Saturday, 5 December 2009

You won't get customers if you don't advertise!!

Yesterday I did a market in Margate Old Town. It is supposed to be a 3 day market and last night coincided with the turning on of Margate Christmas lights. This has cost me £50 for 3 days and yesterday I made £20 and apart from one other lady I was the only person to make a sale. Why is this??? Because it was really poorly advertised. There are posters around and I saw some posters at Imogen's school but there was nothing in the local press I even checked last night in case I had missed it.

Please don't get angry with me and think I am putting down the guys I worked with yesterday because I am most definitely not. They are a great bunch, enthusiastic and keen to promote Margate Old Town but at a higher level they are being let down. There was a torchlight procession last night with 2 local schools being involved and I knew nothing about it. There were fireworks and carols with the Salvation Army. I knew nothing about it. There was a mini market with local craftspeople selling their art and craft. I only knew about it cos I was involved.

The torchlight procession was lovely so nice to see all the kids dressed with christmassy LED lights all over them. This has happened for the last 4 or 5 years maybe more and I have lived here all my life (nearly 40 years) and I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT IT. You would have thought that even by osmosis it would have got around the Thanet grapevine is a wonderful beast but not with this little snippet! Everyone moans about Margate says that there is nothing going on well last night there was and how many people were there??? I know for a fact that people stumbling across the market probably totalled a maximum of 100 if we were lucky.

How to advertise? I am no expert but there are some very simple and free things that can be done to raise the profile of someone or something. I should know I have done it with my own business!

1) Facebook fan page
2) Twitter
3) Blog
4) Join forums on the internet and promote yourself.
5) Local radio may promote you

No money involved in any of these and not a great drain on time a group can quite happily work these things together and raise profile instantly.

Come on Margate sort it out and stop being so apathetic.

BTW I am back at the market today from 11 til about 1.30 so come along if you mention my blog you can have a 10% discount on all your purchases.



  1. I wish I could say that I am surprised at this. The sad truth is I come from the Margate area and I knew nothing of the market. Please continue to highlight these short comings because awareness is so strongly needed.

  2. What a shame. It's the same everywhere. Perhaps you should only fork out for your stall if "they" can reassure you the event HAS been properly advertised. That might make them think about it.

  3. I saw a poster for this on Friday lunchtime in the staff room and that was the first I read about it although I like to think I'm pretty much on the ball with local matters.

    What seems to happen is that a lot of effort is put into arranging these local events, but very little is effort is put into promoting them beleiving that the hard bit has been done.

    Hopefully today went a little better with more occasional visitors.

  4. I agree it's a real shame that the Old Town wasn't busier this weekend but the fact is that there is no 'higher level' that you refer to.

    The event to switch on the Christmas lights, the procession, fireworks etc was organised by the Charter Trustees (Mayor of Margate's office). They have a very limited budget and publicised the event with some posters locally, by email and through the local press. They don't organise many events so Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc aren't appropriate but there are locals like myself who did share the information with our contacts. Clearly that wasn't enough and the Thanet grapevine didn't work that well either.

    The market was organised by the Old Town Action Group who do the best they can but they have no funding. I agree that all the people who had stalls, and the organisers, are incredibly pro-Margate and keen to make things work. To be fair they do use social networking but I guess if you're not a follower of Qing or What's On Margate or one or two others, you wouldn't know.

    This is where is start disagreeing with you. I'm not sure who you're asking to stop being apathetic. None of the people involved with the events this weekend are remotely apathetic! I understand your frustration with the lack of visitors to your stall, I really do, but who exactly are you blaming?

    My view is that we need a central conduit for promoting events in Margate, which currently does not exist. I feel that the most appropriate organisation to fulfil this role is the Margate Town Partnership which, incidentally, is far from dead, merely regrouping at the moment. Again, however, funding for MTP is tight. Hopefully MTP can provide the solution to your frustration going forward.

  5. Thank you so much for replying guys I really appreciate it. Fiona having read back now what is blasted out this morning before going off for my second day at the market I totally understand what you are saying and in the context of this blog post wholly inappropriate.
    As a Margate resident there is an emormous amount of apathy and plenty of expecting others to do the organising and I gues what I was trying to say was that we should all be trying to spread the word a bit in order to do our part. I guess we all have a part to blame in things failing.

    I am most definitely not critisicing the Old Town Action Group. Ann Marie from Qing and Wanda, Janet from Ingoldsby and all the others did a magnificent job and I thank them for that. I will be doing other markets and maybe over time the word will get around
    I do have to say I disagree with Facebook and Twitter not being appropriate to develop a fan page for Margate Old Town would take 10 minutes and lots of people can be granted administrator access and post stuff it takes very little time and is a fantastic tool!

    What about the whats on in Thanet website??? Google the phrase "whats on in Thanet" and check out the seasonal stuff for Broadstairs and you get a nice bit of blurb. Repeat this for Margate and there is nothing at all!!!!

    I am sad really is all. People slag Margate off and I think it could be lovely if we all did our bit!

  6. I think we're feeling the same way. Margate people are often apathetic, so it's down to us to behave differently. Do try and have a look at the What's on Margate Facebook page - it's only been going a very short time but anyone can post onto it.

  7. Fiona thank you so much I will have a look

  8. I used to do a Sunday farmers/craft market in Cambridge as well as my usual Saturday one. Sunday would always be switch on day for the Christmas lights in Cambridge and the market square was where some minor celebrity or other would be doing the big switch on. After attending two Christmas light turn ons which were well advertised and well attended, I stopped doing them. Why? Because people are there to see the lights, not shop. They are there for the free show, many have children with them - parents with children don't buy jewellery, the children aren't interested, get bored and nag parents into doing something they want to do. It was always a bad day sales wise, plus the Council wouldn't let us pack up until an hour and a half past our usual time for health and safety reasons due to so many people being there, they felt vehicles and people carrying boxes and trollies back and forth were a hazard. My sister still does that market and says it hasn't got any better.