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It’s opening night! Are you using it as the audience development opportunity it is?

I’ve worked with many performing arts organizations over the years and have helped them build their audiences through the strategic use of opening night, not as a money maker, but as an investment. This applies to those organizations who are running a show over at least a few weeks, as it will help build the audience of that run, and hopefully build your reputation within your greater community.

First, considering that opening night is when the critics are invited to attend, you want as many people in that audience as possible, and especially people who love your organization, who understand the niche and style of your work, and will be boisterous in their enjoyment of the show.

Second, for opening night you want a crowd that will enjoy the performance to such a degree that they will talk about it, to everyone they know, all over town.

Third, it’s great to utilize the exciting nature of opening night, when the audience tends to dress up, enjoy the show as part of a larger evening, indulge in wine, bring flowers and more, to also invite influencers to join in the festivities.  The mayor, business leaders in the area, other arts organizations leaders, key donors and others.  This is the night to make them feel special and to expose them to the most exciting evening at the theatre.

All these things point to the key aspect… Give them all a personal invitation, and tickets for FREE.  Play up the excitement and exclusivity of this event and in receiving an invitation.  Hone your opening night invitation list before each show.  This is a powerful tool for developing your audience and your organization within your community. It builds your brand and creates buzz.  Change up the list regularly.  You don’t want the receiving of an invitation to become old hat to anyone either.  Keep all those people on your marketing list, but any who have not attended after receiving 2 or more invitations should be removed from the invite list, and others should be rotated or giving individual consideration.  If someone does attend, and always is an advocate for you, then by all means keep inviting them!

Some organizations use the Arts People promo pass system to build their invite list, then send out an email en masse communicating their personal invitation and unique code that is valid for 2 tickets to opening night.  Seating is first come, first served.  The recipient then can follow a link in the email to that specific performance, select their seats and during checkout enter their special code to bring their total due to $0. They then finish off their order and print their tickets, making the RSVP process simple!

Whether you use this type of method or go for a more formal invitation process with phone RSVP, you want to make the guests feel very special, using your invite list as a very strategic tool.  Some companies will include all actors they have cast for the season as a way of honoring their work with you.  Pad your list with more people than the venue can hold, knowing that many on the list will not attend. You really want every seat filled for opening night.  This is what will help create the energy needed to propel your show forward with strong buzz in the community.

Obviously, make sure your show is of the highest quality.  Preview performances can happen before opening night (no critics until opening!) often at a discounted price, in order to help the cast and director polish the show and make any adjustments so that on opening you have a show that is outstanding.  Prepare a press packet for any critics that will be attending, with press release, playbill, high quality photos for their use, bios of the actors, even background on the creator of the play or featured material, etc.  Be as professional as possible in every aspect of the production, performance and presentation of the evening.  The board should be in attendance, dressed formally, with name tags, ready to schmooze the guests.  Staff should also be dressed and facilitating an exceptional evening at the theatre. Put your best foot forward in all aspects so that those attending experience a truly exceptional evening and performance.

Opening night is about a grand presentation of the new show to your audience and to your community.  Use that opportunity to wow the movers and shakers of your area and send them out to spread the word far and wide.  It will benefit you in added sales for that show, as well as build your audiences over time.

Patrick Spike – Marketing Director – Arts People
Board Member of PATA (Portland Area Theatre Alliance)
Former Audience Development Director and Board Member of Bag&Baggage Productions, among others.

 

 

 

First impressions last

White paper: Using separate systems is costing you patron loyalty, sales and donations

We all know that the key to sustainability, increased earned and contributed revenue is cultivating relationships with your patrons. This takes the building of trust and loyalty over time.  We need to walk patrons up our engagement ladder from single ticket buyer to donor to subscriber to major donor to advocate.  The ways in which the patron interacts with us online, via our office… these make up a critical component to building that trust and relationship over time.

If you’re using different systems for various types of transactions and patron interactions, this can drive a wedge between you and the patron you’re wanting to cultivate.  When they see some third party company on the screen where they are buying tickets, or on the ticket itself, or the receipt, how do they feel about your brand, your customer service, your interest in them?

In this free whitepaper we’ll discuss the strategic importance of a unified system toward ticketing,  fundraising and more.

 

Request a download link for this white paper:

Note that you will have 10 minutes to download your requested document from the email received.

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White paper written by 

Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts PeoplePatrick Spike is the Marketing Director, system expert, and one of the original architects of the Arts People software system, with over 30 years in performing arts creation and administration. His work with clients has helped them to increase their revenue while streamlining their box office and back office operations. www.patrickspike.com

Arts People, software for the performing arts, serves theatres, music and dance groups, choirs and opera, high school, college and university programs, performing arts center facilities and more.

 

marketing segmentation

White paper: Utilizing live data to generate buyer, interest and ranking groups for patron targeted marketing

Marketing of your performing arts events and organization is no longer one size fits all.  To increase patron loyalty and to trigger the best possible sales results you must segment and tailor your messages to your specific sub-sets of patrons based on their buying patterns, areas of interest and level of support.

Live data will help you to test and market your events more effectively and efficiently.  Organized clearly and efficiently for you in the Arts People system, leverage our easy to use marketing interface to quickly pull, merge and segment your patrons.

Out of these efforts will be increased sales, heightened patron loyalty, and statistics that you can use toward sponsorship and grant writing success.

Download our free white paper with detailed instructions on how to create patron groupings to which your messaging can be tailored, tested, honed and executed.

 

Request a download link for this white paper:

Note that you will have 10 minutes to download your requested document from the email received.

—-

White paper written by 

Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts PeoplePatrick Spike is the Marketing Director, system expert, and one of the original architects of the Arts People software system, with over 30 years in performing arts creation and administration. His work with clients has helped them to increase their revenue while streamlining their box office and back office operations. www.patrickspike.com

Arts People, software for the performing arts, serves theatres, music and dance groups, choirs and opera, high school, college and university programs, performing arts center facilities and more.

 

White paper: A well planned Season Announcement event can boost your subscription base

If you’re not executing a well planned and strategic season announcements event as part of your yearly marketing cycle, you’re losing an enormous opportunity to build your subscription base and generate much needed income to fund your upcoming season.

If you ARE holding an announcement event, there may be ways you can increase its effectiveness and capitalize on the excitement of the announcement even more.

Arts People Marketing Director Patrick Spike outlines an effective event with tips and strategies for increasing the resulting package sales, with after event tips to propel sales even more.

Request a download link for this white paper:

Note that you will have 10 minutes to download your requested document from the email received.

 

White paper written by 

Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts PeoplePatrick Spike – Marketing Director for Arts People

Former Audience Development Director for Bag&Baggage Productions, with over 30 years experience in performing arts creation, administration, marketing and fundraising.