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  • A Guide to Using Banners and Other Advertising at Conventions: PART 3

    PART 3: Extra Tidbits to get you Started!

    We’ve talked about different styles of booths and now let’s talk about what you can put on your booth or advertise about it. These are just suggestions, so I don’t want to dictate what you put on display.

    “Free” is a word that everyone loves! These don’t have to be extravagant, but something small and versatile such as buttons, stickers, or patches. People will collect these, tell their friends and bring more people to your booth, where the rest of your beautiful art is displayed!

    You can also make postcards or business cards that have your websites, social media links, or other relevant information to showcase your art.

    Collectibles!

    Having collectible items would be beneficial to you as well. Such as art sets, button sets, etc. If you start a tradition of featuring some new item every time you go to a new convention, you’ll have plenty of visitors (including repeat visitors)!

    Label Your Prices

    There’s nothing like awkwardly walking up to your favorite artist and asking how much something is, only to find out it’s beyond what your wallet can handle. Avoid the awkwardness with your fans and make a display instead.

    Try not to use Post-it notes or sticker labels, but rather something more professional looking, like a small sign or a banner. Making a sign leaves more room for interaction with your fans and the fun questions that you can answer. It doesn’t have to be boring either! Spruce it up, decorate it and make it your own!

    Embrace Your Pop Culture

    To get the people’s attention, showing something familiar like pop culture characters could draw people to your booth. For example, when I went to Anime Expo, it was right after the “Avatar: The Legend of Korra” finale and I can’t even begin to tell you how much Korra fanart was in Artist Alley alone. Most of the artists were fans of the show, sure, but they strategically put the Korra fanart before some of their original pieces to draw the hardcore fans to their booth. This is a good strategy, and by no means demeans your artwork at all! It’s all about acknowledging the trends of the day. Not only will people come to see their favorite characters done in your style, but they are more likely to stay and look at your other art in the meantime. It’s the bait that draws them in!

    Advertise Ahead of Time!

    No doubt, most of you who are reading this have a website, a Facebook, DeviantArt, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogspot, etc.! Use them to your advantage, the closer you get to convention day. Talk about your freebies, your collectibles, or any other tidbits you plan on selling at your booth. Use a physical sign, like a banner or a flag, so your fans know what to look for when trying to find you in the Artist Alley!

     

    The End!

    So that’s it! That’s all I got to give. Above everything else: HAVE FUN. These people love you. Even if strangers only stop to look for a little while, the fact is that they stopped to see you. And that will speak volumes about your art.  

     

  • Keep ‘em Coming Back for MORE: Banking on Collectible Giveaways

    We've talked about banner designs, and we've gone over the famed Scavenger Hunt idea. Today, let's talk about another marketing strategy to draw attention to your business during a convention or a fair.

    One idea to attract people to your booth is to give away promotional items. BUT an even better one that’ll keep them coming back is to have Collectible Giveaways!! Fans will seek you out year after year to get that new item for their collection, and you can use this opportunity to market your new stuff to them.

    The example I’ll draw from is Viz Media: a manga & anime merchandise business based in San Francisco. Every year at the San Diego Comic-Con (and other related conventions), they give away a new variance of a tote bag, such as this one from 2007:

    And here is one from 2006...

    I can’t tell you how many times my cousins and I made bets on what the next year’s bag color would be. It was always our first stop on the exhibit floor.

    Future Changes

    Although in these past few years Viz has changed to a more single-tone bag with cheaper material, the idea is still the same: give the fans something useful, while at the same time making it fun and collectible. This is a surefire way to keep your fans coming back for more and, even better, will bring their friends with them.

    Now, Viz used to give these bags away with purchases at their booth. Even though they don’t sell merchandise anymore (they just do informational stuff), they implemented a new technique this year: the SCAVENGER HUNT! Of which you can read more about here.

  • Scavenger Hunts: Make Them Work for it!

    We're always talking about how a smartly designed banner will attract attention, but there are other ideas out there besides print and ink. In addition to banners and other visual ads, here's another technique to help you attract new customers, as well as keep the repeat ones coming back for more: a scavenger hunt!

    The scavenger hunt is a new idea that recently started appearing at conventions and fairs: fill out a survey, go see some stations, collect stamps, and then you get a prize! I went through Viz Media’s scavenger hunt at the Anime Expo in Los Angeles. It was very easy, and a clever way for them to advertise their new online markets. I got a stamp at each station and voila! Received this year’s tote bag as a prize.

    This model is a smart and effective way to get the fans to interact more with the business. It was quick and painless too, no waiting in long lines to get to a station either. Even though Viz Media is already a well-known entertainment business, this model can still be implemented for other kinds of businesses as well.

    Recently at a county fair, I went to the Chevrolet booth, took a survey and got a free water bottle. Easy, right? Well, this model of survey = prize is pretty common, but for a more classy business like the automobile industry, a scavenger hunt can be used too. Have people go to each model on the floor and collect a stamp or a sticker, and when they collect them all they get a prize.

    Giving your fans and customers something to do at your booth is just as important as what you’re trying to market to them. Take these “stations” as opportunities to give them quick facts about what they’re looking at. Or, even better, play a small game, like ring toss or a matching game! The more that people are having fun, the more likely they’ll tell their friends or spread the word about it. And, hey! We're a banner company: purchase banners from us, designed to indicate each of your stations.

    However, heed my warning: your fans will be expecting a payoff after all that work. No gain or no prize = very unhappy fans.

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