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Up-sell gift and donation options at your holiday show

Strike while the iron is hot, as my mother used to say to me.  Take the opportunity when it presents itself!  We all know that the holiday time is when many performing arts organizations make their most ticket sales and donation transactions.  It’s the season of giving!  (…and shopping for giving, and donating, and stressing over the perfect gift.)

So how can we maximize our patron interactions to boost our holiday income opportunities AND also help them to reduce the stress of holiday gift giving.

Easy!

Take the opportunity while guests are at your venue, enjoying the holiday presentation, to sell them on some simple gift giving ideas via your organization, WHILE THEY ARE THERE!  If you send out an email reminder of their upcoming performance, mention in it that special gift offers will be available as well!  Here’s some ideas:

Create some holiday gift and donation opportunities that provide benefits and discounts:

  1. Create a holiday gift pass or package of shows that you offer to attendees at the theatre at an extra special discount, but ONLY if they buy it that night during intermission.
  2. Offer gift certificates.
  3. Offer a holiday donation option that provides some special incentives such as a pair of free wildcard tickets for any upcoming show of the season.  The patron can donate, support your organization, get an end of year tax write off, AND they get a pair of tickets for themselves or to use as a gift.
  4. Create stylish and fun t-shirts or other branded goods from your organization or that tie into your season to offer at special pricing if purchased that night.

With all the above opportunities, you want to emphasize how they can make the buyer’s life easier by getting some holiday shopping out of the way. Remind them how much fun they have at your performances and what could be better than giving that type of enjoyment to others.  Remind them how a donation at the end of the year helps support your organization and can be deducted off their upcoming taxes. And lastly, it’s critical to promote these things during your well presented curtain speech communicating that these special offers are available only if they do their transaction during intermission.  Have people waiting in the lobby to help the guests with their orders.

Have a great holiday season of sales and fundraising!


The Arts People system provides tools to easily setup and manage all the above efforts including full pass and package functionality, online pass and gift certificate redemption over multiple orders, donation tracking, membership details and automated discounts, even automated emailed ticket reminders that you can customize as you wish.  Contact us at sales@arts-people.com if you’d like more information or a free personal demo.

Opening night banner

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.

 

 

 

Website design must have items

White paper: The Six Things Every Performing Arts Website Must Get Right

Your website is your online storefront, your business card, your billboard, your elevator speech and your siren song all in one.  It often is the first exposure a person will have to your organization. It must represent you clearly, efficiently and express your artistic intent and passion in a way that allows the visitor to align with you, or to move on if what you do is not for them.  It is critical that patrons can find the information they need quickly and easily, and are able to buy, donate or reach out to you without any difficulty.

In this white paper we’ll go into detail of the six primary elements that your organization’s website MUST get right, as well as other options that you might want to include, but not have compete with the top six.

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.

 

Patrick Spike - Marketing Director

Arts People’s staff, deeply rooted in the arts

Arts People, from its very beginning, looked to experienced arts creators and administrators to staff its ranks.  We wanted to make sure that the people who would be guiding the development of our product, designed specifically for the very particular needs of the performing arts, would know how to give it the power and flexibility required for the industry.  In addition, the client services team and other members have also frequently come from backgrounds that include arts participation. In this way, we have a staff supporting the product and our clients that absolutely comprehend and appreciate the intricate and unique challenges and strategies that the arts present. We work with you to get the most out of your live data, and develop relationships over time with your ticket buyers and donors.

We don’t target sporting arenas or other non-arts venues as many other systems do.  We don’t look to venture capital and investors with dollar signs as their primary motivator who might want to steer the product in a more profit driven direction.  Arts People was created and has thrived with the idea that we are here to uplift and support the performing arts, as powerful and valuable pieces of the communities in which they exist, to shine brightly on our society and to enrich our lives – through both hearts and minds.

Here are some examples of staff members participating in the arts:

Patrick Spike – Marketing Director, former Product Manager, and System Expert, Scappoose, OR – Over 30 years as director, performer, administrator, marketer and consultant for community to Katie on stageprofessional theatre and other non-profit arts organizations. In the Fall Spike will be performing with Bag&Baggage Productions in OR, and in the Spring directing at Ferndale Repertory Theatre in CA. patrickspike.com

Katie Behrens – Client Services Representative, Portland, OR -Professional improviser with Curious Comedy Theatre and others for 9 years, acting, writing, directing, producing, teaching.

Patrick Kelly – Client Services Representative, San Diego, CA – Found his love for the Theatrical Arts in Middle school nearly 20 years ago.  He has worked as a professional actor, director, technical director, musician and general arts administrator for the past 10 years, with a major project underway currently.

Russ Gage – Director of Client Services, Portland, OR – Film festival programmer and producer for over 20 years including San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, Portland International Film Festival, Northwest Filmmakers Film Festival, and founder of QDoc ~ the Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival.
Cari Palazzolo – Administrative Assistant, Portland, OR – Musician, Digital Designer, and Visual Artist for 18 years, producing, performing, educating, managing. caripalazzolo.com

Sam Valenti – Junior Developer, Kona, HI – Currently Sam is producing Waimea Community Theatre’s Production of Pippin. Previously Sam was Managing Director of Aloha Performing Arts Company as well as more artistic endeavors on the stage.

The Arts People system includes ticketing, fundraising, marketing, CRM / database and other full function features for the performing arts.  Our best in industry client services team works one on one with our clients to make sure they are fully supported and can succeed using their system. If you have any questions about the system’s capabilities or would like to see a personalized demo, please contact us right away.  Our no pressure sales consultants will work with you to see if our system is a good fit for your organization.

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.

 

 

 

Three words for every performing arts organization – Know Your Niche


I regularly speak to performing arts organizations that try to do all and be all to their community.  The result?

  • They struggle to find their audience.
  • They burn out, barely hang on, and slowly decline.
  • They wonder why the community doesn’t come out en masse to support them.

Ask yourself…

  1. “What would your loyal patrons say draws them to you and keeps them coming back?”
  2. “If you surveyed patrons who have attended only one of your events in the past but have not returned. What would be the reason?”
  3. “Of patrons who attend other arts organizations but have chosen NOT to attend yours, what caused them to make that choice?”
  4. “Of all the people working with your organization, what would they say is your artistic focus, that also makes them want to work with you?  Would they have an immediate and concise answer?”

If you don’t have a clear idea of what the above responses would be, it’s probably time to hone your niche.

It’s a pretty commonly held concept that no single arts organization can be all things to all people. Otherwise said, we can’t please everyone all the time. It’s also can be said that when we think of a region or population area that “has a great arts scene” or “is culturally rich” that one contributing factor is that there’s a great variety of cultural or arts options available; that there is something for everyone. So we obviously value diversity in arts options, which also translates to a variety of arts organizations.  We love choices; different audiences, different tastes, different interests.

 

Now, let’s imagine.  If one organization were to try to be that variety for their community, and if they hope to achieve it with a degree of quality and consistency, some of the challenges might be

  1. How to attract talent interested in doing your work. While an artist might be interested in one project in your season, they might find no interest in the rest. How do you build and cultivate relationships with a core group of artists and technicians when their interests vary one project to the next?
  2. Audiences also may be divided over your work. They might be drawn to buy tickets to one show that peaks their interests. If they enjoy it they may want to come back. But the next show isn’t their taste at all and then they are disappointed, alienated, and often won’t be back.

So what does this mean for developing relationships with both the artists who create the work, and audiences who want to come see it?  Generally will mean that you’re working to gather talent and audience for each of your projects individually, with greater challenges developing a loyal group interested in your work as a whole.  

So is the model of trying to do something for everyone within a single arts organization sustainable? I think if we look historically at these types of organizations, and to the groups trying to please their community with palatable shows that offend no one and try to please everyone, that this just isn’t the case. These groups struggle year after year in their marketing and communications, their ticketing and fundraising, and to sustain without much growth, and often with a gradual decline in their attendance. Without loyalty in your audience, they are also much more at risk of catastrophe if specific projects miss the mark for audience satisfaction.  A single ticket audience is far less forgiving than the audience that enjoys your body of work over time.

 

So, what is the alternative? It is to find and hone your niche and stick to it.

What is it your organization is really about?  What is the type of work that the collective members of your organization agree on as their primary interest?  Do you focus on classical theatre with a fresh approach?  Do you focus on contemporary dance, including a commitment to new work each season?  Is it non-narrative musical performance art, or tried and true standards done remarkably well?  Dig deep. Find what it is that excites you as a group and that you are accomplished at creating.  Make the big decision and agree to stick to it and do it better than anyone else in your area.  Become the experts on that particular form.  You may find that some of your members don’t agree.  If so, it may be time for them to move on as you clarify what your niche is.  

 

Once that is decided, and the quality and passion shows through, you will work to find the audience who loves it as well.  Artists interested in that pursuit will seek you out.  News will spread and reach other organizations that are passionate about that type of work.  You’ll be able to better cultivate relationships and build loyalty in your audience, graduate them to donor support, membership and greater participation.

You must stick to the work you love, so the passion comes through with every project, every performance, every moment.  Communicate this clearly in every message.  Those who love that work will find you, and will be as passionate about it as you are.  They will be your advocates, your army, your cheering section.  

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Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts PeoplePatrick Spike is Marketing Director of Arts People, with the company for over 10 years. He has 30 years in performing arts administration, marketing and creation. www.patrickspike.com