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A carefully written marketing plan gives you a roadmap for finding ways to keep filling the seats of your live theater. Or you may want to produce a plan for each play your theater plans to produce. Either way, after each season ends, evaluate the success of your plan to improve it for the next event in order to keep patrons interested in buying tickets to your next show.
The first step in developing your marketing plan requires knowing what you hope to achieve for your theater. You may want to increase attendance at your shows, so be specific about how many more people you want to attract to the various performances you offer. Building brand may be another concern, resulting in goals such as building patrons’ trust in the quality of the show you provide or creating an enjoyable experience for theatergoers.
Determining the target market for your plan starts with identifying who goes to live theater performances. Your audience is likely interested in cultural events, such as live theater, and likes to socialize with their friends. Your target market may consist of local people such as college students, grandparents who bring their grandkids to shows and people interested in the arts. You may also want to focus on tourists who visit the area. Another segment of your market may consist of groups, such as community clubs or grade school children who take field trips to your theater.
Your theater’s strengths might include being the only live theater in your area, so you don’t have to worry about competition. If you put on only a few shows per year, this could also be a weakness because your audience needs to be reminded about your group each time you open a new show. One of your strengths might focus on the loyalty you build with people willing to refer the theater through word-of-mouth marketing. Examine your location, hours of performances, access to parking and availability of good actors as additional pluses and minuses that might affect your theater.
This section describes your marketing tactics, such as advertising, public relations and promotional activities to get the word out about your performances. Include use of social media to post about upcoming shows, summaries of performances and who attended. Build a website that allows online ticket purchases while providing lots of show information and background about the actors. Develop an email database to affordably send email marketing messages about new shows. Include a section in your plan about working with dedicated patrons and theater enthusiasts who love what your theater does as these people can help promote performances that result in more ticket sales.