for setting up a local market
Choosing the most cost effective methods of promotion that offers the greatest return on your investment should be your first priority, though with local solutions not always being obvious or uniform, this may take some time to establish. On the following page we outline the most tried and tested.
Signs and Banners
Proven to be a great draw to markets, signs and banners are subject to approval from your local authority if they are to be placed on a public highway. There can possibly be more support for your market signs if they are seen to be directional as opposed to purely promotional. If your local authority does not support the use of signs on street furniture or elsewhere then you may wish to consider approaching other landowners such as farmers or ask people to put them up in their garden or on the school gates. Ensure that fonts and colours are legible and that they do not obstruct visibility on highways.
Postcards and calendars
With many markets operating a less conventional timetable of events, it is an invaluable marketing tool to make people aware of your schedule. Involving local arts groups, school or other volunteers can produce artwork that can be a unique identifying factor to your market and using this consistently across your marketing material will help people recognise your market. A range of information can be displayed in this way that further puts across the ethos of your market and you can educate people on seasonal recipes or other local events that your partners and traders may be involved in. Distribution can be carried out on the market, with materials left on stallholders tables, dropped into shopping bags and left on the information stall but you will also want to consider a wider distribution and school book bags, doctors surgeries, tourist information centres and other outlets. Your stallholders often attend other markets too, and they could be your best form of distribution.
Whether it is a great website, Google+ or Facebook page or a Twitter account, in this age of electronic communication the Internet is often the first place people will look for your market. Researching how your market is listed is often one of the first tasks you will need to perform. It is worthwhile researching your nearest competition to see where they are listed online and contacting the organisations involved. When using social media always ensure that all platforms have as much information about your market as you can provide. This includes good pictures, the location of your market, opening times, traders, and your ethos as a minimum.
Get your market on the map
Information Britain: http://www.information-britain.co.uk/
Market Showcase: http://marketshowcase.seemysale.co.uk/seller/seemylocalmarket/
Email and newsletters
Online newsletter facilities help you build email lists of your customers and traders, allowing the addition of substantial numbers before becoming a paid for facility. Newsletter sign-up forms can easily be integrated into your website and any social media that you carry out to get across upcoming markets, promotional offers, traders stories, seasonal recipes or how volunteers and committee members on your organisation spend their time and help out.
Stay in contact with your local press. Always on the lookout for a good story, your market can provide them with environmental stories, examples of small businesses in the area, local food, and other issues important to the community.
Parish magazines, ‘what’s on’ diaries (either in physical format or online), the local newspaper, radio and TV can help widen your message but you need to ensure a ‘hook’ for your stories. With so many ways in which markets can be celebrated throughout the year it is worth the effort of making as many of your markets tie in with national campaigns, high days and holidays and a list of these can be found on the Love Your Local Market website. It is worth building a list of contacts within the local media and adding them to your newsletter list. Treat each one as if it where a press release, giving as much detail as possible and don’t forget to back up this activity on social media.
Awards are good for business and get your market noticed. They are a great excuse to get your ethos across, showcase individual traders and build a buzz around your market.
Look for awards that are central to the theme of your market; food; environment; vintage – whatever your market supports there will be an award for it and they run throughout the year. Think too about nominating your traders or volunteers and even particular initiatives you have going.
Here are a few examples of award competitions:
The highlight of the market calendar is when the public decides by vote, the winner of Britain’s Favourite Market as part of the Great British Market Awards.
A further twelve categories are decided by a judging panel of industry experts, with a category for every type of market.
For information on the Great British Market Awards that launch in October each year visit the NABMA website: www.nabma.com
Get a market champion Does someone famous live in your area? Finding someone to champion your market will add to the markets visibility and help promote your market. If they have good social media connections this too could be invaluable to promoting your market as one tweet put out to hundreds of thousands of followers is going to get more attention than one sent out to a couple of hundred. Always remember the publicity is also good for their image.
Word of Mouth
One of the best ways to promote any business is through word of mouth with the 21st Century version being social media. Set up competitions, invite people to review your market and leave feedback. Get your traders involved and very soon you can achieve an active network of people promoting your market for you.
Celebrating Love Your Local Market
The Mary Portas Review, commissioned by government to address concerns around our ailing high streets, put forward a list of recommendations with several focusing on markets. The resulting fortnight of celebrations in May has now seen over a thousand markets taking part, putting on over 10,000 special events to mark the occasion.
Love Your Local Market gives market operators, traders and customers a call to action and the key messages it looks to promote can breathe vigor and life into ailing markets, while giving new markets an ideal platform from which to promote themselves.