Here we give you some of our top tips in acing the role of ‘virtual stallholder’!
It’s quite different to preparing for a physical market because it’s more about the preparation of marketing materials rather than ‘making’. This doesn’t always please everyone but it can be more efficient and sustainable as less wastage.
Markets have run successfully for years until COVID shut everything down. Now we have a very blended way to sell products and it’s a little different.
Physical markets have been less profitable generally since COVID but it times of economic crisis we should max out our exposure to out-last those other businesses that don’t – you’ll benefit in the long run. Online sales are ticking along a little slower than people want currently (Nov 2023) but if you are not involved in events at all – ask the questions – how are you going to be seen? How will you grow your audience? How will you increase revenue? These all affect your potential overall growth.
How to maximise your chances of online market success
Who can you tell and how can you tell them?
Plan your attack on all virtual platforms – social media, your website, email marketing.
These events are time sensitive so if you plan your social media posts and your email marketing prior to the market, then just share bits of content to stories etc during the day. Consider scheduling to avoid any posting anxiety- then you are making yourself very visible. Your role during the event is to interact with the organisers and other people taking part. Some organisers do IG lives and others might do pre-recorded chats, but try to get involved to help spread your business name and brand.
Who to tell – customers, social media followers, family and friends – yes, get on Whatsapp and share that you are on a virtual market and give them the link.
Where – social media plus sites like Pinterest/Linked in (not technically social media), email marketing and on your website.
Social Media Content
It’s just one place to be when you have a small business. Some people can max out on all platforms, others choose to focus on just a couple. Both is fine as it is all about what your capacity is.
Lots of content can be shared across platforms but it’s more about how you engage with other people and their accounts that helps your reach along with posts that really connect with your audience and I mean REALLY connect. If the post is about something deep, emotional, poignant, funny etc and it captures peoples attention. Telling people you are taking part in an online market is unlikely to do this for you! Sorry to break the bad news BUT it does depend on how you word your message or the quality of the images you are sharing. So time to start thinking creatively.
First thing to do – have a link to the online market in your bio. You can now have multiple links on Instagram (check it out if you haven’t seen) if you don’t use a link page so add in the online market event link. Easy!
We often hear – How many is too many posts? There is no limit really, I really think the question should be how many is too few posts?
Each time you post, you often reach different people. If this is your one and only market – which for some small business owners it often is – then you need to make a lot of noise. If you do many markets both on and offline – just do what you can but be clear about where your customers can shop from you.
If there are graphics given to you by the organisers, make use of these to let people know you are taking part in the market.
Some organisers provide graphics and Canva templates for you to place your own image behind. Make use of these too.
Create a series of posts that are clear to your audience about what your best sellers are and maybe a little bit about you as a maker.
These are perfect examples of graphic images put onto social media and pinned to the top usually to be clear on where people can find you. Of course put on your online events too.
As you are not going out to do a stall – set one up at home. Talk the audience through it. Or do a time lapse of you setting it up – here is an example but we would suggest doing it in portrait for insta. This all makes for great content. Do a video/reel/TikTok of you making then setting up the stall and then working at your computer on an online market – this can be used for physical markets too. Make, set up and sell in person.
Short videos of you holding your product and talking about it. Just think outside the box – you can do what you like but golden rules on social – be clear about where people can find you, how they can shop from you on the online market and tell them what your best sellers are. Have good clear links in your bio and be present commenting on other peoples posts.
For the market, ensure you are using the Hashtags provided if the organisers have set some, then you can be seen on Hashtags too!
Here’s some top tips from a CEO Tony our grey tiger – watch this reel.
This only applies if you have an email list and are currently sending out emails – if not, defo consider collecting this info, it is really useful.
In your emails you could offer your newsletter readers the opportunity to shop from you with a special discount before you open it up to the wider audience – you could sell out, if you do, this is great! If you get a couple of sales – cute! It all helps to make this opportunity profitable.
Send an email out in advance and then consider another one when it opens or is open as a reminder. Customers are busy people and they sometimes do need a reminder.
Because the nature of these markets are online your images have to be bang on beautiful! This can very easily be created by using a phone nowadays. Just think about lighting and image set up. Use the apps to help lift images to make them brighter.
Lots of small business owners do also get professional photos of their best sellers or products that they have had for a while. You cannot beat a good professional photo shoot for the quality of the images.
If this is the customer’s one and only way to interact with you – this can be essential.
So we say – be critical of your own imagery it is one of the most important elements for success online and ultimately at online markets. We have seen this via results on clicks through to websites from a market.
To offer or not?!? It really depends on your profit margins. Hopefully you have plenty and it could be a great way to get interactions but not the only way. If you have built up a good rappour with your customers they might be ready and waiting for that discount. Who knows and there is no proof to confirm that using a discount does actually increase click throughs from customers. There was stronger evidence that clear imagery did this for the business owner.
Video on Youtube
You may have seen this at the bottom on your event listing about a video link to YouTube. This is again just another way to get some interaction. On the markets, there is a meet us button and if you put a link to video in here you can use it an an opportunity to say hello to your customers.
What sort of video to do? People do these all sorts of different ways. Some say hello and talk to the camera, others over lay a voice message while flicking through images and some share their journey as a creative business.
Get involved as much as you can with the organisers and other sellers on the market.
Plan your marketing in advance and schedule it.
Use great images
Be sure to check out our Pedddle website for a comprehensive list of outdoor markets near you. If this article has been useful to you please share and do consider joining Tresstle or Pedddle for more great tips suitable for fledgling businesses to seasoned pros alike, in order to help your business reach its full potential.