For some, it’s a dreaded component of the creative process. For others, it’s pure joy. Either way, marketing is an integral part of running a successful theatre.
If you’ve worked hard on your showcase but aren’t seeing that return on investment in the form of sold-out shows, revamping your marketing technique is a great way to turn things around. On The Stage presents a few easy-to-utilize approaches you can try.
Focus on Ticker Buyer Outreach
Perhaps this theatre marketing trick seems obvious, but placing more effort on general outreach – before tickets go on sale and after a show has closed – is a great way to up attendance numbers.
Marketing outreach to ticket buyers can look like a lot of different things. These include:
- Sending marketing and promotional emails
- Integrating social media for a cohesive brand image
- Utilizing eye-catching posters and flyers around your community
- Creating and organizing a patron database
- Engaging patrons pre- and post-show with communication via email, phone, text, or in-person conversations
- Nurturing already-established patron relationships
- Adding an easy-to-use ticketing widget on your website so patrons can make purchases without leaving your site
Create and Advertise Your Show Site
There are a variety of reasons why your production needs a show site. These include:
- Curating a more professional brand image
- Opening the door to more nuanced marketing opportunities
- Creating more streamlined ticketing opportunities
- Utilizing easier set-up and navigation on the back-end
- Creating a cohesive representation of your theatre
- Making your content more accessible
- Immersing your audience in the production before opening night
You should strive to create a world-class experience for your audience before they enter your theatre. After all, first impressions are everything.
Spearhead a Ticket Sales Contest
You can harness the competitive spirit of your actors, crew, and support staff by running your own ticket sales content. This is a smart technique for a variety of reasons:
- You build team morale through healthy competition
- You reward high producers and make people feel seen, heard, and appreciated
- You spread the word about your theatre to more potential audience members
- You fill up your theatre (duh!)
Need a little help? Download On The Stage’s Run Your Own Ticket Sales Contest eBook.
Push High-Quality Merchandise
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: people love merchandise for various reasons. Integrating merchandise sales into your marketing acumen has myriad benefits, including:
- A padded bottom line with additional passive income
- Greater brand awareness around the community, as the merchandise is a walking advertisement
- Incentives for patrons and cast/crew alike, as the merchandise is a perfect giveaway offering that benefits you and excites your patrons
Whether you’re creating hats, show shirts, socks, or bags branded with your theatre’s name, or are plastering posters of your newest show around town, make sure your merchandising game is strong. This is an ideal way to raise capital while also marketing your theatre with little overhead.
Publish a Professional Show Program
Creating and dispensing high-quality show programs is a great marketing tactic with long-term benefits. Show programs help:
- Set the tone for your show, giving a brief introduction to what patrons will experience
- Get community partners, excited parents, and businesses involved via paid ads, which gives you capital for future showcases
- Provide a professional theatre experience for your patrons
- Give kudos to your hardworking team
If you’re unsure where to start, On the Stage offers Showgram – a fully customizable program template that allows users to make a program that fits the needs of individual productions.
Organize Your Theatre Marketing Reporting and Insights
A great theatre marketing trick? Keeping track of all your scheduling, efforts, ticket sales, and patron information with on-demand dashboards and simple reporting tools.
With the right organizational tools, you can:
- Easily analyze ticket and merchandise sales
- Organize and track donations and fundraising
- Manage different revenue sources
- Utilize insights to measure efforts, optimize processes, and inform future strategy
- Streamline your process for finance and administration teams
Offer Continuous Programming
Keeping patrons engaged all year round is a key marketing tactic that works – because your brand awareness is ever-growing. Alongside your usual programming, like musicals and plays, consider implementing the following:
- Workshops for specific skills, from acting to video editing to lighting and sound design
- Summer camps
- Summers stock performances
- Tours and other collaborative events with feeder schools in your area
- Fundraisers and other community events
Create Dynamic, Multi-Medium Social Content
Social media is the gift that keeps on giving – often at no cost to you! Throughout the year, consistently create dynamic content to draw more audience members to your showcases and more followers to your channels.
Some examples of dynamic content include:
- Video tours of backstage areas
- YouTube or Instagram tutorials for certain acting techniques or lighting/sound tech
- GoPro content of an actor during rehearsals for an immersive, personal, and up-close experience
- Previews and snippets of scenes from an upcoming production
- General rehearsal content
- The latest social media trends; psst – your student marketing team can help with this!
Collaboration is often the key to theatre marketing success, so plan to find and cultivate relationships within your community to ensure greater marketing opportunities. A few ideas include:
- Seeking out community partners in the form of other creatives, restaurant owners, or retail shops and creating a mutually beneficial partnership to ensure maximum exposure of your theatre
- Utilizing the power of business sponsorships
- Collaborating with other theatres and attending their showcases – to get ideas, learn what works and what doesn’t, and share resources
- Tapping local media outlets, like news stations, newspapers, magazines, and community calendars, to spread the word about your work
Perhaps the smartest marketing technique of all? Partnering with On The Stage! OTS can support all your marketing and promotion needs with one consolidated platform. With OTS, you can:
- Drive community engagement
- Increase ticket sales
- Utilize best-in-class social, digital, email, print, and traditional marketing
- Increase awareness of your program through social platform integrations, automated email marketing, and show art
- Sell tickets and merchandise through Broadway-style show sites or an embeddable ticketing widget
- Grow your patron base with ticket buyer outreach, patron tracking, and engagement tools
So what are you waiting for? Get started by booking a personalized demo today.