Advertise, Advertise, Advertise...
I'm going to take a brief break from marketing my show to talk a little bit about marketing a show.
Don and Gus have recently written pretty spot-on entries about this here, here and here, which leads me to assume they've either been a.) sneaking into my brain when I'm not looking or b.) this shit is pretty much universal to indie theatre-makers. The jury is open on that one.
But while I continue to ask for more grant money to continue research on the latent psychic abilities of my fellow bloggers and theatre-makers, I'll point out that Don comes up with a pretty astute conclusion based on an informal survey, which is, Your Marketing Doesn't Matter. Over at Gus' entry wondering whether or not Facebook does any damn good, Don augments his conclusion in the comments section by pointing out that the goal is to let your audience base know about your upcoming show.
other Don's words, "don't sell, inform. Don't peddle, make available."
My take on Facebook invites is pretty much this: it may not actually rope in any new folks to see your show, but hey, it's free and takes very little time to set up an invite page. And when you're trying to get the word out on your show, every little bit helps. So if it costs you nothing, and takes virtually no time, why not?
Okay, I just wrote "every little bit helps." I actually don't know if that's true. I should probably write, "as far as we know, it doesn't hurt."
(On Gus' blog, I commented on the old adage I've heard that I've often used when promoting a Nosedive show: "Look, we know that 75% of what we're doing is a waste of time. But we don't know which 75%, so we have to do it all.")
The entry on to print postcards or not to print is one that we here at Nosedive Central are currently debating right now, since, well, with a new show coming up, we need to figure out where we stand on the subject in a manner of weeks.
I mean, sure, I like the physical memento, and it's nice to be able to physically hand someone a card with all the relevant info if I'm chatting up a show to them in person, but I'm definitely with Don about acknowledging that no one has gone to see a Nosedive play based solely on finding a postcard left at a bar, and with Gus about how depressing it is to have a stack of unused postcards sitting in your apartment after your show closes.
(We're also in a debate about whether or not to print postcards or business cards, since business cards look neater, and are easier for someone to stash in their wallet. But the same question applies: is that business card going to sway anyone into seeing it?)
Personally, neither postcards nor Facebook invites inform my playgoing. Honest. It's through email invites (to get the dates and venue), from knowing the folks making the show (i.e., I've already locked Flux's upcoming Jacob's House on my internal radar, so a Facebook invite and postcard is redundant. I'll use the mailing list email to remind myself of which train I'll be taking before heading off to see it), and from word of mouth (i.e., someone who's opinion I trust tells me to go see a particular show).
But then again, that's just me. Some folks I know solely rely on Facebook to be informed about upcoming shows. As I told Gus, I once asked a friend if he got the email I sent him about one of my shows, and he stared at me blankly. He then asked if I sent out a Facebook invite about it. I had not, and he said: "That's why this show is news to me."
I think we'll ultimately print up a limited run of either business cards or postcards, since it goes back to Don's assertion of getting the word out there: some folks (who are planning to see your show regardless) prefer using Facebook invites to organize their social calendar. Some prefer emails. Others prefer something physical that they can stick on their fridge.
Hey, we just don't know which 75% is wasted.
Wasting his time and yours,
James "Hateful Huckster" Comtois