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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

What Yard Sales and Book Fairs Have in Common

This past weekend, I scheduled both a yard sale and a book fair on the same day. Normally, I wouldn't plan these two as back to back events, but the timing wasn't my choice. I had no control over the dates and I wanted to participate in both since I thought the timing was right. 

For both these events, a lot of planning had to take place.  For the yard sale, I had to gather everything together and decide on pricing and have it ready to go early in the morning. For the book sale, I had to pack up my books, tabletop materials, and display materials. All this needed to be ready to go by 7:00 AM. 

In both cases, I had to do my own marketing. Since it was a community yard sale, I wasn't the only one promoting it. Signs and banners were posted at the different entrances to my subdivision by the homeowner association to draw people in. Other homeowners had signs out for it as well. That created synergy which resulted in lots of people driving through and stopping at the different homes. 

The book fair had cross-marketing with the authors personally promoting it through their social media. In my past book fairs, the base attendance has been friends and family who attend. That was true here. However, the marketing for the event location marketing fell short. There was no noticeable signage for the fair at the entrance, only an 8.5" by 11" piece of paper taped to the doors.  No exterior banners. No interior signage. You had to ask where the event was held as it was in a back room.  As a result, attendance was limited. 

Here's what I learned from both the events. First, I have to remember that I can work my butt off but that won't guarantee results. Not everyone driving by wanted what I was offering or the choices of books I was selling. Discounting prices don't always make for sales. Second,  events work better when you have lots of people participating with you. Third, just like in real estate, location is important. If people aren't drawn in with signage, attendance will be limited. Fourth, social media notifications can only go so far. 

Final thoughts... Though I had better results at the yard sale, I don't plan on doing one again anytime soon. I do much better with sales through Facebook Marketplace and Next Door. 

I will continue to do book fairs and make sure it's done with a large group of people and the event location has good signage. If they don't, I'll try to bring my own. 

Now it’s your turn…What has your experience been with book fairs? What works? What doesn’t for you?

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