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6 Digital Marketing Mistakes that Performance Venues Make


Twenty years ago marketing a performance venue seemed pretty straight forward. You took out billboards locally promoting the acts, had a mailing list of past patrons of the arts, and you kept fully staffed customer service reps to sell tickets at the venue. Communication was on paper, the reach was local, and the relationships were real.

Fast forward to 2016. There’s social media, there’s email, something called Google analytics, and your customers (who you’ve not met) are mad at you because you don’t have an app. Who’s marketing this thing anyway?

If the marketing efforts of your venue feel more like a multi-headed hydra, don’t fret. The game just changed, everyone is learning as they go, and you can get back on top now by reviewing the top 6 offenders on our list: “6 Digital Marketing Mistakes that Performance Venues Make.”

Let’s take a look…

1. Not Capturing Analytics Data

Most venues are marketing in one way or another, including online marketing. But if you cannot answer the question, “what is the effectiveness of each marketing campaign?” then you are most likely not using analytics. This is like reinventing the wheel with every single marketing effort because you have no record of what worked in the past, when it worked, or why. How are you ever to improve your marketing game in a world with no history?

WHAT TO DO: You need to monitor and track the progress of your venue’s marketing efforts. Setup Google analytics, learn to use the tool, and start recording your trends.


2. Not Having Easy Check-out on Mobile

Patrons expect easy check-out procedures for all purchases today,  and that certainly includes event tickets. Plus, Google’s really siding with us on this one after changing their search algorithm to favor websites which are mobile-friendly. Your patrons expect it, search engines expect it, make the ticket check-out simple and straight forward on mobile devices.

WHAT TO DO: Work with your website designer to optimize your site for mobile. It’ll be worth the investment with higher search rankings, higher conversions, and more money for your venue.

3. Ignoring the Testimonials Page

Testimonials influence people – heavily. A recent survey reports that almost 85% of people are influenced by an online product review when making a purchasing decision. In addition, when given the option between choosing a product with no online reviews and a product with mediocre reviews (3 out of 5 stars), customers choose the product with mediocre reviews. People want to feel like they are informed.

WHAT TO DO: Post testimonials on your website, get customers to review your venue, make the information public. You can link all of your review channels into one Testimonials page on your venue’s website.


4. Not Capturing Email Addresses

A recent poll determined that 89% of marketers claim that email is their primary method for new lead generation. That’s huge. So whatever you’ve been told that “email is dead” and “no one checks their email anymore” is pretty much a lie. Your customers are checking their email. If you’re not in their inbox on a regular basis your venue is making a very expensive mistake.

WHAT TO DO: Setup a “sign up to stay informed” opt-in form on your website. Common practice now is to offer a simple giveaway upon signing up with some sort of useful content. And of course, once you have your email list, email respectfully. Customers expect personal, relevant, useful content so do your best to meet that expectation.

5. Neglecting a Social Media Presence

So someone on the marketing team setup a Facebook page 3 years ago and now you’re done, right? Not so much. Taking up dead space on social media does not speak well to your professionalism or to your venue’s freshness. Over 80% of people connect to business over social media; they expect to see you there. With fresh stuff. Not that free ticket giveaway from 2013.

WHAT TO DO: Find the right social media network for your venue. Some small venues explode on Instagram and find that all of their patrons are on that network, while others enjoy Twitter trending during and after performances to drive awareness. Wether it’s Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, erc…find your network and engage with your audience.


6. Forgetting About the Local Scene

The internet shrunk the world in the last 20 years and made it easy for the whole world to be your market. As a venue marketer, you need to sanity-check this strategy though; do you want to reach the whole world for your theater that only affects people within a 60 mile radius? Usually performance venues are pretty limited geographically.

WHAT TO DO: Make sure you have a strong local game using Google Local listings, Yelp, Bing, and make sure you’re listed in relevant directories like the Chamber of Commerce.

Daniel Bonomo
Daniel Bonomo dons a cape as our resident Data Man. He is Marketing Director for Red Cape Group and has been in the industry of digital marketing and data analytics since 2006. He has always maintained the necessity of owning your own data, and better yet, making sense of it!

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