Don’t Vomit Marketing All Over Your Followers

Is it possible to do too much to market your show? I suppose it’s possible, although I can’t think of any time when I’ve seen it happen. It’s very easy, though, to do to much marketing all at once. Typically this happens the last week or two before a show opens. (Or worse, the week or two after it opens.) In a scrambled panic to make up for all the marketing that wasn’t happening before, you just vomit promotional material all over anyone with whom you have any kind of relationship.

I get on Facebook a couple times a day, and I’ve observed a pattern in how I go through my newsfeed. I scan pretty quickly down the page, typically only stopping for a few seconds on each image, link, or announcement that I see.

Often there will be a post from someone I knew in high school that looks exactly like the last ten posts this person left. They’re excited about their lunch or frustrated about traffic or can’t believe what they saw on TV last night. I do posts like this, too, but when someone keeps writing three paragraph posts about these same topics over and over again, I stop paying attention to them. In fact Facebook makes it very easy for me to just remove posts from that person from my newsfeed altogether.

I use Facebook as an example here, but the same phenomenon goes on everywhere. When humans are overwhelmed with information, we tend to just tune it out.

Ever walk by a poster – for theatre or anything else – that was covered in words? Did you stop what you were doing and read the entire poster? Not likely. What do you do when you get a long promotional email? You probably scan it quickly then hit delete.

Ease folks into it

The first marketing touches people have with your show will ideally leave a quick impression. You want to plant a seed in their mind about your show with a single digestible idea. One image. One sentence. Something that is over before they even realized they started looking at it.

Your goal on first contact is to get noticed without demanding any of someone’s time.

Your goal on first contact is to get noticed without demanding any of someone’s time.

Once they’ve seen a quick impression show up a few times, they will naturally want to know more about this show that seems to be popping up everywhere. That’s when you offer some of the juicier stuff.

You still don’t pour a bucket of propaganda on anyone’s head, but you start teasing more details about the show. Share links to a video or blog post that delves into some aspect of the show. Tell people there’s a cabaret preview at a local restaurant on Wednesday if they want to hear a sample of the music in the show.

Ultimately sharing detailed promotional material is going to help your box office, but you have to warm people up to it first. You can’t vomit marketing all over them. If you try, they won’t pay attention because you’re asking for them to commit time to looking at your promotion when you haven’t earned it yet by piquing their interest.

I leave you with this message on what it feels like to your followers when you give them an entire show’s worth of marketing information at once:

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