Every year, there are dozens of new comedy nights that start up and disappear. Organising a comedy event is only half the challenge. What separates a successful event from the ones that come and go is attendance — and good attendance comes down to promotion.
Event promotion is marketing at its most basic level – it’s about letting the people who might be interested in your event, know about the event. The key question you should ask is where do these people look to find comedy nights they may be interested in?
1. Get your event listed
Start with some initial research to see which event discovery guides other comedy nights are listed on. Trying to get on every online guide could be time-consuming, so pick the guides which are most relevant for your type of comedy event and your event’s location. (If you use Eventbrite for your ticketing, your event will automatically be listed on numerous event discovery sites.)
Before you begin listing your event, it’s helpful to write a brief description of it. Have this handy to cut and paste while adding your listings, so your listings will be consistent across guides.
Online entertainment guides will ask you for some basic information when listing your show – where, when, what price and how to get tickets. The last question is crucial – how can people buy tickets to your event?
2. Create a mobile-friendly website and ticketing
Some established comedy nights have shuttered their doors because they’ve failed to adapt and change with the times. Emerging comedy nights need to focus their efforts on having flexible, easy-to-use websites and selling tickets online.
With more people accessing the internet via their mobile devices than desktops or laptops, your website and ticketing should be mobile-friendly to avoid losing sales. The good news is, you don’t need to be super tech savvy or a web designer to set your event up with mobile ticketing online. Take advantage of free templates on sites like WordPress, and mobile-optimised ticketing pages such as Eventbrite. These optimisation options won’t cost you a cent because every page is designed to be user friendly on any device.
3. Turn social media page likes into people in seats
Social media has matured considerably in the past decade and it’s no longer good enough to simply have a Facebook page and twitter account and ask people to like it. You should be developing a promotional strategy to build interest in your event.
Post regularly as your event approaches and try to engage your potential audience with content related to the event, such as videos of the performers or interviews with them. Share to your own social media accounts and tag the venue and comedians, so they’re more likely to share the posts as well.
Once you’ve captured your audience, make sure buying a ticket is as easy as possible with an embedded checkout. You can sell tickets instantly on channels like Facebook and Instagram if you’re ticketed with a partner like Eventbrite.
4. Advertise online
This space is currently dominated by two players – Google AdWords and Facebook Ads (which covers both Facebook and Instagram). Both can make a big difference to the success of your event if done correctly. If done poorly, they can quickly drain your budget with little results.
Your goal should be to get clicks on your ads that result in ticket sales, which are called conversions.
Plan your online advertising so that it starts several weeks before your event and calculate what your daily budget is. If your budget is restricted, pick specific days of the week or hours of the day to advertise.
Start off with several versions of your ad, by varying the images and text. Monitor the ads’ performance over time and then remove the worst performing ads (the ones with lowest click-through rates). This will concentrate your budget on ads more likely to result in conversions.
5. Promote your event locally
If you have a small budget which doesn’t allow for online advertising, traditional advertising using posters and flyers can generate interest amongst the local community. Printed materials are quite cheap in quantity, and most online printing services offer design services as well.
Start with the venue hosting your event. If they haven’t already asked you for posters and flyers, ask them how many they’d like. Once they arrive, supervise the placement yourself. You ideally want your posters in a prominent window and your flyers where customers are likely to take them, like the bar area.
Walk around to local businesses and talk to them about your event. Have your posters ready and ask if you can put one in their window. Use free tickets to your event to persuade anyone that seems reluctant.
6. Write a press release
Lastly, if your event is new, unique, or for a special cause, then you have something to tell the press. Write a press release to send to journalists and editors, giving some background on why you started the event and what you hope to achieve. Try and keep it to one page and remember to state the event’s details and where to buy tickets at the end.
Promoting a comedy event is all about getting the word out to the right people. These are just a handful of the marketing strategies you can use to do so. To sell out your comedy event, read The 10 Best Ways to Sell Out Your Event.