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Running A Virtual Market, What He Learned - David Van, Tom Ray's Art Podcast Clip

What it was like to run an online virtual market for the first time?

On my art podcast, I spoke with David Van who runs the Madison Makers Market which is a pop-up market that involves creators and artists in different places throughout the year. But when the world shut down in 2020 he tried an online virtual market.

I asked him about his experience and how he ran this new virtual market for the first time.

You did try to do a virtual market?

Yes, I did. Man, it was awkward as hell! 

Because it's a brand new format as a concept so we were all just kind of feeling around in the dark. 

So I looked at what a couple other people were doing and some of those markets hadn't even gone live yet. So I was just extrapolating what they were talking about. 

I came to the conclusion that if you did it for like a single day or only a couple of days that would be presuming a lot about people's schedule and availability or finances. 

So I thought that running the event for too short a time wouldn't give people enough time to get exposure. 

I knew right away that we needed to run this for a long time frame, two or three weeks. Not only does that give me time to post about more people it allows me to post more about each individual person. 

Because if you're running for like two weeks and I post about you one time then people are going to forget about you or never even know that I posted about you. 

But if I were on a show for 50 or 60 people for three weeks? I can post about you three four or five times a week and that's going to make sure that everybody gets that visibility and exposure.

I knew that kind of format was going to be really really important to be able to work with people that had simple easy communication methods so whatever the best way to reach you was I needed to know what that was so I could talk about it and post that information when I mentioned you. Because not everybody has a Facebook page. 

But I still need to be able to post about you on Facebook. 

Do you only use your email? Well then tell me what your email is because i want people to be able to find you.

So making sure I have really up-to-date current effective contact information, making sure i post about people on a really frequent consistent basis, which is actually something that informed all my promotion strategies going forward. 

I find that scheduling and organizing and arranging posts far in advance makes my life way less stressful.

Even though I do in-person events now I find that scheduling and organizing and arranging posts far in advance makes my life way less stressful. And that's something that I inadvertently learned by doing these web markets. 

You need people to have images that I can post, to talk about your stuff. Some people wanted to do videos, and some people wanted to do other formats. 

So I had to be able to work with everybody to do what made the most sense for us. 

But I found the best thing to do was three to five images. 

Show me a decent cross section of your product catalog the different things you have available and then post passionately. 

Write a really engaged interested post about - why I think this is really interesting or why I think you'll find a lot of value in this posting. 

I'm Boosting posts pretty periodically. 

I would usually make an ad post that I would run for two weeks and I would usually have two of those overlapping for the entire length of the event. That really helped get a lot more engagement as well. 

And you would target those posts to the region around Madison where the market was?

Yep. So I will always have one ad that was specifically Madison and then I have another general post that was intended to reach Wisconsin in general. 

Oh okay, so you do actually go for the whole state when promoting?

Yeah, I think it's really important to try to, especially with the web market. 

It was really important to try to raise your broader audience because now I have access to people that can't drive to Madison. Why not advertise to them if all you have to do is click on a link to buy this person's stuff.

Listen to the whole episode of this episode here

David Van: Running The Madison Makers Market Pop-Ups - Tom Ray's Art Podcast


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