Be honest, does the word “virtual” make you cringe a little? We get it. You’re in the arts and crafts fair business – you probably like real human connection and don’t want to have to deal with any IT nonsense. Here’s the good news: you’re also probably creative, and you definitely have help to make your holiday art fair a virtual event. With the right platform and people, you can 🎶 Tech the halls and still stay jolly… Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Here’s a framework for building an engaging digital holiday shopping experience – whether that’s fully virtual or a hybrid event (spoiler alert: it’s a lot of the same things that make your in-person events special and successful). It’s important to shape a vision of what your virtual art fair looks like – not only for yourself, but also for your artists, partners, vendors and audience, so let’s dive in!
1. Quality Products, Thoughtfully Displayed
While virtual events might not have the same capacity limitations as other event venues, you can still be selective with how many vendors you’d like to include in your holiday art fair. Vet them to be sure their work fits your overall vision and to be sure they can represent themselves professionally in a digital booth. Their photos and videos will ultimately shape some of the look and feel of your event, so set your quality standards and communicate them.
2. A Sense of Community Camaraderie
Just because everyone’s attending from different places, doesn’t mean they can’t socialize. Make sure your platform is set up with sophisticated live chat and video chat tools to facilitate conversation among artists and attendees. Plan engaging blocks of streaming content throughout the event to help maintain a central focus when shoppers aren’t perusing artists’ booths and websites.
3. Get Partners Involved
Like, really involved. This is where that creativity element really comes into play. Maybe you want to donate a portion of the proceeds to support the arts in your community (bonus = attracting ethical shoppers), or perhaps a notable man in a big red suit is willing to do a live Q&A. And don’t just make a routine ask for sponsors, see how they can be woven into the live stream.
4. The Overall Vibe – Be it Fun, Funky or Fancy
Don’t underestimate the power of visuals (okay you’re not going to do that – you’re into art for Pete’s sake) to help set the tone of the event – beginning with the marketing efforts leading up to it and all the way through to post-event surveys. Make it cohesive. During your holiday art fair event, attendees should be able to see your branded graphics and know they’re in the right spot. Then the content you curate for a live stream should help bring it all to life – through music, how-tos, performance, demos and more.
5. A Solid Promotion Plan
You’ve established the vibe, now make sure you show it off – enticing visuals paired with a clear and concise message will help set the expectations of your audience. Use them consistently across social media platforms, in any paid advertising you might have, and even in your vendor and partner communications. Even after registrations roll in, stay in touch with your audience via e-blasts to get them excited about the event, and explain the logistics of how to attend, but more importantly why to attend.
Virtual is the best way to share the holiday spirit without sharing holiday germs. So get creative, embrace the magic and open-ended possibilities of the holiday season, and set yourself up with the right platform and people to help make your holiday art fair happen.
Looking for more guidance and tools to make your hybrid event happen? BoothCentral can help >>
Written by The BoothCentral Team
It was a pleasure working with Booth Central and their support team.
Their attention to detail and quick response to our organization, as well as our vendors, before, during, and after our show was beyond our expectations. Vermont Hand Crafters highly recommends Booth Central!” – Elizabeth Boudreau, Director of Events @ Vermont Handcrafters
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