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So you’ve worked your hardest to create a top-of-the-line production, but aren’t sure how to get the word out. Remember that promoting your show is vitally important to its success – after all, weeks of blood, sweat, and tears mean very little to your cast and crew if no one is there to celebrate the work.
Implementing creative promotion strategies can take your show to the next level, ensuring guests are in seats come time for the opening number. So, what are a few things to consider when you’re just beginning your promotion journey?
Before you begin promotion, you need to consider your target audience. Look at the data you’ve collected from past productions, and see who’s most often buying tickets. Ask yourself: Who is coming to see my shows, and who else do I want to target? Knowing the audience you have – and the audience you want to allure – will make creating strategic promotion work all the better.
Whether you’re working with a lot of capital or you’re on a shoestring budget, knowing the numbers before promotion kicks off will keep you from encountering any stumbling blocks or surprises. Crunch the numbers early so you have time to plan, ensuring your hard-earned money is being used to its maximum capacity.
It’s no secret that most theatre professionals are stretched thin when it comes to bandwidth, meaning you may not have as much time to spend on promotion as you’d like. Or, perhaps you’re one of the lucky few who’ve got weeks to plan out your schedule. Either way, knowing your time restraints will help when creating a promotion schedule.
Now that you’ve got all your ducks in a row and know how to create a great promotion plan, it’s time to start implementing it! Here are a few ways to get started:
Yes, yes, we know it’s not a secret that social media can be the key to success for many marketing campaigns. But just because it’s common knowledge doesn’t mean it won’t work! Utilize your social media presence to push your show. Post behind-the-scenes content, sneak-previews of anticipated scenes, and your show’s artwork and merchandise. Look into starting a YouTube channel or a monthly podcast discussing your work. If you have the budget, consider sponsored posts on certain social media platforms to get your content in front of more potential ticket-buyers.
It’s basically law: Free stuff and contests are two very easy ways to increase engagement. Offer your patrons, social media followers, and the general public competition options that include coveted prizes. If your main goal is attendance, consider every ticket purchased an entry into the giveaway. If you’re more concerned with getting the word out, have your followers share your social media posts and tag their friends.
As it pertains to the prize itself, get creative. Consider offering free merchandise, a one-line role in the production (that requires very little rehearsal), or gift cards/small gifts from local vendors around town. The more prizes, the better!
If you’re wondering where you’ll get these aforementioned gift cards or small gifts, consider partnering up with local business and community leaders. Whether it’s a restaurant, boutique, general store, or a well-connected friend in the theatre realm, more community partners make for more voices promoting your work. Utilizing individuals and businesses with their own devoted followers for promotion – or even cross-promotion – is an excellent way to get your content in front of new eyes.
Your promotional images can make or break the interest garnered in your show. So why not spend a chunk of your budget on getting solid photography for your production? Whether these are dazzling ‘action shots’ of your cast during rehearsals, posed character photos, or stellar posters/graphic design, it’s a great idea to make your imagery pop for the promotional materials.
Build interest in your production by rewarding those who purchase tickets early. With the ‘strike while the iron is hot,’ mentality, people will feel compelled to buy when tickets first go on sale to save some cash. Using discount codes can also amp up the professionalism of your sale and give off an air of exclusivity – double win!
Incorporating merchandise into your production promotion is a great way to raise money and awareness at the same time. Whether it’s show shirts, socks, hats, posters, or mugs, you should plug your merchandise before big shows. Additionally, plan ahead and get your cast and crew to rock your merchandise before it hits the public – this will create excitement and buzz before the launch drops.
Broaden your reach by placing advertisements in local community guides and publications. A variety of websites, influencers, and magazines have free community calendars, too. For better results, don’t be afraid to get friendly and make connections with local publishers and influencers to ensure your name and theatre are consistently promoted in their materials.
Remember that promotion should be fun, not stressful. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or just need a partner to get you jump started, On The Stage presents a full suite of offerings to help. Promoting your show with On The Stage is handled through an intuitive, web-based Producer’s Suite where you can:
So … whether you need guidance on ticketing, marketing, engagement, fundraising, or anything else relevant to creating a great show, book a personalized demo with On The Stage today to learn how to increase the impact of your next production.