I had the pleasure of talking on the phone with a couple of Sold Out Run followers last week. It was incredibly useful to hear people describing what they were actually doing with their marketing right now, and hear the questions they had. Even in talking to such a small number of people, I noticed a recurring theme: people feel like they are failing at social media – particularly Facebook.
My name is Clay Mabbitt. I have a professional marketing background, and a love of theatre.
After seeing and being part of some exceptional theatre that never found its audience, I felt compelled to share what I know to help raise the level of promotion going on for stage productions.
Welcome, and if you’re new to Sold Out Run I encourage you to take a quick look at what this site is about.
A mutual friend introduced me to Curtis Shepard, and I’m very glad she did. Fringe festivals area a hectic time, and without that introduction I might not have made it out to see Curtis’s show Unmasked. (That’s marketing lesson #1.)
Curtis is a thoughful, articulate guy who doesn’t have a big marketing machine behind him. That makes him a fantastic candidate to bring on the podcast and talk about how he approaches promoting a show in a town where no one knows his name.
One of the most popular blog posts on Sold Out Run is about finding inspiration for theatre marketing. I know from my search traffic that a lot of people are scouring the web for ideas to promote their shows. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I certainly do it from time to time. It’s a great way to find crazy out-of-the-box ideas that you’d be hard pressed to dream up on your own.
You can’t market a theatre solely on out-of-the-box ideas, though. You need some good inside-of-the-box ideas, too, and those are a lot tougher to find online. They aren’t flashy enough to get talked about, but you can identify marketing tactics that verifiably motivate your exact target market to buy a ticket.
What will it cost you? The price of a few Starbucks.
In just a handful of years Bob has earned a reputation for consistently putting on quality productions, and the crowds that his shows draw are a testament to that. I wanted to bring him on and pick his brain about how he approaches finding the audience for each show.
Before you can improve your marketing you need a good sense of where you are today. I’m outlining these four phases of theatre marketing here to help. In each phase there are different areas you’ll want to focus on to strengthen your marketing.