BEFORE THE SHOW: PROMOTION
Showing at Surtex for the first time means no one really knows who you are for the most part, so self promotion becomes even more important! For the show I planned on having a first go at promotional mailers as well as some social media presence. Trying to keep things as low cost as possible while still looking nice I only had 100 flyers and 100 postcards printed out along with 400 business cards. Knowing I would be creating mailers I also had stickers printed with some of my designs as well as a few with return address and "hello" printed on them. I again used MOO for printing everything. I mailed approximately 45 promotional packet mailers out to prospective clients. This mailer included one postcard, an "about me" flyer, one sticker set and a business card. I hand wrote a personalized message on each postcard and the back of my flyer had a sampler of some of my patterns.
Registration for Surtex gives you access to a list of attendees as well as the ability to save favorites and see if anyone has saved your information. A huge drawback to this database is it's name, title, and company information only. So you have to guess on what the best mailing address is. The list can be pared down to categories so I curated a list of clients starting with ones I was most interested in hopefully working with. I did receive a handful of emails prior to the show with responses from the mailers! There were a few who mentioned at the show that they had received a mailer and the rest are probably off in some netherworld hopefully partying with all the other mailers artists send out over the decades. My spam mailbox also received its fair share of companies claiming to offer lists of attendees, I am a skeptic on a budget and did not respond to any of said offers.
Of my remaining promotional packets 15 were saved for the press section of Surtex. To be completely honest I'm still not 100% on the purpose/usefulness of the press kits? I had one blog email me after the show asking if I'd be interested in doing an interview and I believe I actually met them on the show floor.
The remainder of my promotional materials were reserved for handing out at my booth. I had several emails for offers to be in design catalogues and I declined all of them as I personally feel the concept of paying someone to promote you in a printed database (that then needs to be purchased for anyone to see you) is an antiquated system. I made a sporadic attempt at social media marketing prior to the show. This is the one area that I will be pushing myself to be more consistent with! I had less than a thousand Instagram followers before the show and it honestly felt like all of the followers were at the show, be it fellow artists or clients. Social media is truly a zenith of marketing in my opinion.
Overall my numbers for promotional materials was way off for sure and I ran out towards the last day of the show. I did send my booth assistant to bring back the remainder of my press kits so I'd have something to hand out. What amazed me most was going through 400 business cards over the run of the show. Some of my promotional material did go to fellow exhibitors and students, mostly as trades. It can be difficult to identify these attendees sometimes without them addressing the reason they're at the show, so if you're worried about potentially wasting your materials, just try to be positive about it and remember it can be fun to connect with other artists too!
Overall I was really happy with what I had printed and will remember to bring more of everything next year!