There's No Business Like Show Business - Strategies For Successful Theater Marketing

When you think about live theater, what comes to mind for most people is Broadway and the soldout shows that grace its famous stages. Unfortunately, theater isn’t always as high-profile as a Broadway show in the Big Apple. Many theaters painstakingly dedicate a lot of time and effort into getting people to buy tickets to first-run or lesser-known shows. 

Through our experience working with the theater industry across a variety of clients, we have discovered that a solid combination of highly targeted paid media coupled with a solid social media presence can help drive ticket sales. Here are a few tips in using paid and social media correctly when it comes to advertising to the theater-going audience.

1. Brand your theater. The reason Broadway shows sell so well is because they are just that – a “Broadway” show. If you brand your theater properly, you aren’t just driving consumers to a single show, but to your theater’s showcase of shows. This is great way to build loyalty and enhance ticket and subscription sales. When it comes to your creative, brand yourself and make your theater known. 



2. Put money into digital. One of the best things about buying digital media is that you can effectively reach even the narrowest of audiences.  As new shows open and close, your target audience is going to change. Luckily, depending on the content of the show, you can target a different audience for each new performance. If one show features a famous actor, you can target her fans; if the next is a family-friendly show, you can target families with young children. Digital is the ultimate tool for complex marketing programs that target a variety of audiences and require multiple versions of creative.

3. Invest in social media. Whether you are paying to promote posts or just sharing interesting content, your Facebook or Twitter page will continue to remind your audience of what is coming to your theater. And with social media, you can interact with your audience in ways that can be included in your paid media. For example, post your fans’ tweets on the theater’s marquee or include them in a digital billboard. This will give your audience a reason to interact with your page and will help increase engagement. 

4. Drive your audience to social media. When it comes to your creative, be sure to include your social media accounts so that your audience has somewhere else to read up on your show other than your website. While your website is very important, social media allows consumers to interact with your theater.

5. Make your fans your advocates. The greatest part of exposing your audience to your media is that they become your word of mouth. All the new content that is being shown to the world, whether billboard, online, print, etc.,  is being exposed to your audience and will be talked about. Activate your fans and they become a new form of media and help in spreading the word about your upcoming performances.

Unlike Broadway shows, most local or regional theaters can’t afford a multi-story sized billboard hovering above a location like Times Square, which is why it is so important to look into other, more practical, forms of media.  Branding, investing in the right media, and sharing relevant content will provide you with a solid foundation for increasing brand recognition for your theater program and help you reach your ultimate goal of selling tickets. 

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