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Ahh, ‘engagement.’ It’s a word you’ve likely heard numerous times as it relates to social media, marketing, and growing a strong following as you build brand recognition. If you’re not quite sure what exactly audience engagement is – or how to cultivate it – On The Stage can help get you started with the Pro Producers Mindset Guide. But before you download this helpful E-book, here are a few key points to know about audience engagement itself.
Whether you’re championing an eager high school theatre program or are working in the big Broadway leagues, all theatre-makers share a common goal: maximizing audience engagement.
But what is audience engagement? In simple terms, an engaged audience is an audience that is enthusiastically enjoying your work. More than that, an engaged audience wants to support your work through a variety of avenues – other than just coming to see a show.
Engagement comes in many forms. Some are easily measurable, while others are intangible – but you’ll know it when you see it. A few engagement examples include:
Perhaps you can look at the list above and check off a few of these goals; maybe you can only check off one – either way, there’s always room for improvement. So if you’re looking to grow that audience engagement, you’ve now got a solid idea of what to aim for as you move forward.
The first way to increase your audience engagement? Understand said audience! This will require some effort that relies on more than just assumptions about who’s visiting your shows. That’s right – it’s time to look at some hard data!
The best way to get a grip on that hard data is by involving leadership and key stakeholders in your analysis. These can include any company members that may lend valuable insight into your research – like social media managers, artistic directors, box office managers or any marketing professionals on your payroll. (But yes, you can do this solo if you’re a one-person operation!)
Once you’ve gathered your team, it’s time to collect data on your audience subsets. Data collection can be as precise as looking at insights on your social media platforms, or as enjoyable as talking to loyal patrons about their experiences at your shows. When it comes down to it, doing your research is all about developing a cast of composite characters who make up your unique community. This is often called creating buyer personas.
Each persona should include the following:
So, remember: the goal here is to create fully fleshed-out characters, so that you can connect and meaningfully engage with the real people they represent. That way, you’re gaining useful insights into your real-life patrons – which will in turn help you grow relationships, add new channels to your marketing strategy and increase guest attendance.
As you’re creating your personas, there are a few questions to ask yourself about them as you go. The more questions you ask yourself the better, as it means your personas are further developed and easier to market towards. These can include the following:
Since engagement is sometimes intangible and always ever-changing, it can be difficult to measure accurately. However, there are a few ways to gauge how engaged your audience is. These include:
Like anything good, audience engagement needs to be nurtured if you want it to thrive. Remember, fostering the Pro Producer’s Mindset is all about 1) giving your audience opportunities to opt in and help spread the word about your show, then 2) rewarding them with an authentic community experience once they’ve committed. Here are a few ways to keep the engagement alive:
Utilize Mailings: Your email contacts are a great tool – don’t be afraid to use them! Luckily, On The Stage offers an all-inclusive sales and marketing platform to make use of that database in a sophisticated, efficient way.
Utilizing the Pro Producer’s Mindset perspective, it isn’t enough to blast your message out to past patrons via email and hope it inspires them to take action or visit your show. Instead, send email marketing at different points in your show’s progression, from the announcement of your work to ticket sale notifications, previews, opening night messages, and post-show follow-ups.
Remember, each of these emails should feature your show’s key art and link directly to your show site. (And yes, On The Stage can help with the automation of these messages, and the formation of your website, too!)
Utilize Social Media Marketing: If an email database is tool No. 1, then social media is tool No. 2. The very purpose of social media, from a business perspective, is to allow content to reach new and potentially well-matched audiences to your work.
Remember: there is no perfect formula for cultivating, understanding, and nurturing audience engagement. After all – the Pro Producer’s Mindset is all about creating unique and compelling opportunities that are holistically related to the show itself. If you want to learn more about utilizing the Pro Producer’s Mindset, download the guide now, and book a demo with the experts at On The Stage today.