Whether you’re producing your own live comedy show or just performing in somebody else’s show, you’re going to want it to be as successful as possible and that means figuring out how to promote your upcoming show.
One of the biggest frustrations most comedians face is figuring out how to promote their shows in an effective way and that’s why so many comics don’t bother promoting their shows at all. Or, even worse, they just send a Facebook event invite to everybody they know (including their fans who live thousands of miles away, clearly aren’t going to make it to the show, and become more likely to un-fan you every time you do that).
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to show promotion, here’s a simple five step guideline you can follow to help get more people to your shows.
STEP 1: Figure Out Your Target Audience
Before you promote your show, take a moment to think about who your target audience should be for that specific show. A lot of factors will go into this including the location, the cost of tickets, the venue, the time of the show, the theme of the show (if there is one), the length of time you’ll have on stage, etc. Not every show is designed for everybody – and this includes the fact that not every one of your shows is probably a fit for every one of your fans.
With a little thought you should be able to identify what kind of people are most likely to enjoy your show and they will become your target audience.
STEP 2: Figure Out How To Reach Your Audience
Once you know who your target audience is, it becomes MUCH easier to figure out how to reach them. This is because understanding the demographics or interests of your target audience will allow you to target your show promotions to the areas where those people can be found.
For example, if the target audience for your show is people who live within walking distance of the venue then you know exactly where those people can be found. If your target audience has a particular religious background, then you can probably figure out where to find them. If you’re looking for a stoner crowd, it shouldn’t be too difficult to track them down as well.
This also applies to online promotion as much as it does to offline promotion. If you decide to run Facebook ads, you can target the ads very specifically based on demographic, location, and interests. You can also reach out to local websites and blogs that are of interest to your target audience as well. Again, it’s actually not that hard to figure out how to reach your target audience once you understand clearly who you are trying to target.
STEP 3: Have A Compelling Offer
Once you’ve figured out your target audience and how to reach them, the next step is to make sure you have a compelling offer to give them when you promote your show. It’s typically not enough to just say, “Hey, come to my show because it’s going to be great.” Try to look for things you can do to make it more compelling and do whatever you can to turn your show into a must-see event.
One of the most common things people offer is discount tickets which is fine, but there’s lots of other things you can do besides just offering a discount. If you’re producing the show yourself, look for things you can do to create a truly unique experience – something that will stand out from every other show out there.
If you’re just performing on the show, maybe you can lure people to the show with the promise of a free copy of your album for everybody in attendance, or if you’re promoting to people who have seen you before maybe you promise that your set will feature all new material. Again, this is very performer-specific but the main thing to remember is to look for things you can offer in your show promotion that will be unique and will give people a reason to come to the show beyond just a promise that you’ll make them laugh.
STEP 4: Put On A Great Show
Keep in mind that your show promotion doesn’t stop with the actual show because you want to look at this as a long term plan and not just a one-off event. Once you’ve succeeded to get people to your show, make sure you put on a great performance and deliver on the promises you’ve made in your promotion. You want people who see you to want to see you again.
This also extends to people who see your show that you may not have promoted to before. Putting on a great show and impressing them is the best way to lay the groundwork for your next show. Speaking of which…
STEP 5: Get A Connection To Your Audience For Your Next Show
Most comedians get increasingly annoyed at promotion as they do more shows, but in reality your promotion should actually get easier if you follow this step. When you perform, make sure that you make an effort to get some kind of connection to the people in the audience that enjoyed your show. Ideally, you’d capture an email address from them, but at a minimum invite them to visit your website or connect with you on Facebook or Twitter and incentivize them to do so if possible.
Too many comedians perform and then let people who like them and would potentially come see them again walk right out the door without having any connection to them. This is a huge wasted opportunity. Think of each of your shows as not only the culmination of your promotional efforts, but also as the first step in the promotion of your next show. You’ll find things start to get a lot easier if you do.