As the weather warms and more people opt to venture out and enjoy the arts, summer stock is waking up from its hibernation, as well. In fact, it’s almost time to dust off your costumes and sets to prepare for those fast-paced, enticing, and entertaining shows.

Although we’re technically still in the winter months, now is the time to start marketing your summer stock offerings to the community. Too early, you say? Nonsense! We’ll explain how early marketing efforts can enhance your summer stock productions and even offer a few marketing strategies to try. 

4 Ways Early Marketing Can Enhance Your Summer Stock Season 

Early marketing does more than sell tickets, although that’s probably your primary goal. This strategy enhances the potential of your show in a variety of ways. 

It keeps your audience engaged between shows 

The best way to retain patrons and create a sense of loyalty is by constantly offering your guests something to get excited about. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to offer more – market your offerings year-round so you stay on the top of patrons’ minds. More engagement in your offerings leads to high social media followings, a more passionate fanbase, and more people in seats come opening night. 

It increases early ticket sales 

Don’t get us wrong – even last-minute ticket sales are a major win for your theatre. But by marketing your summer stock show early, you create the potential for advance ticket sales. That revenue can then directly impact the caliber of the show you’re working on right now. You can also save that money for a future production, a rainy day fund, a necessary repair, or anything else you deem relevant. In short, you’ll get capital in your hands earlier with advanced marketing efforts.  

It attracts potential volunteers and actors 

The earlier you start marketing your summer stock shows, the more your theatre’s awareness rises in the community. This attentiveness to your show will attract the types of people you need to make your offerings even greater, including volunteers, actors, tech workers, marketing pros, and the like. Who knows – maybe an early marketing campaign for summer stock will help you find your lead

It gives you time to grow relationships and gain sponsors 

Let’s face it – forming relationships with business sponsors and community partners can be a long process. So why not give yourself a head start on forming those bonds via early marketing efforts? Whether it’s curated email blasts to businesses around town, networking events, or fundraisers, getting started early on your market can make a major difference in forming these crucial community relationships in an organic way. 

Marketing Strategies to Try 

Clean up your website

Ensure your show site is consistently up-to-date with current details, future show details, attractive imagery, and eye-catching multimedia. Make sure it’s optimized for mobile and the ticketing portal is as easy to use as possible. Then, heavily promote that website in your early marketing efforts to increase hits. 

Your website should be dynamic and ever-changing. Ideas to keep it as interesting as possible are the addition of production blogs, rehearsal photos, and videos, time-lapse videos of set design, or even a podcast with your crew and cast about the rehearsal process. 

Up your SEO

Search Engine Optimization is a major part of any company’s marketing – you always want your theatre and its offerings to pop up first thing on a web search. 

Make sure you’re utilizing relevant hashtags in your marketing materials, updating your theatre’s Google listing for maximum accuracy, adding location-based keywords to your website, and including your theatre in local directories, like chambers of commerce and social calendars. Top-of-mind awareness can be reached through small efforts like these. 

Get social with it 

Not a novel idea by any stretch of the imagination, but harnessing the power of social media for early marketing efforts will increase engagement drastically. And we know, you may be thinking – this early, I really don’t have much to share on social media about my summer stock productions! Not to worry – that’s exactly what teasers are for. 

Make hint posts and teasers on social media about the show you’re putting on, and ensure you’re posting content regularly and consistently about your future shows and the work you’re doing now. As your show starts to firm up, post early rehearsal footage, or consider a character channel take-over with one of your actors. 

Put together a media kit

Sleek, professional, and elevated, a media kit is the perfect way to present your brand and your summer show specifically.  Content for a media kit can include a press release with pertinent details, high-resolution images of your cast, multimedia files with rehearsal footage or teaser trailers, contact details for potential interviews, information about your theatre in general, and other assets about early ticketing access, plot synopsis, and general advertising opportunities. 

By creating a media kit early and sending it out to local outlets, you’re granting yourself the possibility for greater and more consistent news exposure. 

Reach out to influencers

We know, we know – the word ‘influencer’ can sometimes get a bad rap. But local influencers and celebrities can be a goldmine of engagement if you create strong enough partnerships. 

With micro-influencers and peer-to-peer endorsements becoming more powerful in the age of social media, influencers can help theatres create more buzz in the lead-up to summer stock shows. Target influencers in your area who are already ingrained in the creative arts and see how that partnership can benefit both parties. 

Reward early buyers 

Early marketing efforts should mean early bird discounts for ticket-buying patrons. In short, offering a price incentive for early ticket sales helps to bring in sales sooner. Early buyers can also be rewarded further by purchasing in bulk. 

On top of getting you much-needed capital at an earlier time, you can also use the breadth of your sales as an indicator of show interest. Consult the data! If you aren’t seeing the sales results you wanted with early bird ticket incentives, it may be time to tweak your marketing efforts a bit. The best part about that is you actually have time to pivot if you plan enough. 

How On The Stage Marketing Can Help 

Planning ahead with your marketing efforts can seem like a Herculean task when you’ve got so many other things to worry about – casting, rehearsals, set construction, costumes … we get it! That’s why partnering with On The Stage is the perfect move for your summer stock productions and beyond. 

With On The Stage’s Marketing and Promotional Suite, you can get the word out about your upcoming productions and season subscriptions to generate more awareness and increase ticket sales.

With our best-in-class social, digital, email, print, and traditional marketing and promotional tools, you can support all your marketing and promotion needs, helping you to: 

  • Drive community engagement 
  • 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

If you’re ready to get on top of early marketing strategies, On The Stage can help. Book a personalized demo today to get started. 

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