Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to market your improv team's show

As an avid audience member, supporter of improv and an improviser, I have noticed that marketing and booking are not your typical comedian's strong suit.

Not to say that Facebook and Twitter aren't excellent sources for blasting the internet with show details...

But as a budding actor in Los Angeles, approximately 70% of your social media contacts are other budding actors who are equally too self-absorbed and/or busy with their day jobs to see your show...

And the other 30% are your friends and family back in your Mid-Western hometown.

So, it's folly to post notice of your show once on Facebook and expect to draw a crowd.

Here are a few simple suggestions to fill the seats for your next show:

1. Personalize and extend. If you have a significant-other or close local friends, ask them to invite a group of their other friends.  Your spouse's work friends might like to come along for a night of drinking and improv.  

This is especially true if your "other" is not also performer, because his or her guests won't be burnt out on shows.

2. Barter.  Within any network of performers, everyone is trying to fill a theatre somewhere.  If you have a friend that is reprising his high school role of George Gibbs in Our Town at a local theatre, go see him! Trust me, the more people you support the more people will support you.  

Then you can always use the old guilt trip about how you saw his moving performance in a classic three-act play, so surely he can see your improv troupe "Blue Balls on Ice."

3. Invest. From my time in the box office I have noticed that people really do look at all the posters.  A temporary poster for a show is sufficient, but a team poster with a place to update show info or an adertisement for a weekly or monthly show that stays up forever is even better.  

On your poster, I suggest putting pictures of your group and listing the performers' names to draw particular fans.  I can't tell you how many people see the wrong show because they didn't know who in particular they were supposed to see, which theater they were supposed to go to, or even the name of the performing group.

Make it easy for people to find you!

And even ask the office to hang your posters for you.  

That way the posters will be hung in accordance with policy and will remain in good condition so they will stay up longer.

Check back later this week for more tips on how to market your improv group's next show.

- Annie Mackay

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