Why won't you sell me tickets to your show?
“I’m performing with XYZ Theatre Company. Come and support us and enjoy a great concert.”
Oh, the potential in those words. What could go wrong? We’ve all received this call to action from a theatre friend and, like me, you probably make the effort to show your support. You click the link on the Facebook event invitation to ‘purchase now’ and the fun begins …
I ended up on a website that looked like it had been created as a child’s IT project. Side note – we’re in a creative industry, folks. It’s important that our websites are creative, attractive and functional as they’re your first impression on potential audiences. My first impression of this one said “you will drink much bad wine and enjoy a poorly rehearsed rendition of 'Memory' from Cats.”
As I clicked through the small site, I eventually found a logo for the show and rang the mobile listed beside it. I was connected with ‘Mitch’ who didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. I found an email address on the website and sent a request for information – I still haven’t had a response. Returning to the Facebook event, I sent a text to a different mobile contact.
24 hours later I received a phone call from someone asking me what I wanted. About now I was wondering why I was trying so hard to buy tickets to a show that had drastically gone down in my expectations and the only reason I could come up with was because my friend had asked me to. I was going to have serious words with said friend when next we saw each other.
I eventually got my ticket and quite enjoyed the concert – although I did have to sit through “Memory” from Cats.
Get this – PLEASE – the average person would have given up after seeing the website and definitely after finding that the listed mobile contact lead them to ‘Mitch’.
If your communication with potential audience is not simple and clear, you will lose ticket sales. Don’t make the mistake of believing that the public think like you, because I guarantee, you will always be wrong.
You can convince your family and maybe even some friends to buy tickets but the general public are selective about where they spend their money in this crowded theatre community. They don’t think about your show at all, they don’t really want to buy tickets and generally, theatre companies don’t do much to show them why they should other than constantly scream, “BUY TICKETS”.
One contact phone and email that is managed extremely well is all you need to improve this situation [and to save ‘Mitch’ from receiving calls from irate theatre goers].
Get a decent website which offers potential ticket buyers a clear and simple ticketing process (online where possible) and respond to their communications immediately.
This, along with decent branding of your company (another post; another day) will help you make headway through the crowded waters of community theatre.
Sherryl-Lee Secomb is the creator of An Idiot On Stage.
The Idiot exists to encourage and equip community theatre to expect more and be extraordinary. Check out more of the Idiot at anidiotonstage.com.au. Follow the Idiot on facebook and instagram, and enjoy hundreds of theatre resources on the Idiot's pinterest boards.
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