SOR 008: Marketing at a Fringe Festival (Part 2 of 2)

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As the title implies, this is the second episode of a two-part podcast where I walk-through the approach I took when promoting a show at the 2012 IndyFringe Festival. The show was very successful at the box office. In the last episode I talked about the marketing approach, including what channels (blog, Facebook, etc.) we wanted to use.

In this episode I get into some of the specific tactics we used to achieve that steady content drip that is so key to successful promotion.

I’ve provided the slides that I used in the presentation. They are completely optional, but if one of the tactics is particularly appealing to you, I wanted the accompanying visual to be available in case you wanted to get a look at it. There’s also a link to an Excel file that has the last few weeks of the actual marketing timeline I used when promoting 465. Even if you don’t ultimately end up using Excel to organize your promotional schedule, I highly recommend taking a look at this file just to get a sense of how straightforward a good marketing timeline can make your marketing campaign.

In this episode:

  • reach the personal networks of your cast – you can tell everyone to invite their friends and fans, but you can provide material that makes it easier and more effective for them
  • why you don’t want to be the best thing in the festival – once you hit the stage that changes, but while you are promoting to your audience you don’t want to be the best
  • how to develop intimacy between your audience and your show – give a glimpse behind the scenes to allow people to feel like they have a closer connection to the show (which makes them want to see it succeed)
  • why you should bring your existing audience to the festival – it’s key to getting a new audience in the seats
  • the three worst things you can say when promoting your show – these are so common (and detrimental) that it warranted a separate blog post

Items mentioned:

  • Slides from this workshop – If curiosity is killing you, here are the actual slides I used during the presentation. Completely optional.
  • IndyFringe Festival – annual theatre festival in Indianapolis from which the examples in this workshop are taken
  • 465: Sex Drive’s Facebook page – the Facebook event page for the show referenced in this case study. Most of the examples mentioned here of things like cast bios, polls, videos, etc. are linked to in status updates on this page.
  • First-Timer’s Guide to IndyFringe – the page we created to let out audience know all the idiosyncracies of the festival ahead of time
  • 465 Marketing Timeline Excerpt – an Excel file with the last few weeks of the actual marketing timeline I used while promoting the show profiled in this podcast

Below are the two videos we shared on social media to promote 465.

Discussion Question: As I mentioned in the podcast I’m delighted with the number of emails I’m getting lately in which people seem to be asking for good ideas to promote a particular show. My intent behind the Facebook page for Sold Out Run is to be a place where people can ask for help with the marketing challenges they have in front of them right now and get good ideas from other theatre marketers – including me. Kind of like virtual brainstorming.

So I invite you to head over to Facebook and ask for ideas on promoting your current show.

Have a question?

Of course if Facebook isn’t your thing and you have a marketing question (or comment) that you’d like to hear featured on a future episode of the podcast, you can leave me a voicemail. This feature doesn’t get utilized a lot (at least as of the time I’m posting this) so it’s sure to get my attention.

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