Very few productions have as large a promotional budget as we would like. That would present some tough challenges… if you didn’t have any other marketing assets at your disposal. Even if you have no budget, the very nature of live theatre means you have a few unique tools available to you.
Some of the richest companies on earth have been falling all over themselves in recent years to create blogs and social media accounts. They would love it if they could just throw money at these platforms and buy new customers, but it doesn’t work that way. These are the most effective, scalable marketing tools available today, and they don’t cost anything. They can’t be bought.
Instead multi-million dollar organizations are scrambling to come up with something to put online. They don’t have anything interesting put together to share with their followers, so they are investing all of their resources in creating the words and images they can use as content.
You already have those kinds of resources. You may not be thinking of them as marketing assets, but they certainly can be.
You’re doing this show because there’s some great moments in there, right? The playwright has given you powerful lines that can evoke an emotional response when people hear it. That’s social media gold.
You don’t need to scout talent for any photos and videos you’ll be creating – you’ve already located them. Your talent will also usually be willing to promote the show to their social circles both online and off. I’ve talked before about what your actors mean to your promotion efforts.
The venue probably has some regular marketing in place for all of their shows. Ideally they have established relationships with local media that you can benefit from. They probably won’t turn over their subscriber list for you to contact directly, but you can always volunteer to provide content around your show to be included in the regularly scheduled mailings. Even if they politely decline your offer it’s still a good idea to chat with the director of marketing for the venue just to ask what you can do to help promote your show. There may be promotional ideas they have that they won’t have time to get to – but you could.
This is what the companies with money are trying to buy: something worth talking about on all the freely available online communication channels.