chapter 5

Marketing Your Pop-Up Shop Pt. 1

The old saying “if you build it, they will come,” is long outdated and far from the truth when it comes to surviving in today’s retail environment.  When you’re doing a pop-up shop, you have a little bit more of an edge. You can entice consumers with the appeal of being temporary, here for a short time period, and hope to have their attention with the “here today, gone tomorrow” appeal of a pop-up.

There’s no arguing that one the biggest draws to a pop-up shop is its temporary nature, but even that might not be enough to ensure your success. If you’re going to invest the time and effort to scout and secure a location, put in your best foot forward by ensuring your merchandise displays, layout, signage, and window display are all top notch, then you’re going to have to pull all the stops when it comes to marketing and promoting your pop-up shop.

It’s also going to have to be a mix of traditional marketing channels as well as all the latest digital channels and tying them all together into an integrated marketing plan that’ll ensure consistency of your brand and draw attention to your story.

The first thing to remember when trying to market your pop-up is that you need to bake in elements of virality into your temporary retail event. This means a high degree of event programming, a fair bit of reaching out to influencers in your niche, an effective media outreach strategy, and using social media throughout to amplify your reach.

Let’s start with event programming, or how you can use events to build up anticipation, exclusivity, and more than enough attention throughout the term of your pop-up shop.

What Type of Events Should You Throw?

The type of events you choose to throw to promote and market your pop-up shop are limited on by your imagination. Think of your pop-up as your one opportunity to connect with an entire pool of journalists, bloggers, influencers, customers, and admirers that you never would have cross paths with (literally), so why not make the most of it?

Here’s a few event ideas to get your mind jogging:

  • Press Preview: This event is exactly like what it sounds, an invite-only, and exclusive look at your pop-up shop for the city’s local journalists and bloggers interested in having the first look at what you have to offer.

  • Launch Party: This is when things get interesting, as in, when you announce and celebrate the launch of your pop-up shop to the world, or your friends, friends of friends, press, bloggers, influencers, and family. All it takes is a dj, loud speakers, food, and some booze, and you got yourself an event where people are exploring your products, getting to know your brand, and sharing what’s happening at the party to their audience and amplifying your reach.

  • Live Day Events: Entice people to pay you a visit with live experiences they can’t get anywhere else and think about what type of workshops, speakers, and individuals practicing their craft work best for your brand. For example, HutchLA ran a pop-up shop with a tattoo artist on premise because it aligned with who they were as a brand. Another neat element was including the Hit-and-Run crew, a collective of individuals who do live tee-shirt printing, enabling HutchLA to offer exclusive designs that were a limited time availability.    

  • Influencer Hosted Dinner Parties: This can be an highly effective means of tapping into an influencer’s audience in your niche by allowing them to host, curate, and be the “star” for the night. You can not only get them to build anticipation before the fact by blogging about it, sharing updates via their social accounts, but view the opportunity as a highly valuable co-branding that can end up paying big dividends for both parties.

  • Sponsored Events: The best press has to be free press, or in other words, press you don’t really have to work for. How do you obtain free press? Through strategic and well-planned sponsorships and partnerships. Whether it’s a one-day sponsored party by a local men’s magazine that’s looking to reach the same audience you’re catering to or your entire pop-up store, this can be a worthwhile strategy to pursue as it means that rather than just a one-off piece, the publication can provide coverage before, during, and after your pop-up happens.

Influencer and Press Outreach

Before you get jazzed up about throwing a launch party with the “who’s who” of your neighborhood, you’re going to have to put in a great deal of effort up-front doing the outreach, following-up, and confirming each of your major attendees. Now, you’re probably wondering about where you should start?

To help you get started, here’s a list of tools you can use to created a targeted, local, and powerful list of influencers to reach out to and get them on your side to promote your pop-up shop:

  • Whether you like the Klout’s scoring system or not, they’ve got a very handly tool with their topic lists, where you can jump right into the Top +K recipients for a particular topic relevant to your industry and ideally in your location.

  • This a great tool for finding Twitter influencers using specific keywords in their bio. However, the best part is that you add a location filter to uncover Twitter users in a particular region.

  • Iconosquare: Instagram has skyrocketed when it comes to user growth and engagement numbers, so getting an influencer from the platform to jump on board your pop-up shop plans can have big ramifications for your store. Using Iconosquare’s placeform you can search for users directly or search through relevant hashtags and sort by location.

  • Pinterest Search: Pinterest has updated its search bar and has a very handy keyword search engine that lets you be as targeted as you’d like.

  • Google: The holy grail of search, use keywords like “fashion blogger toronto” and then scope out their social media audience to get a holistic perspective for bloggers and influencers in your particular niche.


Crafting a Pitch to Get Influencers and Media Attention

Effective outreach is a skill you’ll need to master regardless of whether you’re looking to get press coverage or inviting influencers to come out to your event, the end goal is the same, to get them to spread the word with their audience. To start your outreach efforts on the right foot, here are some insider tips to not getting ignored:

  1. Research Your Target Publication’s or Influencer’s Focus: Becoming intimate with the target audience of the publications you’re looking with is vital because it will give you a sense of what type of news they cover and why. Once you discover the particular angle or beat of a particular publication, you’ll know how to spin your story accordingly. For example, for your pop-up store, you should ideally be targeting local or hyper-local publication meaning anyone who covers happenings in your city or particular region needs to be on your radar.

  2. Research the Players: What I mean by this is you don’t want to begin your email pitch with the words “Dear Sir/Madam.” Not only will a generic email just get trashed or marked as span, you’ll be out of luck if ever you try to contact the blogger, journalist, or influencer in the future. Take time to research and get to know who’s covering what in your city, what their interests are, and craft your pitch accordingly.

  3. Have a Plan B and C: You should have a few angles in your holster when you’re thinking about pitching, which means maybe you have a fashion pitch for fashion bloggers, city event pitch for event listings, and so on.

Now that we’ve got those three rules covered, let’s talk about the actual pitch. In today’s world, reporters and bloggers are scrambling to break stories, keep up to date with what’s happening, and get their inboxes flooded with press releases. So, how do you stand out from the pack? Simple, keep it short, be considerate, and make it as easy as possible for them.

Here’s a quick format to pitch journalists that you can follow to ensure success:

  • Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself, give them a link to your online store, and show them you've done your research with a compliment (2 birds with one stone).

  • Paragraph 2: Give them the news (link), tell them you have more to offer (bit of a tease), give them another angle in case the 1st one doesn't suit their fancy.

  • Paragraph 3: Offer phone or email. Don't say "I look forward to hearing from you" or any of that crap... it's presumptuous. If your pitch is good and they're interested they'll write you back.

  • Paragraph 4: Thank them and be sure to use their name again. People love seeing and hearing their name.

Here’s a quick format to invite influencers and press to your events:

  • Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself, give them a link to your online store, and show them you've done your research with a compliment (2 birds with one stone).

  • Paragraph 2: Give them the date, who else is going to be there, what they can expect, and hint towards the ideal result of them being there (i.e. coverage).

  • Paragraph 3: Provide the address, your email, phone, and RSVP link (either a Facebook Event page or a Eventbrite link)

  • Paragraph 4: Thank them and be sure to use their name again. People love seeing and hearing their name.

Influencer Outreach Email Template

Get more responses by using this free template.

For publications that you think won’t cover you unless you’ve got a shiny press release, we’ve got you covered with our next section below on the art of writing a press release journalists will actually read.

Writing the Press Release

You don’t have to be journalism grad to have the basics of writing a working press release down. In this section, we’re going to break down the effective elements of a good press release and provide you with a sample press release from popular online retailer J.Hilburn for good measures.

So, what does a good press release consist of? Typically, any press release will have the following seven elements:

  1. Heading: This needs to be strong. People are interested in how a business expands, who it sells to, and how much money it makes. Craft your headline with a strong title that grabs reader attention right away.

  2. Sub-heading: A single sentence summarizes the entire content of the press release. It can be just as important as the heading because it  gives readers a taste of the content to follow.

  3. Opening paragraph: The opening paragraph has to be strong and include pertinent information, namely what the press release is about, who it affects, and why they should read or act upon it. If you talk of an event or launch, you also need to mention when it will take place.

  4. Middle paragraph (/s): These add weight to the article and can include testimonials, statistics, research details, and case study excerpts.

  5. Conclusion: This is a summary of the article and must include either a call to action or details of where more information on the subject matter could be found.

  6. Boilerplate: Include a brief company profile and contact information.

  7. Notes: Also include your company logo and the press release date. Traditional press releases always conclude with # symbols underneath the last line to signify the end of the release.

Press Release Template

Get more responses by using this free template.

Now that we’ve got the nuts and bolts of a good press release covered, here’s a sample press release from a made-up luxury men’s brand J.Foster and their first pop-up shop.


J.Foster Presents: Vintage Never Dies

Luxury Menswear Brand Debuts First Ever Pop-Up Shop in New York City

New York, NY-- (March 28, 2014) - J.Foster, the fastest growing luxury menswear brand, will unveil its first ever physical retail location,Vintage Never Dies, a temporary menswear experience store. Until now, J.Foster has sold exclusively online and through their direct sales model. From April 9th through April 20th, customers will be invited to experience the brand like never before, in-person at the J.Foster pop-up shop in New York City's NoHo district.

Known for delivering sophisticated style directly to men at their home or office, J.Foster will now introduce New Yorkers to an unmatched elegance men can experience in real life. A variety of the brand’s products will be available for purchase, including custom shirts, personalized suits, made-to-measure trousers and off-the- rack items such as cashmere sweaters, scarves, ties and other accessories.

"The J.Foster experience has always been a unique blend of the personal offline interaction and e-commerce, with the goal of making everything about shopping better for men," said James Wood, J.Foster co-founder and CEO. "For two weeks, we're bringing this to life in New York City and creating the ultimate menswear experience. We hope customers will come in, get inspired, and leave with a greater appreciation of their own personal style."

Joining J.Foster at Vintage Never Dies will be Craig Daniels, maker of timeless, classically-designed monocles. Guests are invited to try out the monocles, which are available with interchangeable chains, making them perfect for every occasion.

J.Foster: Vintage Never Dies will be open April 9th to April 20th from 11am-8pm ET, 7 days a week.

About J.Foster

J.Foster seeks to enrich men’s lives by delivering timeless fashion right to their door and office without them ever having to enter a store or mall again. We carry ready-to-wear apparel and men’s accessories that include ties, gloves, and scarves made from the finest French fabrics, hand-stitched and made affordable for any man. If you're ready to join the revolution, go to to learn more.


Throw a Party to Remember

When you get you A-listers confirmed, just remember that putting on an event is no easy task. The logistics, staffing, and expenses alone can make it a daunting task, especially if you’ve invited press, bloggers, and others who you want to cover the event or share photos, update their statuses, and the works while they’re there. Just remember that people will usually most vividly remember the food, booze, and music for a party, just make sure you’ve got your bases covered in those departments, sprinkle in some details that are unique to you and whether its your launch party or the wrap-up party, make it a party for the invitees to remember.

Next Chapter

Next chapter

6. Marketing Your Pop-Up Shop Pt. 2

4 min

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