Great arts marketing does much more than get people to your next event—it keeps your patrons engaged and attracts volunteers and donors. Like most arts organizations, you’re probably working with a limited marketing budget and need to get creative about promotion efforts. Here’s a list of marketing ideas to engage your patrons between shows, attract new audience members, and sell more tickets.
1. Post More Video Content
Rather than just posting a video clip now and again, consider sharing regular footage on your social media channels, especially YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. Here are a few video ideas to consider:
- Behind-the-scenes rehearsal coverage
- Backstage tours
- Sneak peek at a new exhibit
- Commercials for an upcoming show or event
- Interviews with actors, artists, creators, or directors
- Cast and crew takeovers
2. Take Advantage of Radio Advertising
If your organization is a nonprofit, you can take advantage of free local radio advertising. Due to FCC rules, local radio stations usually offer free public service announcements. You’ll want to call the station to find out your options, but it’s often as simple as sending over a short script to be read on the air.
3. Host Giveaways on Social Media
Social media giveaways are a great way to generate interest in events and grow your following. They can be as simple as having people follow your account and tag a friend for a chance to win free tickets or something more creative like a contest where they have to create and submit something fun. Check out giveaway regulations for each social channel before posting about a contest or giveaway.
4. Share Frequent Story Updates
Most social channels have story features that allow you to appear more regularly at the top of your audience’s profiles. Whether you’re posting on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok, you should be sharing everything from event prep to fun facts and even behind-the-scenes content. Talk to your audience like they’re your friends, and make sure they feel like VIPs who are getting an inside look at everything you do.
5. Write Engaging Blog Content
Publishing regular blog content is a great way to capture web traffic and find new patrons. Share deep dives on actors, write about your community impact, interview cast members or directors, highlight your current offerings, recap events (and include videos), and feature upcoming events. By regularly posting this type of content, you’ll rank higher on Google result pages, so more people find you.
6. Share Event or Show Details in Social Media Groups
First, create an event on Facebook for your show, play, or exhibit. Once created, you can share your event in relevant groups and pages. Look for pages that feature local events or art-specific groups, but make sure you read their page rules before posting unsolicited. You should also ask your staff and cast members to share the event link with their friends and family.
7. Add Your Events to Local Event Calendars
Your local audience might not know you exist. Community calendars or directories are an excellent way to spread the word. Most community calendars allow you to submit an event online, but doing a quick Google search to find out what’s available in your area is a good way to get started. The best part about these calendars is that you’re reaching people who are actively looking for something to do!
8. Send Compelling Email Newsletters
Send monthly or quarterly newsletters to keep your patrons up-to-date about what’s happening at your organization. Nobody wants to read a boring email, so get creative, sharing fun, educational, and unique content. We’ve mentioned behind-the-scenes looks a couple of times already, but those work well in newsletters, too. So do funny (and relevant) memes and exclusive offers.
9. Update the Media When There’s News
Is your media list up-to-date? You should update the media whenever you want to promote a theater production, fundraiser, or new exhibit. If you’re just starting to build a media list, you’ll want to include local arts or event journalists, radio hosts, television journalists, relevant local bloggers or influencers, and marketing staff at other arts and culture organizations.
What you do before and after a show is just as important as what you put on stage. If you’re looking for marketing help, we’ve got you covered. Send us a note!