochures – anything that allows people to keep your name at hand for the future. At one jewelry booth, the artist had placed her most popular pieces on a series of Moo MiniCards. While I wasn’t ready to buy one of her necklaces this weekend, I took the MiniCard with that necklace on it, and now have it sitting on my desk. And I can head over to her website and buy it when I’m ready.

Be Recognizable

Many of the booths we visited this year we’ve seen in the past. They come back because it works. Not only are they selling each year, but they are building up a following along the way.

When you market yourself, it takes 8 to 12 impressions before a potential customer begins to recognize you. So if you’re at a festival several years in a row, you connect via an email newsletter, and you send out quarterly postcards to your list – that’s a great way to let people know who you are and what you have to offer.

Because the Cherry Creek Arts Festival is becoming a “tradition” for us, we can quickly walk around and notice who we’ve viewed before, and who is new. It also gives us a second look at someone we may not have noticed before. Style is everything. By keeping a similar look from year to year, and being in the same places again and again, you’re following will come.

Become Buyable

When you attend an arts festival, you are reaching out to the general population. Yes, you can argue that only a certain class of people will actually take the time to attend an arts festival, and I agree with that wholeheartedly. But you still have access to thousands of people strolling through your booth, looking at what you do, and potentially buying what you have.

The biggest success stories that I saw were the ones that offered many things at many price ranges. Yes, they had the large pieces of art that sold for thousands of dollars. But they also had a wall of small artwork that was considerably less. They had bins out front in which you could buy prints that were matted and unframed for a fraction of the limited editions hanging inside the booth. They sold books, cards and journals. In other words, they thought about the economy, and gave people an option to enjoy their artwork at much lower prices. And they also have the opportunity to stay in touch and upsell them some day in the future.

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