We hope you had a wonderful Canada Day long weekend!

Even though this holiday has come and gone, it’s important to keep promoting your market and all its remarkable events, activities and products throughout the market season. Spreading the buzz about things happening at your market will excite customers, both regular and new, and they will keep coming back week after week.

As explained by Michelle Wolf, instructor of the Ontario Market Manager Certification program, a regular shopper spends about 67% more per purchase than a new customer. Keeping loyal customers excited and happy will bring more success to your market since they tend to spend more. The best way to keep the community engaged is to consistently promote all the great things happening in your market. Luckily, there a many free reliable and simple ways to promote your market and harness community engagement. These 6 effective marketing and promotional strategies will build a tremendous farmers’ market that your vendors are proud of, that the community values, and that your partners support.

Connecting with your community in meaningful ways is crucial to the success of your market. As a market manager, it is your job to advertise your market and share with customers how vital the role of a farmers’ market is within the community. After all, a market manager knows best that a farmers’ market is more than just a place to shop. It’s an environment that nourishes the body, grows relationships, and invites people to exchange meaningful recipes, stories and thank-yous.

Here are a few simple ways to promote your market and harness community engagement:

1. Build a Press Kit

If you don’t already have one, you should build a comprehensive press kit to distribute to local media. Making sure the press kit includes everything their audience needs to know: the date, time and location of your market; whether you’re open rain or shine; a list of your vendors and the products they sell; your schedule of upcoming events; a few high-resolution photos of your market. If you don’t have any, check out the FMO photo gallery to find general market photos that you can use. (For tips on how to write a news release, log into the FMO website as a member, click on View Member-Only Resources and then scroll down to click on Media Tips: Tips for Writing News Releases.)

2. Get local media involved

Establishing a regular media presence at your market will keep your market top of mind. You can keep the media informed by e-mailing the news director of the local radio station and editor-in-chief of the newspaper once a week with details about all the special events and fun activities coming up at the market. Remember, good events market themselves, so having a connection with a member of the media is the most important step to getting your events out there.

Contacting the journalism, communications or English departments of a nearby college or university is a great way to get connected to a member of the media. Reporting on your market on a regular basis is a great way for a student to practice their skills, at no cost to you.

3. Reach out to niche publications

Niche publications are a great match for farmers’ market coverage. For example, if there’s a parenting magazine or a health food magazine near you, consider jotting down a few points that align your market with the publication. E-mail the editor-in-chief with these details and tell them you’d love to talk more about it.

4. Join the Chamber of Commerce

Stay well connected to Chamber and attend their events. This will help you get to know local business owners and learn about events that you can participate in, such as festivals, fairs, parades and more. Creating relationships with other business owners also makes it possible for you to paste posters on their shop’s bulletin board or in their front window. Cafes, bars, libraries, gyms and community centers are just a few great places to put a promotional poster.

5. Invite summer camps and community groups

Summertime means summer camps. Contact the head of summer programs in your area and promote your market as a fun, educational outing for kids and youth. While the kids may not spend a lot of money at the market, they will beg their parents to bring them back after having such a great experience! If you know what day the summer camp is visiting, let your media connection know! Kids at the market make for a great story with excellent photo ops.

Along with summer camps, you can also invite other local groups to take part in the market. If there’s an exchange program or sight-seeing tour, invite the coordinator to include an afternoon at your market on the itinerary.

6. Promote all market events on social media

You also need to be promoting all of your seasonal events and market activities on your social media channels. Promoting special events on Facebook and Instagram will help attract regular and new customers. It will let your followers know that your market is a fun, diverse and easy atmosphere to join – which is exactly what regular customers will want to brag about and what potential new customers want to see. Click here for 25 Tips to Maximize Your Market’s Social Media Efforts.

Click here for 22 Tips for Marketing your Market. Remember, how much you engage your community is directly related to how successful your market will be.