In the world of performing arts, you may not consider marketing efforts to be top priority – especially if you’re hard at work making theatre magic. But, it’s a sad truth that not as many people will see that theatre magic if you’re not diligent about your marketing and promotion. Like many a harried creative, you may be working on a shoestring marketing budget or have recruited a student marketing team to get the job done. No matter the situation, there are plenty of ways to get cost-effective and savvy with your marketing strategies. On The Stage can help. 

Practical and Profitable Marketing Strategies

Keep Your Website Up-To-Date

Your website is your theatre’s first impression for a large chunk of your potential audience members. If it’s low-tech, clunky, or underwhelming, it reflects poorly on you. 

Take the time to upgrade your website’s tech and visuals, so potential patrons will be excited about your work. A few ideas include:

  • A user-friendly ticketing portal
  • Customized colors and artwork
  • Cast, crew, and leadership bios
  • Easy-to-find donation links or wishlists 
  • A detailed performance schedule and a preview of upcoming shows
  • Behind-the-scenes content or performance reels from previous shows

Utilize Your Media Contacts

Local media contacts should be your strongest allies, as freebie advertising does exist if you know the right people. A few ways to connect with media contacts include: 

  • Scouring the internet for popular event calendars and ensuring your shows are making the cut on them. If you don’t see your event on a calendar, ping the media contact and see what you need to do differently to get included. 
  • Reach out to local news organizations to see if they have cheap or free performance spots or interview slots during daytime TV, in which you can promote your work.
  • Reach out to local radio stations for similar requests.
  • Work hard to craft a concise yet compelling press release, and send it out to your media contacts. Encourage them to share! 
  • Befriend local social media influencers or community partners who have a passionate following. Piggyback off that enthusiasm and offer free tickets as a trade for promotion. 
  • Additionally, craft a media kit to send to potential patrons, donors, and media partners. 

Educate Yourself on SEO

Search Engine Optimization is a free way to get more eyes on your show site, and your theatre in general. While SEO may sound complicated, it’s really just a short process of updating your theater’s web presence to help more people find you. Key words are the name of the game as it pertains to your social media and show sites – focus on locality and buzzwords that theatre enthusiasts would typically Google. 

If you aren’t sure where to start, there are a wide variety of tutorials online that can help – or you can always partner with On The Stage to get your name out there! 

Ramp Up Social Media Content

Another totally free way to market your theatre is through social media. Ramp up your content and general presence online. A few ideas include:

  • Posting behind-the-scenes content during rehearsals
  • Cutting together a tight preview of your upcoming show and sharing on socials
  • Interacting with your followers on a daily basis – whether that’s through likes and comments, polls, or asking questions 
  • Hosting contests or giveaways on your social media to increase engagement 
  • Following popular creators in your area. Take a look at their followers as well – if you can find people who are clearly interested in the performing arts, give them a follow, too! 
  • Stay consistent in your posting, but don’t overdo it. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm or annoy new followers, but you’ve gotta keep them engaged.  

Consider Starting a Newsletter or Blog

Once you’ve amassed a steady social media following, it might be time to take it a step further by creating a newsletter or blog for your theatre.

With a newsletter, you can keep your loyal patrons up to date on rehearsals, new projects on the horizon, fundraisers you’re planning and summer programming, as well as push donations or a wishlist. A blog can act as a similar avenue for pushing donations, and can keep your patrons updated on a more regular basis. 

For either, consider selling ad spots to community partners, local businesses, or family/friends of your cast. There’s always a chance to pad your bottom line! 

Utilize Freebies/Giveaways

We’ll never stop saying it – people love free stuff! 

Consider offering freebies or giveaways to your audience members or social media followers. Not only will this increase engagement on your social media platforms, but you can also use it as a method for free advertising. (I.E. = share this post and tag a friend for a chance at free tickets.) 

Additionally, merchandise giveaways help to spread the word on your theatre visually – merchandise is, after all, a walking billboard for your work. 

Offer Summer Programming or Workshops

Summer programming, workshops, and other offerings outside regular performances have myriad benefits, including:

  • Padding your bottom line if you choose to charge for summer camps or workshops/other engagements
  • Enriching the community at large through arts education – which is vital! 
  • Assessing potential future actors or crew members who come through for programming
  • Getting established students or actors in your crew a chance to volunteer and form connections with community members 
  • Offering a haven to kids who are looking for a safe space to be themselves 


How On The Stage Can Help

If you’re looking for a little extra help as you embark on your theatre’s marketing journey, On The Stage is an excellent resource. 

With OTS’ comprehensive suite of marketing and promotional tools, you can:

  • 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

All that and more is right at your fingertips – just book a personalized demo with OTS to get started.

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