The “M” Word–Revisited

by Guest Blogger Liz Femi

Liz Femi

Liz Femi

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my quest to cure, or at least temper, my marketing phobia. I would have easily lived peacefully with humdrum marketing anxiety for the rest of my days, until I wrote a play…and decided to produce it. I scoured the web for marketing tips that were suitable for theatre and settled on Clay Mabbit’s blog: Sold Out Run and his marketing kit: Reaching A New Audience. Over the past few weeks, as my team and I promoted,  Take Me To The Poorhouse (our show at the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival), we applied Clay’s marketing strategies in Reaching A New Audience.

I am happy to report that the experiment proved successful.

Our efforts culminated in sold out shows almost every night of our run, not to mention a few laurels and an invitation to extend the run. (BEST OF FRINGE EXTENSIONS, BEST INTERNATIONAL, DUENDE DISTINCTION award nomination for excellence in acting)

How did it happen?

A combination of Clay’s Mabbit’s excellent suggestions and a darn-good, dedicated team.

What did we do?

We applied the modules in Reaching A New Audience, which include:

  • Foundation (marketing basics to create a well-oiled machine)

  • Your Perfect Audience (how to identify and tailor your marketing niche)

  • The Schedule (a detailed marketing calendar with suggested tasks)

  • Worth A Thousand Words (“visual ammunition”)

  • Use Your Cast (tapping into the talent you already have)

We tailored Clay’s ideas to fit a one-person show, along with our mix of flair–like a step-and-repeat for audiences to take pictures after the show, and raffles/token giveaways related to the story.

Reaching A New Audience image

Hits of Reaching A New Audience:

  • We varied our social media content so it wasn’t always focused on promoting ticket sales (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

  • We produced a pre-preview night generate pre-festival buzz.

  • We committed to a strong involvement in the fringe community by comp swapping, filling seats for other shows, seeing as many shows as we could, engaging in “fringeships” on twitter and in person at Fringe Central.

  • Identifying our audience and reaching out to target groups within and outside our networks (ex: African Artists Association, Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative, Directors Lab West, Actors Mastermind Group, friends in and out of the industry, and of course, family members)

  • We were also nominated for Best Trailer!

  • We attracted press to (podcasts, radio, blogs, print) to every show, even with almost 200 shows running simultaneously.

  • Weekend evening shows were easiest to fill, so we brought all hands on deck for the weekday afternoon shows. With consistent and varied marketing, we sold out almost every show.

    • On June 8th and 14th–we oversold and added an extra row of chairs

    • June 16th–full house without many advanced tickets but lots of walk-ups

    • June 19th–slow sales. Reached out to fringe community and Directors Lab to fill house. Quite a few walk ups as well.

    • June 21st–sold out. Extra row of chairs.

    • June 28th–full house.

Misses:

None.

Well…there is the price of the kit, which currently retails $147. You do have to carefully weigh the cost of the Reaching A New Audience with your production goals. For example, depending on the size of a production, one could rationalize the purchase as the cost of 10 seats at $15 a ticket, to get practical, effective, and organized tactics to help build an audience. In my opinion, the price would be too hefty for a one-show run.

Reaching A New Audience image

Finally, nothing beats the power of a strong team to help you get these marketing ideas off the ground and running, and even playing with your own variations along the way. That’s the best part…when marketing becomes a fun game.

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Poorhouse-Postcard-FRONT

Take Me To The Poorhouse is currently on a BEST OF FRINGE EXTENSIONS run in association with Theatre Planners.

Friday, July 12th @8:00 pm

Thursday, July 18th @8:00 pm

Friday, July 26th @ 10:00 pm

Running time: 60 mins

Venue: The Lounge Theatres (lounge #2) 6201 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood 90038

Tickets: $15. Available here.

 

3 Comments

  • By Allie, July 2, 2013 @ 11:33 am

    Congratulations on your success, and your extension!

  • By Liz Femi, July 2, 2013 @ 10:14 pm

    Thanks, Allie!! 🙂

  • By Clay, July 26, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

    Great work, Liz! I’m a few weeks late in reading this blog post, but I’m thrilled that you had such great results from all your marketing efforts. I’m pleased that Reaching a New Audience seems to have contributed in part to what appears to have been a very successful run!

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