Theatre is art, with or without an audience. But as a theatremaker, you probably want and need an audience at your shows, right? Right. 

Attracting audiences – or larger crowds for those with an already steady following – is a goal for just about every organization in the world. An audience gives our art meaning, creates motivation, and, more simply, keeps the lights on and the bills paid. So, creating a strategy to find, retain, and grow audiences is key to any theatre’s success. 

But how can you mobilize audiences to visit your theatre en masse? It seems like a tricky objective, but with the right tools and partners, you’ll be able to appeal to larger groups, sell more tickets, and elevate the theatre experience for everyone. On The Stage shares how.

The Benefits of Group Sales

A great place to start when it comes to growing your audience is through the utilization of group sales – or larger ticket orders all at once. Group sales have a variety of pros, that include:

  1. A sense of inclusivity – Bigger families, organizations, non-profits, businesses, and other large groups will feel welcome at your show instead of feeling like a hassle or an inconvenience. 
  2. Greater convenience – Along the same lines, groups won’t be intimidated/scared off by your ticketing portal if you have options for groups that are streamlined and optimized for mobile. Greater convenience for larger groups increases accessibility for all. 
  3. An opportunity for promo codes – Encouraging group sales is the perfect chance to utilize your promo code options, whether that’s a discount on bulk orders, a flash sale, or a buy-five-get-one-free promo. 
  4. Pads your bottom line more efficiently – Larger group orders mean large sums of money coming into your theatre all at once. Need we explain more? 
  5. Expanded reach – Groups often bring along attendees who otherwise may not have planned to attend the theatre. This is a great opportunity to present your art to new folks and turn them into repeat patrons. 

How to Attract Groups & Large Audiences 

Now we know why group sales and larger audiences are great for your theatre. But how do you attract more people and encourage larger ticket orders? Well … 

Think S.M.A.R.T

We’ll start with a broad suggestion: A general rule of thumb for any organization that’s creating objectives is to think S.M.A.R.T. Your goal should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and on a timeline. 

No matter what avenues you travel to engage more patrons and sell tickets in bulk, ensure you’re creating goals that follow that method if you want success. 

Engage Your Entire Team 

When it comes to attracting larger groups into your theatre and creating bulk ticket orders, make sure you’re tapping the expertise of everyone on your team, not just outreach, comms and marketing folks. 

In short, audience development isn’t a one-group job. Everyone within your theatre knows your brand, so why not brainstorm with all of them to appeal to more people and hit your targets? 

Make sure your programming, mission, marketing, and offerings are all closely aligned, with audience development at the forefront of your efforts. 

Know Your Audience & Consult the Data

Data is knowledge, and knowledge is power. So, make sure you’re harnessing your data analytics to further understand your audience, their spending patterns, and who, exactly, they really are. 

By studying audience demographics, data, and engagement patterns, you can confirm hunches or observations about your audience profile. You can also identify growth markets. You’ll be able to answer the question: What sector of your audience is small yet promising? It’s time to target them with specific marketing campaigns! Additionally, this information can help you see which demographics have the most fallen or lapsed patrons – how can you get them back? 

Knowing your audience and poring over the data will help you appeal to more people and develop relevant material that will resonate with the masses!

Incentivize Bigger Ticket Purchases

Perhaps the most straightforward way to attract groups and larger audiences is through the incentivization of bulk ticket buys. Incentives can range from discounts to perks to additional content and/or merchandise. A few ideas include: 

  • Offering add-ons like show-themed merchandise, souvenir programs, signed posters, or exclusive digital content for patrons who hit a certain group number threshold 
  • Offering pre-sale food and beverage packages to those who buy a certain amount of tickets 
  • Allowing patrons who buy more than a certain amount of tickets advanced parking, advanced seating, and other conveniences 
  • Offering bulk discounts or buy-X-get-X-free promos

Appeal to the Masses

Another straightforward way to get more audience members in seats – and more groups buying in tandem – is through choosing material that appeals to the most amount of people.

Say you want to do an immersive or experimental piece from a lesser-known writer. While supporting new voices and taking chances is what theatre’s all about, you’ll likely get more traction from a classic musical or play that has name recognition. If you don’t want to sacrifice your immersive or experimental offerings, consider peppering your season with both well-known and lesser-known shows. Win-win! 

Offer Tier Ticketing

Many people shy away from the theatre because of the ticket price tag – especially if they’re hoping to take a larger group. You can avoid that sticker shock, which often motivates people to X out of the ticketing portal, through the utilization of tiered ticketing options. 

Tiered ticketing can look like a lot of things. If you have the financial stability, you can offer pay-what-you-can models to those who qualify – like non-profit workers, veterans, teachers, or other groups you wish to bring into the fold. You can also offer tiered ticketing in its simplest form: baseline prices that rise depending on the location of the theatre. Ticket add-ons and VIP experiences can also be included in a tiered pricing option, along with payment plans for larger ticket orders. 

In short – make your theatre more accessible by offering more than one way to enjoy the work! 

How On The Stage Ticketing Can Help 

No matter how you want to attract larger audiences, On The Stage (OTS) has a method to aid in your success. In fact, theatres that partner with OTS can increase ticket sales by 20-25% just by utilizing the all-in-one ticketing platform that is free to your organization.

We know that growing your ticket sales takes work, but with OTS, the experience is optimized for conversion by sales channel. From theatre productions, concerts, and dance recitals to galas, sporting events, camps, classes, and conferences, give your patrons a world-class experience starting with their first interaction – finding and purchasing tickets.

Offering a suite of marketing and promotional tools for both digital and print, OTS can help generate awareness for your organization and spread the word about your upcoming shows. Harnessing built-in best practices and turnkey technology, OTS offerings include: 

  • Online and In-Person Ticket Sales – Giving your patrons the ability to purchase tickets in-person or online through an embeddable ticketing widget, a customized show site, or a QR code-enabled sales link
  • Flexible Ticketing Options – Specific needs can be met with options for general admission, reserved seating, limited tickets per order, and more
  • Fully Digital with Print Options – You can enjoy a paperless experience with mobile-friendly eTickets. But worry not – printable tickets are also available
  • Comp Tickets and Promo Codes – OTS can help to create easy-to-use comp tickets and promo codes
  • Tiered Pricing – Separate pricing models can range from seats to sections to specific shows
  • Subscriptions and Flex Passes – You’ll have the ability to promote and sell season ticket bundles or multiple event packages
  • Add-Ons and Cart Upsells – You’ll be able to generate even more revenue for your organization by offering add-ons, upsell options, and last-minute items at checkout
  • The Ability to Set Your Price and Choose Your Fee Structure – No cookie-cutter measures here! You can set your ticket prices and decide if you want to absorb OTS’ nominal fee or include it in the ticket prices 

The best part is that that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the offerings of OTS. If you’re looking to elevate the theatre experience, book a personalized demo today.

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